Would really appreciate some feedback on this one!!
Excerpt from Missing Since Tuesday by Sarah Hardie
Duncan sat at his desk attempting to study and preparing for an all-nighter, when his mother appeared at the door looking a little worse for wear. “Honey, your granddad, he’s had a fall,” she said, eyes brimming with tears. “I’m going to the hospital now, do you want to come?”
He didn’t need asking twice, and grabbed a sweatshirt, pulling it over his head as he followed her downstairs and out the door.
“Call Sophia will you?” she said to him, passing her cell phone over as she sped off down the street. He called her and she said she would meet them at the hospital. The rest of the drive was spent in tense silence with Duncan staring at nothing out the window and his mother trying to see the road through her tears.
They arrived at accident and emergency and were taken to a tiny hole in the wall with a curtain pulled across the front by a frumpy nurse, who explained they were doing some tests and would move him to a ward soon.
While Lynn asked the necessary questions, Duncan edged closer to the bed, staring in disbelief at his skeleton of a grandfather. Once such a tall, strong, man with muscles envied by so many, Henry Grant lay limp in a white hospital gown, attached to an oxygen machine, helping him take shallow, struggling breaths. An extraordinary feeling of guilt overwhelmed Duncan as the old man reached for him, and he felt terrible for his neglect since Maria died. He took the frail hand and only felt bone, and suddenly wished his sister was here – she would know what to do.
As if he had summoned her with his thoughts, a light hand appeared on his arm, just as it had six months ago, and Sophia stood by his side solid as one of those godforsaken rocks.
Hours later, after sitting by Henry’s side comforting each other and dozing sporadically, the nurses moved him to a ward and Duncan, Sophia and Lynn were told to say their goodbyes. The doctor said his organs were shutting down and would be surprised if he lasted the night, and Lynn broke down and sobbed, leaving Duncan on his own as Sophia comforted their mother.
Duncan left them in the corridor and went into the room to say his goodbyes. He was greeted with a smile and he sat down, unsure what to say.
Henry saved him the trouble by taking a deep, broken breath and said, “You’re a good boy, Duncan.”
He nodded, unable to speak. His grandfather reached out to him with a bony hand and he took it. Henry looked straight into his eyes and squeezed Duncan’s hand with surprising strength.
“Son, there’s something you need to know.”
Shifting in his seat, apprehensive of what was to come, Duncan steeled himself for what could either be “I love you” or a secret he had been planning to take to his grave.
Looking at the emotions struggling for dominance on his face, Duncan thought it was the latter. He nodded, urging him to continue.
“The Red Rocks.”
Mention of those thieving, destructive freaks of nature tensed every muscle in his body and he was only drawn back to reality by a small gasp coming from the bed, telling Duncan was squeezing the old man’s hand too hard. He lessened his grip and let him continue.
“They’re magic, son,” he smiled, and Duncan breathed a sigh of relief at the fact that his dear old grandfather was becoming delirious as he neared the end.
“Your lovely Maria; she’s not dead, just gone.” And with that last statement, he closed his eyes and took his last breath.
As the withered old hand relaxed in his, Henry Grant’s last words echoed in his grandson’s head. “Not dead, just gone.”