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Primeval/Malory Towers

I've had enough of this”, and the tone of Betty's voice startled Alicia out of her thoughts. She glanced at the clock before she cast her eyes across to her friend, and wondered how long she had been staring at the same page for.

You have been on that page for ten minutes”, it was like Betty read her mind, “you can read a page in less than a minute Alicia, so I know you're not concentrating”.

Just not in a studying mood”, Alicia replied as she rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands.

You're certainly in some sort of mood”, Betty shot back, “you have been for weeks”

I haven't been any different to usual”, Alicia grabbed her glass of water that she had also left untouched for too long – it had gone warm – and took a drink, “maybe a bit quieter, but exams are coming up.” Betty actually snorted in reply to that,

Oh, like exams have ever bothered you before”

This isn't like school, even I need to study”

Don't patrionise me Alicia, I know it isn't that”, Betty cut her off and Alicia wondered how long her friend had been running this conversation over in her mind, “I want to know what's wrong”.

There's nothing wrong with me”, Alicia insisted, turning the page in front of her despite knowing that she had not actually read the page she had just spent so long staring at, “it's all in your head”. She could almost feel Betty simmering from across the table but kept her attention on the page in front of her, conscious of how unnatural it felt to forcefully read each word individually.

The silence persisted for a few more minutes, only broken by the turning of pages, until the door to the small study room was opened.

Alicia?”, and the young woman tried not to stiffen at the sound of Darrell's voice, “can I have that book I lent you? If you've got it with you, I mean. I need it for one of my essays”. Alicia risked a glance at Darrell,

Course you can, it's your book”, and she got up to retrieve her bag from where she had dumped it on the side and dug out the book she had meant to return weeks ago, “Sorry, I just...”, and as she walked over to Darrell, she had no idea what excuse to provide for keeping hold of the book for so long so she just held it out to the other woman.

Do you want it back when I'm finished?”

No that's...I mean...it's fine”, Alicia cursed her sudden fumbling for words, an unusual behaviour that had not gone unnoticed by Darrell who gave her a strange look before grinning and taking the offered book,

Fair enough, let me know if you change your mind. Thanks”, and Darrell left. Alicia knew before she turned around just what expression would be on Betty's face and that her interaction with Darrell would only have fuelled Betty's suspicions. So she got back into her seat and buried herself in the text book again.


Alicia woke from her sleep with a start and scrambled onto her front, bewildered until her eyes focused on the dull light of the lamp and then onto the rest of the room. She groaned and rubbed her eyes, then stopped at the silence of the cave. She let her shoulders slump from their rigid position when she finally heard the gentle rhythm of Darrell's breathing.

Alicia dragged herself over, closer to her friend, and pulled her coat under her head to serve as a pillow. She reached out and placed the back of her hand on Darrell's forehead, grateful to find Darrell back to normal temperature.

“Now if only you'd wake up”, Alicia muttered, and she had to admit that she had no idea whether Darrell was likely to regain consciousness. The spike in Darrell's temperature, two nights after the accident, had left Alicia a wreck. It wasn't as if Darrell's first aid kit contained any sort of real medicine, so she had resorted to using water to keep the other woman's temperature down.

Alicia closed her eyes, she wouldn't sleep again she knew that, but she was just so worn down. She didn't dare roam far from the cave, an illogical reasoning she knew because if Darrell were going to...well...Alicia's presence wouldn't prevent the inevitable. She had spent hours staring at Connor's notebook which Darrell had made some headway on interpreting,hoping that she might be able to make some kind of breakthrough and get them home.

Alicia didn't want to smile, given her situation, but she did as she remembered some of Darrell's fire returning as she laboured over the notebook. Hearing Darrell curse Connor and his paranoid conspiracy theory past under her breath and pace the space in the small cave as she tried to work out something she had translated from short-hand that didn't quite make sense was enough to reassure Alicia that all her friend's fight hadn't left her.

Alicia sighed and rolled onto her back. She winced as she rolled on top of a stone and wriggled her hand beneath her to get rid of it. She still wasn't sure that Darrell had enough fight left to pull her through this. She glanced across at Darrell, even if the other woman did wake up Alicia was fairly certain she would have lost the use of her left leg. Alicia just didn't have the skills to repair the fracture.

Alicia's mind tried to wander, tried to ask her what she planned on doing if Darrell did...how she planned on burying her...but Alicia just pushed them back again and again. With a frustrated sigh, she sat up resigned herself to pacing the cave once again, using the dim light to try and continue Darrell's work.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
versipellis
May. 11th, 2015 11:33 am (UTC)
Aww, I really like the use of flashback in here - and I am still most concerned to see how you're going to get them out of this!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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