Earlier today I was talking with some other writers about viewpoint and how to write a scene involving an injured person, slipping in and out of consciousness, possibly on the edge of death. We wondered if it were possible to convey the scene from the injured person’s point of view without making their consciousness too integrated and yet leave enough for the reader to understand what was happening.
I’m still not sure, but here is an attempt:
There were bright lights, little white swirly things, where his field of vision should be. Stars. Too much of a cliché but sparkly spiky things. Red as well, and a booming and a lot of wanting to throw up.
Was that him? Was he Dave or was someone else called Dave there? There were hands.
‘No don’t move him.’
Something. Smell. Definitely earth. Wet, wet earth and grass.
‘Check his tongue.’
Voices but he couldn’t hear them. No, he could. Couldn’t understand them. Maybe it was Russian. In a Gloucester accent?
No. No. That was sort of English. There was copper in his mouth, Swallowed a coin?
He spoke. He was speaking Russian too.
He pushed himself up, but the grass gave way. Fingers poked his teeth, fucking dentists.
‘Is he moving?’
‘Hand twitched just then.’
‘Don’t move him.’
‘What about the blood?’
What about blood? He should tell them he was A positive. Needed to blow his nose. Full of snot. Something. Wet anyway. Dripping snot. Coppery snot. Give it a wipe. Fuck that was hard work. His arm was stuck. Lying on it. The snot bubbled. Hot snot flooding.
‘Dave. Dave, can you hear me?’
Course I can fucking hear you, you Russian twat. Stop shouting. Fuck that river’s loud, all that white water. And his ear was exploding. Must be the shouting. Shit he felt sick.
If he sat up he’d get this stinking grass away from the copper, then he wouldn’t be sick. Best tell the Russian he was moving.
‘He said something.’
‘Tried to anyway.’
‘Dave are you okay?’
‘Kind of fucking question is that? No I feel like hell.’
‘Did he say something?’
‘Sort of, something.’
‘What was it?’
‘Dunno sounded like a foreign language to me.’
Foreign language? You should talk. Please shut up. Let him sleep. Move his legs, got cramp.
‘Careful boy. Stay still a sec.’
Still? He’d never catch that stand off like that. Move like the wind, hit him hard. What’s that?
‘Watch out he’s puking, keep his airway clear.’
Bloody hell. God that hurts. What the hell happened? Shouldn’t be anything there. Stand offs didn’t hurt like that. Oh his head.
‘He’s coming round. Keep checking his airway. Ambulance is here.’
Ambulance? What they on about ambulances for? The Russian guy had gone.
‘Thank God. It’s okay. They’ll just check you can move, put a collar on you and get you away, okay?
‘You, you prat.’
‘Oh okay. My car’s…’
‘Don’t worry we’ll sort it.’
‘I didn’t know you could speak Russian.’
‘He’s out of it still.’
‘Not surprised, hit like that.’
‘Dave, Dave? Sorry mate. Didn’t see you on the other side of him. Didn’t expect you to get there that fast. See you at the hospital later, okay?’
Steve? He blinked. The darkness was still half there but he could see a blurry man leaning over him. About four blurry men leaning over him. He nodded. The blackness washed across his eyes again and the coppery taste got worse.
‘We’d better move him now.’
‘We start again ref?’
‘When they get him off.’
He was floating. The spectators looked pretty ill. That woman turned her head away. People were weird sometimes. The sky had purple edges and then he was being slid into a vehicle. It was too light inside and water was drowning out the engine noise. He closed his eyes. It didn’t seem to make much difference, still too bright.