The Red Dress

Info Annamagique
28 Mar. '17

Back in the spring, my husband and I went to visit a 1940’s Weekend. There were many people there dressed in the fashions and uniforms of the 1940’s. There were vehicles and stalls and it really was a wonderful weekend. An escape from the humdrum repetitiveness of my daily life.

As I walked, arm in arm with my husband, Philip, I took in the sights, sounds and even tastes of the Forties. The corned beef hash was delicious! The majority of the chosen uniforms were, sadly, American but there were also some British Army, Royal Air Force (mainly officers, surprise, surprise) and Royal Navy uniforms along with a splash of Germans and French resistance fighters.

What caught my interest, of course, was the ladies fashion. There were many varieties. Land Army girls, Nurses , Housewives, workers, posh ladies, they were all represented. The posh ladies were my favourites. They were so elegant in their knee length dresses, smart coats and hats or 40’s style hair. Some with fur stoles and some with elegant gloves but all had one thing in common: seamed stockings and heeled shoes!

One woman in particular stood out from the crowd. She was in her late thirties, maybe early forties, with jet black hair styled up in that elegant wartime fashion. She was very pretty and had a beautiful figure with a slim waist and hips. Her dress was red and fitted her figure beautifully, accentuating her full, but not large, breasts. It was buttoned down the front from her collar to just below her knees and she wore seamed stockings with black patent strapped shoes and heels of about three inches. On her head she wore a small black hat with lace netting and around her neck a black fur stole. Her face was made up with plenty of foundation powder which was a pale colour, contrasting with her bright crimson lipstick and black kohl. As she walked, she appeared aloof but with a slight smile playing on her lips and at the edges of her eyes, the tiny creases gave that hint of early maturity. In short, she was stunning!

As the day wore on, I saw her many times, walking arm in arm with her husband in his immaculate brown suit and trilby but she never saw me….or so I thought.

That night, I went to bed and lay for a while thinking about the day we had and how much I enjoyed it. I have been to these things before but somehow, this time, it was better. I thought about the unknown woman in the red dress and gradually drifted off into a peaceful and contented sleep.

I don’t know how long I had been asleep but I was awoken suddenly by a tremendous crash. As I came to, I realised that my house had collapsed! I was lying in the wreckage, covered in blood and I couldn’t move. I didn’t understand, what happened, where was Philip? It was pitch black but I could hear people shouting and children crying. I tried to move but I couldn’t and each time my chest hurt. It felt as though I was being crushed. I called out but I could hardly breathe, every breath was an effort.

Suddenly, a light shone on my face.

“Over ‘ere. She’s okay!” It was a man I didn’t know wearing dark blue overalls and what looked like a white metal hat.

“Come on, Sid, help me get this beam off ‘er. It’s okay, Missus. We’ve got yer.”

As they lifted I took a sharp intake of breath. Thank God I could breath again. The two men lifted me out of the pile of debris that used to be my home. The one called Sid said,

“Yer safe now love. We’ll take yer to the medics. They’ll check yer over don’t you worry.”

"What happened, where is my husband?” I screamed at them.

“A doodlebug love. Yer know, one o’ them flyin’ bomb things. Bleedin’ Jerries. Fell right in front of yer ‘ouse it did. You’re lucky to be alive, I’ll tell yer!”

I was shaking now, shock was setting in.

“Where’s my husband?” I said again.

“Don’t you remember, Anna? He’s away in the Air Force. He’s okay.” I turned my head. It was the lady in the red dress. “You’ve had a shock sweetheart. Let’s get you some tea.”

I didn’t get it. What was happening to me? I looked around. The quiet suburban street where I lived was gone. In it’s place were piles of bricks and broken timbers. A little along the road a house was burning fiercely. I could see two fire engines and an ambulance. They were like they were from a museum. Where were the fire brigade? I couldn’t take it all in and my legs gave way.

“All right love, we’ve got yer,” and the two men helped me to the ambulance and sat me inside.

“Anna, drink this tea. It will help you relax.” Again it was the lady with the red dress. I took the green cup and saucer with the little ridges.

