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Fiona spent the next few hours trying to get hold of Arthur, who had pretty much vanished of the face of the Earth. She didn’t know what to do about the Shadow Man in the basement, and whether the candles would be enough to keep him locked down, and at the same time Chuck was in the medical room, unconscious and struggling to breath. She was surprised that he’d even managed to get out of the basement without dropping dead. She’d sent Millie, one of the other guardians, to watch over him and perform some healing rituals, but she was still worried he wouldn’t make it. No one had died on Whistling Academy’s grounds for decades, longer than Fiona had been alive, and now there was George and an outsider on the verge of death. Arthur would know what to do, if only she could find a way to contact him. His phone was switched off, and the communication crystals weren’t picking him up either. No one seemed to know where he’d gone. She paced around his office, looking through folders and files to see if he’d left any way to contact him, but there was nothing. She wouldn’t have been surprised if this was all a test to see how they would handle it without his help.
Millie had carried Chuck upstairs and into the medical room, a small makeshift infirmary that was only really used when someone hurt themselves in training. She didn’t think the room was up to scratch to deal with something like what Chuck was facing. She didn’t have enough practice with healing to try it on someone who had been hurt this badly before. Once Chuck had been placed on the bed she’d hovered her hands over his neck and started to whistle. Her eyes closed, she whistled a long and mellow tune, and could feel heat emanating from her palms as she did. Once she’d finished, she looked down at him, and wasn’t sure if it had any effect.
“Come on,” she said. “Don’t give up yet.”
Almost immediately afterwards, Horrick, entered the room carrying George. Millie was sure the child was dead. The second bed in the room had become a dumping ground and Millie pushed everything onto the floor to make room for George. She found his pulse, faint but still there. She couldn’t believe it., let out a sigh of relief, and adrenaline kicked in. She started the process again, whistling and focusing on George’s head. She thought his mind would be what was most damaged, but as long as he was still breathing there was a chance that he would still make it.
A couple of hours later Chuck opened his eyes and looked around the room. Millie, although he didn’t know her name at that point, was sitting in a chair looking over some paperwork, and in the corner of the room was Toby, sat up in a stool and looking worried and a little bored. He moved, trying to sit up, but his whole body throbbed in pain and told him to stay still. He tried to speak, but was only able to make a croaking sound. It was still enough to alert the others that he was awake and in a split second Millie was standing over him and look at him.
“Don’t try to speak,” she said. “Just nod if you can hear me.”
Chuck nodded a little and carried on laying still.
“You’re through the worst of it now. You’ll make it. Just try to get some rest and let us deal with everything else. Okay?”
It took two days of Chuck laying on the bed, slipping in and out of dreams the whole time, before he was able to stay awake for more than a few minutes. He wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t. At one point he was sure he saw a bear walk into the room, look around and then leave, but no one else seemed to notice so it must have been a dream. The whole time George was asleep in the bed next to him, not moving at all. Every so often Fiona would come into the room to look over them, she was still unable to get hold of Arthur.
Millie slept in the room, moving three chairs close enough together to create a bed. Every time Chuck woke up and started to make any noise she was there to see if he was okay. He found out her name, and she found out his through Fiona. He liked Millie, there was a softness to her voice and she was very good at looking after people. Eventually he started to wake up without as much pain and he could just lay there in silence looking out at the world around him or listen in on conversations that he didn’t quite understand. Arthur was still nowhere to be found, and Chuck was sure that Fiona was incredibly worried about him. It was the first thing she said anytime that she entered the room.
“I don’t think George is going to make it,” Millie said to Fiona during one of Chuck’s conscious moments. “He’s still not breathing very well and his body seems to be rejecting everything. I don’t know if he’s still there inside either. Arthur would know what to do. He always knows.”
“He has to make it, Mills. He’s just a child. I can’t believe I let this all happen.”
“You didn’t let it happen. He was sneaking down there without us knowing. You didn’t let it happen anymore than I did. It was an accident.”
Another time the one called Horrick came into the room and sat with George for a while. He didn’t say a word to Millie, as he did. She spoke to him though, about how George was still hanging on and his breathing was getting better.
Toby wasn’t in the room when Chuck woke up for the last time. It was just Millie, performing a ritual over George. Chuck felt wide awake for the first time in what seemed like an age and struggled to sit up. He didn’t want to interrupt whatever it was that Millie was doing so he was as quiet as possible. Once she’d finished, she turned around and saw him sitting there.
“Oh, you’re awake. How are you feeling? Don’t speak if it hurts.”
“I’m feeling okay, a little dizzy,” he croaked.
“I’ll go and get you a drink. Fiona will want to speak to you soon as well.”
Millie left the room and Chuck was left to look watch George. His chest slowly rising and falling with each breath. He looked so small and fragile compared to how he’d acted in the basement. It was hard for Chuck to believe that he’d nearly died because of him. He thought for a second about how easy it would be to kill George right there and then. It flashed in his mind and then disappeared just as quickly as Fiona entered the room with a smile on her face. Chuck shook his head to clear his mind and turned to her, a friendly face in a day of confusion.
To Be Continued…
Part Ten is available here: https://ashleymanning.com/2023/02/24/magic-in-london-recovery-part-ten/! Don’t forget to subscribe to never miss a post: