A number is dialled by a hand barely coherent enough to complete it.
done.'Triple 0 emergency services, what service are you after and for what state?"
"Trace call, dont know where I am. Car crash. In SA. Need ambulance'
And the line goes dead. The man at the other end of the line, however, is already moving, sending information to the closest relevant people, including the gps location of the phone call he just received.
The driver stays where he is , bloody and broken, breathing as carefully as he can bring himself to do. He knows it could be a while before anyone finds him, but he cannot move. Despite his past hardship, he was always a fairly lucky person, avoiding speed guns when he needed to be somewhere in a hurry, winning at the pokies every now and again, scoring girls, drugs and drinks just by being in a place of an evening, bumping into someone that ended up hiring him. Always the envy of his mates, they could never work out how he got such good fortune. Not today.
Abe Montgomery ran to his ambulance, calling to his partners, who were pulling jackets on close behind him. 'this info better be correct, or this guy's fucked,' he thought to himself as he jumped in the drivers seat and set the ignition, flipped on the lights and siren and sped off in the direction his gps was pointing. It wasn't too far, thankfully, but the road was winding, and Abe wasn't sure if the caller would be alive by the time they got there - one-person crashes were often people that did it on purpose, or were too inexperienced to know that its stupid to go 80, or faster, on these roads. The medic next to him looked between him and the road ahead as he radioed someone, Abe had lost track of whether it was the police, fire, or base - his job was to get there as fast as they could without having an accident themselves, so this was all he was focussed on. The ambulance rounded a final bend and met the straight. 'This is the killer, right here' he thought to himself: almost all the accidents he ever attended on this road were within a kilometre of this long straight - perfect for racing. Sure enough, they reached the end of it, rounded the corner that completed the straight, and there it was, a lancer, its bonnet wrapped around a tree a fire engine already at the scene, four men moving like ants among the coming rain, preparing the Jaws, assessing whether the car will explode.
"The driver's legs'll be caught under that" Grear said, addressing Abe directly for the first time since hooking up with the radio.
"Did they say if anyone else was there?"
"Nah, no mention yet, we'll soon see, but there's going to be either no one else .... or a car load - look," He replied as the ambulance pulled up, pointing at the distinctive square of red and white plastic in the bottom left corner of the cracked rear window.
"Shit, another one?!"
He nodded as he opened the door and went to the back, while Abe and two other medics ran over to the driver's now-crumpled door, where a fireman began talking fast as his team took off the door with a horrendous squeal of scraping metal and hissing hydraulics, "He's barely conscious, in bad shape, needs hospital asap, legs are trapped, but not crushed, we're trying to get to them now, so we can pull him out."
The driver moaned in pain as the noise shot through his brain, blocking out all else temproarily while the remaining glass in the door frame shattered. All he could see was a spider web covering the safety-glass windscreen, and hear the air compressor, and shadows, rushing around trying to get him out, as the world went black.
"He's coding! Get him OUT'!"
"Will he bleed out?"
"He's dying either way"
Movement, a searing pain he's never experienced in his life, and then he's on a bed, jolted back into life, barely. Abe starts the engine, the same as before, but this time, Grear is in the back with Coren and Smith , making sure their guy doesn't die on them. Again. The paddles had saved him once, they may not again.
In Grears 15 years, he'd noticed a general rule: people this bad shape don't make it to hospital, let alone live through the surgery to piece them together. But this young man seemed to be the exception to the rule:
Tamara was watching a movie with her daughter when the phone rang. Untangling herself from the sleeping child, she picked up, smiling, "Hello?"
"Is this Ms Tamara Ridley?"
"Yes, to whom am I speaking?"
"Detective John Williams ma'am, I'm afraid there's been an accident involving a car registered in your name and a young man. How fast can you get to the RAH?"
Everything went black for a moment, as she hung up the phone, only to pick up her daughter and run next door, "Alex, I need you to take us to the RAH. Michael's there."
He needed no further instruction.
The hospital was a big place for someone so unfamiliar with the identical corridors, but Alex was better acquainted with the system, taking Tamara by the hand and walking straight to the front desk. "We're looking for someone that's just come in, Michael Ridley?"
A police officer's ears pricked up at the mention of Ridley, and he moved away from his partner and to the young family that just rushed in, complete with a rather displeased-looking child.
"Ms Ridley? I'm Det. Williams, I spoke to you on the phone earlier... before you hung up on me. I figured you'd end up here. Let me explain the situation," He said, silencing her before she had a chance to ask, "About an hour ago, a call came in from a car accident involving one male, in a car that was registered under your name. We're sssuming he's your son?"
She nodded blankly, "Is he okay?"
"In a word, no. But the doctors here are doing everything they can. The waiting room's around the corner if you'd like to wait there, I'm sure someone will be in to see you shortly about what's going on."
Word travels surprisingly fast for such a large place, and within an hour, Michael's friends were hearing the news. Some immediately began the drive from an hour out of town to meet his mother at the hospital, while others gathered together elsewhere, hoping. Like most people, he had the odd enemy that passed on the knowledge with a gleeful bite, however these were rare. But like before, Michael was a lucky person - broken bones, some internal bleeding, but nothing that can't be fixed, and he was wheeled into a room several hours later, unconscious, but alive.
Holly's phone buzzed next to the television remote, a 'silent' indication of a text message from her friend Marianne: 'M in crash. RAH. don't know what cond.".
She never saw the programme return from an ad-break a moment later, she was already out the door.
Their relationship had never been the same since they broke up a year ago, and had almost lost contact in the months since, but a friend is a friend, and she loved him, and she now flew down the main road to town, terrified of what state he might be in.
After a lot of fussing with the front desk, she ran to the Intensive Care Unit. She skidded to a halt at the door, gripping the frame with her hands, breathing heavily. Seeing him there, unconscious and bandaged, with tubes and wires everywhere broke her heart. This was what had become of the invincible kid, the one that was the pillar of strength for everyone else? Who knew he was so...... breakable? Moving to his bedside, she crumples like paper, hand over her mouth and tears overflowing her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. Tamara wraps her in a hug, kissing her head, "It's good to see you Holly, it's a shame it took something so terrible to bring you back to us," She fought back tears, "He'll be glad to know you came"
"I'm not leaving," she replied, "Until he wakes up."