Monday, August 20

Getting Away

Urrrggghhhhh she screamed. She felt like pulling her hair out and seriously contemplated the action as there was a possibility that the pain involved would be a distraction from the emotions that were currently rampaging through her system. Taking a deep breath she tried to calm herself down. The shaking had eased off somewhat, though there was still the odd tremor now and then, but on the whole her blood had ceased to boil and was now only a slight simmer.

She rested her head on the steering wheel.

Another deep breath and she felt almost together. The sound of the baby stirring in his car seat brought both comfort as well as more anguish.  It reminded her that she was still without a clear plan.  In fact she was actually without any plan at all.  She was suddenly realising that she had not thought any of this through at all.  Everything had happened so fast that there was no time to stop and think about it.

How could they possibly have had a baby in such a place?  And not just any old baby either.  No.  It was her baby.  Her precious little bundle of joy that she had been forced to hand over.  Her flesh and blood that was practically ripped out of her arms the moment he left the safety of her womb.

She still couldn't believe that she had really agreed to it all.  But they had been so convincing.  They had made it seem like there was no other option.  They made her believe their lies and doubt her ability.  How could she have been so stupid?

Now was not the time to think about any of that now.  What ever lead she had was quickly diminishing. She wondered how long it would be before they noticed he was no longer in the nursery.  She shuddered just thinking about that awful place.

Her head was well and truly pounding.  She felt fuzzy and unsteady.  She must have hit her head as the car spun out of control.  It was hard to decide what to do next.  Turning the key in the ignition all she heard was the engine whir.  There was no way she would be able to get it started.   She unclipped her seatbelt and turned to look in the back.

Brenton was still snuggly in his car seat oblivious to it all.  Which she was rather glad about.  The pour little soul had already seen enough drama without watching his mother slash kidnapper aquaplane across a puddle in a hurried escape.

Taking a deep breath and pulling herself together Rebecca opened the car door and got out.  She had no option but to carry on by foot.  Opening the back door she leant over the car seat and place a kiss on Brenton's forehead.
"It's alright darling, mummy is here now.  Everything will be alright and we will never be apart again" She whispered into his ear as she lifted him out of the seat.  She pulled him in close and wrapped her arms around him.  It was much colder than she expected.  Darkness wasn't too far away so she knew it would only be getting worse.  Thankfully her jacket was thick and warm.  She knew that if it came to the worst it would be warm enough to wrap the baby in.  There was no way he would be getting cold.

With a final check through the car she decided there was nothing else of use in it.  She had wasted enough time and needed to get moving while there was still some light.  She looked over at the quickly setting sun.  It was the direction she had just come.  Turning away she hoped that neither her or her son would ever have to return.

While every inch of her being wanted to run she knew that she had to conserve her energy.  She would be of no use to anyone, least of all her son if she didn't think sensibly.  After all she had been through in the last few weeks she certainly did not want to fall in a heap and lose it all now.  So she resisted the overwhelming urge to run and just kept on walking. It felt like she had been going on for hours but she knew it was unlikely that even an hour had passed since her escape.

The sun was gone now, though it still wasn't dark dark.  There was a twilighty glow that was holding of the inevitable darkness.  She felt a chill go through her bones.  She couldn't tell whether it was from the cold or from thinking about the onset of darkness.  Either way it didn't matter, she was powerless to do anything about either of them.

Looking into the distance she could see a beam of light coming towards.  Still not really sure of what the next step of her plan was she decided the best thing to do was get out of sight.  Whoever it was coming towards her was heading towards where she was trying to escape from.  There was no point risking being taken back there.  She could feel the shivers starting to come back.

As she headed off the road and into the dense scrub she was a little relieved to be in the bush.  It was the first time ever though that she had felt that the outdoors was her friend.  It meant that she would be able to easily hide from any passing traffic.  She was certain that someone would start looking for her soon.  In fact she was surprised that she had not seen any cars coming from behind her.  Surely they knew by now that she was gone.  

The outdoors was not exactly somewhere she felt comfortable.  In fact the bush was probably her least favourite place in the world.  She was a city girl.  She loved looking at skyscrapers and bustling people.  Open spaces, trees and animals had little to no space in her life.  Oh what she would give to be surrounded by crowds of people right now.  She found it comforting to just blend into a crowd and feel unnoticed.

