Excerpt 3 from Blood Mines by Lynelle Clark
“Here, let her drink this,” Granddad said, also close by. His gruff voice unmistakably from years of chain-smoking cigarettes.
“Dad, that’s brandy. I cannot give a ten-year-old brandy.” Mom uttered, aggravated by Granddad’s suggestion.
“Oh, hogwash, nothing can happen to her, she needs to get warm immediately, and brandy is the best source of heat right now.”
With that, a glass was held in front of Tanya’s shivering lips and tepid liquid ran down her throat. She coughed from the sudden burn but gulped it down. Not that she knew what brandy was but at that moment it warmed her body, which was all she cared about, soothing the burning cough at the same time.
She shook uncontrollably, even inside her cosy nest. She knew it was partially because of winter: It was in the middle of August after all. But, mostly it was because of the big fright she had. That fear would stay with her forever.
Tanya knew it would be a bad idea to listen to Etienne from the start when he told her that they should rescue the frog before it died in the icy water. He knew about her love for animals and that she would never let the opportunity slip pass to help a defenceless creature. Now, after the experience, she knew that the frog had been content where it was, sitting on the balmy rock, toasting itself in the midday heat. It was in no need to be rescued by her. It was her first real lesson about deceitfulness and Tanya knew she lost a little bit of a child’s ignorance on that day ─ not knowing of all the lessons she would learn through her life yet.
Dad was stroking her back with his large, rough hands and her muscles relaxed methodically. She knew she was safe. In those few seconds, she thought she was about to die, it was a terrible feeling: The feeling of total helplessness and having lost control. Tanya never wanted to feel like that ever again.
“Let’s get her to the hospital.” Mom said as she rushed towards the truck that had parked not too far from the river.
“That’s not necessary, Estelle!” shouted Granddad, “She only had a scare, no need for the doctor.”
“Dad, she has to go for a check-up, you know how much filth is in the water…”
“Oh, be quiet. My word, the kid was in the water for barely a minute. She will be fine.” Granddad said, stopping her mom from a further flow of words.
“Take her home, run her a warm bath and let her rest, that’s the best medicine for her now.” He commanded in his usual stoic manner and with that, he dismissed any further arguments from her.