It’s Saturday morning. On Monday morning, the campaign to rescue Donna begins!
Yesterday morning I posted the first part of the story of The Ditch. What you read yesterday, and what you’re about to read below, is all the stuff we’ve filmed so far (apart from a few pick-ups). Donna has knocked down a mysterious pedestrian in the middle of an isolated road in the forest, and now she has to decide what to do next…
Tentatively, she walked round to the front of the car. The girl didn’t look as badly injured as she’d expected – there were cuts and bruises, but she was still alive. In fact, she was coughing and gasping for breath. Her eyes were fixed on Donna; she seemed to be trying to say something, but couldn’t gather the strength. Donna crept closer. She’s not dead – maybe I can help, maybe I can sort this out and be on my way. “Are you all right?” she asked, then bit her lip. What a stupid question.
Then the phone rang again, but this time it was a different sound – not the shrill tone from earlier, that man looking for her. This was a gentler sound, the ringtone she kept specially for Tom, a sound that soothed her and made a small part of her jump with joy when she heard it. This was one call she would take.
She went to the car, picked up the phone, pressed the button. But even as she said, “Hello, Tom?” something went through her mind. Maybe Tom could help her, yes – but what could he do? He didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know where she was. He would be waiting for her, and she had gone and messed everything up. Tom was supposed to be the one who would make everything all right, who would be her new life. All the bad things were supposed to go away now. And here was a new bad thing. If Tom came over to her, he would get mixed up with the bad things and she would be back where she was. She couldn’t tell him what had happened. She would have to deal with it herself and get back on the road.
Donna was stammering, but she told him the engine had overheated. He was worried about her, he wanted to come and find her. She told him not to worry, she just had to stop for a minute. She would be there soon. He didn’t sound like he believed her. What was that noise? (The girl had coughed again.) Nothing, it was nothing, of course there’s no one else here, I’m in the middle of nowhere. She felt her voice strain in panic, and tried to keep it steady. All right. I’ll be there soon. Yes, darling. It’ll be all right. She hung up.
Hospital. Of course, a hospital, why didn’t she think of that sooner? She could take the girl to a hospital, leave her there and be back on her way. It was so obvious. She hurried back to the girl, knelt down beside her, grabbed her round the shoulders and heaved. The girl came up a few inches then screamed in pain. Donna dropped her. The injuries were worse than they looked.
I can’t handle this. This is too terrible, just too terrible. She looked around. There’s no one here. No one had seen the crash, no one was nearby. She could just drive off. That’s it – just go, go to Tom, forget this had happened. Someone else would come along and deal with it. Donna ran back to the car, put her seatbelt on, started the engine… and hesitated.
She will die without me. I did this, I must put it right. She turned off the engine.
Donna got out of the car again. Her feet were heavy now, her body with its extra weight slow and awkward. She walked round to the front of the car again. Something had changed.
She knelt down next to the girl. Her eyes weren’t open any more. The coughing had stopped. She was utterly still.
Donna reached out and put her fingers on the girl’s neck, feeling for the artery. Nothing. No beat, not even a flicker.
No, this can’t happen, not now. Why didn’t I do something sooner? Why did I ever come here? She put both hands on the girl’s neck now, searching desperately, any sign of life, any slight tremor of a pulse. Where are you supposed to feel, where’s the right spot? No, no, no!
The girl’s eyes opened, instantly, as if a shock had gone through her. And then the screaming started. Screaming that cut the air, screaming that echoed around the trees, screaming that would be carried for miles. How could someone so small and thin, so badly hurt, scream like that?
Shh, Donna tried to reassure her. Shush, it’s all right! I’m not going to hurt you, I’m going to help you! Shh! Please, shh! They’ll hear you! They’ll all hear you! She tried to cover the girl’s mouth, but the screaming continued. The young woman’s hands came up and started slapping at Donna as if fighting her off. Her elbows glanced off Donna’s abdomen. There was a kick from inside Donna, as if the baby was defending itself.
Now Donna was angry. Shut up! Just shut up! You mustn’t do this! You don’t tell them! You don’t tell anyone where I am! You don’t hurt my baby!
Then she saw the rock lying by the side of the road.
And that’s as far as we’ve got (all right, we have got slightly further than that, but I don’t want to give everything away). We haven’t even reached the scary parts yet…
Will you help to rescue Donna? Without your input, this is where the story ends! This is a great story, and we so want to get it finished. If we can get together the resources we need – not just money, but also people, equipment, expertise and time – we can complete this short but intense film.