We don’t know what to tell you. Not every one of Miller’s memories are happy ones or good ones for that matter. She was exposed to far too many things she much rather have not experienced. But all of Miller’s memories were scattered. She could never think of things as they were. Only as she seemed to remember them. Devil’s Advocate had the face of man, but the horns and hoofs of a ram, for example. For some reason, that’s how she remembered him. Bileth as hugely fat and smelled of raw onions – he had pointed, sharp teeth and beady, black eyes that had no whites. It’s clear that Miller’s mind has been meddled with far, far past what she could handle – but we can only process her memories through what she gives us.
Today, we see a change in her tune.
A bright blue sky – no clouds and yet somehow still raining – and Miller walking free and without confinement in a concrete jungle of a place. Tall buildings all around her, the pavements accurately placed on the sides of a busy road – streetlamps and trees spaced at even intervals at the edges of the pavement. She had her hair out, she was smiling. Smiling at nothing in particular but the sky and the peculiar weather. She was wearing red-rimmed sunglasses and her lips were rouged, a tight white tank top holding her torso and navy skinny jeans wrapped around her rather stumpy legs. She wasn’t tall, though she wished she was. She had a rather large brown handbag over one shoulder and set of keys in the other hand she was twirling around as she walked up the pavement to a huge multicoloured building.
Everything as so beautiful, it could have been a dream.
Miller walked up to the building gates and pressed a button on the intercom. The intercom beep-beeped until a nasal-sounding voice responded and asked who she was and what she was doing here.
“Driver,” Miller said to the intercom, simple and short.
The gates opened for her and she stepped towards the large glass doors into the building. Waiting for her with excited eager was a line of children in there kaleidoscope of coats and jackets and books and bags and hats and the rest of it, accompanied by their weary-eyed handlers – parents, carers, minders, teachers, helpful volunteers, what have you. They smiled and jumped and squealed her name – the name she used to be known by – overjoyed to see her. She just smiled at them when she walked in, didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. Her existence was small, in the grand scheme of things, but whenever she walked in here, she felt like a celebrity. More than that, she felt like a hero.
Miller signed in at the reception, got the thumbs up to take the children on the school’s bus and smiled at the children again when she announced it. She got a welcome (and loud) clamour of “Yay!”accompanied with plenty of jumping and clapping. Miller asked them to settle down and led them out of the building single-file. If they got too noisy or rowdy, Miller told them that they would have to all go back inside and start again. So the children tried to remain as static as possible – containing their combustible excitement within their small bodies made them fiddle and buzz and walk quickly on their tip-toes – as they half-marched, half-waddled to the school bus. Miller slid open the back door and allowed the other trained and/or experienced adults help the children and themselves into the bus, while she climbed up into the front seat. She made herself comfortable – she always had to since the bus was driven by so many other members of staff and she was relatively small compared to the rest of them – and then started the engine. The chatter of the children behind her grew more erratic, while the adults tried to calm them.
There was no calming them, though. Miller knew this. They’d been good on their way here, so they weren’t going to now. And it’s not like they could be kicked off the bus now that it had started. Miller turned up the radio to stations that they could sing along to – all the cringy pop songs blaring away that the children had heard their mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers sing along to. This kept a rhythm for some time and Miller would occasionally check their sweet smiles in the rear-view mirror for a moment. As Miller came to the residential areas, the bus began to make stops and become lighter with every drop off. It wasn’t until half the bus was empty that she began to notice a peculiarity. Maybe it was the music, or the amusing mischief of the children picking on each other or talking their seatbelts off – but she was surprised she hadn’t noticed it before.
There was a motorcyclist that appeared to be tailing her.
Miller remained as calm as she could – simply because she didn’t see a way of reacting otherwise. She considered asking one of the teachers to come and sit with her at the front and disclosing the information, but she brushed the thought away. It was probably nothing, she told herself – though she knew it was a lie. But she couldn’t cause a panic with the children on board. She would just have to confront the matter when the bus was empty. And as time dragged on, the bus became more and more quiet. The motorcyclist stayed on Miller’s tail. She wondered what he or she or they could possibly want. There was only one child left. Miller parked the bus on the side of the road where the child lived – like she always did – and helped the little person off the bus, holding his things and his bags as they walked up to the house. She head the engine of a motorcycle cut in the near distance soon after she got off.
“How was your day, Eliot?” she asked the young man.
“It was good. I drawed a dinosaur,” he said, looking up at Miller and grinning a toothy grin. His little front tooth had fallen out a few days ago, and it made his smile all the more endearing.
“You drew a dinosaur? Wow!” Miller expressed far more excitement than she felt for Eliot’s benefit.
“Like the one we saw at the mooseum,” Eliot stretched his arms up and stood on his tiptoes, “the tall one with the long neck!”
Miller picked him up and snuggled him, “Oh, that’s my favourite one! You’ll have to show me it when I see you later.”
Eliot frowned, “You’re not coming home now?” he asked.
“No, sweetie. I still have a few thing to do,” Miller tried to explain. She hated disappointing him, “But I promise we’ll talk all about the dinosaurs when I get back, okay?”
“Okay,” Eliot nodded, smiling a little for Miller’s benefit.
“Now you be good for Uncle Sean and Aunty Cat, okay?” Miller told Eliot.
“I will, mum,” Eliot giggled hugging her. He kissed her cheek and said, “Love’oo.”
“I love you too,” she squeezed him and set him down. He scrabbled to the door of his home and rang the bell.
Miller turned away and headed back towards the bus. The motorcyclist was leaning against it. She cocked her head to a side and approached him.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
He pulled a gun from his jacket and pointed it at her…