Jane woke up and felt bleary eyed. She couldn't get out of bed. She was going to learn to walk with her new artificial leg. She kept telling herself it was better than a hole in the head. So she looked out of the window as she had done all day yesterday. Next to her bed were masses of flowers. The biggest bunch was from Peter Sherrington.
All the nurses were talking about and babbling about something. She could hear their excited chatter from her private room. In fact the whole hospital was talking about something, she could hear the cleaner talking in animated Spanish outside her door.
“What the fuck's going on?” Jane hollered at the top of her voice. A nurse came into see her.
“How are you this mornin’?”
“Can you please tell me what the fuck is going on?”
“Well Ms. Willerby, its Carlton. It's burnt down.”
“What do you mean it's burnt down?”
“Like I say the whole lot. It’s burnt down. All of it. Gone. Gone up in smoke. That’s why it's smokey outside.”
Jane looked out. The acrid smoke hung over the town, it was the kind of acrid, blue smoke that you get out of the back of a dying engine.
Out by the edge of town dozens of fire investigators were rummaging through the debris. There w\ere also some Asians and an Arab looking gentleman who was wearing a lot of gold.
“That's that famous Arab oil sheik,” one of the investigators muttered, “'l'm sure it is but it's hard to tell 'cos of the sun glasses.”
“No, it can't be. Why the hell would he want to bother to come to Hertferd? The only thing we had to see here has just been burnt down.”
“Well there's the museum in Pella."
“Yeah, but why would he want to go there?”
“Be careful, there's lots of flammables around.”
“What do you think started this?”
“It's going to be bloody difficult to tell now.”
“I bet Ellephanie feels sick.”“Yeah, sick to the guts."