Chrysanthemum George (otherwise known as Chrys) is drowning in a world of self-harm, suicide and dark thoughts. Recovery has never been her plan but when a new face arrives on the scene will Chrys have any choice in the matter? A story about the darkness eating at a generation and the difficult route out of it.


3. Chapter 2, Part 1

By the time Jen pulls up in the minivan my jumper is on properly instead of just hastily yanked over my head like before. Jen doesn’t like the young ones seeing my arms and I don’t like them seeing them either. It’s not fair on them to see the damage people can do to themselves. They’re young, naïve and innocent and I know well enough that though the world will strip that away from them in the future, they still have a few years to go and I will not expose them to that cruelty any earlier than they need to by letting them see my arms.

I ignore the Home logo on the rusting side door of the minivan and just yank it open. Honestly, you’d think they take better care of the van and not let it rust; it doesn’t exactly blend in with the blue of the van.  Apparently though, taking care of the vehicles they transport kids in isn’t a priority for social services.

A rogue lollipop hits me in the head as I shut the door behind myself and plonk myself in the seat nearest to the door. Giggles erupt behind me as Eric and Tomas duck behind their chairs in the belief that they won’t be seen. I smile as I swivel around on my chair to look at the chairs they’ve just hidden behind. Their light-up trainers flash childishly as their legs dangle beneath their seats.

“Where have Tomas and Eric gone? Oh my, if they don’t come back soon I might just have to eat this lollipop all to myself. Oh, and look! It’s their favourite flavour, orange.” I call cheerfully to the back of the minivan.

I can hear Jen chuckling in the front and I smile as squeals and hurried whispers emerge from the back. Their flashing shoes are bouncing up and down on the floor as they decide whether giving up their obviously perfect hiding place is worth one lollipop. It must be, because as soon as I start crinkling the lollipop’s wrapper in my hand there are two seconds more of whispered and frantic discussion followed by a high pitched squeal calling my name from the back of the bus.

“No, no, Chrys!” Tomas whined, the top of his head appearing over the top of the chair.

“Chrys, we’re sorry!” Eric cries as I crinkle the wrapper a little louder and his head also appears over the top of his chair.

For two children that couldn’t look more different most of the time, both of them wear the same puppy-eyed, hangdog and most innocent faces they can muster.  Wide eyes shine at me and lips are pouted to the point of puckering until I can’t help but laugh. With a smile I throw the lolly to the back of the bus where they scramble for it quickly, Eric’s dark curls bouncing with the rest of him as he bounces up and down on his chair with joy. Tomas quickly follows suit and his blonde mop of hair flops down into his eyes. He sorts it out quickly with a quick puff of air from his lips. I receive one last smile from the pair before they duck back down behind their chair and argue vigorously about who gets the recently received orange lollipop and who gets the boring orange lollipop still left in the bag between them.

I roll my eyes and turn back around to face the front, catching eyes with Jen in the front mirror. She winks at me and I smile back as we pull up at the Home.

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