There was something so freeing about riding a horse, going faster than one's own legs could ever take them. Malcolm marvelled at the strange, yet wonderful feeling of freedom, only for it to be stripped away moments later as his horse rose up at the end of the drive, kicked her font legs high and lost balance as the man slipped and pulled on the reins in order to try and regain control. Together they fell, with a loud snap announcing that the tremendous pain in his left shoulder was the cause of a severe break.
The mare rolled away from the injured man and got to her feet, bolting towards the house. Malcolm had experienced pain before, but nothing like this. His vision blurred, and later he would recall wondering why people called it 'blacking out' when he experienced an intense flash if yellow, orange, red, and white vision before the world went dark.
When he opened his eyes again it was to the sound of Vanessa's frantic screams. The sky overhead was dark and littered with stars. His hands and feet were cold, and he couldn't feel his left arm, the limb swollen and dead. When he tried to get up, Vanessa held his face and stopped him, stroking his hair out of his eyes, "Be still, my love," he remembered her saying, tears streaming down her face, "be still."
The noble woman came back with a blanket and covered the man to try and warm him up. She fashioned a makeshift stretcher from two, thin logs Malcolm had been meaning to put up in the garden for his wife's runner beans, and knotted the ends of a sheet evenly before setting it down beside him. It took a long time to get the man onto the stretcher, and miles from town or the nearest neighbour, Vanessa twice contemplated leaving him there on the drive while she went to get help, though it would be impossible without a reliable horse and a two year old in her arms, making her soon think better of it.
By the time she had managed to get Malcolm onto the stretcher, he was in so much agony that he didn't realise he was being dragged until lamplight from the house shone overhead. Going up the steps, on the other hand, was unbearable, and for a second time that night the man lost consciousness.
This time, it was Marcus who woke him, along with the urge to relieve himself, one that quickly fled when with consciousness, so too returned the pain of his injury. Marcus was hungry and tired, and didn't understand why his mother was pacing back and forth in front of the window. "Malcolm!" Vanessa cried and went to her knees at his bedside, she took his left hand and squeezed, but the man did not feel a thing. "Oh, darling, you look terrible," she sobbed, "I have to get the doctor, but I can't take Marcus with me. He'll be in his crib," she told him, one she had already moved to the end of the room so that Malcolm could see the boy.
Vanessa stroked her husband's hair and pressed a kiss to his temple before she left, and even over the sound of the pathetic child's incessant screaming, he heard his wife's quick footfalls race her across the wooden floors and out onto the drive. After two hours had passed, Malcolm didn't know if it was his unrelenting pain that tortured him, or the fact that he wasn't able to get up from the bed and comfort his crying son. He had wanted to yell at the boy to see him stop, but knew this would only make it worse. "Marcus, Marky," he cooed, "good boy, you're a good boy."
It hurt to talk, to breathe, or even blink, and soon all of the overwhelming factors of his pain, frustration, and environment led a tear to roll away from his eye and disappear over the edge of his cheek. In all his years of life, Malcolm had seldom, if ever, cried, but it seemed today would be one of those times.