“Come,” says Marybelle, her hand on Simi’s arm. “There’ll be first aid stuff at reception. Tim might be there too.”
But’s there’s no sign of him when they get there.
“At least the first aid kit’s here. Anyone seen Tim?” Marybelle shouts to the emptying room.
One voice bounces back. “Heard him say he wanted to have a quick look at that landslide.”
“Right,” says Marybelle, putting her torch down on the reception desk. “I’ll fix you myself.”
“What?” Simi’s heart butterflies. “I think we should wait. My insurance says …”
“Hand please Simi.”
“No!” Simi tucks her hand into the fold of her kaftan. “Marybelle … genuinely …I think we should wait for Tim.”
But Marybelle is already unzipping the medical pack, and picking out tools – bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors. Horrified, Simi gathers her kaftan and takes a few swift steps away, but is almost immediately engulfed in darkness. She hesitates. Behind her Marybelle clears her throat.
“Simi … hand please. Let’s sort this, and then we’ll go and search.”
Simi groans to herself. Nightmare inside. Nightmare outside.
Simi turns back, but stops, just out of reach of Marybelle. She tries one last time.
“Can’t we wait?”
“Simi you need to clean wounds quickly here. I do this all the time at school.” Marybelle holds out her hand, waiting for Simi’s. “Come on. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can go outside.”
Great! Simi takes a deep, shaky breath and walks over.
Feel like I’m five again.
She holds out her injured hand, and Marybelle shines the torch over it.
“There’s a piece of glass in here. I need to get it out.”
“You sure?” Simi’s voice cracks.
“Doesn’t look too tricky.” Marybelle angles the gash towards the light, and fingers around the wound. Simi bites down on the corner of her lip. “There it is. I haven’t got my glasses, but if I lean back a little …” Marybelle pulls her head back, like a bird looking for a worm.
Simi stretches sideways to see past Marybelle, and glimpses the splinter of glass, glinting at the top of the wound. As she sees it the tweezers descend and begin to probe, each dig deeper than the last.
“Got it! That didn’t hurt did it?” says Marybelle, smiling, and pushing her hair out of her eyes as she holds up the tweezers, clenched around the tiny trophy.
“Yes! Yes it did hurt. But … well … I’ll be fine. Thank you.” Simi tries to pull her hand back.
“Not yet. Not finished. Just have to clean it now.” Marybelle pulls open the wipes. “This might sting a little.”
Marybelle’s wiping and bandaging is neat and quick. In seconds she is finished, and the first aid kit tidied away.
“Right, let’s go and see if we can help,” says Marybelle.
“Sure.” Heart calmer, hand against her chest, Simi follows her nurse into the night.
Outside the wind has dropped, but not completely. It teases around them, like a dog with a stick.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023