“Thank you,” I said and took a sip. I coughed violently.

“Sorry,” she said, “a little too much brandy?”

“No, it’s fine,” I told her, “Thank You. You are very kind.”

“Don’t you know me, Anna?” There was a hint of concern in her voice.

“I…I’m sorry, I can’t….can’t think straight.”

“Laura, from the W.I. I live up the road.”

“Yes, I’m sorry. My mind is a bit fuddled at the moment.”

I looked around me. Everywhere was destroyed and burning. My head was pounding and in my confused state I thought I could hear other explosions in the distance. I vaguely heard Laura’s voice asking if I was okay and a man's voice saying I was but needed someone to keep an eye on me for a few hours. She said she would take me to her house.

“Can you walk, Anna?” she said to me.

“Yes, I think so,” I said, and tried to stand. I was a little wobbly but otherwise okay.

“Come on,” she said, “You can lean on me. I’ll take you home.”

“It’s gone,” I looked at her. “My home is gone.”

“I know,” she continued, brushing the hair from my eyes and some of the dirt from my face, smiling gently and with care in her eyes. “You can stay with me for now until we sort this mess out.”

Slowly and carefully she guided me through the rubble, supporting me as I leaned on her until we reached her front door. Inside it was warm and welcoming.

 

Once through the thick blackout curtain behind the door, she turned on the light and for the first time, I caught sight of myself in the hall mirror. I could not believe what I saw. I was wearing a long, once white, nightie which was covered in dust and dirt. My hair was hanging down and matted with the same debris that was on my nightie. I wore no shoes or slippers and my legs and feet were black and bloodied. My face looked bad. I had little cuts and bruises all over me and dark red dried blood was caked down the left side of my head. I just stood and stared open mouthed at my reflection and then it hit me. The tears welled in my eyes and rolled unstoppably down my cheeks leaving wet rivulets in the grime.

“Oh, Love.”

Laura took me in her arms and held me while I sobbed uncontrollably until I finally recovered my composure. She said:

“Come on, Sweetheart, Lets get you cleaned up. I will run you a nice hot bath and see if we can help you settle.”

Slowly , arm in arm, we climbed the stairs. Step by very painful step she carefully guided me until we reached her spare bedroom and she sat me on the bed.

“You wait there while I draw some hot water for the bath.,” she told me. “Lay back and rest if you want to and don’t worry about the covers getting dirty,” she added, seeing my hesitance, “They will wash,” and with that, she disappeared into the bathroom. I just sat and listened to her moving around and heard the hot water splashing into the bathtub the steam escaping through the door as it filled. Soon, Laura returned. She had taken off her coat and hat and I noticed then that her dress had little capped sleeves, leaving her arms bare. “Okay?” she asked.

“I think so,” I replied. “Laura. I don’t know how to thank you. You are so kind.”

“Hush now, Anna. You would do the same for me. We all have to pull together in these troubled times.”

Helping me to my feet, Laura guided me to the bathroom. She had laid out a clean nightie and bathrobe. On the floor were a pair of slippers.

“Now then, arms up!”

I slowly and carefully lifted my arms and Laura lifted the hem of my nightie gently up and over my head then dropped it on the floor near the door.

“I don’t think you will be wearing that again,” she said. I looked over at what appeared to be a pile of bloodied, dirty rags.

“No, I guess not,” was all I could manage.

I tried to bend to remove my big, satin pants. “Owww...” I wailed.

“Here, let me.” Stepping nearer, Laura took the waistband and very carefully pulled them down over my hips and legs until I could step out of them.

“Ahhh, ouch. Laura, It hurts so much.”

“I am not surprised, Anna, You had a house load of bricks on you not half an hour ago. The medic said you were very lucky to be alive. You are covered in cuts and bruises from head to toe! Now, do you think you can get into the bath?”

“I think so.”

I lifted my leg over the side and put my foot into the hot, welcoming, water then, using Laura as a crutch I lifted my other leg over and very carefully sat down, letting the water cover me. I winced in pain as I lay back. Laura looked alarmed,

“Too hot?”

