I am suddenly awake. Disoriented. Galloping heartbeats pound in my ears. It takes many moments to register that the loud thud that woke me was part of a nightmare. Not real. And thankfully, nor was that bizarre assembly line which rolled me in front of an endless row of stony-faced officials, all dressed in black. They’d quick-fired question after question ― confusing me ― seeking answers I didn’t have.
Instead I’m home, safe in my own bed. The thumps through my head slow and disperse. Max’s steady warmth beside me reassures. All is normal. Seizing deep breaths, I implore tense muscles to relax as I pull the doona over my shoulders and tweak my pillow just so. I need sleep; need to be fresh; need to be sharp. The staff will press me for answers in the morning’s meeting. I understand their concerns for the future. My business has been having a lean time for a while.
Then a low moan and strangled snort reach me from Zac’s room across the hall.
I’m with the limp body of my precious son in seconds flat. He’s breathing. I run my fingers lightly over him, head to toe. There is a massive lump on his head and in the half light from the moon through the open curtains he looks deathly pale; his pulse is too fast. I want to gather him close and infuse my life and energy into him. Mother instinct wars with common sense and what I know of First Aid.
What to do? . . . We need an ambulance and a doctor. Can’t leave him. Scared to move him.
I yell at Max to ring for help. He grunts and I can hear him turn over in the bed. I yell again, “Emergency ― get an ambulance.”
Zac doesn’t react.
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