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The notes become distant and Ella Walker's voice fades away. Other sounds fill my ears: muffled cries; shouting; scratching; the knocking of metal; voices shushing, calming; and the violent knocking against my own skull. Suddenly there was an explosion and once again I feel scorching heat against my body, monstrous screaming erupts but the crackling flames roar louder. I feel a tear run down my face.


Am I conscious? Am I aware of what's happening?


A blur of voices, flames and sand whip around my head. Hands touched my face, my side and my chest.


What's going on?




As I come around I move my head gently to shake off my dream-state.

“Kai?” the first clear voice I hear is Emily's. In the background the crackling of the flames is but a whisper and in the place of heart-wrenching screeching is weeping. Just soft continuous weeping.

“Are you alright?” Emily's hand is trembling and she sounds half as if she is about to cry. Her hand keeps moving around my face, searching for more signs of life. I touch her hand and tap slowly,

I'm alright, what happened? I hear her breathe in deeply,

“After Megan had got out through the air duct. She had ran her hands along the outside until she had found an emergency door and pulled it open. People scrambled to the outside but.” she gulped, “But.” she paused again and whimpered. I squeezed her hand in an attempt to comfort her, “there was a sandstorm. A massive, raging one. It was so bad that sand stripped patches of our skin off. People huddled together for protection and others huddled over the more serious wounded,”

Like me.

“Yes like you.” Emily’s voice shook and her hand stroked my face, “then the train caught fire. People had still been inside. People who...” she stopped unable to continue.

Hey, hey. Shh. I comfort her. Feel her head find its way gently onto my chest and in return I stroke her hair. I can feel bald patches covering her head where there is remains of sand lying in the wounds. I let go suddenly, seizing up in pain almost ramming Emily in the back of her head with my knee. I hear Emily yell but I was burning, from the inside out. Sharp shots of pain were twisting and bending my hip. I feel hands pull me straight and voices trying to calm me. I now feel clearly the mountain of bone that lay out of it's socket. Agony rips through me, making me lurch and contort violently,

“Lie still.” A voice called over my muted screams and two hands grip my shoulders to the floor, “Lie still.” The voice comes again. I try but my convulsing body won't allow it. A wall of hands pin me to the sand. My jittering heap slowly calming and the pain reduces until I am motionless once again.

“Good.” Someone says picking up my hand, “how are you now?”

Better, I reply. My mind clears and I immediately recognise the voice as Matthew Turner. One of my best friends. He wants to be a doctor at Kirk hospital, his mum is a brain surgeon, quite literally, and his father is a physiotherapist for the spinal block.

“Can you move?” I feel him gently touch my shoulder, still holding my hand. I shift ever so slightly. Fu. I feel the pain smile as I grimace and ready for the agony,

“Ok. Ok. That's enough” He says. I feel my own hand clenching and squeezing Matthew's

What is it?

“I believe you have dislocated your hip.” I become aware of his hand gently pushing my knee down,

Hurts, I manage to utter.

“I know.” He keeps pushing gently as the pain's smile widens.

Are you going to?

“Put it back in. Yes.” His voice is gentle yet unnerving. He suddenly forces my leg down, hard, onto the sand.


“Sorry Kai but one more move then no more pain” I don't reply, “1. 2.” I take a deep breath, “3.”

I gasp. Gasping, gaping and swallowing, “Kai!” Matt hit's my face, I batter him back, “Kai.” I hear Matt sigh with relief.

What. Happened? I blink.

“You started going into shock.” The tone of his voice worries me for a moment but I sigh and start to smile at the lack of pain.

It's a lot better, can I get up?

“Just stay down for a minute or so”

Did you do it? Is it back in?

“Are you in seering pain?” I have to think for a moment at Matt’s statment.


“That's that then.” Matt smiles and a sudden thought strikes me,

Where's my diary? My bouler?

“Don't worry, they're right here,” Matt handed me my diary and bouler. I let out a sigh as I hold them close to my chest, “Emily brought them out when she helped drag you out of the wreckage.”

What are people doing now?

“They are, um, searching for those who didn't get out.”

How many?

“7, including Geoff Burns and the driver.”

Who were the other 5?

“Ruben Jones, Joe Daniels, Charlotte Couper, Lottie Dowley and Rhiannon Orten” He stops. Rhiannon? My hand trembles slightly, “She died getting everyone else out.” Matthew's soft voice comforts me slightly and I take a deep breath.

I'll try and sit up. I feel Matt's hands as he puts them onto my neck and my lower back. I slowly roll forwards and a slight brush of pain passes by my right leg. Deep breath. I put my feet down and,

Yes! I'm up. I dig my toes into the sand and I smell the air.

“Can you walk?” I take a cautious step forwards.

Yes, I feel a smile cross my lips and Matt hugs me from behind.

“What are you doing?” Matt says as I turn and walk away from Matt and towards Megan's distant but recognisable voice,

“Kai?” comes her voice as I touch her hand.

Hey, you alright?

“Kai!” Megan practically leaps into my arms and I hold her there, “You alright? You were writhing! Emily told me.”

I had a dislocated hip.


How's the leg?

“It's doing alright, Matt covered it with some material.”

Material from where?

“The clothes from.” Megan didn't need to continue, I turned away from her and was greeted by my disorder which twisted my heart. Silence crept into the air and I realised out of the 15 of us who were left, no one else was talking,

What about survival?

“Don't worry my uncle made me go on a desert survival course.”

So you know how to find water and food?


Do we have any supplies on us?

“Everyone brought some food and water for lunch, remember?” Megan reminded me, I paused waiting for my brain to click.

Yeah. We did. What about animals. Snakes and scorpions?

“I know what they can do but I think Matt could know more about treatment than I do.”

Ok, so Matt's the medic, you're the knowledge box and Emily. Where's Emily?

“Emily?” Megan calls out.

“Yeah?” I feel Emily touch my other hand only moments later.

How are the others coping?

“Ok, but they want to stay by the train.”

“Not a bad idea, that way it'll allow us to wait for rescue.” Megan adds.

Ok. Get a cover up, because this heat is already starting to drain our energy.

Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.


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