It had been a long flight direct from London to Auckland. Molly was both exhilarated and exhausted. One more short flight and they would be home. Before leaving London, she had spoken to Annabelle, who couldn’t wait to meet her and Will at the airport. Their tour of the UK had been an amazing experience, more than Molly could ever have anticipated. A month had passed so quickly.
Walking out into the Arrival’s Lounge at their local airport, so much seemed to have changed in such a short time. Even the airport staff, there were no familiar faces. Too tired to be bothered by it, Molly looked around for Anna. Where was she? It was not like Anna to be late…
A slight anxiety stirred in her stomach. Something, actually a few things, felt odd. Molly put it down to jet lag and change of country. She turned her phone on to send Anna a message, but where had her contact number gone? “Will, something’s happened to my phone. I can’t find Anna’s text messages.”
“Have you changed the SIM card? I’ll see if Anna is in the Cafe upstairs,” Will suggested, leaving Molly to sort her phone out. She sighed with relief, and laughed at herself, “Doh, woman! SIM card, of course!” She turned her phone off and swapped over the cards. But the feeling of unease was growing in her stomach and she brushed it off again as a side effect of a long haul flight. With her phone back on, she scrolled through her messages – nothing. Then she checked her contacts – no Annabelle, no Anna, or anything related to her. Molly’s head began to swoon and she felt a sharp stabbing pain that penetrated into the left side of her skull. Will returned from the Cafe, a look of concern on his face – Molly did not look well. “Babe? Have you taken some more of the Travel Essence remedy? Is there anything else I can do for you? I couldn’t find Anna in the Cafe. Let’s sit down here and wait a bit, give her a little more time to arrive. Maybe she’s having trouble finding a car park.”
Confused, Molly looked at Will, “Will….I can’t find Anna’s number or any of her messages. It’s so weird.”
“Maybe your SIM card got damaged,” he suggested.
“And Mum’s number is not there either.” Molly added.
Will checked his phone, “Hmph…” he grunted. “They’re not on my phone either. It’s hard to think straight when we are so tired. Let’s have some breakfast and give Anna a little more time to get here. I am sure she will find us upstairs.
After breakfast, two hours since landing, Molly and Will decided to catch a taxi home. It would take almost an hour to drive there, so they snuggled down in the back seat of the taxi and slept most of the way.
“Sir? Excuse me, sir? Are you sure this is where you want to go?” The taxi driver had stopped outside of the driveway to their house. Sleepily, Molly and Will looked outside the window of the taxi down the familiar tree lined driveway. But something was different. Confused by lack of sleep, air travel and Anna’s unexplained disappearance, they both stared silently at the old faded ‘For Sale’ sign on the grass verge out the front of their house, just as it was when they had first found the property…
Will asked the Taxi driver, “Do you mind waiting awhile? Oh, oh, I can pay you first and some more. Let me settle what we owe you now, and if we can leave our luggage in the car? Keep the meter running.”
“Sure, no worries. Thank you sir, that will be $89.50,” the drive replied. Will paid him and helped Molly out of the car. She was so tired and quite weak, leaning heavily on Will’s arm. He held her close as they walked slowly down the tree-lined driveway. Molly felt nauseous and her head hurt again. Focussed on helping Molly, and exhausted himself, Will had been concentrating on where they were walking and had not noticed that the garden and driveway had become so overgrown. What he did see when he looked up knocked the breath out of him and he stumbled. Catching Molly’s attention, she looked up and what she too saw brought her to her knees. Before them was a vacant, overgrown garden, and…. no house.
“Will….Will?” she whispered, her voice faltering. “What’s happening?” Where is our house? Where is our home?” Both of them now sitting in the long grass, the shock taking the last of their energy, Will shook his head, speechless. Overwhelmed, Molly began to cry. All Will could do was hold her, tears spilling silently down his own cheeks.
“Grace? Where is Grace? Oh, no……Grace!” Molly sobbed, heart-wrenching sobs. She felt herself spinning, as she slid from Will’s arms into the long, damp grass, her consciousness fading. Spinning, the sensation of spinning made her feel nauseous and her head hurt so much. What was happening to her?
* * * *
“I’m right here Honey. It’s ok Molly. I am right here,” Grace said holding Molly’s hand, patting it reassuringly. She felt relieved to hear Grace’s familiar voice, despite feeling disorientated, unsure of where she was.
Molly opened her eyes, slowly her blurred vision began to focus, the dizziness settling, but the pain in her head remained. She could just make out the outline of her body lying on the hospital bed. On one side of the bed was Anna, the other Tessa, her mother. Beside her holding her hand was a woman she did not recognise. She was wearing a nurses uniform. The three faces looked at her with relief and joy.
