Three years on, we sat at the table, anxiously fidgeting as we tried to keep our sweaty grip on the ice cold glass. I had never seen Simon look so devastated after so many precious years that we’ve spent together. His eyes were like he was looking, but you could mistake him for a blind man. Tom, my 2 year old son had never been so quiet. It was silent, but my mind was drowned by the ticking of the clock and the thumping beat of my broken heart.
The rain outside tapped on the windows viciously as the wind ran through the trees. I concentrated on how fast my blood was whooshing around my body, but my concentration was suddenly broken by a trembling movement of the glass, which was now shaking within our palms. My body went cold. I looked over at Simon, his mouth was shouting, screaming at the terrifying sight before him, but he couldn’t speak.
It was no longer quiet, the lights jumped around the room in frustration, flickering as overpowered electricity. Tom was screaming, shaking, my mind fogged by the flashbacks of my little girl’s death. I had never been so cold but so overheated at once. I felt sick.
Overwhelmed by the fear that rushed through my body and the sharp screeching that suffocated my mind, I sat still in the chair. Simon was now silent; his face was as white as a polar bear. Tom was staring at the uncontrollable lighting as the glass sped around the board. My hand was stuck. Simon finally spoke, shouting Rose’s name again and again, begging for her to be given to him until he collapsed. The lights stopped spinning and the room went cold. My heart was racing, my hands shaking as I looked to my right.
Simon was spread across the table, himself still in the chair and his hand still on the glass. I couldn’t believe my eyes as they caught a sight of the glass now covering the word ‘no’. My head was pounding as I looked back to Simon. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t make out what was real and what I was imagining. I shook Simon fearfully, my mind spaced out in fear and confusion. I felt a pull on my hand and my eyes sprung open, my little girl was at the other end of the table, her hand pulling at her father’s fingers.
She looked alive, but her face was pale. Her bright blonde hair was plaited, my memory blocked of capability of making Rose’s hair pretty. Her eyes were like glass, just like Simons a while before. Her dead eyes looked through me, like I was just another brick in the wall behind me.
Simon dramatically sat up, dragged his feet towards Tom and spat on him as he hurled abuse at our little boy. I got up in anger, my legs shaking as though they were jelly, the feel of Rose’s eyes burning my side. I picked up the glass and forced it against my husband’s head. I didn’t know what had happened. Tom was rolling over, his little delicate hands covering his face.
The lights started to flicker once again and I picked up the Quigi and threw it at Simon, shouting at him that this was his idea and the flickering suddenly stopped. I couldn’t open my eyes. They felt as if they had been adhered together with strong glue. I was dizzy, turning round and round with no control over my body. I felt a hand on my cheek as tom stopped whimpering and my eyes opened like somebody had ripped paper off the wall. Rose was stood peacefully, her thin boned arms wrapped around her daddy’s legs.
Her soft voice called mummy as she unstuck her fragile body, running towards me with her high pitch giggle. It had been so long since I had heard that noise. Tom was in Simon’s arms and for a moment, I felt like I had my family back. My thoughts were painfully interrupted by the concerning image of the glass covering the word no just after Simon had called Rose’s name. Before I knew it, me being in mid-thought, Rose had jumped on me. Just as I went to kiss her head, her little fragile fingers tightened around my hair as I felt the hardest and most shocking pain in my neck. She had distracted me by pulling my hair and dug her teeth into my neck.
My hands dropped her to the floor and I was alone. The room was quiet, silence so bitter. Rose smashed against the floor as my hands started to shake. She wasn’t moving. I tiptoed around my daughter to get to the phone, the blood I had earlier felt whoosh through my body was now pouring from my neck. I was so close but so far, the phone was in reach. Concentrating on the phone, I tripped over Rose’s arm but she laid still.
My heart felt like it would punch its way out of my chest as I grabbed the phone and dialled 99- something stopped me. I felt a strong force against my body and I fell to the floor. In panic, I dialled 999 again in my cheap downgraded phone and stuttered that my daughter had collapsed and that I had been bitten. The orders to get to hospital right away frightened me. I took the phone away from my ear, but the doctor was still talking which sounded like soft whispers. I had been told I could be in terrible danger, my mind starved of the knowledge of how I was supposed to feel.
My feet paced around my daughters collapsed body as my mind searched for answers to all the questions that I wouldn’t let lye. I felt a tight grasp around my calf. My weak and fragile 6 year old daughter had a grip that I couldn’t imagine even a boxer had. I panicked and dragged her to the car, screaming at me to help her but my clouded mind said different.
