David’s brother was sitting outside the ICU ward. He stood up when they arrived. “Only two people can go in at a time. He’s been calling out Peter’s name since he regained consciousness.”

“Well, let’s go inside then. You ready, my boy?” Peter’s father asked.

Peter’s father pressed the bell and a nurse opened the door. The first thing he saw when he walked into the ward was two beds. He could not tell on which Peter was lying. Spaghetti-like tubes wrapped themselves round the bodies that lay unmoving. A screen with two jagged lines rolling across it stood next to each bed. Beep! Beep! Beep! The sound filled the room.

A nurse was wheeling a trolley away from the bed on the right hand side of the room when the regular beeping sound changed suddenly to a continuous hum. Peter didn’t know what had happened. One second the nurse was standing by the bed, the next, everyone in the room was scurrying around him. Something terrible had happened, he knew it.

“Wait outside, please. Now, please!” barked the nurse to Peter and his father.

Peter felt something squeezing him, stopping him from breathing, preventing him from moving. He looked back at the screen that had been beeping just a few minutes before. Both lines were straight. Peter had seen that happen before, on TV. It meant the patient had died.

Tears poured down Peter’s face. “No. Please. David can’t die. He has to live.” Peter’s father put his arm across Peter’s shoulder and propelled him out of the ward.

“Shhhhh. Shhhh, son. Be strong.”

Peter was leaning against the wall outside the ICU ward when Busie and her father arrived. He did not hear them approaching. He heard a voice saying his name, a sweet, gentle voice. When he looked up, he was looking straight at Busie. She held out her hand.

“Shhhhh… Peter. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. It was an accident. Everyone knows it was an accident. No-one could have known this would happen.” But Busie’s words were coming too late. They smashed into him, adding to the weight of the pain and regret that he was carrying. He slid down to the floor of the hospital with his head in his hands.

As Busie was trying to comfort Peter, a group of people approached the ICU ward: an older woman and man and a young woman. The man pressed the bell to the ward and went inside. Within a few minutes the young woman came running out of the ward, back the way she had come. She was sobbing.

The man and woman followed after a few minutes. The man leaned on the old woman, like she was a crutch. She steered him down the passage towards the exit.

The nurse who had been there came to the door. “You’re here to see David Tau, aren’t you? You can come in now but you can’t stay long. Just go in to see him for five minutes and then you’ll have to leave.”

“David is alive?” Peter looked at the nurse, then his father and mother. He smiled at Busie.

“Yes. Yes. He is. Go in and see him, but you can only stay for a few minutes.”


Tell us what you think: How seriously is David injured?