Forgiving Justice

"...So it came a bit of a shock to me when I saw what was happening between Bella and Theo. No one would have guessed that anything like that could happen to us: the happy go lucky Balmers and Kensits living in the big house on the corner. But that’s the funny thing about life.
You never know what’s coming next."

Fifteen year old Natalie Balmer/Kensit has never really felt like she belongs. Throughout her childhood she was continually bounced from one home to another- whilst keeping a terrible secret that her older sister Bella was being brutally abused.
Now, living in care, seperated from her family and in a steady relationship with boyfriend Jasper, Natalie is shocked to find her past being dragged out in front of her.

Theo is back. And his story's in court.

Natalie, as the only witness to Bella and Theo's injustice, is now compelled to make a life changing decision- Keep her families together?

Or serve Bella justice and send her sister to prison?

Coming soon!




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36. Finding Theo

The gates were fierce: wrought iron and tough as steel. Brocklehurst House was tall and grand: painted white and climbing plants snaking up the sides of the walls mysteriously. It was strange how non-institution like it seemed, when that's exactly what it was.

With my hand shaking ever so slightly, I pressed the button labelled 'reception'. A nasal buzzing sound filled my ears horribly. "Hello?" A faint voice asked from the other side.

"Hi," I began, "I'm here to visit my sister, Isabella Balmer."

There was a pause for a moment. I heard the quiet shuffling of papers. Then, "Is she expecting you?"

"Yes. She called me an hour ago."

There was another buzzing sound, and the gates swung open. "Please make your way to reception."

I donned my backpack, breathing deeply. All of a sudden, my jeans felt too tight. My maroon jumper the colour of blood. My hair sweaty and stringy. I felt sick.

Though somehow, my boots still carried me forward. I kept telling myself that it was perfectly normal to be nervous; that after a few awkward minutes with Bella everything would be fine.

Everything would fit together again, just like in a jigsaw puzzle.

When I had finally reached reception, I found myself strangely excited. All feelings of nervousness and timidness had slipped out of my head, and had been replaced with anticipation and elation. After all, this would be the first time I spoke to Bella properly face to face since... the day she left us as a fifteen year old girl.

The receptionist smiled at me warmly. She had wild, frizzy hair in the shape of a cloud, the colour of chocolate, and wore a bright orange t shirt with the same of some charitable organisation on the front. "Are you Natalie?"

She spoke to me like I was a five year old. I nodded stupidly. Who else did she think I was?

"Now, I'm afraid I'm going to have to restrict you to an hour long visit this afternoon," she told me humorlessly, "you see, she's only been here three days and in order to give her the best possible treatment we have to monitor her very closely."

"I understand."

It was like we were talking about a four day old premature baby, not a grown twenty three year old woman. But I co-operated, and followed the plump woman through the double doors into a narrow, picture-lined corridor. That was when the feeling of an institution really gripped me. Tasteless paintings of cute puppies and ponies and sunny beaches adorned the whitewashed walls, faded with age and neglect. Fire warnings and drill instructions were stuck up flimsily with buts of blue-tack, curled up at the sides. I swallowed, my throat suddenly dry and tender. Only one word came up in my mind: Jasper.

I wanted Jasper.

I suddenly understood what Bella had said, the place was bearable. It seemed as if the patients were well cared for, and the staff were nice enough; but it could never feel like a home.

This was not a home for Bella.

At that moment I swore to myself and to Bella that I would get her out of there. She would come and live with Jasper and I, or even by herself if she felt well enough. What people didn't seem to understand was that Bella needed people to give her a chance.

Well, I was giving her one now.

The receptionist smiled encouragingly at me, patting my shoulder awkwardly. "There's a button on the wall inside. Let me know if you need anything."

"Thank you."

Then I stopped. "Wait, are you not coming in with me?"

"Oh no, poppet. I think you need some alone time to see your sister."

"Oh. Right."

She disappeared down the corridor. At that moment, I felt more alone than I had ever felt in the whole of my life. But all of that was about to change. I was going to get my sister back. Bella was on the inside of this door. I pushed it open, with a, "Bella, I'm here..."

But Bella didn't answer.

At first, all I saw was the feet, bare and dangling just above the floorboards. Then I saw the hands, wrinkled and scarred from years of abuse, hanging uselessly at her sides. Last of all, I saw the head. A thick, coarse, angry rope embraced Bella's thin, swan-like neck, choking her to death.

Stumbling, blinded by the sudden wave of horrified tears, I grabbed at Bella by her torso, trying to release her. I screamed at how pathetic, how useless, how doll-like she felt. Stopping for a moment, trying to whir my brain back into motion, I put a finger to her bruised neck.

"Help! Help!" I screamed, begging someone, anyone to come and save Bella, come and save my sister. Every single inch of my body screamed for me to be anybody else but myself at this moment of time; to not be powerless. If I could change myself I could, I would do anything to save Bella. But inwardly, I already knew it was too late.

She was dead.

I stepped back, as a mixture of shock, horror and suffocating grief enveloped me; but just as quickly, I staggered, and fell onto the harsh floorboards, panting and sobbing and screaming all at the same time.

I had landed on something hard. My hands fumbled to try and search for the destructive object, and my hands closed around something firm, square and sturdy.

It was a book.

I picked it up, and tried to read the title. But I was vision less by the never ending waterfall of tears, and it didn't make sense.

'Binding Leo'.

I gritted my teeth, and wiped my eyes again with a search of grim determination.

'Finding Theo'.

It was a black book, a beautiful black book at that; meticulously bound and lovingly decorated in huge Gothic swirls.

I didn't want to read it, but finding myself already turning the first page, I couldn't stop myself. All I saw were the words, "I only wanted the screaming to stop".

Suddenly, everything that had happened today: the phone call, the eagerness for me to visit, the sudden panic when I was uncertain all made sense.

Bella had set me up. She had sent me here to get the book, the book which she had written, without her even having to explain a single thing. When the young woman at the trial had pronounced, "Guilty", she decided there and then that she would end her own life one way or another, and that had finally put her at peace with herself.

The knowledge that she would never have to face Theo ever again had made her happy.

And now she was dead because of that hope.

My tears falling silently now, I opened the book carefully. Inside was a photo, one of all the family; taken at a rare seaside holiday outside Rusty's huge country house. Beneath the photo was a caption, written in small, neat, spider-like writing.

'I found him'.

 

 

 

 

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