Always Find A Way

Sometimes Love is so strong that it will cross any boundary; distance, race or social divide. Sometime Love is so unique that it will find ways to survive even when in the greatest peril.

Sometimes Love will conquer death.

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6. Only human...

England, Christmas Day, 1943

 

The first bomb landed somewhere outside of the grounds. It made the floor shake, the chandelier swing dangerously above them and the little clock fall the ground and smash before it's twelfth chime.

Carl flinched and looked around, eyes bright and ears alert.

'Tabitha, come here.' He ordered.

Tabitha, looking terrified, turned to grab her shawl.

The second bomb landed much closer. The noise was terrific and the whole house trembled. With a small scream and a stifled sob Tabitha ducked instinctively and turned around. Carl lifted up his arms and took a half step forwards, imploring her to come to him. She had only taken one step when the third bomb ripped the house apart.

 

Screams...so many screams, and pain. Chest, arms, legs, head... Tabitha's ears were deafened. Brick dust, cement and ash clouded the air, blurred her vision and fell all around her. The screaming didn't stop, even with her deafness and her hands clutching the sides of her head. It went on and on until she realised it was her making the noise, in her own head she was crying and sobbing, doing what her body was unable to. She had lost all bearings. Was she sitting up, standing, laying down? Was she buried, maimed or bleeding? She was only certain of one thing; she wasn't dead. Death wouldn't hurt so much, she was sure of that.

Another bomb landed and Tabitha screamed in terror as the entire ceiling collapsed. 

Acting on pure adrenaline she flung herself into the corner and managed to shelter herself from the worst of the blast. The chimney breast toppled over, the four poster bed from the guest room upstairs was blown into a million pieces causing shards of wood to fly like daggers in every direction.  Her ears were bleeding. Her hands went in and out of focus as she looked at them. The red blood shining like rubies in her distorted vision. 

'CARL? CARL?' She screamed hysterically. Then she saw a figure was clambering over the rubble towards her. 'CARL!' she screamed. 'CARL. CARL PLEASE, CARL.' She was sobbing, urging him to get to her quicker, to save her from this awful nightmare. 

Carl's arm was dangling uselessly by his side, ripped to pieces by flying debris. His face was bloodied and his jaw clenched against the pain, but also with determination. Unable to believe they had both survived the blasts he wasn't just about to give up.

'TABBY!' 

Tabby couldn't hear Carl but she knew he was calling her name. Tears coursed down her cheeks as she struggled to her feet. Her nurses training was telling her that at least two ribs were broken but that was what seemed to be the worst of the damage. 

Clutching her hand to her chest she staggered forward, unable to control the sobs that were racking her body. She looked up at Carl who was clambering over the top of the fallen chimney piece. The short walk had caused her breath to come in short, sharp, painful bursts. She had no breath left for tears and her stomach dropped as she realised one of the broken ribs may have pierced her lung. Scared she may die at any second she called to Carl. Still unable to hear anything she waved to get his attention. He stopped in his tracks, grabbing a piece of what used to be an antique wardrobe to stop from sliding down, and frowned as he tried to understand Tabitha's actions. 

She pointed to her chest and then heaved her shoulders as she pretended to have trouble breathing. Not that it was really pretence as it became more and more painful. 

Carl's frown deepened as the doctor in him understood what Tabitha was trying to say. She couldn't breathe properly. He nodded to her. Frowning, but not seeming overly worried, Tabby sighed, he knew what she was saying, she was going to be ok and he was going to save her. For the first time since the first bomb had exploded Tabby smiled. Carl would always save her. 

She didn't hear it. It was the sudden movement at the top of the rubble heap that made her look up. Carl had twisted and his face had contorted in agony. In that wild second Tabitha thought another bomb had gone off before her logic caught up with her imagination. That was impossible, she had felt nothing. She opened her mouth to call out to him but before she made a sound he doubled over and tumbled down the rubble heap. He landed in pile a the bottom. 

One hand still holding her chest she staggered over to him.

'Carl? Carl?'

Another movement to her left made her look up again. Climbing over a much smaller pile of rubble was Stevens. His manic smile had been replaced with a furious glare. He was shaking his head and moving his mouth. Whether he was miming the word or saying it out loud Tabitha didn't know, but it wasn't hard to work out what he was repeating over and over.

'No bomb. No bomb. No bomb.' 

His sudden appearance should have soothed Tabitha's nerves, knowing that at least one of their patients had survived. But her eyes were drawn to the thing in Stevens's hand; her fathers service revolver, and the wound in Carl's back which was leaking blood at a frighteningly quick speed. 

'Stevens...' Tabitha raised her hand and waved, knowing that even if Stevens hadn't been deaf before, he certainly would be now. His eyes flicked over to her and with unnerving quickness his manic smile was back on his face. He lowered the weapon, which had been trained on Carl and then he opened his mouth even wide and did something he never had before. He threw his head back and let his shoulders heave with laughter. 

To Tabitha this was much more manageable. She had dealt with unstable Stevens for months, he didn't worry her. 

'That's right Stevens, nothing to be afraid of here.' Even with Carl gripping her hand more tightly then he ever had before and feeling his breathes coming short and sharp Tabitha couldn't blame Stevens for what he had just done. She couldn't comprehend what had happened for a bomb to have such a terrifying effect on him. He was only human after all.

Almost as though he heard her thoughts, or perhaps he could actually hear her words, Stevens stopped laughing. The anger was back. And without taking his eyes from Tabitha's face he raised the gun and fired four of the remaining bullets into Carl's chest. He then put the gun to his head and used the last one.

Tabitha screamed. Blood went everywhere. Carl spasmed so violently he almost sat up. His hand wove into her hair and as he fell back to the ground he pulled her with him. Deaf, Tabitha couldn't hear what Carl said, but she heard it clear as day in her mind. It was the same word he had said so many times before. It was a word that caused a little smile to play around his mouth every time he said it. It was the word he loved more than any other.

'Tabitha...'

Blood bubbled from his mouth and over his chin. His eyes bulged and his hand tightened painfully in her hair before she felt it go limp. 

She sat like that until the Home Guard arrived; by his side, holding his hand, kissing his head, smoothing his dinner jacket, crying over his broken body, over her broken heart...

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