Amber woke sometime later staring up at the ceiling, confused and scared.
“Amber?” Henry called, shuffling through the doorway as fast as he could. Even he wasn’t prepared for the site before him — Amber’s pink pyjamas all covered in blood and her face smeared in tears. “Amber what happened?” But she couldn’t answer. Henry recognised the symptoms of shock and struggled to the ground to be with her. “Amber dear tell me what’s happened?”
When he still didn’t get an answer, he turned to Narelle and instantly recognised death.
“Oh my goodness.” He turned back to Amber and rocked her in his arms. “Oh, Amber. There, there, dear,” he cried.
The horror of it all suddenly rushed back to her. She pushed away from him and crawled over to her mother, to see that it wasn’t all just one big nightmare.
“Mummy noooo,” she cried, but it was barely a whisper. Henry had to hold her, wobbling on the verge of another collapse.
“Sit down, dear,” he said, trying to guide her to a chair.
“Noooooo,” she sobbed. “No, no, no, NO!” she yelled in anger. But she was too weak for anger and broke down in Henry’s arms in a wave of pitiful sobs.
Suddenly she screamed so loud that Henry got a fright.
She pushed him away and ran out the door, leaping the verandah stairs in one go and surging across the lawn. But as suddenly as she started she stopped and stared, towards the barn with the palms of her hands openly pleading for it not to be. She screamed at the top of her lungs and collapsed to her knees.
Henry shambled down the stairs and hobbled across the dew covered lawn where he dropped to his knees to hug her tight.
“Amber, I’m so sorry, dear,” he sobbed.
Suddenly Amber screamed again. She leapt to her feet with a whimper and bolted, but not for the barn this time, she sprinted straight out the front gate.
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