"Don't you dare," I told him, though the gesture was touching and I knew he really meant it. "Don't you dare go and get yourself killed. I would never, ever forgive you for that."
"But if it saved you, Shelley. I'm just another doctor. There are tonnes of us -- so many young people want to go to medical school. I have no special skills, nothing particularly interesting about me. And then there's you, and you're amazing. You are mind-blowingly awesome. Shelley, if there was anyone I had to die for I would want it to be--"
He never got a chance to finish his sentence, because at that moment they pounced. Throughout our touching conversation the Voices had been getting steadily closer, their awful faces making me shudder every time one came too close. And now they leapt upon us, showing an aspect of their genetic make-up that we had not seen before: they had claws.
"No! Doctor, no!" I was screaming at the top of my voice as they wrenched him away from our embrace. He was like a father to me. "Doctor, no!" Desperation and pain gave me strength that I didn't know I had: I kicked out at the creatures so that they fell back, and pulled Dr Waltham from their deadly grip.
"Michelle, what are you doing? Get out of here!" I didn't like it when he called me Michelle. Shelley would always be the name that suited his lips. It didn't sound right from anyone else, and nothing else sounded right from him. "Just leave me. Get out! It's you they're after."
"No. I won't leave you. Not after you came all this way." I hugged him again. "Without you to talk to, to understand me, I could never have got through this last six years. When my family left me like that I thought I would never recover and yet you helped me to pull through. There are so many bad memories, so many things I wish that never happened."
"Don't ever have regrets," he replied. "Don't ever regret anything, because you have to make mistakes to live your life to its full." He laughed suddenly. "And who knows? Maybe this is the greatest, the final mistake. Maybe this is the end." They were coming closer again, now that my anger seemed to have passed. I ignored that -- this conversation was more important, more important than anything.
"I have to have regrets," I replied. "Don't you remember the only time my mother came to visit me?"
"How could I ever forget?" he replied.