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Caroline's Story

Abstract from Chapter 1


I awoke in the children’s ward of Rakelane Hospital, morning sun filtering through the window next to me.

The six bed ward spun a sterilized chill into the air, disturbingly quiet despite the full beds.

My Mam’s fretting face peered at me, her eyes reflecting the troubles within them.

Make it stop.


Our eyes met with the same fleet of pain. Her hand slipped into mine, as if to steady us both. She tucked a sweaty strand of hair behind my ear, and took a deep breath. I watched her shoulders rise. And then fall. I found comfort in her slow breathing. A nurse approached us, with brisk clip-clop steps. She gave me a mild dose of paracetamol, with a curt nod. My eyelids fluttered as the lights flitted into butterflies and fireflies.


Make it stop.


The same brusque nurse from before appeared tinged with frosted glass view out of the corner of my eye. I hoped, I hoped so hard that she was going to bring me some relief. I looked at my breaking body, clenched, cramped. The summer heat was rising, the afternoon stretching to years. After I swallowed the co-codamol Clip-Clop had brought me, I watched my Mam, watching the clouds. I saw one of her hands grip the windowsill, so tight, her knuckles were white.


Make it stop.


Nurses feathered in, tweeting about, scratching at charts, pecking at baby birds in their nests. Peck, at me, at her, peck at him. I watched, peering from my nest, chirping where I could. A gentle smile in the haze of pain, support coming from a plump nurse-bird, as downy feathers ruffled my hair. Her bustling and rustling around me was familiar and warm. She began to sing-song a melody letting the words nuzzle into my shelter.

Don’t you worry little chick, chick, chick.

This’ll be a gentle needle prick,

Don’t you worry little chick, chick,

We’ll get you better quick, quick, quick,

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