Voices grated inside her head, like those that Mr. Meriwether often had murmuring from his little communication box in the evenings. What had he called that contraption again? Something beginning with R. Too dizzy and disorientated to recall the word, Molly made it her mission to feel around the room until she found the one nearby. Maybe.... Maybe Mr. Meriwether was using it to contact her. He.... She remembered him telling her that voices could be carried both ways using this particular type of device.
"Mr. Meriwether!" she gasped, but her voice sounded as hollow and as distant as the others in the room. "Where's the.... radio? Yes, radio, that's what it's called! Now, where is it?" she asked aloud to myself, just like the people in some of the stories and plays she had read back at home. "What was the name of that play? With the king, and the murder, and the sleepwalking?" she demanded of herself, raising her arms to her head in distraught, clutching at her skull and squeezing her eyes shut.
"What's she doing? Oh, no, stop her. Blais, stop her -" It was the voices from the radio that she could hear. As though watching her, trying to warn her....
But it was too late. Heart-twisting pain struck her in the face, set the insides of her head ablaze in agony. A shriek burst through from inside her, scraping the insides of her throat to pieces, as flakes of rust rushed to her mouth and let the stingingly powerful taste of metal loose on her tongue.
"Oh, oh, oh!" she whimpered, pulling herself into a ball.
"Sweetie, we're not trying to hurt you. There's no need to -" A female voice.
"Mr. Meriwether!" Molly screamed, hands - warm, clammy, human hands - taking hold of her shoulders.
"No, stop!" a male voice said.
"Daddy," Molly said.
"Let her calm down. I can't get a good look when she's curled up like that."
"Mummy. Where are you?" Molly whispered. "I can.... I can hear the train coming. We can.... Oh, Mummy, Daddy, we can go home!" She began to shake, and felt emotion creep up from the pit of her belly, the same emotions which accompanied crying, but without the tears.
"What's that you've got?" the boy's voice asked.
"Just a little something to speed things along. Forgive me for this, sweetie."
Molly gasped for breath, almost inhaling a mouthful of damp cloth. It smelt sweet, but sent an uncomfortable tingling sensation down her throat. It wasn't a radio, she realised. There were people there.
"Chloroform?" the boy asked.
In the room. Touching her. Molly felt little fear at this thought, but rather a sick sort of disappointment, for her mental state rendered her helpless to protect herself, or even open her eyes....
"Is she alright?"
"She will be. Give it a minute." The woman's voice was steady, confident, patient. If she'd been cackling like a witch from a bedtime story, or plotting her death like the man in that play, it would have disturbed her less.
"Macbeth!" she tried to yell out, with a heightened and severe urgency. "The play was called.... Mac...."
Another suck of air from the damp flannel, and even Molly's own thoughts fell away, at first into the faraway land of radio, before slipping away into fluffy white clouds and silence.