Short story competition: ‘But mum, I don’t want to go, hospitals are scary!’

As part of Going For Gold this year a short story competition on the theme 'How would you make Limerick a better place' was initiated. Holly Naughton, Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh, who won the secondary level first prize in the short story competition is pictured with Joseph OConnor who judged the entries
It was that time of day again. Lily’s favourite time of day in fact. It was home time. School over! Friday evening! No homework!

It was that time of day again. Lily’s favourite time of day in fact. It was home time. School over! Friday evening! No homework!

Lily was in second class, so she didn’t really have much to do other than play with her friends of course! The bell rang and she quickly grabbed her coat and sprinted out the door muttering a quick ‘goodbye’ to her teacher.

As soon as she arrived home she threw her bag onto the ground in the hall, yelled up the stairs that she was home and mentioned that she was going out to play. She ran across the road and knocked on the door – Georgia’s door. Her best friend’s door. The door swung open and they both smiled at each other. Georgia told her mum that she was going out with Lily, (as usual).

They both darted over to the field that they would always play in and immediately began a game of tag. The two girls ran in circles for ages until Lily slipped and slid across the grass. Not long after Lily felt a sharp piercing pain in the palm of her hand towards her wrist. Looking down at her hand she noticed a trickle of blood coming from her wrist. After seeing the blood she began to panic and before she knew it she was crying!

After about five minutes of crying and when she had calmed down, Georgia said quietly ‘what cut you?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Lily replied slightly dazzled. Georgia suddenly spotted a small reflection of the sun near where Lily had fallen. Georgia approached it and picked it up. It was a needle.

‘Put that down!’ It was Lily’s Mum. ‘Georgia, put that down now, it’s dangerous!’ Georgia did what she was told and dropped it. ‘Are you girls alright?’ she said in a worried tone. ‘Well’, said Georgia, ‘Lily cut herself on it’. Lily’s Mum rushed towards Lily. ‘Lily, are you ok?’ she said looking flustered. ‘Show me your hand.’ ‘Oh no’, she whispered under her breath. ‘We have to get you to a hospital’.

Lily began to panic. ‘Why?’

‘We have to be sure you’re alright, don’t worry, I’ll be with you the whole time.’

‘But Mum, I don’t want to go!’ Lily began to cry again. ‘Hospitals are scary!’

When they finally arrived at the hospital they were told that they would be waiting for about an hour or so. Nacy, Lily’s Mum, decided to explain to her why they were there. ‘Oh’, said Lily. ‘To make sure that the needle wasn’t dirty.’

‘Lily Meadows’ called a young lady in a white coat. It was Lily’s turn. ‘It’s alright’, said the lady again. ‘It’s just a little pinch’. Lily saw her holding a new needle. The lady tried to inject Lily but she protested.

‘You are using a needle to make sure the other one didn’t make me sick?’ said Lily. ‘It’s complicated‘, the lady replied. And with that, Lily agreed and pulled up her sleeve. It had been almost three months now and it was time for Lily to receive her test results back. ‘Two weeks’, said Nacy. ‘Yeah,’ replied Lily in a worried voice.

It was two o’clock now, so Lily and her Mum set out to the weekly campaign that Lily’s mum had set up shortly after the incident. The entire neighbourhood gathered every Saturday to clean up the fields and roads. Lily’s mum had become very serious about this after Lily’s accident. This had been going on for the bones of three months and as you can imagine, the neighbourhood was gleaming!

It was the day of the results. Lily sat in the waiting room with her Mum. The same woman called her in. Lily was just sitting there, nodding and saying the odd yes or no. And then came the results.

Lily froze. No. What she was hearing was impossible. There was no way it could have been true! It was clear. Lily was fine. She was going to be alright! Now the neighbourhood was clean and it was all over. Her mother had made it happen.

The campaign had made Limerick a better place.