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Story Notes:
For Lucy.
Pain. Dizziness. Sickness. Confusion, movement, and even more pain. Like fire in her gut. Voices – but they sounded like they were speaking underwater. Sobbing. Ground lurching under her. Pain again – agony, even. She couldn’t see...

*

“But she was alright at first!” wailed Anna. “She got up and ran after the horse – and then...” She dissolved into tears. Her Dad slipped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed tight.

“It’s alright, Anna,” one of the paramedics assured her. “We’re trying our hardest for her; she’s in the best possible hands.”

“She will be OK, won’t she?”

The paramedic smiled, but she didn’t answer the girl’s question, nor did her smile quite reach her eyes.

*

The stubble in the mown field dug into her back. Why didn’t they move her? It itched. How she ached. She forced her eyes open. Where was her horse? Where was her sister?

*

“Her eyes are open! Izzy!” Anna tried to spring forwards, but her Dad gripped her arms firmly.

“Let them do their job, love.”

“But she’d want me with her!”

“I know. You are with her, love. You’ve done so well – you’ve been such a brave girl...”

Normally, Anna would have swatted her Dad’s arm away and berated him for talking to her like a baby – but with her sister lying crumpled on the ground and her insides feeling like somebody had beaten them up with a whisk, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Besides, she realised with a flash of guilt, what must he be feeling? Izzy was his daughter as much as she was Anna’s sister.

She leaned against him and watched in silence.

*

More pain. They were moving her again. Rattling. Jolting. A siren – blue light. An ambulance. Not good. She closed her eyes. It hurt so much...

*

“Now, then, poppet, tell us again exactly what happened – so we know what to do for Isabel when we get to hospital.”

Anna took a deep breath. “Well...we were just riding through the field – only walking – and Minstrel stumbled. He – he rolled with Izzy still in the saddle and she went under him...but she was OK, she ran after him when he bolted, then she just fell, it looked like she tripped...”

“Molly!”

The paramedic looked up; one of her colleagues was frantically gesturing her into the ambulance. Her heart sank.

“Back in a moment, poppet,” she smiled, and sprinted over.


__________________________________________________________


She wasn’t sure how it happened. One moment she was strapped to a stretcher, in agony, barely able to see or hear. The next, everything had blurred into a whitish mass, like a blanket of snow had settled over her eyes – and then she was floating steadily upwards, and it didn’t hurt any more. She glanced down. A tall, red-headed woman in green overalls was racing towards an ambulance, and standing a little way away was a man with fear etched into the lines of his face. He had his arms wrapped around a skinny girl of about fifteen. The two of them looked familiar, somehow, but they were moving further and further away as she drifted up...no. Those two were important, she knew it. She struggled downwards, ignoring the force that was gently yet insistently restraining her.

Not yet. Not ready.

The red-headed woman was coming back now; the man was shaking his head, and the skinny girl was sobbing.

Slowly, tenderly, Izzy reached out a comforting hand to touch the girl’s cheek; the girl shivered at the contact, and for one brief instant, Izzy felt a flash of remembrance. Warmth suffused her. She pulled her arm away and closed her eyes, and felt the loving embrace of a power she couldn’t begin to comprehend as the world around her became a mass of light – and then there was no more.
Chapter End Notes:
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