Carrie unlocked the front door and walked into the kitchen, dumping her school bag on the table where she would be doing her homework later.
She looked around the room to search for any clues as to whether her mum would have been there during the day.
“Mum?” Carrie sat down next to her mother on the bed.
“Mum?” She didn’t dare take her hand in case it would hurt her.
“Mum, can you drink some of this?” She held up a glass of soda and a spoon.
Carrie breathed out. At least her mother was conscious.
“You just need to take a few spoons of this, that’s all.” She was scared her mother would throw up if she gave her too much. Last time she had been sick all over the bed. But the person in front of her now didn’t seem to have the strength to heave anything up.
“Good, rest now.” She didn’t want her mother to rest though, she wanted her to fight.
But then, suppose she was. Her mother was still here, wasn’t she?
“Carrie?” Her mother whispered.
“Yes Mum?” Carrie leaned forward, immediately alert to her mother’s needs.
“Thank you.” Her mother opened her swollen red eyes and locked them with Carrie’s.
“No problem, Mum.” There were so many problems, but none of them could be dealt with.
“Go be with your friends,” her mother said before shuddering and Carrie immediately pulled soft blankets over her thinking: “I will, when I find them again. When this is over. But for now, Mum, please fight.”
When her mother was asleep again, or at least not conscious, Carrie walked downstairs to make herself some pasta and start on her English homework. She hoped that this might be the worst it would get, so that soon it would be over.
Soon, their house could stop being a hospice and could once again be a home.
Ellinor Kihlström | @ElliAddams
Ellinor is 23, from Sweden, and currently lives in Cardiff – one of her favourite cities in the world, beating New York. She’s a historian by training and intends to make it her profession.