Candice ran out of the school gates. She sped through the town and out onto the main road. She dabbed angrily at her eyes but she could not hold back the tears.

You’re a fool. A first rate idiot, she told herself. Why did you go out with him? You knew he was older than you. But Mercy had only to flutter her eye lashes…

“Beep, beep, beep!” a car hooted, swerving past her. She slipped and fell in fright. The driver gestured angrily and drove on. Candice sat by the side of the road and cried as if her heart would break.

Then slowly she lifted herself up, and limped all the way home. The house was quiet when she got there. Candice lay down on her bed. Soon she was fast asleep.

* * * * *

Candice and Kabo were watching television. Her parents had gone out for the evening.

“Play with me,” Kabo begged, tugging his sister’s arm.

“Oh, all right,” Candice sighed. “What do you want to play, Kabo?”

“I want to play with my cars.”

“You go fetch them from the shelf and we’ll play on the floor here,” she said.

“Bang!” came a loud crash, from Kabo’s room. Candice jumped up quickly and ran towards the room screaming “Kabo! What happened?” She entered his bedroom, and froze. He was lying on the floor, clutching his box of cars, next to an overturned chair. He wasn’t moving.

“Kabo! Kabo!” she called, as she knelt down beside him. He opened one eye, then he closed it again and lay very still.

What had her mom told her to do if something like this happened? Keep him awake. Yes, that was it. Don’t let him sleep straight after a fall. And get him to hospital. He might have… have… what was it – concussion. Yes, that was the word.

She phoned the nearest neighbour, who said they would be with her in their car in a minute. She phoned her parents too.

* * * * *

At the hospital her parents were now with Kabo. He was going to be OK. Candice looked around at the brightly-coloured walls decorated with cartoon figures. She was amazed – she had always thought hospitals were plain white. There were boxes of toys everywhere and, on all the beds, there were stuffed furry toys.

She shivered, recalling what she’d seen on all those years ago. How she had been terrified of hospitals and the sight of sick people ever since then. But her mom was forever trying to get her to come down to the hospital with her. She had said that there were so many sick people in this world that Candice couldn’t possibly spend her life running away from them. They were people, after all.

How would she feel if she got sick and there was nobody to care for her?

But this was alright. She had been so concerned about her little brother she had managed to enter the hospital, to be with all those sick people…

Candice left her parents with Kabo. She wanted to go outside for some air.

“Candice! What are you doing here?” She looked up, shocked at the familiar voice. William was striding down the corridor towards her. Her first impulse was to throw herself into his arms, and then she remembered what had happened – his disappearance; the letter. She glared at him and carried on walking.

Then a familiar figure came after him, out of one of the side wards. It was Mercy. Candice looked from one to the other. A rush of jealous anger and spite made her almost dizzy. “You’re unbelievable,” she hissed at Mercy. “You are a best friend – and you have stolen William right from under my nose!”

She started walking away, only turning to add, “The only thing I’m afraid of now is you two. You make me sick!”

She began running to get out of the hospital, without seeing the horrified look on her two former friends’ faces.


What do you think will happen? What do you think Candice will do when she finds out the truth?