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Silence

Posted Dec 06 2011 10:18am
Two faces in the dead of night, staring out of the front windscreen of a destroyed car. One's talking to me,  bragging, apologising, part regaling in their achievements, part regretting their actions. He tells me of their drink fuelled night, how they argued over who would drive, how they agreed that they'd have one go each at making the car fly over the bridge. His friend is quiet, eyes staring into the distance.

They succeeded. The police estimated that they must have been driving at over a hundred miles an hour when they hit the brow of the hill. The car's front was unrecognisable, make and model only clear from the back, airbags deployed all around. As we strap him down to a board, hoping to prevent any further injury, he tells us that once they'd left the road, the car just seemed to fly sideways instead of straight, and there was nothing they could do. In the meantime, the police dealt with his friend.
He kept saying that he wasn't brave enough to drive that fast, and when they failed the first time, they turned around, lined up again, changed seats, and had another go. He talked to us all the way to hospital, barely noticing any checks we did, any treatments we provided, just boasting about their tricks, about how impressed he was with his friend, the one we'd left on scene.
"Car's a write-off, isn't it?"
"I'd guess so."
"How come you guys got me out first? Is it because I was making so much noise?"
"Something like that, yeah."
"Well, my leg is smashed, isn't it?" It was. 
"Guess my mate's OK then, he didn't seem too hurt, just sitting back like that in his chair." 
A police officer travelling with us shuffles uncomfortably in his seat, and gives me a quick look. He makes a few more notes in his pocket book, checks once more for our call sign, and asks the passenger again what happened. He goes through the stories again, tells how they took a longer run up the second time round, makes sure that we know that he wasn't driving, that his friend was.
"I was in the driver's seat first time, but we didn't take off. So he took over. Called me all sorts of things for chickening out. But he did it! It was so cool! Shame we hit that fence though, won't be able to do it in that car again!"
It wasn't the fence that was the problem. It was the street light after the fence, the one that had smashed through the roof and the windscreen of the car. On the driver's side. The passenger, our patient, notices the looks, senses the unease. 
"Is my friend OK? Is there another ambulance looking after him? How come you didn't get him out too?" His world crashes in around him as the reality dawns, and he shouts. "I asked you, is he OK?"
I look across at the officer, who gives me an almost imperceptible nod of the head. 
"No. He's not OK. He's dead." 
Suddenly, silence engulfs the ambulance. 
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