Year of the Butterfly

Life goes on.. even when you lose someone you love, even when you don't know what to think, how to feel, how to act and what to say. Everything will be okay, is what people like to say, but it won't and you know it. All you can do is bury your grief and hide, and hope on the surface at least life will appear to be normal. Is there any hope?
This is a story of a young girl battling with the loss of her father. Accompany her on a journey of self-discovery and misadventure as she negotiates her way through bereavement and processes the unanswered questions. Along the way, there are dreams, visions and schemes, at least one golden urn and a kidnapping. Her story is about a metamorphosis from pain into renewal and growth. Her destination is a place of hope with a promise of healing.


18. Of riddles and regrets

"I think so, but let's just wait another minute..." There was no sign of Whitey, but to be safe, I cupped my hand over Lisa's ear and whispered to her, "Don’t be scared, Sis. Remember they're going to ask Mommy for money and she won't give them any if they hurt us. They’re only mean to us so that we will be scared of them, so we'll pretend we are. Okay?" Lisa cupped her hand over my ear and whispered back, "Okay, as long as they let us stay together like this." We had to keep looking over our shoulders to make sure no one was coming, but it sounded like the guys were having a party in the other room. Fine by me. Let them stay there and leave us alone. Sigh. This is all my fault. If only I’d had the idea to leave this place sooner! If only I’d never had the stupid plan to come here in the first place! "Sis, I owe you an apology." "What for?" "For getting us into this mess." "We didn't hear them coming, that's all. Our plan would've worked if you hadn’t got up, because they didn't see me behind the bushes." "No, it was a mistake to come here at all. I knew those guys were trouble." She frowned at me. "How did you know? We were just playing detective." I felt like the lousiest big sister on earth. "I’ve seen their car before, Sis, near our house and outside school. I thought they were following us, and now I know for sure. Well, obviously they were because Mack told us but... " Lisa didn't understand what I was going on about. "You mean that day in the park wasn't the first time you saw these guys?" "Well, there were always 2 of them and I never got close enough to see their faces. All I could make out was that they had mullets. And Barney looked familiar from the moment I saw him here, but I couldn't place him. Then he got this funny look on his face and I knew he was the same guy Mommy and I saw in the shop in Mossel Bay. Do you remember Mommy talking about him? That means Barney is Kenny’s cousin!" Lisa's jaw dropped and her eyes widened. "Kenny from school? Do you think he's in on it?" "No, of course not! Kenny’s annoying but he's too chicken to be part of something like this. But did you see how Barney reacted when I said we were digging up worms? Well, there you go. Mommy said Kenny’s cousin saw me putting the worms on Kenny’s sandwich, remember? So I think Kenny told Barney, who told his friends, about us and that our family has money, which is why they've been watching us!"

Everything was beginning to make sense. These guys followed us to Mossel Bay and when they saw the car door was left open and I had my back to the car, playing with the puppy, they quickly grabbed Daddy’s urn. And then they probably wanted to see where we were staying in Mossel Bay. I remembered all the questions Kenny had asked about the stuff we have and how much money we spend, and so on. He had obviously told Barney all of that... "What do you think they're doing at home now?" "Mommy’s going out of her mind worrying about us. I know she won't stop looking for us, no matter what Mack said." Lisa looked worried. "But how will she know where to even start looking for us? We’re way on the other side of the neighbourhood. She didn't even put up her posters of Daddy's urn around here. She’s never going to find us." "Look Sis, we don't know what's happening on the outside, but we've got to do what we can here. Now don't forget that they took Daddy's urn, so maybe it's in this house somewhere!" "Oh yes! We should try to find it!" "That’s what I mean, but it won't be easy. Whitey isn't so scary but he doesn't speak. If only we could get him to speak to us, then we could sort of, I don't know, make friends with him." "What? Are you mad? I don't want to be friends with that weirdo!" "Shh! I don't mean real friends, Sis. I mean we have to get him on our side, so he'll be nicer to us. Understand?" "How’re we going to do that?" "I don't know. Not yet. But try smiling at him every chance you get or say something nice to him like you really like his necklace or something like that." "And then what?" "Maybe then he will be more relaxed with us and let us go to the bathroom by ourselves. If we get a chance, we could have a quick look around the other rooms in the house, especially if the others are out. It’s got to be here!” Where else would they keep it?

"Okay then. And you should stop being so sassy with Mack. I don't think he likes it. I really thought he was going to cut me with his knife." "I know, I’m sorry about that, but I just can't help myself. He’s so… what's the word? It’s like he's making fun of us all the time. He did the same with Mommy on the phone. He talks all seriously but he's obviously laughing on the inside. That makes me mad. But you're right. It’s better if we show that we are very scared of them." "But I really am very scared of them." "I know, Sis." All I could do was put my arm around her shoulders and hug her tightly. "Aren’t you?" I nodded slowly and shortly after that, Whitey came back into the room. We made sure not to look at him until he sat down. He was looking at us pretending to watch TV, so we both looked at him and saw him smiling. His eyes were bloodshot and there was a strong smell coming from him. We smiled back.

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