“No, It’s lovely. It feels so good. Thank you.”

“Good,” she replied, picking up a cloth, “Now lets get you cleaned up.”

I lay back as she wet the cloth in the water and ever so gently washed all the blood and grime out of my hair. Her touch was so soft and I felt like a child being lovingly bathed by her mother. I closed my eyes and let the pain wash away from me, the hot, wet cloth taking away all my senses, making me feel relaxed and safe once again. Then I felt the hot, cleansing water run over my face, and the cloth delicately removing any trace of dirt, blood and memory of what had happened. I opened my eyes. Laura was now kneeling beside me. She saw me look at her and caressed my face with the back of her hand.

“It’s okay, Anna, You are safe now.” Taking her hand and trapping it against my cheek, I smiled and whispered,

“Thank you.”

Waiting for me to release her, Laura just looked at me and smiled. The little creases at the edge of her dark brown eyes becoming a little more prominent. I also noticed the tiny ‘c’ shapes at either end of her mouth. She was beautiful. I let go of her hand and she wet the cloth again. Lathering some lavender scented soap into it she began to wash my bruised and battered body with the touch of the daintiest of fairies. I lay back as she lifted first one arm and then the other. She cleaned around my neck and the upper part of my chest and each time I winced, she stopped and waited. No hurry, just tender care. Hesitating, she began to clean under my breasts and stomach then moved back to wash my breasts themselves. I didn’t stop her. The sensations of tranquillity and pleasure were so great I didn’t want them to end. I did not dare to look but my nipples felt like little stalks trying to reach the sun.

Moving down to my feet, Laura lifted my leg out of the water. Without it’s aqueous support it suddenly became very painful and I gasped and groaned a little.

“I am sorry,” she said sadly, “but I cannot do it any other way”.

Supporting my heel she washed my foot and worked her way, as tenderly as she could, up my shin and around my calf, behind and over my knee until she reached my upper leg. The heat of the water, the scent of lavender and the gentle caresses of the cloth were intoxicating and as she repeated the process with my other leg all my pains and worries were being washed away. I closed my eyes and let myself drown in the wonderful sensations that were flowing over me. I became aware that Laura was now washing my belly and hips and I could feel the movement around my pubic mound. I was so relaxed now that I was breathing more slowly and deeply.

“Anna...” a pause, “Anna,” a little louder, “Do you want to finish off?” She was offering me the cloth.

I let my head roll from side to side on the top of the bath edge and lazily allowed my eyes to close. I felt the soft cloth begin to clean between my legs. Her fingers pressing gently between my labia and down towards the soft opening below. I shifted as much as the tight confines of the bath tub would allow to give her access and she continued further down towards my bottom. The cloth found its place and cleaned between my cheeks, softly rubbing the delicate area and pressing against the tightest opening. My breathing was becoming stronger now, heavier, and I realised I could no longer feel the cloth but Laura’s fingers moving up towards my aching vaginal opening.

I could not open my eyes. The feeling was overwhelming and I felt a long slender finger slip inside me. I gasped with pleasure and squirmed as she began to work another in alongside the first, her thumb gently working my clitoris. Little mewing sounds began to escape as I pressed my head back against the bath and slightly arched my back then relaxed again back into the water. My nipples were aching and pulsing with every heartbeat and I felt the tension begin to build as my orgasm approached and then it hit me. At that exact moment I felt Laura’s mouth close over mine and out tongues met and caressed. My whole body contracted and tightened, my back arching out of the water. The sense of suffocation due to Laura’s mouth over mine only added to heighten the pleasure and the only sound that escaped was a muffled squeal. I sank slowly back into the water and Laura released me from our kiss.

Withdrawing her hand from the water, she sat back on her haunches and looked at me. No words were needed. All the conversation we needed was in our eyes. I closed mine again and drifted off into a very contented half-sleep.

“Anna, no, you mustn’t sleep. Not in the bath.” Laura was leaning over me, gently caressing my face. “Come on, lets get you out and dried off and into some warm, fresh night clothes.”

“Laura, I feel strange, woozy. Like nothing is real.”

