A Picture of Fog…
Moving carefully along the main road we edge past the cars and lorries as they move over to let us by. Our blue lights are on and the sirens are bouncing off the sides of the trucks as we slowly sidle past them. Its almost ‘white out’ with a dense fog blanketing all and sundry. Even the street lights cant penetrate the nights companion of mist.
What seems like an eternity we turn off the main roads and head even more slowly along the back roads. There is nothing in front of us…nothing to the side of us…the only visual points of reference are the blue spinkly, spankly lights from our strobes reflecting off the fog. Its like driving through a discotheque made of milk!
Somewhere a few miles head of us awaits our scene. Reports of a ‘two vehicle RTC query injuries’ have sent us driving into the sticks. We are in the countryside away from Big City. Luckily I vaguely know this area from a previous job some years ago. But that was without there being any fog…and in daylight!
The radio is playing up because of the atmospherics and we get occasional transmissions from a Russian trawler! We even hear a transmission from another ambulance service that is at the other end of the country! I follow the edge of the road on my side looking for tell tale signs of road markings denoting a junction as my crew mate stares ahead trying to locate anything that resembles anything.
As we cruise slowly round a bend doing no more than five miles an hour I recognise a wall…the same wall from years ago that had been smashed into by a car. Its loose stones and bricks have been tidied up but the gap still remains where the car went through and into a field. I think we are getting near to the scene. This journey has taken us almost an hour…during the day and in good conditions it should have only taken us twenty minutes.
I’m still looking at the road side when the ambulance lurches to a stop. In front of us, not more than ten feet away, we can just about make out the ghostly shape of a car. Its headlights are still on barely discernible through the fog. If we had been going any faster we would have ploughed straight into it! Pressing ‘Arrived Scene’ on the MDT I zip up my hi-viz jacket and grab the green bag and O2 and make my way towards the car.
It is eerily quiet, except for the diesel engine of our truck ticking over. Everything looks grey with the occasional dash of blue as our lights continue to sparkle in the nights fog. I cant see the other vehicle…and I cant see anyone else…no driver, no passengers, no witnesses. The hairs on the back of my neck start to stand up…I put that down to the cold night air!
Remembering a scene from ‘James Herberts’ ‘The Fog’ I recall the advice given to the townspeople…”Don’t go into the fog! There’s something in there!” Another couple of steps and I make out the second vehicle, its bonnet crumpled up, the drivers door wide open. I slowly peer into the front of the car…nothing! ’Where the hell is everybody?’
‘Were here!’ A voice states from behind me. I eventually get myself off the top of the car! Checking that I have not replaced my adrenaline with the brown stuff I move towards the voice. Again after only a couple of feet I come face to face with a woman wrapped up in coat and scarf. ‘Its a bit chilly isn’t it?’ she says matter of fact. ‘One of the drivers is in the house and the other is trying to find his roof rack!’ I quickly ask if everyone is alright and I am shown along a very indistinct path towards the house.
The female driver of the first car is relatively uninjured only complaining of an ache in her back. Meanwhile the other driver has come into the house clutching various bits of roof rack. He too is unscathed. ‘You might as well put the kettle on whilst we sort out the paperwork’ I jokingly say although deep down I could murder a cuppa! Making my way back to the truck I start getting the paperwork ready and let control know that the location is two miles nearer than reported and to relay that onto the Police.
Its amazing that only a matter of feet away is a house with several people inside all talking away and yet we can not hear a thing apart from our own vehicle. The fog has eaten up any surrounding ambient noise. We need to concentrate on the scene and listen out for the Police, or any other vehicles for that matter, as they may come crashing in on top of us!
‘Whats that noise!’ My crew mate leans out of the cab and turns his head to angle his ear to the approaching sound. It sounds like a rattling bottle in a milk crate. It does not make any sense. All I want to do is get the paperwork signed, clear scene and bog off back to base for a drink and some food.
‘Whoaaa!’ My crew mate nearly leaps out of his skin as he pulls away from the cab window. I look carefully past him expecting to see some sort of apparition…but all I see is the lady in the coat and scarf with a big tray of tea and a big plate of biscuits and cake! Teapot, cups and saucers, milk jug and sugar bowl! Apparitions, ghosts, zombies…nothing stops an Ambulanceman from having a cup of tea…and a biscuit!
The best job of the shift and ‘Tea…the best drink of the day (night)!’