From the Sky - Part IV

Running feet on Uncle's walk. I turned my head, expecting to see my Aunts. But it was two strangers, a man and a boy.

"Hello!" I cried. "I fell out of Uncle's tree."

The man rushed to my Uncle, and said: "We were at the stop sign. I heard a scream, and my son saw her fall."

"She must go to the hospital," Uncle said. His voice was trembling.

"Did you call an ambulance?" the man asked.

"It will take them forever. A woman down the street waited a half-hour once; I read that in the paper last year. She died. The hospital is just a mile down the road. Can you take her?"

"Me?"

"Yes. I don't drive."

The boy knelt down and took a handkerchief from his pocket. He pressed it softly against my head.

"We need to splint her arm first," the man said. He and Uncle dashed into his kitchen, returning quickly with gauze and newspapers. Uncle rolled up the newspaper, and the man used it to fashion a crude splint. I cried a bit as they worked on my arm. I couldn't help it. The boy stroked my hair and kept his handkerchief pressed against my forehead. Finally, I rose to my feet and we walked to the gate. Out to street we went, the man on my right, supporting my arm, the boy on my left. We got to their car, and that's when the man realized Uncle wasn't with us. We turned, and Uncle was standing at the gate's threshold.

"Is something wrong?" the man asked.

"Hurry, please take her to the hospital!" Uncle cried.

"Well, aren't you coming?"

"I can't."

"What do you mean, you can't? You have to!"

"I will call her aunts. They will meet you there."

"Well, that's ridiculous! That's crazy! You're her uncle. You have to be there!" the man shouted. But Uncle closed the gate and ran toward the house. The man looked at me, clearly stunned.

"There's a curse," I said.

"A what?"

"A curse. Uncle will die if he leaves the yard."

"Oh, for crying out loud…"

"Please," I said. "Please just take me. My arm hurts. It hurts really, really bad mister."

The man glanced at his boy, a teenager, actually, perhaps three or four years older than me. He was handsome, as I remember, and very, very calm. His son nodded, and they put me in the back seat of their car. The boy sat next to me, keeping the handkerchief firmly against my forehead. He reached down and held my left hand, squeezing it gently as his father tore up the street toward the hospital.

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