“The Doctor said this might happen. It is a concussion. That is why he didn’t want you to be alone.”

I tried to stand but I felt so weak. With Laura’s help I turned and knelt while the water ran away and, leaning heavily on her, managed, with much pain, to get out and step onto the bathroom floor. Once out I stood, swaying slightly as if I was drunk, I said quietly, haltingly,

“Did you… touch… me? In the bath?”

Her face went as red as her dress and she looked at the floor then, looking up again, answered almost inaudibly,

“Yes, Anna. I couldn’t… well, I thought that you… I…”

I placed my finger on her lips,

“It’s alright, Laura, really it is. It felt so good.”

“Yes, but...”

“No buts. I liked it. I liked you doing it.”

I couldn’t stand any longer and I started to fall forwards.

“Anna!”

She caught me and gently lowered me onto the chair she had brought in for me. Using a big soft fluffy towel, Laura dried me as gently and carefully as any mother would a new born baby. Every time I flinched, she would stop for a moment and say sorry. She gave me a pair of pale blue satin knickers to wear and a long pink cotton nightdress with a little silk ribbon tied with a tiny bow at the neck and finally the slippers. Although I still hurt tremendously, I at least felt human again. She led me, well, almost carried me back to the bedroom and sat me on the edge of the big double bed. She had already turned down the blankets so she removed my slippers and carefully lifted my legs onto the soft mattress, then pulled the blankets back over me. They felt heavy against my battered body but they made me feel secure and safe.

“If you need me I will be in the spare room just across the landing. I will leave the doors open so I can hear if you call.”

"Laura, I don’t want to be alone. Will you stay? Please?”

“Well, I... I suppose I could. Yes, all right I’ll stay.”

“Thank you,” I whispered.

She went across to the other room to switch off the light and came straight back. I watched her as she undressed, undoing the buttons of her red dress and slipping it off her shoulders, She dropped it on the floor. “That will need to be washed,” she remarked casually, as she pulled the thin straps of the beige, satin slip from her shoulders and lowered it, carefully stepped out . I looked for a moment, as she folded it up, at her standing there in her big bra and satin suspenders which were holding up the seamed stockings; she had taken her shoes off long ago, and her full silk knickers.

“Laura,” I said quietly. When she answered I simply said, “You are beautiful.”

She smiled down at me and replied: “So are you, Anna, so are you.”

After she had removed the final garments, she pulled on a pair of cotton knickers and a white nightdress of a similar style to the one she had given me and climbed into bed beside me. She said,

“Remember, Anna, a concussion can be very serious. If you feel sick or strange in any way at all you must wake me. Anna… promise!”

“I promise,” I replied but already I was beginning to drift away. The darkness overtaking me and I could feel her hand gently stroking my hair. Outside, I could hear an ambulance, it’s bell ringing insistently.

“Anna! Anna! Wake up! Come on!” I slowly opened my eyes. “Come on, Anna, you’ll be late!”

“Philip! What are you doing here? Where‘s Laura?”

“Who‘s Laura?” He reached over and switched off the alarm. A dream? Was that all it was, a stupid dream?

 

I cancelled the alarm and lay still for a moment. I felt a little strange. The dream had seemed so real and it took a moment to readjust. I opened my eyes and looked around at the familiar surroundings of my room, the digital alarm clock, the flat TV on it's wall bracket and the halogen light fittings on the ceiling. Philip nudged me again.

"Come on, lazy bones," he said, "You don't want to be rushing around."

I sat up and swung my legs out of the bed but sat for a moment, thinking.

"Are you okay, sweetheart?" he asked.

"Uh, what?" I turned to him, "Oh, erm, yes. Sorry, just thinking. I had a weird dream."

"About Laura? Who is she?"

I didn't answer right away, I still wasn't fully with it.

"That's the odd thing, I don't know," I said eventually as I stood up to put on my robe and slippers, "I'd better get on I suppose".

Once I had showered, dressed and had coffee, the dream was all but forgotten and I went to the office feeling no different than any other Monday morning.

