Niagara changed, reduced, became a trickle, a drip, drip, drip, and Maude tasted what seemed to be nitrox in the air she was breathing, was this some kind of scuba-mask on her face? when had she gone to the sea-side? oh Christ, her chest ached like she had walked into something, what was it? a lamp-post? or a door, maybe? she heard Oyzell's voice above the babble of the waves but it was just unconnected sounds, a mish-mosh of vowels and consonants, she tried to ask Oyzell to speak slower, more clearly, but wasn't able to formulate any words, let alone articulate them any better than Oyzell, who, when she saw the two girls run into the shop, knew at once that something bad had happened to Maude and she got there herself even before the imperturbable Loch brothers and Bernie, but they quickly took command and formed a cordon round the shambles of papers and magazines where Laura was doing CPR and John, the Duty Manager was still on his phone, then recognized Oyzell and said: "ambulance on it's way, three minutes," which was when Oyzell saw the front page tightly clenched in Maude's fist, was able to read the headlines and knew at once whodunnit to her friend, even though she didn't understand the story they referred to, the words Virus and 40,000 UK Deaths were enough for a Holocaust survivor, the rest would follow, she scanned the faces and grabbed young May and Cristo: "go with Maude in the ambulance to A&E, I'll go up to the house and tell her cousins what's happened, you take one of the brothers, they know my number, ask him to call once there's news, okay with that?" and the girls, faces drained by the shock of seeing the older, later, version of Maude—their cousin, too—so vulnerable, so death-like, as the girl in working-clothes pressed down on her chest, one, two, three, four, five, pause, one, two, three, four, five, nodded and Oyzell grabbed their hands, kissed them, chill fingers, then, saying "tell Maude we need her home," hurried out, taking Bernie and Duddingston, as the two paramedics bustled into the store and homed in on their patient, and she explained that something terrible seemed to have happened, affecting the whole country, maybe the whole world, and she had to get to Maude's home where—with any luck—she would find Daphne, May and Cristo, and their niece Teri, and God only knows what other waifs and strays they might have given house-room to, so with the two men following in her wake, she set off at a steady pace, past Gibson Park, the original Fire Station, Police Station, new Fire Station now headquarters for Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue, and then the slightly curving slope up towards the rambling old house where her friends lived, squabbled, loved and welcomed people like herself, and for the first time in who knew how many years, decades, she said a brief, silent prayer, to the God of Abraham, if he was listening!