Sitting on the ground behind a shrub she watched the car pass.  Torn between relief of not being seen and yet still being alone she could feel a tear roll down her cheek.  Wiping it away she took a deep breath and pulled her baby even tighter to her chest.  He let out a little murmur as if to say it's ok mum, we are together now nothing else matters.

Sunday, August 19

Death By Accident

“Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

Taking a deep breath Joe thought long and hard about the question. Not that it made it any easier. He knew that he didn't really have a choice but to tell the truth, but he still didn't want to.

“Well...” the Judge's voice snapping the young boy back into reality.

Sitting there in the courtroom Joe still couldn't comprehend how things had gotten so out of control.

“Yyyyess. I swear” As the words left his mouth he knew there was no going back now. He could feel the tears starting to burn his eyeballs. Like he didn't have enough to worry about. Now he had to fight off tears as well.

Looking out across the room Joe hoped to see just one friendly face, but there were none. Even his own mother couldn't hide her disappointment in him right now. His eyes came to rest on the prosecutor. He knew that she would begin the questioning. His young body was rigid as the tension began to mount higher than what it already was.

Sally sat there shuffling the papers in front of her. Just a little longer she thought. This was her favourite part of her job. The ball was totally in her court and right now she felt she had more power than most would ever get to experience in their life.

Out of the corner of her eye she could see the young boy trying not to squirm in his seat. She momentarily felt bad. She knew it wasn't entirely Joe's fault. Still kids got away with too much these days. They had to learn. Well this is what most of the community thought anyway.

Standing up she walked towards the stand with her best fake smile plastered across her face. She knew it wouldn't be long till the boy was a whimpering mess begging for forgiveness.

“In you own words Jo, tell the court what happened on the day in question”

“Well...”Jo began. This was the moment he had been dreading.

He could recall every little detail about that day. From what the other boys were wearing to how many trees, pot holes and shrubs there were in Old Man Snowy's front yard. He had relived that day almost every hour since it happened.

Why oh why had they gone there? Of all the places they could have chosen, why there? They knew he was a child hating tyrant. They knew that he would come out and try to chase them off.

Sure his front garden had the best racing ground but still...they should have known better.

He wanted to say it was Sam's idea. The look of terror on Sam's face made him change his mind. Joe had managed to keep his little brother out of it this long he couldn't drop him in it now. Plus if anyone was going to get sent away Joe thought it should be him. After all he was the oldest and at the end of the day he was the one who had been driving the remote controlled car when it swiped into the old man and knocked him over.

“We never meant for anyone to get hurt” was all Joe could get out before the tears started to roll down his hot red cheeks. “We just wanted to see how the car would race round the trees” he sobbed. “He wasn't supposed to come outside, and when he tried to pick the car up...well I thought it would be funny for it to chase him. I never meant for him to fall”
Sally stared at the youngster. She knew he was nine years old but right now he didn't look a day over five as he sat there accused of murder. Suddenly she didn't love her job as much as she normally did. It was one thing to send a guilty adult off to be incarcerated but an innocent child who still had his whole life before him was another thing altogether.

It suddenly became ridiculous for the case to even be in court. She could remember Old Man Snowy from when she was a child. He was an iconic part of the town. That didn't mean that poor young Joe should suffer for something he didn't do.

As an older sister Sally was fairly certain that Joe was protecting Sam. Though not even Sam deserved to be punished, well at least not this severely. They made a poor choice in going there but they never set out to kill. If the front garden were in better condition and not full of pot holes and if the silly old man wore his glasses then he may never have even tripped.

Returning to her chair, Sally tried to think of how she could turn things about.

“No further questions” she said to the court as she took her seat. It was a cowards way out but at least it was a way out.

Saturday, August 18

The End of a Day

Sitting there she could feel her eyes begin to burn. She knew that she should, but she just couldn't. It was all just too hard, as always.

The muffled laughter and drunken chatter was slightly drowned out by the continuous whirring drone from the dryer. The one that she had fought ruthlessly never to purchase but was now secretly glad she had given into.

Her skin was sticky. Both from the sweat and the drink she had earlier spilt.

She didn't know what she was going to do. Bed seemed like a reasonable option but she wondered whether she would actually go to sleep. Lately it didn't seem to matter how sleepy she was sleep was still elusive. A dream so to speak.

