She could hear the sirens in the distance first, people shouting second, though it was muffled. In an attempt to reply to these people, Mary discovered that her mouth was full of dust and debris. She remembered that hearing was the last sense to leave when a person lost consciousness, and that it was also the first to return. The smell of sulphur was assaulting her and she tried to breathe as shallowly as possible; especially when she accidentally breathed a little too deeply, a spear of pain shot through her torso, and she realised maybe two or three ribs were at the very least cracked. Her was becoming clearer, and with it came the ringing, and suddenly there was a man in front of her face, a hand reaching out for hers, grasping. The man clasped it lightly, and when she tried to use it to help herself out of the crater she realised she was lying in, the man gently held her down. Mary felt like she had lost a layer of skin and was suddenly itching to be upright, but this man wouldn’t allow her to do anything but lie still. He mouthed something but she couldn’t tell what. She must have looked confused; because he said it again and as he did, her hearing improved with such speed that she almost wished it hadn’t bothered.
“…just lay there, that’s it lie back, you’ve taken a knock you have, don’t be rushing into anything now, that’s right love, what’s your name anyway, if you hang on a minute one of the girls will be over with a nice cup of tea, then we can sort this mess out no problem, just lie still, you’re going to have a couple of nasty bruises tomorrow…”
She could hear crying that was both nearby and quite a distance away at the same time. The twins. Mary craned her neck as far as the well-meaning gentleman would let her, but there was only rubble. The entire building had come down around her head, and the nurse inside her was already cataloguing the potential injuries of those that had been inside when the bomb struck. She had been inside when the bomb struck. The twins.
“… here’s that cup of tea now, that looks lovely doesn’t it, that tea will put you right love, don’t you worry about that, just got to wait for one of the medics to take a look at that cut on your head and that shoulder of yours isn’t looking very pretty is it, say, what is your name anyway? Joan, perhaps, yes, you look like a Joan, that’s what I’ll call you if you don’t mind, just until we find out for sure, that bump on the head probably has you all befuddled doesn’t it…”
“Daisy…” Mary tried to lurch to her feet but she was feeling too dizzy and her shoulder betrayed her, causing her to grit her teeth as the bones ground agonizingly against one another. Her calculating nature catalogued the dislocated shoulder along with the head injury and potential concussion.
“Daisy your name is it? Well that’s a lovely name, if you don’t mind my saying so, drink up Daisy that tea will do you good that will, warm you up good and proper, makes a lot of things better tea does…”
“Ellie? Well know you’re just confusing me love, which is it, Daisy or Ellie? I’ve got a niece called Ellie, lovely girl she is, always got a smile on her face…”
The gentleman looked alarmed for a moment at the sound, before it finally dawned on him that they should be looking for more people. He suddenly became very fidgety.
“Oh I see, well don’t worry miss, we got the best men out there looking for them. You stay there for a moment, let me find out how they’re getting on.” He stood up and hurried away without another word. Mary tried to follow, but a second wave of nausea meant she had to roll over in her crater and find a decent place to vomit. In one sense she was grateful. This pain she was in, it meant she was alive. If she concentrated, she could hear the shrieking of a child. It sounded like a boy, like…