NOBODY’S CHILD

"Nobody's Child" Cassie is an eleven year old girl who has been in a children's home since she was four years old. Very bright, Cassie excels in most subjects and can play Brahms and Mozart on the piano at the age of only six. Because of her age nobody wants to adopt her. Mrs Cummings the manager of Auton House is a wicked woman who treats Cassie and the rest in her charge badly and beats her with regularity. One day she is sent to clean out the toilet and bathroom and Mrs Cummings comes along to inspect them. Running a white glove over everything and looking for dirt. When she doesn't find any she then reaches up on the door - Cassie is only three feet six inches tall and was unable to reach up to the top of the door and Mrs Cummings sets about her with a cane. She beats her so badly that Cassie runs at her forcing her back where she hits her head on a wash basin. Cassie in her panic rushes out and runs away.- It is there that she meets Don a ex docker who takes pity on the girl - rea

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Tonight they had made tuna and mayonnaise on brown crusty bread and there was some malt loaf with cheddar cheese. She took the haul back to her camp and began to eat it in the moonlight

She knew that the lads fished for five hours so it was now eleven o’clock.

She was wide awake now having slept earlier. The sandwiches were good as usual and the malt loaf even better. Taking a drink from the bottle she gave a satisfied burp.

The stillness of the night was only broken by the incessant sound from the moving staircase and a clanging of metal against the pier. Two ships sailed silently along the Tyne heading up to Newcastle. Looking across the river Cassie saw the last ferry return to South Shields and moor up. She laid her head on the plastic bag and hugged the blanket. Then she heard a car pull up; whoever they were seemed in a hurry as the doors banged. The sound of heavy footsteps followed. “Watch out for dog crap said Tim.’ the bloody place is a dog toilet by the looks of things.’ Cassie was up and her clothes and blanket wrapped up in a bundle as she vacated the cardboard shelter and ran towards the pier and hid under a makeshift seat underneath. The waves crashed against the side of the thick wooden beams as she looked to see who was coming. She saw two men; one was a giant of a man and the other around five feet nine. They seemed to know exactly what they were looking for as they found her hide out.

“There’s no one here said Beefy to Tom Stanton.’

“Maybe she’s moved on somewhere else; she a clever one by all accounts according to Patricia Holgate.’ “What I would give for a night with her said Beefy.’ They searched around the surrounding area but found nothing.

“Come its bloody freezing out here Beefy let’s go back to the station and talk to Don Delap again I’m sure that bugger knows more than he’s letting on.’ The two men walked along to where the boats were moored and shone a torch light. Cassie ducked down behind one of the wooden beams as the flash light went past. A large rat scurried past her; she nearly screamed and had to cover both hands over her mouth to stop herself. The huge rat looked at her and its orange coloured teeth could be seen as it chewed on a piece of bread that she had thrown away earlier. The two detectives walked back to the car then got in and drove away. Cassie was cold now, the temperature had dropped dramatically. Shivering she climbed back to the promenade then went back to her hide away. She knew that the two men would be back later so she huddled and tried to keep warm.

 

By the time dawn had broken Cassie was so cold she couldn’t feel her finger or toes a frost had covered everything in a silvery white carpet. Folding the blanket until it was small enough to roll up so she could carry it Cassie emerged from her hide. She stamped her feet on the ground to try and urge some circulation into them. her hot breath  came out of her mouth in clouds as the exertion of moving around to keep warm made her breathe heavy. She walked up the bank and headed into the forum where she knew she could scrounge a few shillings to buy breakfast and a hot cup of tea. Not many folk stopped this morning it was too cold and her pleas for spare change went unanswered.

Then she saw an old man with his pet dog; she knelt down to stroke the whippet.

“What’s his name?’

“Trigger said the old man, she used to be a good racer at one time but she’s too old to run just like me.’

“What are you doing up so early anyway?’

“I’m trying to get a hot cup of tea but I’ve no money.’

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