It had been nearly a year yet at the same time it felt like forever. As always her life resembled an array of cliches. Pointless metaphors that everyone could pretend to understand yet had no real meaning at all.

Standing up she clicked on shut down.  It was enough for one night.  The answer to whatever she was looking for was not going to be found staring at that screen tonight.  Possibly not ever, but definitely not tonight.

Switching off the kitchen light she trudged her weary body up the stairs.  Each step getting heavier than the last.  She felt like her legs were made of lead.  In fact her whole body felt listless and heavy.

Turning the water on she waited for it to heat up.  Damn cloudy days meant the heater would be a bit slower and the water not as hot as she would really like.  She wanted to feel like she had been steamed clean.  She wanted the water to sting her skin.  She wanted it to feel like little darts of water piercing through her skin reminding her that she was still alive.

It wasn't that she didn't want to be alive but more of she didn't know how.  The past year had felt like it was a combination of slow motion and auto pilot.  The edges were all blurry still and she didn't know what to make of it all.  She knew that she had gotten through this far but how she would keep going remained a mystery.

Realising this was going to be as hot as it got she tried to enjoy what was there.  It wasn't nearly enough.  She needed extra heat to penetrate through the numbness that had engulfed her body.  Reluctantly she turned the hot off.  The water began to run cold, for a second close to freezing.  Only for a second though and only close to.  She was still left feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.  A reflection of life really.

Climbing in between the sheets she wished she had of taken the time to change them.  Yesterday.  After all that was designated sheet changing day.  What did matter now anyway? It was not like there was anyone else to share it with.  And with that the tears started flowing and her head started pounded.  It was all just too much.

Friday, August 17

Sally and the Psychic

Following the words of a street psychic Sally finds herself at Hamilton homeless shelter unable to leave. Sally had been at the homeless shelter for nearly a month now and it wasn't getting any easier. Times were tough everywhere, there, they just seemed so much worse. Every one had a tale of sorrow and hardship. It was a country western singer's haven. Full of somebody done somebody wrong stories, just waiting to be turned into a tune or two.

Though in the eyes of most that was only to be expected really. A homeless shelter, in the middle of one of the world's largest cities, was not generally the type of place one would go looking for happiness. Of course, happiness wasn't exactly what Sally was looking for. She had hoped that eventually it would come to her, providing of course if she could last that long.

Rolling onto her back, she stared up at the ceiling. Examining yet again the flecks of paint that were peeling off in various sizes. At least it momentarily took her mind off the mattress springs ends that were poking into her. Surely she was wrong. Surely this was not what the psychic meant.

Part of Sally still didn't want to believe there was any truth in what she said. But since the psychic had gone out of her way to get Sally's attention, she thought that maybe there was some possibility she knew what she was talking about.

Sally had been walking down the street on her way home from another tiring day at work, when Celia the psychic called out to her, “What you are looking for will be caught on the corner of 53rd and Smith.” At first Sally thought she was talking to someone else and kept on walking. It was only after Celia called it out again, this time adding, “I am talking to you Sally Robinson” that Sally paid her any attention. “You heard me” was all the old woman would say. Her scratchy voice sending shivers down Sally's spine. Even just thinking about it now Sally could feel the hairs on her arm begin to rise.

Sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of her little bed, she wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her hands along her arms. Perhaps the shivers were due the chilling winds that seemed to be gusting through the shelter. Unlike most people there, Sally didn't have the minimum of four cloth layers to keep her warm. When she first walked through the door, she hadn't expected to be staying long and therefore had not really dressed for the occasion.

After years of blindly walking past the crazy old woman and wishing she would take her crystal ball sideshow to some other pavement, Celia was all that consumed Sally's thoughts. The moment Sally had wished to talk to Celia and find out what she meant, she was gone. Disappeared into thin air. Sally had spent nearly two days waiting for her return but it was not to be, the self professing fortune teller was no where to be seen.

In the days after her encounter with Celia, Sally had gotten little sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she was haunted by the woman's words. After a week, Sally relented and headed to the corner of 53rd and Smith. It wasn't like she had anything to lose...or so she thought.

Being unfamiliar with that side of town, it took Sally a while to find the corner in question. Once there she was sure she had it wrong. Being some what uppity and well to-do Sally had become accustomed to judging a book by it's cover.

