Conor was lying, unconscious, sprawled across the track as the rain poured in torrents over his sodden and mud-splattered body, blood streaming from the wound in his shoulder. Kaitlin burst into the clearing and seeing his body, promptly burst into tears. She sank to the ground and cradled his soaking form, tears dripping onto his already drenched clothing.
"What have I done?" she wailed, "Conor, I told your dad that you were here. I was so jealous!" Conor groaned in pain and for a second his piercing green eyes fluttered open but then his body sagged back into her arms and she bent over it still sobbing.
Kaitlin didn't know how long she sat there, rain pouring down her face mingling with her salty tears and Conor's blood soaking into her jeans. The loud rumble of thunder and the crash of lightning for ever reminded her that she was alone in the middle of a wood with an unconscious boy. Ruthie came up to her and put her paw on Kaitlin's knee as if asking her what to do. Kaitlin shifted Conor's head off her lap and warily stood up. She walked a few paces and almost tripped over a man sitting on the floor.
"You!" she exclaimed. "What did you do to Conor?" The man moaned and shifted himself so he was facing her.
"I didn't mean to. I was aiming for the dog but he was there."
"You tried to kill Ruthie?"
"You told me where he was. You effectively helped."
"YOU TOLD ME THAT HE WAS THERE!" She stepped backwards and shook her head violently.
"Don't deny it. I've already told him."
"NO! NO!" she shrieked as a fork of lightning came slashing through the trees.
The lightning twisted towards the oak tree which was the tallest tree in the wood. Kaitlin dashed back into the clearing and bodily pulled Conor's limp body out of the way of the falling tree. Ruthie barked and scampered around Kaitlin's feet. She coaxed Ruthie and eventually the dog obeyed and ran over to the pathway. Kaitlin whipped out her mobile and punched in 9-9-9. As she held the speaker up to her ear and listened to the dialling tone she heard another gunshot and a cry. She snapped the phone shut and ran towards the direction of the gunshot. She found Conor's father lying on the ground and she immediately realised what he had done. His eyes started closing and in his final breath he whispered,
"Tell Conor, I'm sorry, please?
"I will," she assured him. The man breathed out a sigh of relief and fell back into the mud. Kaitlin sprinted back to Conor and pulled out her phone again. The phone rang in her ear and finally a male voice answered,
"How can I help?"
"I need an ambulance. Quickly!"
"Where are you?"
"I'm in the Oakwood forest."
"We'll be there in a few minutes."
"Thank you so much." she sighed in relief and sat down beside Conor to wait for the ambulance.
As Conor opened his eyes he could hear his mum sobbing. He wanted to tell her that he was fine but there was a mask over his mouth which stopped him from saying anything. Sitting next to his mum was a very dishevelled and dripping Kaitlin who had her arm around his mum and was making soothing noises. Seeing Kaitlin his eyes blazed with anger. What was she doing here? Where was here? He could feel a numb pain in his left shoulder and this frightened him. What had happened?
He was shaking all over and as the ambulance slowed down he saw someone, a woman, talking to his mum. They were whispering and Conor couldn't make out what they were saying but then his mum started looking less frightened and more composed. She wiped her eyes to remove all trace of tears and smiled a wobbly smile at Kaitlin. A paramedic bent over Conor and seeing that he was awake, started gently talking to him.
"How do you feel?" the man asked, removing Conor's oxygen mask. He had red hair and understanding eyes but his face looked worried and Conor couldn't figure out why.
"Fine, but why am I here?"
"Um....Well...Er.." The man looked sheepish and turned his head towards the woman who had been speaking to his mum. She shook her head violently and the man turned back to Conor.
"I'm sorry but we can't tell you that yet."
"WHAT! You can't tell me why I am in an ambulance, soaking wet and my mum is crying!"
"I'm sorry," the man repeated, "But we can't. Not yet anyway." Conor was silent for a second and then a thought struck him.
"Where's Ruthie?" The man looked relieved to have been able to change the subject.
"Ruthie is fine. You saved her life."
Conor froze as those words registered in his mind. You saved her life. Suddenly he remembered being in the wood with Ruthie and a man..... His dad coming through the bushes. A loud bang and the rain on his face. A soft but panicky voice calling his name. Kaitlin. Then he remembered what his dad had told him. Kaitlin had told his dad where he had been! She had betrayed him. The paramedic saw the memory flash across Conor's face and turned helplessly towards the woman and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, 'Damn it! He's remembered. There is nothing more we can do.' She shrugged back at him and then stumbled and nearly fell over as the ambulance jerked to a stop.
"We're here now." the woman remarked, "Mrs. Prior can you please come this way. Follow me."
"Where is she taking my mum?" Conor asked, turning his head to face the man who had been talking to him in the ambulance.
"Marie is taking your mum to see the head nurse so she can calm down and be told what had happened."
"What happened?!? Oh, you mean in the wood."
"Yeah. Oh, and by the way my name is Kyle. I will be your doctor for the foreseeable future."
"Future?" Conor was puzzled but soon realised what Kyle meant. They were heading towards the huge double doors and Conor could see that it was the hospital. Katlin stood in the doorway and opened the heavy doors so that they could pass through. Kyle questioned Kaitlin on whether she had contacted her parents, as they would be worried about her. She nodded and turned towards a phone box. Up to the doorway Conor had been wheeled on a stretcher. He didn't like the feeling of not being in control of where he was going so asked whether he could walk to wherever they were going. But this request was met with a stubborn answer, No, from Kyle. Conor pulled a face and closed his eyes.