• Hannah:
    Jack is waking up. He turns to his right to find an empty bed beside his own, the distant white sheets pulled back on one side. It reminds him of the discarded shell of a hermit crab, with no inhabitants but the frosty echoes bouncing off the insides. Ignoring the metallic tang in his mouth, his tongue rolls around collecting stray cotton fibres and he spits them onto the floor. His head is pounding, and in between each thump of blood he hears a strained beep nearby. The air is stale, cold and unwelcoming, and as his eyes train briefly on what’s making the noise, the beeping maintains a steady pace. His expression doesn’t change. As he moves his limbs slightly, just to ascertain his existence, he feels several tubes move with him like puppet strings. He doesn’t dare to lift his bedsheets, or look at himself.
    tab Below the large window of the room, a single chair supports a jacket which abstractedly gestures outside, the sleeve resting on the windowsill. Jack watches several birds balancing on a wire, and frowns as one is knocked off by a gust of wind. “Why that one? Why couldn’t he hold on a little tighter, and the next one perch more loosely?” He turns around as if expecting an answer, and is disappointed, and concerned, to see the small room empty.
    tab He hasn’t felt truly alone for years. The great dusty grey canyon between him, there, and me, God knows where, is so barren; he can’t see me watching him. I’m trying to get closer, but with every footprint the white horizon slips a little further away it seems. I give up for now, but the footsteps continue, brisk and sharp, as a doctor’s shiny shoes tap across the linoleum in the hallway, sounding harder and closer, and as Jack turns to his left, he sees the shoes tap off again, quietening. Now he tries to piece together every single one of the random events which carried him here on their shoulders.
    tab Her warning. His parachute, her suitcases, my suitcases. My hands covered in blood. The stench. That suitcase. The sea on her feet; him, lying on the floor; us, lying in bed. Us standing at the altar, standing by the lake – our lake. Standing in our house. Trying to have a child; trying to find it. The taste of her tears. The adrenaline of hope coursing through us. Pain surging through us. That smell.
    tab Not knowing for how long his voice has gone unused, a single word clambers out of his lips like a spider, his tongue taking the first wavering step. “Hannah.” It stumbles down his chin, runs along his arm and crawls across the tube of the heart monitor only to topple off the wall halfway, lost. Then the tapping returns, growing and growing and growing until the toes of the doctors shoes are almost touching the foot of the bed. Jack turns to face the ceiling again.
    tab “Mr. Gimble, you’re awake at last, I see. I need to fill you in on the details of...”
    tab “Hannah...” The word is barely audible above the thrum of machinery. Only I heard.
    tab “... minor internal bleeding, you’ve been cleaned up and given a transfusion...” What does it matter to him? He knows what he can feel, and what he feels is missing.
    tab “... fracture in your left arm, that’s been healing as well as can be hoped, you’ll notice the...” yes, Jack had noticed the sling, thank you for pointing it out to him.
    tab “...address the matter of the accident, and more importantly your...” He gazes out of the window to see only one bird remaining on the wire –
    tab “...cushioned the blow, as it, uh, as it were were, for you...” and doesn’t see what this so-called learned man is doing telling him about his own life –
    tab “...the driver couldn’t be traced as he or she used a phone box...” – he can’t even make eye contact with him, why not send someone a little more friendly to break the –
    tab “...I assure you almost instantly...” – wait, what is he saying? –
    tab “Your wife was killed on impact.”
    I'm dead?