We arrived at the hospital and I had never seen so many disobedient children. I took a grasp on Rose’s cold hand and we walked through the clear double doors at the entrance, my eyes shocked at the sight of the amount of children that were misbehaving towards their relatives. I was surrounded by women, every with a little girl. No men other than the old guy that was situated just beyond the reception in a private room.
There were so many people; I didn’t know where to place my eyes. I searched the reception of the newly built, comforting hospital, screaming and slapping noises filling the air. A hospital was supposed to bring comfort and support to those who needed their service, but my experience seemed much different.
I noticed a woman, small and thin, middle aged, long brown hair that waved with the breeze when the entrance door opened, with what looked like the same bite mark as me. Rose was pulling on my shirt, she always hated hospitals.
My concerning thoughts were interrupted by a doctor asking if I needed any help. I couldn’t get a thought in edgeways, in need to understand what was happening around me. I replied that Rose had a fall, laying my hair against my neck as I smiled to the doctor. There was a sudden gush of wind and the doctor had caught a look at my neck just as she turned to take Rose to have an examination. She looked at me, turned back at walked along with Rose; as if she was not surprised that my neck was pouring with blood, surprised that she hadn’t told me to get it covered.
I searched around the crowded space; I really didn’t understand what was happening to me. I again spotted the woman, but she still didn’t have a child with her. She just shuffled her way around the hospital; she hadn’t moved a metre from when I last saw her. I went to walk towards her, but my feet were stuck. I was shocked enough that you’d mistake me for ice. After pulling my leg from the frozen state that I was in, I moved forward with my eyes set on the woman of concern.
I was again stopped by a smartly dressed doctor asking if I was the woman that had been bitten. I agreed as I looked back for the mysterious woman. She had gone.
I got a call from Simon, but he didn’t seem his usual bubbly self. Something was wrong, his loud voice was quiet; the strong, confident man I had married seemed to have turned into a ghost-like stranger. I couldn’t make out what he was trying to say as I trembled with fear. I hung up as the doctor directed me to a private room and sat me down before her.
Thoughts clouded my mind as my body felt a chill. Tom was in Simon’s care and something was seriously wrong with Simon. Concern filled my body as I delicately dialled the home number that I had received a call from but my sixth sense filled me with confusion. The number that I had been on the phone to not even 5 minutes earlier was as if no sound existed from the other side.
The doctor was looking at me, my vision blurred and I couldn’t hear the sound from her moving lips. I was in a daze, my mind wandering in fright for my child’s life. I picked up the phone again and it started to ring as my heart belted against my chest. To my surprise, Simon answered with the sound of his quiet voice and Tom giggling in the background. I took this chance to ask Simon what he was doing, and after a few seconds of piercing silence, he replied that he was at home and that he would wait for me to come home.
He had not known that I was going out or of where I was going. My gut was punching the idea that something was wrong, right into my heart. Rose. Something told me that she was in trouble. My delicate little girl. I looked the doctor in the eye and demanded that she tell me where my daughter was. My mind was wild, so many ideas suffocating me that I couldn’t breathe. I saw Rose, or so I thought.
A small girl passed the room I was situated in, long blonde hair and the same figure as my girl. I turned back to the doctor as she told me that Rose had gone home with her father. Panic overwhelmed me as 10 minutes ago, Simon had answered the house phone and the hospital is 25 minutes away in a vehicle.
I pushed myself away from the chair and swung the door open. I ran for the exit as the doctor was screaming at me that I needed a bandage on my neck. I kept running. Everything seemed to be stopping me in my path but my feet wouldn’t stop, my heart beating faster than I knew was possible.
My eyes were dry from the wind and the coldness had taken my breath away as soon as I had run through the double doors that I had earlier walked through. I took no notice of the surroundings around me until I was stood in the middle of the car park, screaming Rose’s name. I had run through what seemed like a life-long load of hallways and I collapsed on the car park ground.
My eyes searched for Rose but she was nowhere to be seen. My eyes landed on a familiar face, someone I had seen before, getting into a car with a booster seat strapped to the chair. My mind searched for places that I had seen the woman and it hit me like somebody had knocked me out with a hammer. It was the woman I had earlier seen with no child and I bite on her neck. I stood like ice in the middle of the car park as she shut the door behind her and turned around.
She looked straight at me, as if she sensed that I was watching her every move. My body was numb as I felt her eyes pierce my body, I was shaking. I had never been so nervous and in so much fear that I wanted to run, but couldn’t.