As the day wore on I began to develop a headache. It happened now and then. I had left my glasses at home and the strain of trying to read a computer screen without them was what often caused it.

 

By five o’clock I was ready to go home. It had been a busy day and the strain of working without glasses had made it a particularly tiring one.

Even the drive home was difficult; the traffic was heavy and by the time I got home I was stressed and worn out.

I found Philip in the kitchen making the evening meal. He was a good cook and sometimes it was nice to just be able to get home and relax for a while .

"You're late tonight, Darling. Everything okay?" He passed me a coffee which he had already brewed in anticipation of my return.

“Yes thanks,” I replied wearily, “Just a bit tired. It's been a long day and the traffic was awful tonight.”

“Yes, I heard on the radio. An accident on the ring road they said...” Philip continued but I wasn't really listening.

“Do you mind if I go and sit in the front room for a time, while you finish off here?” I asked. I just needed five minutes of quiet.

“No, you go ahead. I'll call you when it's ready.”

I kissed him and went through to the lounge where I placed my cup on the side table and sank down into the big soft leather armchair, feeling it mould itself around me as I put my feet up and let the day fade away.

It was only a few minutes later when I heard him call through,

"Dinner's ready!" and I stood and went into the kitchen to sit with him at the table.

He had worked so hard to make a nice dinner for us: a really tasty corned beef hash.

I looked at it then at him and smiled. He smiled back, saying,

"We enjoyed it so much at the weekend I thought we could have a proper one. I made the dumplings from scratch and all the vegetables are fresh from the market. Nothing frozen or tinned, except the corned beef, of course, and I went and got fresh, crusty bread from the supermarket bakery to finish it off."

"Oh, sweetheart, It's delicious."

It really was and I didn't have the heart to tell him I really wasn't hungry. My head was pounding now, like a dozen hammers all trying to hammer their way out through my skull.

I finished my meal and put my fingers to my temple, pressing hard to try and get the throbbing to stop but it only gave a brief respite because, as soon as I stopped, the pain just continued unabated and It was beginning to make me feel sick.

"Are you sure you are okay?" Philip looked concerned.

"Yes," I replied, "Just a bit of a headache. I should really keep some spare glasses at work."

"You go and sit down and relax, I'll finish off here." Philip was always so caring.

"I can't leave you to do all the washing up," I protested, although I was secretly pleased not to have to.

"It's all done anyway," he continued, "and what isn't can just go in the dishwasher, so go on, go and rest."

I didn't need to be told twice. I went upstairs and changed into my pyjamas and robe then went down and sat in my armchair. Philip had already finished in the kitchen and had settled himself in front of the TV.

I stayed there for a couple of hours. The television seemed so bright and the sound echoed inside my head and all the time the hammers were pounding away inside my head until I could stand it no more.

"Do you mind if I go up now, Sweetheart?"

It was a question that had only one answer.

"My headache is just not going. I'll get some sleep and it should be gone in the morning."

"Yes, of course," came the reply, "I'll try not to disturb you when I come up."

Once in bed, I set the alarm for the morning and closed my eyes. Thankfully, once I relaxed, the headache began to ease and I drifted off into a deep sleep.

 

I must have slept really well as it seemed like no time at all before the alarm was ringing.

My headache hadn't gone at all and the incessant sound of the bell was really annoying. I threw my arm out to stop it but I was stopped by Philip holding my hand and a woman's voice was saying,

"Anna, please, wake up!"

I opened my eyes but the light hurt them and my head seemed tight and still hurt.

"Laura? What...?" I looked around, "What happened? Where am I?"

"Oh, Anna, thank goodness, I thought I had lost you."

Laura was sitting beside me, holding my hand, her tear stained face looking so relieved.

"What do you mean, lost me?"

She looked at me with her moist, beautiful eyes and the tears began to roll down her cheeks.

"You had a fit, I didn't know what to do and when you stopped I couldn't wake you. There were still some ambulances at the bomb site and I got one of them to bring you to the hospital."

As she spoke the last few words her mouth began to quiver and she broke down completely, her body racked with sobs.

"Laura, I am okay now, everything will be fine."

