"What is she doing here?" Ally whispered harshly to his brother, once concerned eyes looking at his father now flashing accusingly from you to Matty.
Matty kept his head low, moving around the bed to readjust his stuffed bear to his father's side, barely a whisper replying, "She can help daddy."
"We don't need her help Matty! We were fine before she came."
You stood silently in the doorway; you had not registered what he had said to his younger brother, nor seen the way that he had spread his arms wide to barricade you from moving past the door.
In the dim light of the room Matty had lead you into, Mr. Kirkland was there, sprawled out on crumbled sheets, completely unmoving. He looked palepaler than when you had first met himalmost ethereal against the moonlight that was just managing to stream through the half-drawn curtains. But you could see the droplets of sweat beading his forehead and eyebrows, wetting his already disheveled hair.
He looked so... drawn; to the point that it made him look older than his twenty-something years.
You drew a sharp breath, [e/c] eyes snapping away from his haggard form.
Your mind was overwrought, overcome with a sudden sense of hopelessness and fear. It was like when you had walked through the streets of London a few days ago and seen that a person had collapsed on the pavement. So many people just stood there, too shocked or scared to act - The bystander effect it was called. But this wasn't in public where someone else could just step in. There was only you that could help, and somewhere, between the haze of processing what you had just seen and the accumulated tiredness of several restless nights, you knew what you needed to do.
You took a deep, steadying breath and proceeded to scan the room, looking for anything that could help give a clue to Mr. Kirkland's condition. The most obvious thing you noticed was that there was an empty green bottle laying label-down on his bedside table, along with various lager cans that adorned every free surface in the room. You weren't sure if he had drank all of those cans, but there was a sickly smell of spirit that lingered in the room. Gin perhaps, although not being much of a big drinker yourself; that was only a guess. With nothing else to suggest why he was unconscious, you proceeded to treat him on this basis.
You had not noticed what was lying beneath the bed.
"I. Said. Get. Away. From. My. DADDY!" Ally had shouted, gaining your attention long enough to see his hands connect with your side as he tried to push you out of the room, his powder eyes alight with that same fire you saw only a short while ago in the doorway.
"Don't call me Ally!" he yelled, stomping a foot, "Only Mummy, Daddy and Matty can call me that!"
"-Alfred. Your father is ill. I need to take a look at him." You reasoned, trying to quell your surfacing irritation.
"No! We don't need anyone. Get out! - GET OUT! "
"Ally..." Matty whimpered through the fabric of his bear.
"GET OUT NOW!"
"No Alfred. I will not get out! If I don't do something your father could get worse. Move out of my way and let me help your father!"
He fell completely silent. Reluctantly, and with one last defiant stare slowly lowered his arms, fisting them into the fabric of his shirt in a huff. Stepping aside, he went and joined his brother sitting on the other side of the bed.
You turned back to Mr. Kirkland, lowering down to your knees to lean over the bed.
"Mr. Kirkland..." You called, tapping him on both shoulders, "Mr. Kirkland, it's Miss ______. Can you hear me? If you can hear me I need you to respond. Open your eyes or show me that you can hear me."
"Mr. Kirkland, I'm just going to press down on your thumb now. If you can feel it, give me a response please."
Still no response.
... No, no. This can't be good at all...
You had checked his airways, breathing and circulation. There were no obstructions or anything noticeably wrong with his airway, and no signs of any injuries but a rather large, albeit superficial bruise that adorned the knuckles of his right hand. With that being said, the only thing left that you could think of was to put him in a position of recovery.
... I don't like this. His flesh is wan, his temperature is colder than normal. This can't possibly just be the result of too much alcohol.
...Mr. Kirkland, why are you not waking up?
In your deliberations you had not noticed Matty climb off the bed, or that he had scrambled underneath to retrieve an object he had seen. However, when you felt a small hand gripping the sleeve of your pajama shirt, you saw him stood at your side.
He was holding an object out to you.
The question died in the air. It only took you a moment to register that he was holding an old-fashioned brown medicine bottle, the contents half full with tablets that read: 'Tamazepam-15 mg to be taken orally before retiring.'
"...Where did you find these?" You questioned breathlessly, fumbling hands taking the bottle from him.
He pointed to the spot under the bed hesitantly.
Suddenly things started to make more sense.
Your eyes darted down to the information on the white sticky label, frantically searching in the low light for any further information about the medication.
-Overdose symptoms... "Somnolence", "Hypotension"? what do these words even mean?...
Your eyes stared widely in disbelief.
"Do not consume alcohol whilst taking this medication as this may result in a heightened chance of alcohol poisoning."
...Oh god no.
"...Is daddy going to be okay?" asked Alfred from across the room.
When you didn't reply, he asked again.
"...Daddy's going to be okay, right?"
He was looking at you with a desperate expression, hoping that you would tell him that yes, things were going to be okay. But with this current new piece of information, you realized with terribly certainty how serious things had become.
I need to call an ambulance now.
"He's... sleeping at the moment. But Miss ______ needs to call an ambulance so that they can make sure he's not hurt himself. Alfred, I need you and Matty to stay with your father. If anything happens I need you shout so I can come." You instructed, trying desperately to sound as calm as possible for the children's sake.
You turned to exit into the living room.
"...Daddy told us Mummy was taken away in an ambulance."
You stopped short of the door, a shaking hand poised to open it. With a choked sob he continued,
"Daddy said mummy had gone to sleep and was never going to wake up again..."
You could hear muffled sobs.
You couldn't bring yourself to turn around. They were so young, they should never even been placed in such a situation...You didn't want to see them crying. You didn't want to see how terrified they were.
"...Daddy's never going to wake up, is he?"
"... Ambulance please."
"-H-hello. I need an ambulance right away..."
"...Daddy--Wake up Daddy."
"--Daaaddy. Please Daddy."
Alfred watched as Matthew pressed his hands against his father's back, his face changing between being scrunched up with concentration and sniffing away tears. He didn't try to stop him. He was small. Tiny really; probably smaller than average for his age - and even with all his body weight pressed against his father's unconscious form was having little effect on moving him.
"Ally... Why won't daddy wake up?"
He climbed up with Matty, pressing his forehead to his fathers, a warm, loving gesture his father often used to do with him when he was a good boy.
Except this time daddy felt cold.
Alfred crawled close to their father, hoping that if he couldn't wake him up being near him, at least he could make him warmer.
"Daddy... Please wake up... You can't go to sleep like mummy did. We love you... Please Daddy. I promise I won't laugh at your eyebrows again... Please... I don't want you to die daddy."
Matty wrapped his arms against his father's neck, nuzzling against his father and Kumajirou.
They cried at the side of their father, wishing he would wake.
They were scared.
They didn't want to be alone.
They just wanted their daddy to wake up.
Please wake up daddy...
And then it happened.
Slowly, his face contorted with pain.
And his eyes opened.
Arthur groaned, clutching his stomach.