This is the third part of a fiction serial, in 768 words.
The sound her head made when it hit the tiled floor of the hallway reminded me of dropping a bag of shopping on the pavement when I was a kid. I had less than twenty minutes before the taxi showed up, so moved quickly. Eve had dropped the shoes when I threw her, so I recovered them from the stairs. I walked down and placed one on her left foot, then snapped off the heel of the right shoe and put that and the shoe on the top step.
Her chest was still rising and falling a little, but she was making no noise. Some blood was running out from under her right cheek where her nose had broken on impact, so I stepped over that as I picked up the house phone. After hyperventilating for a few moments, I rang 999 and asked for an ambulance. I sounded concerned enough, but not panicking. They asked me if she was breathing, and I said she was, so they told me to turn her on her side if she was on her back. I said she was already on her side and they said an ambulance would be there in under fifteen minutes.
They actually turned up in around ten minutes, and got to work on her, asking me lots of questions. I pointed to the stairs, and showed one of them the shoe at the top. I told her I had been in the toilet, and come out to find Eve like this, ringing an ambulance immediately. I made sure to mention that she had never owned shoes with such high heels, and that I was sure they had caused the fall. By the time they had finished, she had a neck collar on, an oxygen mask over her face, a drip connected to one arm, and splints on the other arm and one leg, both believed to have been broken by the impact of landing.
The taxi driver rang the doorbell while they were strapping her up, and looked startled at the scene when I opened the door. I apologised to him and said my wife would not be needing the cab after all.
When they got her into the ambulance they said I could go with her, so of course I did. On the way they used the siren, and the vehicle was rocking about all over the place as the driver seemed to be going so fast. The woman in the back kept looking at a machine Eve was connected up to, and trying to give me a reassuring smile. But she didn’t look very convincing. We got to the hospital in less than ten minutes, and nurses and doctors were waiting. One of the nurses took me inside and sat me in a room along the corridor as the rest of them wheeled Eve into the department.
It must have been almost thirty minutes later when a young female doctor came into the small waiting room, looking very serious. “Your wife has gone for a scan. She has a broken arm, and her right femur is broken in her leg. But more worringly, we think she has a skull fracture, a very serious one. I will come back and see you when we know more”. A chubby nurse came in with a plastic cup of tea. “I didn’t think to ask if you wanted sugar, sorry”. I put it under the seat. Tea was the last thing I wanted.
A different nurse came in with a clipboard, and suggested I phone Eve’s parents. I told her that she only had her granny, and she was in an old people’s home. So she asked me a load of questions about Eve, even though I had already told the ambulance people most of the same things.
Another hour went by until a dignified-looking male doctor appeared in the room. “Your wife has sustained a catastrophic fracture of the skull, I’m afraid. We are going to admit her to Intensive Care, but my advice is to prepare yourself for the worst, I’m sorry to say. The surgeons have looked at the scans, and they don’t believe an operation would be possible. Even if they tried, she might never regain consciousness. Do you know if your wife ever expressed a wish to donate any organs?”
Nodding, I told him that she was very enthusiastic about organ donation, and had often said she would hate to be kept alive on a machine. He said he would be back soon.
Forty minutes later, the police turned up to talk to me.