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From within the huddle of people I began to hear shouts but they were vague and distant. The chattering of my teeth seemed to drown out most of the other sounds around me. Jemima’s voice seemed to cut through it all though. “They’re here.” she said gently, “You’ll be fine now.” I opened my eyes and frowned, then realised that the noise was not my teeth chattering but the clatter of an approaching helicopter. In no time at all the tiny, two seat machine had landed at the end of the old runway, a few feet away and switched off the noisy engine. Once the rotors had slowed to a stop, the two occupants jumped down and ran across to us, bending low beneath the heavy blades. “Over here, quickly!” George shouted to them. “She needs help.” The passenger from the machine carried a first aid kit with him. “I only ‘ave zis small kit.” he apologised in a heavy French accent. “’ow many are injured?” “We all are in some way.” Jemima answered him, “But Karen has a bad gash in her leg and needs urgent attention. She is also in shock.” “I am no docteur, we are with ze electrique.” the young man looked worried. We ‘eard mayday and were looking for ze crash!” The other man, the pilot, spoke up: “I ‘ave radio ze position of ze crash. ‘elp should be ‘ere soon.” I was still shivering violently. I seemed unable to control my muscles as Jemima and the young man re-dressed my wound with clean dressing and bandaged it. “Can you get her to hospital in that contraption of yours?” she asked him. “Mai oui,” he shrugged, “I suppose so. I will ask… HENRI!” he called across to the other, older man who was talking with the other survivors. They conversed briefly in French, a language which I had never bothered to learn so understood none of it. “We do not carry enough fuel to fly as far as Toulouse but we should be Ok for Limoges. I can fly ‘er zere…” “Please hurry, Henri.” Jemima pleaded, “She is a strong woman but she has lost quite a bit of blood.” With help from the other passengers I felt myself lifted and carried towards the tiny cockpit where I was strapped into kaçak iddaa the seat. The young Frenchman covered me with a blanket. I was only vaguely aware of Henri flicking switches and then a wheeze before the engine burst into life and the rotors began to turn above my head. There was no door and the last thing I heard before the darkness washed over me was the vague distant sound of a woman’s voice. I couldn’t hear what words she used but somehow, I knew it was Jemima wishing me luck. When I awoke I was in bed and I stretched and yawned. Such a lovely sleep but wow, what a dream I’d had. The room was dark but lit by a dim bulb that seemed so far away and as my eyes became accustomed to the half light I saw that I was not alone. I realised that this was not my hotel room but a hospital ward and then, it hit me. I had not had a dream, it was all real! Jemima, the crash, everything had really happened. My heart began pounding and I tried to sit up. There was a blood bag hanging from a stand beside my bed and a red tube led from it and into my left arm. I saw that the bag was almost empty. “Non, Non. Attendre!” I heard the words but they meant nothing to me and I continued to struggle. Within seconds a nurse in white starched apron appeared beside me and helped me to sit up, plumping my pillows and supporting me whilst I lay back against them. Slowly I became aware of a dull, burning sensation in my leg and remembered the injury. “Vous etes eveille , alors?” She smiled benignly. “I’m sorry,” I said laying wearily back against the pillows, “I don’t speak French.” “Ah, you are Anglaise… English?” I nodded. “How are the others?” I asked her, thinking more of Jemima. “Others?” she seemed puzzled. “What others?” “The other survivors.” I began to panic. Was I the only only one? “There are no, ‘others’, Mademoiselle. You arrived alone.” I began to panic, I couldn’t be the only one, I just couldn’t be! I tried to get my befuddled mind into some sort of order. “Wait! Toulouse!” “Pardon?” the nurse queried. “Toulouse?” “I heard the helicopter pilot mention kaçak bahis Toulouse. Could they be there? The nurse pulled a chair to the bedside and sat beside me. “Mademoiselle , all I know is zat you were involved in an accident. I do not know of anyone else being brought here.” “My aeroplane crashed in the mountains, there were nine other survivors…” “Zut Alors !” she exclaimed, “ Un Avion ? I did not know. I thought you were in a road accident!” “Yes, an aeroplane.” I repeated, “Nine other survivors. Can you find them for me? Please?” “I will make ze telephone call but I cannot promise anything until ze morning.” She looked at me, a look of pity on her face. “Let me remove zis bag first.” A picture of efficiency, she checked my blood pressure and temperature then carefully removed the drip from my vein. “Would you like something to eat and drink?” she asked, when all was done, “I can get you a baguette.” “Just a drink please.” I replied. “I ‘ave some tea if you would like. It is called Earl Grey.” “Mmm… that would be lovely, thank you.” She smiled again and before she left said: “I will find zem if I can.” and squeezed my hand gently. I don’t know how long passed before she returned but it seemed like hours. I took the steaming cup and saucer from her and took a sip. It was sweet and had no milk in it but, at that moment it was the best thing I had ever tasted. “I ‘ave telephoned Toulouse.” she said eventually. “You are correct, nine survivors were taken zere. Zey are all Ok.” I breathed a sigh of relief as she went on, “Zey will be kept zere for observation at least until tomorrow, except for one.” “Why, was he badly hurt?” I was concerned that I hadn’t realised. “Au contraire. ” she said, “She discharged herself.” Jemima! “Why did she do that?” I asked. “Oh, I am sorry, Mademoiselle, they did not say.” she paused for a minute, as if unsure as to what to say next. “You were on ze TEA flight zat crashed in ze mountains?” “Yes, I am the flight attendant.” I frowned, “Is something wrong?” “Oh, non, nussing is wrong but I ‘eard about illegal bahis it on ze news. I am sorry so many did not survive.” She took my hand. “Ze report said zat you saved ze rest but zat you ‘ad disappeared. We didn’t know who you were because you ‘ad no identification.” “And now they know?” “Oui. I ‘ad to tell zem. You are Karen Farmer?” “I am.” I agreed. I immediately had the feeling that very soon I would be the centre of an awful lot of unwanted attention. “What time is it?” I asked wearily, feeling that it must be the early hours of the morning. “C’est Trois heurs et demi… Oh, Pardon, Mademoiselle, Three-thirty.” “Thank you.” I said and lay back against the pillows, closing my eyes and feeling sleep begin to take me again. “Rest now.” she said, “For tomorrow, I sink, you ‘ave busy day.” I must have slept very soundly for I awoke with a start. The ward was filled with light from the early morning sun. I blinked a couple of times and looked around through half open eyelids, the bright light hurting my eyes. The ward was busy now, nurses going about their daily checks. I couldn’t see the young nurse with whom I had spoken in the night, I assumed her shift ended when the day staff arrived. Very soon, I was approached by what appeared to me to be a matron. “Bon Matin, Mademoiselle.” she said. She seemed very officious but not in a bad way, her voice was quite soft, and she had a pleasant demeanour about her. “Good morning, Sister.” I replied. “Ah, yes, of course, English.” she smiled. “I am Matron Blanchard. Now, before we do anything else I need to check that leg of yours.” Another nurse who had appeared, drew the curtains around my bed and between them, they drew down the sheet. I realised then that I was only wearing a hospital nightdress and wondered immediately who had undressed me and where my clothes were. The matron gently lifted my leg and slipped my nightdress up to my hips. I was extremely concious of the fact that my panties were quite loose legged and my face began to burn. She must have noticed me getting a little flushed for she pulled down the hem to cover me a little more. Once the bandage was unwound, she dropped it into the enamel dish the other nurse was holding, then, with a pair of forceps, peeled back the thick pad.

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