Chapter 3

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Simon stared at the discarded paper scattered across the conservatory floor. He couldn't see the final page, for which he was glad. He didn't want to look at that face again. He didn't want it to be looking at him.

Slowly, he stood and pulled the chair upright again. He couldn't turn away from the photos as if fearing, if he did, whatever it was in them might somehow climb out. Sitting down, he forced himself to look at the monitor. His hands were shaking as he moved the mouse and opened the search engine.

At first, he typed in 'Nathaniel'. This was the name Rebecca had first used. He realised, after the results filled the screen, it was pointless. Nathaniel was just a name. It was in fairly wide use and had originated in Biblical times or before. There was nothing relevant to this. Nothing which could offer some help. He grimaced, feeling stupid - embarrassed, even - having to type in 'Mr. Boogie', but he had little choice. The chances of anything at all coming up were minimal, of course. It was a wasted effort, but what else could he do? He knew he'd have to talk to his daughter in the morning, but he needed something to guide him.

A scream stopped him as he was about to press the Enter key. He looked up, momentarily unsure if he'd heard what he thought he had. The cry was followed by loud thuds and he lurched forward. Someone was falling down the stairs! The computer was forgotten as he raced through to the hallway.

At the bottom of the stairs, her head and right leg bent impossibly, with blood dripping from her nose, was Fey. Simon dropped to his knees, desperately wanting to grab her but knowing he could hurt her more if he did. He had his hands to his head, gripping his hair, panic causing his thoughts to whirlpool. He gasped her name, the words falling onto her head like the blood from her nose, thick and with the life oozing out of them. Gingerly, he reached ouch and laid his hand on her, needing to touch her, to make sure she was still alive. To make sure she wasn't...

"Da... Dad...?"

A cough. A sharp cry of intense pain.

"It's ok, sweetheart. I'm here. Don't move."

"Dad," Fey stuttered. "I..."

More coughing shook her as she tried to lift her head. Her eyes blinked to open but couldn't seem to quite manage the effort and remained shut. Simon stroked her forehead.

"Don't worry. The ambulance is on its way."

Damn! An ambulance! He hadn't rung for one yet! He grabbed his phone from his pocket. It slipped through his fingers and he was horrified to see blood on his hand. He wiped it on his jeans and picked up his phone, unlocked it and dialled the emergency services. It was answered almost immediately and he breathed in, holding the breath before letting it out and speaking.

"Ambulance, please," he said, calmer than he thought possible. There was a shake to his voice, but he held it tightly, not willing to let it go and alarm his daughter.

Giving his address and the details of Fey's fall - what he knew - he thanked the person and hung up.

"Not long now," he told her.

A knock on the door startled him. He glanced at his watch. Ten minutes had passed and he couldn't remember returning his phone to his pocket or any sign time had passed. He looked at Fey. Her eyes were closed, her chest rising and falling in a slow, even rhythm. The knock came again and he swore to himself.

"Come on, man!"

Simon opened the door and tried to invite the paramedics in, but his words failed him. He stood shaking and pointing. They took his cue and pushed passed him, descending on Fey.

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