There was a dark shape hovering over Joe. It seemed to be talking to him.
A couple more dark shapes moved around behind the one that was talking. There were blue lights flashing. Joe’s right side was cold and uncomfortable.
“Joe.” He was lying on his side on a hard, cold surface, he realised. He tried to sit up, but a gentle hand on his shoulder discouraged him. “The streetlight is my home.”
“Sorry. Lyrics. I don’t know where the came from. Joe Wilkinson. My name’s Joe Wilkinson.”
“Why am I on the ground?”
“You were attacked. Your neighbour scared them off and called the Police. Do you want to try and sit up?”
“Okay.” With help, Joe struggled up. The other shapes resolved into a policeman and one of his neighbours whose name he couldn’t remember. The policeman came over.
“Hallo sir. Can you remember what happened?”
“No. I was texting. Then. No, can’t remember.”
“Is this your phone?”
“Yes.” Joe checked his pockets. “I’ve got my wallet and keys.” He pulled the wallet out. “Don’t think anything’s missing.”
“So you’re not missing anything?”
Joe looked around. “My back pack. I’m sure I had it with me.”
“What was in your backpack?”
“My camera. Some sketchbooks and note pads. A water proof. Puncture repair kit….” The policeman was looking less and less interested as the items became less expensive. Joe felt like adding ‘cuddly toy’ but restrained himself.
The paramedics decided to take Joe back to the MRI, to close a cut above his right eye and check for concussion. He wasn’t concussed enough to argue. The policeman took his details and issued a report ticket.
Sitting in the waiting room at the MRI Joe read the ticket half a dozen times. Hopefully on this visit he wouldn’t have to look at a dead body or be treated as a suspect.
A nurse sealed the wound over his eye with glue, a junior doctor tested his responsiveness and decided he didn’t need a scan, and then they sent him home with nothing more than a prescription for pain killers. He got on another 43 Magic Bus, the same one for all he knew, got off in Withington and paid careful attention to every single shadow. Safe, but stressed, he made it home, collapsed and finally got to sleep at four in the morning.
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