Throughout the night, Lucy slept fitfully and dreamt vividly, replaying the previous days horror over and over again, the shame of her accident and the absolute mortification of discovering the photos and comments about her clearly playing on her mind. As if going through all of that once hadn’t been bad enough, she relived that disastrous day countless times, crying in her sleep each time at the humiliation in the classroom and then the devastation that followed.
Her dreams gradually took a more sinister turn, with the comments merging into the re-run of her classroom accident, and finally in the early hours Lucy jolted awake with a blood curdling scream as she wet herself in class one last time, with all of her friends standing around laughing at her and many more kids wearing the high school uniform pointing, laughing and chanting that she was a baby. The image of her wearing her soaked skirt loomed into her mind, quickly replaced by the awful summer dress and then finally she was stood there just wearing the cartoon pants, soaked and dripping, burning with shame.
The scream that woke her had, of course, rang out through the house and roused bother her Mum and her younger brother from their own slumber. Jack was scared, in his half-asleep state he didn’t realise where the scream had come from, and he whimpered to himself as he lay there. Had he dreamt it? No, he remembered his dream quite clearly, and nobody had screamed.
Lesley was on autopilot, that scream caused her stomach to churn and she leapt from her bed knowing, in the way that only a Mum can, that she was needed. Throwing a dressing gown over her night dress and slipping her feet into a pair of slippers, she deftly padded down the landing to Lucy’s bedroom, knocking softly before letting herself in and finding her poor daughter sat upright in bed, her face a deathly white and eyes wide with fear.
The scene before her broke her heart, and she’d have done anything to be able to take Lucy’s pain and suffering away. The poor girl had done nothing to deserve this torment. Kneeling on the floor beside the bed, Lesley drew Lucy into a warm hug, whispering in her ear that she was safe and that nobody could hurt her now. Lucy just continued to sob, her anguish was relentless, everything in her nightmare had been so realistic, she still didn’t really comprehend that it had all been in her mind, she felt that she had really experienced it.
The pair sat together and held each other for a long time, with Lesley continuing her one sided conversation and doing all she could to reassure Lucy, thought she could sense that the searing pain was not subsiding.
After more than an hour in this position, Lucy’s heart rate slowly began to return to normal, her complexion whilst still pasty and wan regained a slight hint of colour and her racking sobs subsided, although the tears continued to fall. She felt broken, helpless and she just needed her mum. Right at that moment, any sense of being grown up couldn’t have been further from her mind, she was a little girl whose life was crumbling before her eyes, and only Mum could help.
Suddenly, something dawned on Lucy, a horrible realisation that caused her stomach to plummet once more. No, surely not, it couldn’t be. Could it?
The look of shock and pain etched across her features was replaced suddenly with abject horror, worry and a rising blush that soon engulfed her face. Lesley noticed this, along with a sudden quickening of her shallow breaths.
“What’s is it Lucy, sweetheart?”
With a depth of shame and humiliation she had never, ever felt before in her eleven years Lucy turned her face to her mum and uttered in a barely audible whisper “I’m so sorry Mummy, I…I….I’ve had an accident”, and with that she was again paralysed with sobs from deep within, feeling sick to her stomach and barely stopping herself from being physically sick across her bed.3
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