"Miss Farmery?" said the woman's voice that Violet knew all too well.
She looked up from her most recently borrowed library book. She closed it in one hand and stood, walking over to the nurse she knew by name now.
"Hi, Maria," Violet said quietly, giving her a small smile.
"What's wrong now?" the nurse asked as she took Violet into an examination room in A&E.
"I think my arm's broken."
"Was this 'just another fall'?" Maria asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
Violet hid her face - and the bruise that shone on her cheekbone. This nurse wasn't stupid, unfortunately for her. She nodded without looking up.
"I worry about you, love," she said gently, "but let's take a look at that arm, yeah?"
Violet nodded again as she handed her arm over to be examined. Her face contorted with pain. God, that hurt...
As she had her arm prodded and turned around, she screwed up her face. You'd think that by now she'd be used to the pain.
Her mother had died thirteen years ago, when Violet was six years old. She vividly remembered standing at her mother's bedside in this very hospital. Ebola, from when she'd visited Africa.
Four years after that, her father remarried to a witch. She'd beaten all six children--still did. Mark had escaped. But not because he'd wanted to. Their step-mum kicked him out of the house, simply because he had the courage to tell them he was gay.
As Violet walked out of the hospital, she thought about what the nurse had said. Her arm had been dislocated from her shoulder and all it needed was to be popped back into place. That had hurt. A lot. It ached now but it was fine. And her panic attack hadn't been that had when Maria had touched her.
Maria had given her the number of an abuse charity, like she always did. But she knew that Violet wasn't going to ring it. She never had.
She was walking back to the library. She'd finished her book and wanted another, as she usually did. She wandered around the shelves as slowly as she could, trying to avoid going home. Eventually though, she had to. The library was nearing closing time so she grabbed Great Expectations and checked it out before leaving.
The walk home was short, but Violet was determined to drag it out for as long as possible.
"Naamah, I don't want to talk about this," said a male voice from around the corner of the road.
Violet froze. That voice... She knew that voice. She was the only one who did, wasn't she? She remembered talking with that voice for hours on end after her mum had died. He'd been the only one she'd wanted to talk to at all in the months after it, and he'd stuck around for a while. Until one day she never saw him again.
He rounded the corner and there he was... His mismatched eyes met hers and he stopped too. The woman stood beside him glanced between them.
The few people walking this road gave her odd looks as they passed her. Then she remembered that nobody else could see him.
Her invisible man.