Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

Psychotic Deer, Offroad Driving, Medical Emergencies….

June 14, 2009 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

My intentions were good. I had planned a five mile run, and had every intention of completing it. Within the first mile, about a week’s worth of interestingness jumped out at me, and doomed the whole effort.

First, there was the deer, about four hundred metres from my front door, still within my estate, bloody terrified and heading right for me. About a mile over the hill, it came down there are woods, and fields, and open land. Deer too, friends have told me, though this is the first time I’ve seen one. This lady was lost, and panicking about it. She bounded (first time I’ve seen a deer at speed) over a ridge, looking over her shoulder, heading straight at me. I had exactly enough time to imagine how much being trampled by a frenzied deer might feel, and how preposterous it was going to be that it happened in a suburban side street, then the mad-eyed Bambi looked up with her crazy cow eyes, and sort of twitched around me. It was close, so much so that I now know how a petrified deer smells. It takes the sheen off its beauty.

At that point, it realised there was nowhere to go but road, and zigzagged about for a bit, before heading, with strange deer logic, for the busiest road of the lot. I’ve no idea if it survived.

I kept running, up the hill, past the last houses, to the hill’s crest. Despite being in the middle of Glasgow, the far side of that hill is about a mile of track through woods, along the bank of a river on the left, with a vast overgrown field on the right. Occasionally, you weave around an oncoming horse and rider, or nod at other runners. Very rarely do you almost get knocked down from behind by a Volkswagon Polo doing forty miles an hour, driven by two burberry-clad teenagers with wide, scared eyes (a bit like the deer, to be honest). They had every reason to be afraid, as getting a car to stay on that path clearly required a skill and dexterity that they did not possess. I dived right, the car missed, and nobody died. How it got behind me, I don’t know. I didn’t run past it, and there are concrete bollards at the top of the hill I’d just run down which really should have stopped it following me. Strangeness.

I kept running, along the path, relieved to find the teenagers had neither swerved into the river, nor front-ended a tree. I ducked under a roadbridge, swinging round and back up to the road, turning left, towards the bus stop.

Where there was a small group of people, not waiting patiently for transport, but milling uncertainly. I slowed, saw there was somebody on the ground, resigned myself to it, and picked up speed. My neighbours S and C were already there, having seen what we at first through was a man collapse, and others had either pulled over, or wandered across to help (or, this being real life, to stand about, not knowing what to do with themselves). When I got there, the guy on the ground was already more or less in a recovery position, C was on the phone, and somebody was putting a towel under the victim’s head.

The guy on the ground was twitching badly along the arm and leg of one side, obviously having a fit. He stopped, tried to get up, and hit the deck again, still twitching. There were scratches along his neck and wrists. There were a lot of possible assumptions you could make about somebody in that condition.

The 999 people were asking a lot of questions of C, just as the guy on the ground got up again, and I realised it was actually a woman. She was very disorientated, bleeding down her back, but despite barely being able to stand, was determined to continue up the road. We tried to convince her to stay for the ambulance, but she was having none of it. I doubt she was really aware of what was happening, but short of physically restraining her there wasn’t much we could do, and she was away. The advice the 999 people gave to C was along the lines of “If she doesn’t want help, there isn’t much we can do, so we’re cancelling the ambulance.”

On the other hand, they couldn’t see the state she was in, and I could, so I ran after her, if only to make sure she didn’t collapse into traffic. S came too, and we tried to talk her into taking help, but she bolted round a corner. S went to get his car, to follow her along and see she was okay. I ran after her again (at least I was wearing the right gear), but she’d staggered down a side path and I overshot. I realised my mistake, went back, but she’d vanished. Could have been into the fields, I don’t know. In her condition, there was no way she was outrunning me, especially not in my current shape. I wasted a fair bit of time checking the river, making sure she hadn’t either collapsed into it or just decided to take a plunge. When S and I had talked to her previously, and I offered her some water from my running bottle, she accused us of trying to poison her. That sort of thing raises concerns.

Neither S nor I saw her again. No idea what happened to her. It’s a disconcerting outcome to the sort of situation where you’d hope to be more convincing or effective, and I’m out of sorts having failed either way. I hope she’s okay.

Anyway, at that point, I decided not to run any further. Where she collapsed is a mile and a bit into the five mile route. I’m not sure I could have coped with another three miles of incident.

I walked home. Wine happened. I feel better now.

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