Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction. I usually write fan fic and most of my work is currently on under the name of Storybookgirl77. If you like Ashes to Ashes, Spooks, Lie to Me and other crime related programmes I would love it if you took the time to read my stuff. This style of writing is new to me, so I would really appreciate any feedback.
"Clear." The doctor yelled before applying the defibrillator pads to the patient's chest. I stepped back, determined not be in contact with either the patient or the metal trolley when the potentially life saving shock was delivered. The joules surged through the body on the table. "Commence CPR." The doctor called as I began pumping the chest of the young woman again. None of us knew why the nameless woman was on the bed in the Resusitation Room. None of us like to think that far. We go through the potential causes, poison? trauma?, metabolic problem? illness? What can we fix? Can we save this person? Can we give their loved ones good news? Every time the staff of the Emergency Department battle to save someone we pray silently that this time. This time. This will be the day that we tell the husband, son, wife, daughter, mum or dad that the person they love will be ok. It isn't always the case.
"Ok." Dean, our head of department states. "She's been down for over an hour minimum. We don't have any signs of winning this. Anyone disagree with stopping?"
I keep pressing on her chest, the physical exertion almost painful. Anyone who doesn't get exhausted after even a few minutes of CPR is superhuman in my eyes. Its hard work. When you do it and it works its amazing but still, bloody hard work. Trust me, after a few rounds of CPR you can cancel the gym membership. My colleagues all agree. This young woman has died. She's gone. This time its a case of God 1 - ED -0. I sigh heavily. Its not fair. The young woman, who's name we don't even know as of yet has died. We can't save her. I glance at Megan, our Nursing Sister who shakes her head sadly.
"God bless." She makes the sign of the cross as I snap my latex gloves off and fling them in the bin before washing my hands. Its a busy day. There isn't time to mourn the loss of a young life. I hate it. We go from patching up children with broken arms and legs from childhood misadventures to fighting to save a life to looking after the old dear who has forgotten why she is there and that her dear husband died years earlier. There is no other job like it, and none that I would want but its exhausting.
"Ellie?" I turn as my nickname catches my attention. Dean is starting to wonder if I've lost my marbles. Megan wonders if I ever had any.
"Yeah?" I dry my hands on paper towels.
"The police are outside. They reckon they are looking for her next of kin. Seems she was murdered."
"Yeah." The welsh man shrugged. "Poor cow. Can't be more than what? Thirty?"
"My age," I sigh. "It's sad. Innit?" I throw the paper towel in the bin contemplating the sad end to a life about as long as my own. "What can she have done to end up like this? No one deserves this." I sigh as Megan shakes her head before walking away.
"Yeah," The older man squeezes my shoulder. "Be careful, her body and that trolley is forensic evidence." I glance at the trolley as doctors, anaesthetists and other nurses begin packing away. My chest aches at the sight of the young woman, dark hair matted with blood, skin like marble. I wonder if there is someone missing her. A boyfriend or girlfriend wondering why she hasn't arrived home. Perhaps there are mates down the wine bar in town waiting for her, ringing her phone constantly. Maybe there's a child wondering where Mummy is. That thought breaks me. I close my eyes, hoping that I'm wrong and some little child isn't going to lose their mother.
"What?" I don't mean to snap. "Sorry."
"Yeah, I know. I heard." I gather the paperwork I need. I hate this bit. The documentation of the end of a life. The paperwork that describes what happens but Dean is right. It has to be done. I glance up as a police officer I've known for years walks in.
"Bad business." Jeff, or PC Jeffrey Hughes, as I should say nods towards the dead woman. I sigh, nodding my head. Jeff is one of the old school coppers. I like him. His height and general size may be intimidating to the local criminal population but to me its reassuring. He's older than me, in his early fifties but his presence whenever we are dealing with the worst things people can do to each other is reassuring. He is definitely what my Gran would have called a 'Gentle Giant'.
"It is. Any luck finding out next of kin?"
"Checking to see if she's been reported missing. Tracey thinks she arrested her a few weeks ago. Prostitution."
"Really?" I look back at the corpse, now resting on the hospital trolley with clean sheets around her and the paraphernalia of resuscitation tidied away. I know Megan will want me to have her transferred to the mortuary as soon as possible but it doesn't seem fair. She has no one. I can't help but think that there isn't a soul on the planet that deserves to die alone, that deserves not to be missed.
"Yeah. You know Tracey Parsons. She doesn't forget a face. You alright chick?"
"Fine. Can we just get on with this?"
"You know the procedure Ellie. I stay until the Coroner orders otherwise. Or my Guv turns up. Whichever happens sooner." I sigh, nodding. This is not the first suspicious death I've had to deal with. "Could murder a cuppa though." He winks at me before wincing.
"Bad choice of words."
"Just a bit." I raise my eyebrows. He's a cheeky one, always after a cuppa. Always saying how the nurses of old would look after the poor village policeman. Only, as I constantly remind him, it isn't the land of Dixon of Dock Green and I am not an old fashioned nurse.
"If it is murder, what then?"
"We investigate it. We find out who she is, who did it and send them to prison." Jeff frowned as I bite my lip. He turns away as his police radio begins to crackle. "Yeah? I'm at the hospital now. Ok. Yeah." He pauses as it crackles again. I have no idea how he can make out a word of what is being said to him. I carry on with my paperwork, documenting everything that happened since the girl arrived in the hospital. Jeff turns back to me.
"Yeah. We have a name for her. Tracey ran her description through the database. Your girl there is Mika Kowalski. Polish hooker that was arrested six weeks ago. We need to confirm that though."
"Until you do, she is still Jane Doe."
"I know," He paused. "Only, Ellie can you stop writing and pay attention? Please."
I drop my pen. Jeff doesn't do this. He never snaps. I've known him since before I was a student nurse. Now, as a staff nurse we're more equal but he has never snapped at me. Looking in his big brown eyes I fall silent.
"We know she was murdered and we know who did it."
"That's good then. Didn't take you long. Hope you get hold of her family. If she's not a local girl that's going to keep you busy for a while." I smile slightly. He nods before shaking his head.
"Terry and David, the CID running this have arrested Danny Pritchard."
"What?" My blood runs cold, my knees buckle beneath me. I have to have heard him wrong. He did not just tell me my fiancé has been arrested for killing a hooker. Jeff looks me straight in the eye.
"I'm sorry, kidda. Your Danny has been arrested."
In that second, well, in that three and a half seconds that it takes for the words to leave his mouth and hit my ears, for the auditory nerve to transmit it to my brain and for my brain to understand them my world spins on its axis. Danny. Daft, lovable, caring Danny who is obsessed with science fiction and James Bond movies, who wants us to have kids and settle and treats my dog, Spike as if he was a baby has been arrested for killing another person.
"Ellen." Megan is at my side. She squeezes my hand. "I'll look after her, you go home."
"I'm on duty and we are short staffed as per." I can't believe what I am saying. "Danny hasn't done this."
"Ellen. Ellie." I look at the Irish catholic nurse who everyone adores. "Go home, Luv. Do you want me to ring your Mum? Anne?"
"No thanks. Last thing Mum needs is this. Annie will have a field day. I can drive myself home."
Megan nods. She's known me long enough to know I am fiercely independent. This is never going to change but I can't shake the certainty that I am right and Jeff and his colleagues are wrong. My Danny is innocent. He has to be. I'd know if he was cheating on me. If he was seeing prostitutes. No, the police have it wrong. The wrong man is in the cells and a killer is still on the loose. All I have to do is prove it.
Authors note - please review. It really does make the writing better and I have never written in first person before.