The Grand Finale

For the 'Hidden power' competition. Criticism and advice welcome!

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2. Two

Then her body sags forward, like the fire has left her. She gets up, without meeting his eyes, and stomps  off into the concrete hut.

The boy turns his glare to the bowel on the ground. It’s not its fault that his mother is always so unreasonable, but he is shaking. So desperate to just break something he directs all of his frustration at the pathetically crafted thing, as if his feelings are suddenly tangible- waves threatening to swallow him up- and it splits all down the side. He lets out a long breath but does not look particularly surprised at the two halves that lie on the ground, splintered in their effort to remain one.

When the woman re-emerges from the hut she too is neither surprised nor alarmed about the bowel. She simply sweeps it out of the way and dumps a pile of newspaper clippings down at the boy’s feet.

“What’s this?” his anger is replaced by confusion.

“Why we can’t go back.” She says harshly. Then her tone takes a more gentle, almost pitiful note: “They’re about your birth.”

The boy suddenly jumps at the clippings, reading the bold headlines that are leaping off the pages, answering the questions he has been asking since he could speak.

Vishnu baby stolen from hospital!

Blue BABE MISSING!                    

Infamous Vishnu kid gone!

His eyes finally settle on the headline that is screaming above the rest. He shakes his head a little, as if to clear it or shut out the racket the rest of the papers are making.

NURSE SUSPECTED OF KIDNAPPING GOD-CHILD!

The child of Mr and Mrs Whitworth disappeared right from under the public’s nose!

Last night the TELEGRAPH received confirmation that top investigators from Scotland yard believe a young trainee nurse snatched the little Whitworth from his distraught parents on the night that he went missing.

 

“I thought you were my mother.” He doesn’t sound angry. Just lost. And confused.

But she can neither see nor hear him anymore, her eyes wide and sightless as she relives a scene that, judging by her expression, is highly unpleasant.

“When you came out, all blue and arms and legs, they screamed. If it weren’t for me they’d have dropped you and you’d have been dead, there and then. Then she… your mother… just stared at you in my arms, horrified and discussed. Like you were some kind of monster. But they were the monsters. I think I must have tries to pass you to her- stupid thing to do- and she fell over herself backwards. ‘Get it away from me’ she said. ‘But he’s your son’ I told her, and she just started screaming again. And crying. One of the other nurses- not the midwife, she was still in too much shock mind- went and got a doctor.” She stops to catch her breath, which is hitching uncomfortably in her throat.

“Then suddenly there were people everywhere- staring at you. You started to cry, so I tried to set you in an incubator, but some-one told me, I don’t remember now who, to give you to your mother. All the colour drained from her face, white as a sheet she went, but she took you anyway; for the cameras you see- who’d just turned up. That’s when I knew, right then, that you were special, and these people weren’t to be trusted with you. So I took you. In the night, once everything had quietened down a bit. But not before she tried to kill you. Your mother that is. Once the doctor finally managed to get the press out, and it was just a few of us and you and her, she rammed you under her pillow and pressed down really hard.” Tears were flowing freely down her face now, dripping to the floor, leaving silvery tracks across her cheek bones.

 “We had to wrestle her away from you, and when I grabbed you up to assess the damage, I truly thought she’d got away with it. You were only just breathing. We put you straight into intensive care, but no amount of intensive care would ever be able to fix her. Your mother- she wailed and screamed and said we had to end you, ‘end it’ she said over and over again, convinced you’d been touched by Satan I think- she was a big christian.” She finally falls silent, her breathing shallow with the horror of it all.

The boy is staring at her. “They think I’m some kind of god” for the first time he sounds terrified.

Her eyes snap up to his briefly. “You might very well be. When you were very young, I tried to find answers. Before we had to disappear I took you deep into the heart of India. The people there respected you. Were in awe of you. Even started to try to worship you. But nothing apart from your appearance hinted that you were the great Vishnu. This man, he was the head of some kind of sacred house, let us stay with him. He was the one who suggested we should run, and you should be protected. Your parents, back in England, had realised that you were in India, and were staring to demand you back. India was nearly thrown into war over you-and it was the night that the British prime minister issued the statement to India saying if we didn’t hand you over the army would come and get you- that you started to do all sorts of extraordinary things. You were sitting on this little rug- a prayer mat they called it- and things just started… floating. All around you. You giggled and grinned, delighted with yourself, as they spun around your head. You were such a lovely child. A pleasure to raise.” She looks up at him and blushes, slightly, before continuing, hurriedly ducking her head again.

“Well, this head-of-sacred-house-fellow and I just looked at each-other, then suddenly he was packing, ramming all sorts of things in a bag, and hurrying us out- telling me I had to keep you safe. ‘The boy’ he kept repeating. ‘Keep him safe, then bring him back here. By the gods keep him safe’.”

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