I tried to reassure her and squeezed her hand.

"No, Anna, You are not okay!" she calmed down a little, "The ambulance man said you fitted because you are still bleeding inside your head. They had to get you to hospital before the pressure got too much. They operated urgently but couldn't find where the bleeding was coming from!"

"You mean I could die?"

Strangely, I felt quite calm. All of a sudden, the prospect of my imminent demise didn't seem to worry me.

Laura didn't answer but I could tell from the look on her face and the increased flow of tears from her eyes that this was, indeed, the case.

I closed my eyes for a moment, understanding now why my head ached so much and could feel the bandages wound tightly around my head.

I looked at her sad face and saw that despite the tears and the fear, she was still so beautiful.

"I am not afraid to die, Laura", I squeezed her hand, "I didn't tell anyone but I had a telegram a few days ago. Philip, my husband, was shot down and killed during a raid over Germany so, you see, if I am to die I will be with him again."

Laura smiled.

"You are so brave, Anna. I knew when I first saw you at the Women's Institute that you were special. I have loved you so much from afar, for so long now."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked but I already knew the answer.

"How could I? I didn't know if you would be disgusted, or offended and would perhaps never talk to me again!"

I smiled at her.

"Well, I am glad we are together now."

I closed my eyes for a moment then, opening them and looking into her eyes, said,

"Will you do something for me?'

"Oh yes, my love, anything. Just ask."

 

"Will you touch me again, make me feel like I did in the bath, please?"

"What, here? Now?" her eyes opened wide.

"Yes," I answered, "If I am to die I want to be with you, happy and content."

 

Laura leaned forwards and began to kiss me. I accepted her mouth willingly, eagerly and put my hand on the back of her head and pulled her lovingly to me.

I could taste the salt of her tears which still flowed from her eyes. Her mouth was sweet, more so without her lipstick and her tongue entered my mouth and explored me, gently.

I began to feel warm inside and my heartbeat became a little faster.

Even though I had only just become close to Laura, it felt right, somehow, comfortable and warm, as if we had been meant to be together. I knew I was grieving for my husband but Laura wasn't a replacement for him. I didn't know all the answers but for the moment I was happy again.

I put both my arms around her neck and pulled her closer to me and as she explored my mouth so lovingly a tear welled in my eye and began to overflow, running gently down over my temple and soaking into the bandage.

Laura stopped kissing me and lifted her head and for a moment we looked into each others eyes.

“Anna?”

She spoke softly and I put my fingertip to her lips and very slightly moved my head from side to side. No words were needed but I said,

“Don't stop.”

For a moment more she sat there, motionless, just gazing at me, her eyes moving side to side as she looked first into one eye then the other and as she did I saw the tears forming until there was no more space and they ran over her eyelashes and dripped onto the sheet which was covering my bruised and lacerated body. Finally, I spoke again.

“Laura, I want you to know,” my voice barely a whisper, “Whatever the future brings, you will be in my heart for ever.”

“Promise?” she smiled.

“With my heart,” I replied and pulled her gently back towards me until her wet, salty lips found mine and welded us together with a bond that could never be broken.

Slowly, Laura began to move her hand down my damaged body, beneath the sheet, until she found the hem of my nightdress and carefully pulled it up over my belly then stroked my abdomen so gently it made my stomach churn and contract in little twitches as she moved.

My headache and pain was all forgotten now as a different, wonderful, sensation began to fill me, a feeling of deep contentment and fulfilment, a feeling I had not felt since the first time with my late husband.

I began to take deep breaths through my nose as I relished the aroma from her body, clean and warm, and the taste of her saliva in my mouth as her soft tongue danced slowly around my own.

Her fingers, now, were moving down, under the waist band of my satin pants and paused, playing with the coarse hairs that covered my mound until continuing it's journey downwards and finding the entrance to my hot valley and the little button nestling there that she knew would make me feel so happy.

I gasped. A sharp breath caused by the shock that ran through my innermost depths as her finger found and began to caress, my clitoris. It was a gasp of pleasure which caused me to press my head back into the pillow as my muscles tensed.

