فصل 03

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فصل 03

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Chapter three

Life Exchange

The lorry driver was still shaking when the ambulance arrived. The ambulance men ran towards the burning car. On the black, burnt ground nearby lay the two men. They were lifted into the ambulance and taken to the City Hospital. The ambulance men pushed them on trolleys into the Casualty Department. A nurse stood with them as they waited for the doctors to come. As they lay on their trolleys inside the hospital, one of the men made a noise. The nurse spoke to him.

“Hello. Can you hear me? Can you tell me your name?”

The burned man turned towards his burned friend on the other trolley. He put his hand onto his friend’s hand.

“J… a… k… e!”

But that was his last word. He died, with his hand in the hand of his friend.

“Can you hear me? Jake, did you say?”

The nurse lifted the dead man’s hand away from his friend’s and laid it across his chest.

Megan looked at the clock and told herself not to worry. Luke was probably having a drink with Jake. He would be home soon. The telephone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hello. I’d like to speak to Mrs Megan Harrison - er, Luke Harrison’s wife, please.”

“Yes, that’s me. Who’s speaking, please?”

“I’m Police Constable Smithers, from the City Police Station. Mrs Harrison, there’s been an accident - a car accident - rather serious.”

Megan caught her breath.

“Oh, no… he isn’t… he…”

“Now, keep calm. Your husband is alive, but he is very badly hurt. Now, can you come straight to the Casualty Department at the City Hospital, please? Would you like me to send one of my men to come and get you?”

“No, thank you. I’m coming now; right away.”

Megan drove, praying all the way.

“Oh, please God, let him live! He’s such a good man, a good husband, a good father…”

She fought her tears as she drove to the hospital. She quickly found the policeman at the Casualty Department.

“Hello, er, Mrs Harrison? Now, try to relax - I know it’s difficult. Your husband’s car crashed and went off the road. It was quite bad - the car caught fire and the two men were badly burned. We found the number plate of the car so we were able to find its owner. One of the men died. We were able to identify your husband because he was holding his wedding ring in his hand. A nurse will take you in to see him.”

Shortly afterwards, a doctor came into the room. He sat down on a seat next to Megan.

“Mrs Harrison? I’m Doctor Ramsay. I’ve been looking after your husband.”

The doctor looked kindly at Megan, and held her hand.

“We are doing everything we can to save him, but he’s in a coma, so he won’t know you’re here.”

“Is he … is he … going to die, Doctor?”

“We hope not, but we must prepare ourselves.”

Megan could no longer see the doctor’s kind face - her eyes were filled with tears.

“Oh, Doctor! What about his friend, Jake?”

“There was nothing we could do for him - he died when he arrived here at the hospital. Now, come with me. Your husband is covered in bandages so you won’t see much of him. But we all believe it helps the patient to have a loved one nearby - even when they are in a coma.”

Megan followed the doctor to a small side room at the end of a ward. The man under the bandages knew nothing and nobody.

“Oh, Luke! Well, I suppose it’s better right now that he doesn’t know anything. I mean, he would be in terrible pain if he were awake, wouldn’t he, Doctor?”

“Yes. You know, Mrs Harrison, even if he recovers, he might not remember much. He might have amnesia.”

“But it would pass, wouldn’t it?”

“Hopefully, yes - in time. Now, let’s leave the nurses to take care of him. Go home and get some rest - we will call you if we need you. And come back tomorrow morning.”

The next three days were terrible for Megan. She sat at the side of the bed - waiting for signs of recovery. Then, on the third evening, the head under the bandages moved. Megan saw the eyes and the lips move slowly.

“Oh Luke! My love! Luke, darling - can you hear me? Can you see me?”

The voice was slow and weak.

“Megan!”

“Oh Luke, does it hurt? Don’t worry. Everything will be all right. You are going to live, and come home. We’re all going to be together soon. Oh Luke! I love you so much!”

The face under the bandages moved, the eyes filled with tears. Then they closed, and Luke slept.

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