Together Forever

Charlie doesn't understand why these strange people keep visiting his mother and leaving her upset. He wants revenge. But is it really these people who are causing his mother to feel sad, or is it something bigger? [For 'The Light That Gets Lost' competition. It fits primarily into the 1st option- a story about revenge.]

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1. Chapter 1

I press one of my ears against the wall. I fall deadly silent as muffled voices begin to emerge- I want to be able to hear everything they're saying. I want to know what is wrong with mummy, and why strange men (and women) with funny suitcases keep visting her. I'm supposed to be in my room because mummy always sends me upstairs just before the doorbell rings. I once heard her whisper to grandma - when she thought I wasn't listening - that she didn't want to upset me.

Even though there is a great big wall between us, mummy's voice is still clear. I can hear her quivering a little when she speaks, and I want so desperately to burst in and give her a hug. But I won't. I don't want to upset her.

Eventually the voices stop altogether. This means that their meeting has come to an end. I can tell by the creak of the sofa when one of the strange people get up from their seat. I know that none of them are sitting in my seat because I told mummy that it was only for the two of us to share. My seat is in the corner of the room, with a soft cushion to make it even more comfortable. Mummy even knitted a blanket for me so I could drape it over myself whenever I felt cold. She stitched it in a deep blue colour with twinkly stars. She told me it was like the stars in the night sky.

The door creaks open a little bit, and I jump quickly away from the wall, like a lion pouncing the wrong way. I half tiptoe, half run up the stairs, being careful to avoid the loud parts of the stairs. Once I'm at the top I hurry across the landing and into my room. I sit on the carpet and pretend to be colouring in.

A few minutes later there is a knock at the door- tap - tap tap - tap - tap - I can tell it is mummy because this is our special knock. We use it so we know that it is each other. Mummy likes it because when she leaves me at home by myself she knows I won't answer the door unless I hear exactly that knock. She always wants to make sure I'm safe.

She walks over to me now and looks at my colouring in book.

"I love it," she says.

I tear my eyes away from the paper and look up at her. She's smiling her usual soft, kind smile- the one that makes all of the other children wish they had a mummy as nice as mine. But I see sadness in her eyes. No matter how big her smile is, she can never hide how she truly feels on the inside. Especially not from me. 

"Thanks, mummy." I say, beaming. Maybe if I am even more cheerful around her, some of my happiness will spread to her. I wish I could give some of my happiness to mummy. I don't think she has enough of it by herself.

Mummy does something very odd next. First she sits next to me and gives me a hug (normal mummy behaviour). I hug her back. Then she buries her head into my hair (also normal mummy behaviour). And then . . . she starts to cry (not normal mummy behaviour). I can feel her tears sinking into my hair, making it a bit damp.

"There, there." I say in a comforting voice, mimicking the way she speaks to me when I'm crying over a bruise or a scratch from the playground. I always cry when I get hurt somewhere, especially when I can see what is causing my pain. But I can't see any bruises or scratches on mummy's body. She looks healthy. I don't know why she's so upset.

Mummy cries for a long time, keeping her face in my hair. All of her tears go into my hair, so maybe I'm helping to absorb her sadness. Maybe I can take it away from her and have it inside of me instead.

After a while she stops crying. Her tears have dried, but her eyes still look sore and red.

"Are you tired mummy? I think you should have a rest. Don't worry- I can cook for us if you want." This makes her laugh a little.

"It's okay, Charlie. But thank you."

"Mummy," I begin cautiously, "What do those people do to you?"

"What peopl- oh, no, Charlie. Don't worry darling- they're helping me."

"But why do you get so sad as soon as they've gone?" I feel confused.

She doesn't say a word.

"Mummy?"

She shakes her head sadly. "Dinner will be ready soon, I'll call you down, okay?"

I nod, but inside I am still confused.

She gets up and leaves the room, clicking the door shut behind her.

I am left sitting in the middle of the carpet, feeling bewildered (this means that I am really confused about something- in this case, mummy's behaviour). Something is definitely wrong- mummy is definitely hiding something. I don't know the full story, but what I do know is that those strange people are hurting her, even if she won't admit it.

They'll pay for this. 

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