The kitchen was large and cold, with grey light seeping through the pale curtains. There was a large wooden table in the centre, where a man sat, facing his wife.
"Emily, are you alright?"
The woman turned to her husband and managed a weak smile. "I'm fine, don't worry about me."
"Are you sure?" a look of plain concern showed on his older, yet still attractive features. "You've been acting odd lately. Are you sure there's nothing bothering you? You can tell me." She looked away. "Em, are you listening to me?" he asked, changing his tone.
"Yes, of course darling, it's just-" at that moment, a small girl bounced into the room.
"Mummy?" she asked. "What happens to naughty people?" She climbed onto her lap and stared up with inquisitive eyes.
"Well, they are punished, darling. Why?" But Lily was gone. She picked up her mug and took a long drink, then looked around for her daughter. But there was no sign of the little girl. "John?" she turned to him. "Did you see where Lily went?"
Her husband stared at her, looking blank. "Was Lily in here?"
"Yes, she was on my lap."
"Oh, well, I didn't notice. I must have been looking away. I would have heard her though, surely? Anyway, I have to go to work." He got stiffly out of his chair, kissed his wife on the head, and walked to the door, picking up his briefcase, he turned, and saw his daughter standing in the open entrance hall. "Lily, darling? Come give Daddy a hug." The girl did not move. "Lily? What's wrong?"
"Bye bye, Daddy."
John Carter woke up, in a small, brightly lit room. His eyes became adjusted to the light. He turned his head, ignoring the searing pain, to see his daughter sitting in a chair beside the bed. Nurses outside hear the screaming and ran inside.