I remembered the feelings in the bath a few hours before as a heat began to spread throughout my body from the gentle movement of her finger as it moved slowly and lovingly between my labia.

Before too long she had reached the entrance to my vagina and was gently dragging her nail around the soft, moist flesh and carefully dipping her finger inside.

My internal muscles contracted around this beautiful intruder, sucking, as if inviting it in and without any effort at all, I caressed her finger inside of me.

My heart was beating strongly now and my chest rising and falling with every breath.

When my orgasm arrived it didn't crash through me but gently washed over me like the warm waves of the Mediterranean rippling gently up a warm sandy beach and I released a little moan from the back of my throat and pressed my lips harder against hers.

As I relaxed, Laura stopped kissing me and lay her head gently on my chest, holding me and I stroked her hair like a cat and entwined it around my fingers. I tried to open my eyes to look at her but I couldn't and the sounds of the hospital from outside the curtains were gradually fading away.

 

My aches and pains were all gone now and I felt a peace enveloping me, the like of which I had never known then, through the darkness, a bright light began to shine, slowly becoming brighter.

“Anna? You are okay now.”

A man's voice, soft and gentle, reassuring and yet familiar.

I opened my eyes and the bright lights hurt as they passed by above me. A man was beside me dressed in white, smiling and slightly blurred.

“You are safe now,” he said.

Someone was holding my hand, as if guiding me as I seemed to float along this brightly lit tunnel.

I looked to my side and as my eyes focused, I saw it was my husband.

“Philip?” I whispered. I couldn't speak properly as there was something in my throat. I coughed but it wouldn't budge.

“Don't worry, my Darling, It's just a tube to help you breathe under the anaesthetic. They will remove it when we get you back to the ward.”

“Ward?!” I coughed again, “Where am I?”

Philips eyes looked moist and bloodshot.

“You are in the hospital, Sweetheart.” He squeezed my hand. “Don't worry now, you are fine.”

I didn't understand but I was exhausted and the tube felt like a drain pipe in my throat.

 

Before long we were in a private room off the main ward and the white uniformed nurse very gently, removed the tube from my throat.

Philip helped me to drink some water, my mouth and lips were so dry.

I looked at him and asked him why I was there.

He took my hand and held it tightly, looking at me intently before answering very carefully:

“Well...” he paused, as if uncertain of what to say. “After you went to bed last night, I heard a commotion from our room. I ran up to find you having a full blown fit. You were thrashing about like a wild thing and I didn't know what to do. I called an ambulance and they arrived in minutes. By that time you had stopped fitting but you had also stopped breathing.”

He waited and swallowed. I could see his eyes filling up as he resumed.

“They worked so hard to revive you and I thought I had lost you but they brought you back.”

The emotion was too much and he burst into tears.

“I love you so much, I couldn't bear to lose you!”

He sat beside me on the chair and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe his eyes and blow his nose. I waited patiently until he had recovered his composure.

“They gave you a scan and found a blood vessel had burst in your head and was causing pressure to build up around your brain. That is why you had such a head ache.”

All was now clear. My dreams weren't dreams at all but my brain trying to tell me something was wrong. I held Philip's hand tightly.

“Where am I now? This doesn't look like our local hospital.”

“No,” he replied, “Because of the fit, they brought you straight to the neurological hospital. You have been in surgery for some hours and I have been reading about this wing. It's called the 'Laura Pendleton wing'. Apparently it was paid for by the legacy of an old woman, Laura Pendleton, who passed away about twenty years ago. It seems her husband was missing, believed to be killed in North Africa during the second world war, an army officer if my memory serves. Anyway, it seems she rescued a neighbour from her house when it was hit by a V1 flying bomb. The neighbour only survived a few hours and later died in hospital from internal head injuries, I suppose a bit like you had. She never remarried and as she had no children, she left all her money to the hospital with a proviso that it was to be used to treat head injuries and such like. I suppose, in a round about way, she saved your life.”

He paused and frowned.

“I just realised... how strange...”

“What is?” I asked.

“The neighbour,” he answered, “She was called Anna too!”








 

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