Staring at the dilapidated old building she read the shabby sign above the door.
Hamilton Homeless Shelter. Helping you catch life again.

As she began to enter through the door, she was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of fish. In an instant she felt like she had been swept backed to her childhood. Where as a little girl she would sit and help her father mend his fishing net, ready for the next day's catch. It was only a vague memory, her father had apparently died at sea when she was still only very young. Sally had always questioned the reality of his death.

Before she had a chance to recall any more, she was engulfed by the arms of a stranger. A bubbly little man who would have looked right at home standing amongst a group of dwarfs.

“Welcome, welcome” he gushed as he ushered her in and guided her to the where she now found herself. Where she seemed unable to escape from. As much as she despised the shelter and the wretched souls she shared it with she could not bring herself to leave. It was the first time in years she felt connected to her father and it was a connection she was not yet ready to break.

It had been nearly twenty years since she had last seen or heard from her father. Yet sitting there on the shelter bed she felt close to him. At first she thought it was just the smell from the fresh fish shop next door or the fishing nets hung up in the windows as curtains. But there was something else as well. Some niggling little thought that maybe, just maybe Celia was right.

Hearing the front door open Sally stood up and tidy herself up a little. Perhaps this time it would be him.

Tuesday, August 14

The Daily Grind

Looking around the disaster area that lay before her she was amazed at what she saw. Despite having seen the same, or at least similar and perhaps even at times worse, the amazement never ceased. Ever.

Taking a deep breath she began to wade on in, assessing where the best starting point for the day would be. Even though this was not exactly new territory for her, some days she just didn't now where to start.

It would be so much easier to just turn around and run.  And honestly there were days that she wanted to do that.  More than anything there were days where she wished for a magic wand that could make it all disappear.  Turn back the hands of time, erasing what was once and replacing it with something new.

Or at least something different.

It wasn't so much what she was faced, but more so the fact it was always the same. Each and every day. Always the same. It didn't matter what she tried, where she started, how she thought about it, it just didn't matter. The outcome was always the same.

There would always be clothes and dishes that would be waiting to be washed, dried and put away. Only to be used again. Sometimes barely even making it to the next stage before it is need once more. She couldn't believe that maintain wearable clothes for everyone was so time consuming. Between that and providing food on the required regular basis she barely had to get it all done, let alone herself. She was certain that this was not what she had signed up for.

Pausing for a moment she wondered exactly what she had signed up for? What was it she was expecting when she agreed to walk down her current life's path? She knew that it would be like nothing she had experienced before. That was part of the attraction, something new was supposed to equal something exciting, perhaps even better. She had heard others talk of it's great rewards and at the time she thought she was ready. Famous last words though, at the time, given the fickleness of time and all.

Not wanting to dwell on the past or what might have been for too long she went back to finding her starting point for the day. Only it was still too hard. Realising that what was really called for was a nice cuppa she left playroom in the disarray that comes with toddlers and headed for the kitchen. It's not like the mess was going anywhere. She had long given up on the cleaning fairies helping out.

As she waited for the kettle to boil she prepared the dishes for washing. Ensuring that the water was too hot to put her hands. The dishes could soak for a while without making her feel too guilty. Wistfully she stirred the milk into her coffee. Her mind wandering off to other paths she could have chosen.

Years ago, when she had first entered the academy, the procreation and reproductive studies had been her least favourite. It was all presented in such a clinical and non emotional way. Not to mention the emphasis on responsibility. She had always felt the pressure of the responsibility involved with child creating was too great for her. Yet somehow here she was.

Her plans had been to study hard, try her best and hopefully find her way on to a government team. That was where all the big money was. Though it was the prestige and attention that she sought as much as the money. In many ways the money was just the icing on the cake, the thought of being at the forefront of policy making and changing the world at large was really what she was after.

Instead here she was, single handedly raising a bunch of snotty nosed rascals that no one else wanted.

In the early days she had tried to convince herself that the work she was doing with these kids would one day make a difference. Even if only to the children. Now she was worn out and jaded. The system was wrong, it needed to be changed but she doubted it was something she could bring about herself.

Looking at the clock on the microwave she knew it wouldn't be long till the early rises would be up. Ending her peace and quite for at least the next ten hours. The daily grind was about to begin and the monotony of life about to hit full swing.

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