“Great timing Molly. Happy Birthday Bay-bee! Wasn’t sure if you were going to make 21, but here you are!” Annabelle chirped excitedly, unable to contain herself. Tessa kissed her on the forehead, the only part of her head not covered in bandages, tears filled her eyes, and overflowed onto Molly’s chest. Smiling through her tears, she was beyond words.
“Wh-wh-where..where..is Will?” Molly stuttered as she struggled to sit up, the nurse helped by supporting her with more pillows.
“Will?” Tessa asked. “Oh Molly, you have had a nasty bump on your head and a few stitches. Do you not remember horse riding with Anna?” Molly’s hand reached up and touched the bandages which covered most of her head, and winced. The left side of her head was where she had impacted the ground, splitting the skin open but thankfully not fracturing the skull. Five days had passed since the accident, and she had been unconscious the whole time.
Confused, Molly tried to put into some kind of order to the flood of mixed memories which flashed through her mind. The nurse, still holding her hand, said in a soft Irish brogue, “We can discuss all of this later when Molly is feeling a little better. Why don’t you girls go have something to eat, whilst I help Molly to feel more comfortable. She’s going to be ok now. The doctor will be in soon to run a few basic cognitive tests. Go on!” She ushered them out the door and returned to Molly looking somewhat more comfortable sitting up in bed. The nurse sat on the edge of the bed and took Molly’s hand in hers. As Molly’s eyes came more into focus she noticed the nurses name tag. It read:
Sr Grace Forrest
Molly, puzzled, reached out to touch the name tag. The nurse, who had been caring for her since her admission, smiled at her knowingly, looking intensely at her with vibrant turquoise-blue eyes, a mirror of her own and somehow so familiar…
Molly whispered, her voice trembling, “G-Grace? Is-is that you?” She felt her mind clearing with the intense realisation of who this woman might be.
“Yes, Molly. See, I have your hand as always,” Grace replied quietly, squeezing Molly’s hand tightly. They were interrupted by a knock at the door. A young deliver guy from “Poppy’s Flowers” the local florist, hesitantly stepped into the room, in his hand was a beautiful bunch of flowers. “Miss Molly Murphy? These are for you,” he smiled at her coyly, handing her the bouquet of brightly coloured flowers. His face looked so much like Will’s! She squinted to see his name tag which read….
– William Ferguson –
Molly looked up at him with a mixture of relief and confusion, but he just smiled at her politely, and quietly left the room. Sr Grace took the flowers from her and said softly, “It will all make sense, Molly, in Time.”
That night Molly had a dream, a clear, vivid dream. She saw herself walking down the middle of a tree-lined driveway, the grass was cool beneath her feet the mature trees framed the pebbled drive as it wound up towards the house. There at the end of the drive was The Muse, her home. Like watching a movie Molly looked on, as she continued up the steps to the front door, which was slightly ajar, down the hallway past the door into the lounge, and another into her bedroom where she saw Will asleep in their bed, and another into the spare room that had become Anna’s room, where she saw Anna curled up with Patrick in bed asleep too. She stopped and looked straight ahead through the archway into the kitchen where she saw Lucy dressed in a black dress and white bibbed apron, her hair in a neat bun, busy mixing something in a bowl with a wooden spoon at the pine table in the middle of the room. Molly could smell a mixture of berries and bacon cooking on the wood stove and knew that Lucy was making buckwheat and banana pancakes with blueberry coolie – her favourite breakfast. Lucy looked up at her and smiled. Molly saw herself now turning towards the library alcove and walking up the stairs to The Attic. Opening the door, she sees before her a woman sitting in the captain’s chair, who slowly turns around at the sound of Molly entering the room. The woman stands to greet her and it is Grace Forrest. The woman holds out her hands towards Molly and pulls her in for a hug. The sensation is warm, reassuring, strong, gentle, comforting, loving, caring, supportive and Molly feels her body relax. Grace whispers into her ear, “Welcome Home Mrs Molly Ferguson, you did it!”
Molly woke with a start, the relaxed sensation she had felt during the dream faded rapidly as she realised that she was lying in the hospital bed. The room was dark except for what she thought was the night light in the ensuite bathroom. As she laid awake staring at the white ceiling, she heard a familiar voice, “I’ve got your hand Molly, your are not alone.”
Molly sat up in the bed to see who had said this. What she thought had been the night light was actually a glowing vision of a woman sitting in the chair at the end of her bed, smiling reassuringly at her.
this is the last chapter of the second book of ‘The Attic – Lost Souls and Forgotten Stories’.
Next week we begin the third book of ‘The Attic – Molly’s Story.’
I hope you have enjoyed Molly’s adventures to date as much as I have enjoyed writing them.