SHORT STORY FOR THE WEEKEND: Another Realm by Dave Flint
Here is the latest in the series of short stories written by members of the 390-strong Portsmouth Writers' Hub
He knew he was in hospital and could still visualise what happened: chasing the youths in their car through the quarry and seeing it hit the digger.
Turning the police car, he never realised he was so high up before the ground opened up under him and the vehicle flew through the air towards the lake below; he could see the submerged building below the waters, and then everything went black.
Now he felt an easiness washing over him and wondered if he was alive, but he could hear people walking and talking around him – no, he was still living.
Suddenly his mind felt something enter his body, a liquid he guessed to ease the discomfort that plagued him.
With darkness creeping over him and without dreaming, he slept deeply, not moving, making no sound other than the machine beside him showing he was still fighting, still here.
He had no idea how long he had been asleep, and although his eyes were covered he could feel his face was bandaged; yet he still couldn’t move.
He had seen others in the past in similar circumstances, and now here he was in that same predicament, like a baby, unable to respond to a spoken word coming his way. If only he could let them know that he could understand what they were saying to him.
Suddenly his body trembled, urgent movements around him as he felt his body being lifted. Bright lights shone through his bandages, and he could smell that smell again like after the first time it happened.
He was flying like a bird, but not going anywhere. Shapes moved and people talked quickly, but nothing made sense to him; just the feeling of something strange happening to him as his body was invaded.
Days turned into weeks, at least that’s how he envisaged things. He realised he had been hurt badly to be in this situation, but wouldn’t it be something to open his eyes and see what was wrong with him now the bandages were gone, his eyes could feel the lights out there, but as much as he tried to open his lids, they remained closed.
In and out of pain, he accepted his condition, lying there with spoken words aimed at him, but there was no way he could respond; all he could do was listen and hope that one day he would be able to speak and answer whoever was there.
The quietness in the room seemed different to him now, he was aware of close movement and someone holding his hand. The soft touch against his skin was unbelievably sensual to him, and the voice was different now.
He seemed to recognise the sound, he was sure he had heard it before. A name was trying to envisage itself in his memory. Kelly, Catty, Kathy, he remembered the name from somewhere, Kathy, Kathy Will…
Things began to come back to him, at least in places. His wife Kathy Moore, his name; she used to be Kathy Williams. Her touch screamed out for him to respond; he could see her in his mind, her beautiful body lying next to him as they clung to one another.
Now day after day he felt her touch him and speak his name trying to get him to open his eyes just for a moment.
He was beginning to feel well within himself, he was sure of it; the fluids were still being fed into him, but whatever was happening he was happy with it. If only he could see.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Kathy turned up occasionally and sat beside him, but he could tell it was difficult for her. He listened to her cry more often than not.
He had heard the doctors speak to him and stick a needle or something in him that hurt like hell, but with no response they talked about him as if he wasn’t there. He screamed out to try to tell them he was almost conscious; he just couldn’t move or speak yet.
Sometimes he could actually feel himself move, but seeing no sign of any of them noticing it, he carried on listening to them speak about him in that matter of fact way.
He was being moved to a different place, it was so quiet and the smell hit him as though something was seriously wrong.
Left alone he lay there wondering where he was before Kathy came in and sat beside him crying as she has done so often lately.
He felt someone else go over his body, lifting his eyelids and he saw her, his beautiful wife sitting holding their little Catherine on her lap, how she had grown; but the concern on her face as she looked at me. I tried to move my eyes as she kissed me, and then those words – goodbye, my love!
Getting up she quickly left, almost running from me as hands came over me doing something I couldn’t make out, and the machine besides me switched off. I could no longer feel any assistance for my body, in some way it was a relief as I lay there hovering above this body of mine.
I watched people come over me touching my eyes, listening for a response, and that man again pushed that pin into my foot. I could still feel it.
I cried inwardly at the thought of losing Kathy, and then my partner from the station came in and laid his hand on me.
I could feel it, I had no machine keeping me alive and I was feeling his hand on my arm. His words to me sounded gracious and I gripped his hand.
He shouted and I held on to him as my eyelids opened and smiled at him, managing those two words: ‘Get Kathy!’
Here is the latest in the series of short stories written by members of the 390-strong Portsmouth Writers’ Hub.
Retired Dave Flint, 68, began writing four years ago. He joined Havant Writers’ Group and the Hub, before winning Portsmouth BookFest’s short story competition in 2016. Dave’s fiction novel is nearing completion.