Oops, nearly forgot to do this! So this week's been pretty busy I guess. It's gone really fast and so it really doesn't feel like it should be Friday yet. Anyway, here's part 5 of Seasons, if you haven't read (or looked at the pictures from) previous parts, click here.
James lifted himself off of me, and I tentatively got to my feet. We looked at each other silently, fear beginning to rise in my belly, its icy tendrils lacing themselves around my organs, moving outwards to clutch my legs and arms. It was so hard for me to move, but I couldn't stop myself walking towards Amber on the ground; James seemed to be having a similar experience. We moved as one, slowly and deliberately as if pulled by unseen hands.
Eventually we were at her side. The entire meadow was silent again, as if all the birds and squirrels were holding their breath and craning their necks to see if Amber would simply roll over and start rubbing her head. James crouched beside her and took hold of her shoulder. Her eyes were still open and her face was set in a look of anguish. There was a large dent in the side of her head which was full of matted hair and congealing blood. James snapped his head away, his eyes closed. He was pale and looked as though he was about to gag. A tear escaped from beneath his eye lids and he pulled her into a sitting position before holding her to himself and sobbing silently into her hair.
I was about to stoop down to join him when I heard brisk footsteps and gentle panting. I span around in terror, the man was walking through the meadow with his dog. James looked up at me, terrified. I put my hand gently on his shoulder. He seemed to understand and took the girl into his arms again, gently rocking her. I forced a smile and jogged over to the man.
'Good morning!' I said brightly and bent down to stroke his dog.
'Mornin'' he grunted back. 'They okay?' he said, gesturing towards James and Amber. I looked over my shoulder as casually as I could, given the feeling of dread that was turning my stomach to lead.
'Them? Yeah. Lover's tiff, you know.' I could feel sweat beginning to form on the back of my neck and my forehead. The man looked away from them and cast his eyes over me.
'Don't look so great yourself, mate.' I looked down, my jumper was torn, my shirt untucked. I realised my face must be a travesty as well, after the beating I'd taken from James.
'Yeah, well. Got involved didn't I? Told him he should be nice to her or I'd steal her away. He took it a bit too literally and it got a bit out of hand. They're just making up. We'll all be back to normal soon, get on with the day and all that.' There was a pause in which he paused, eyeing me cynically. He looked to them and then back at me.
'Mmmm. There's blood on her dress.' I snapped my head back around. The blood was quite obvious.
'Yeah, she gets nosebleeds when she's stressed. Poor girl.' I was expecting him to push me aside then, march over to James and pull Amber to her feet. Then he'd see she was dead and drag the three of us to the local police station. What he did next almost came as a shock. He shrugged and grunted. He then smiled at me, tipping his hat before looking down to his dog and saying;
'Come on then, boy, let's get home before your mother starts to worry.' He turned his face back up to face me, and gestured to James by way of a nod – 'You make sure not to fight any more, any of you. It's not worth it. You never know what you could lose.'
'You're so right.' I mumbled. He tipped his hat to me once again and made off across the meadow on his way home. I watched him go, his dog trotting faithfully along at his side. That dog reminded me of myself, the old man reminded me of a kind version of James.
I waited until the man had left the meadow and turned the corner onto the main road before I went back over to James.
'Is she -' I whispered.
'Yes.' he said without looking up. I sat down beside them. He looked up at me. 'Thank you. You know, for taking care of him.' I was taken aback that he'd thanked me. In the thirteen years that James had lived on my street, been coming to my house, been my friend; he'd never once thanked me. I nodded.
'So, what do we do now?'
So that's it for this week, and just shy of Friday, too! Have a great weekend and I'll see you (probably. Maybe) on Tuesday!
Lots of love! Laura