Duvan stopped his narrative, raised his eyebrows, checked his watch, took a sip of water, let his forehead drop and sighed. After getting him started Officer Davies had allowed Duvan to tell his story without interruption but with the pause he asked, “So her head injury was the result of a fall? It was an accident, not something that happened during the assault?”
“Yes, that is correct,” Duvan replied. “She got away from those men before they could do heaven knows what to her. I wonder now if perhaps she kept running because I was running after her? I mean, I wanted to help but if she heard me coming she would not have known it was me. You might want to ask her. I hope I am not why she got hurt.”
Adriel sat in rapt attention listening to Duvan’s tale of his wife’s narrow escape. He had stifled moans of emotional turmoil as her story of peril unfolded and then had felt fatherly pride when the details of her quick witted and physically brutal escape had been told. Now he wanted to reassure Duvan that the young man had in no way been at fault when Gabrielle tripped and slammed her head into the pavement; that he should feel proud that he had done what was right and tried to come to her aid.
Instead of speaking he remained silent and made a note in his computer to be sure and reassure Duvan later after this ordeal was behind them. He chose to wait not only because Officer Davies had made silence a condition of being present for the interview but also because he was feeling nauseated, weak and had a throbbing ache in his left arm, neck and jaw. Again he wished that the night would end and he could be alone with his Gabrielle but knew they still had many time consuming and spirit dashing tasks ahead of them.
“I don’t see how she could fault you or your actions, Duvan” Davies replied. “I’m sure she knows you were trying to help and it sure sounds like she’d have been running away no matter if you’d been there or not.”
“Yes, this is likely so,” he answered.
“Did you notice anything telling about the men? Size? Accents? Distinguishing marks?” Davies asked.
“No, not really. Like I said, it was dark. I think it was one white man, a black and a fat Latino. The white man went down last and he had a southern accent.”
“Okay,” Davies said, making a note in his book, “so, go on. If Mrs. Gibeon got away and you saw her fall and injure herself I’m a little confused on how you got hurt?”
Duvan smiled, raised his hand to cover the smile, looked down and then with his head down made eye contact with Officer Davies. “That is perhaps the most embarrassing part of all. I ran up to Gabrielle and saw that it was her. I had had no idea that the woman I know could be such a Tasmanian devil, you know? Ferocious!
“She is on the ground and not moving. I checked her pulse, here,” he said, touching his jugular vein, “and her heart it was pounding and her breathing was still hard and fast but she was knocked out. I knew the ambulance must be on its way but I was scared. For her. I saw the bulge in her pants’ pocket and figured that was her phone and I thought, ‘I must call, Adriel, to let him know what has happened.’
“I called but no answer. Then I saw that our friend Mr. Bill Finger was her second emergency contact number and I called him. After that I was putting her phone back when she woke up –how do you say?- regained consciousness. When she woke up she thought I was one of the attackers and she grabbed me and slammed my head into the ground. I think I was lucky to stop her before she truly injured me,” he said with a self-deprecating snort.