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For four years the guilt still haunted my Mum.

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As we sat down for dinner or 'tea' as it has come to be called in our small two up-two down house, 174, Lonsdale Street, there was that same ominous feeling in the air that all too often filled me with dread and a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach. That would set the tone for the remainder of the evening and most probably continue late on in to the night and early hours. The hunger that now eluded my whole body had earlier been forced to become a mind over matter issue as I struggled fruitlessly with my maths homework, but now, tea was ready. Unfortunately though, my hunger was no more satisfied even after I had ravenously finished off every last bite of my half - yes my whole half - of the gourmet dish of Heinz beans and sausage, so expertly cooked - or rather opened from the tin - by Paul. This was another tell-tale sign of what was to come in the next few hours. As per usual, the rather bland evening meal was complemented by certain happenings in our house that even I struggled to deal with as I maybe would have done in the past. ...read more.


Just as the kettle boiled my mind jolted back into reality and I poured water in to each of the three mugs. I heard the front door close with a bang and the letter box swung backwards and forwards, probably hanging off even more than it had before. "We shan't be seein' 'im again tonight," said Mum softly in her ever-calming voice. "He'll be back," I replied tentatively. "Oh, he'll be back all right. Drunk as a skunk, no doubt." She even said this in a subtle tone, as if she had seen it all before and was now finding the whole scenario increasingly monotonous. I decided that the best reply, was no reply. We sat in the lounge in silence. No sound apart from Matthew Kelly on Stars in their Eyes gaily welcoming some middle aged house-wife from Wales as Christina Aguilera. I glanced across at Mum, still glaring at the television intently, steel-eyed. She did not even look up, not a second thought. Nothing. Perhaps all recent happenings had hardened her to such petty behaviour... When Gillian had finished her piece as Christina, I drained the remainder of my mug, said good-night to Mum and proceeded up the stairs that creaked more and more with each processional step higher, and to my bedroom. ...read more.


Insects and birds still seemed to buzz, sing and twitter contentedly in and around the garden, but no sound. Silence. I turned back to the pool to see its emptiness. No buds, no petals, not even a single solitary blade of grass. My eye lids opened with surprising ease to focus on the blankness of the familiar surroundings. Despite my disorientation, there were recognisable sounds from beyond my immediate surroundings. It took another moment for it to make sense. Mum? There was a loud, ear piercing smash, followed by a thud then an emotional cry of pain and torment! I was right. All my thoughts and fears were so damningly correct, but what could I do? Was I to go down? My mind wavered. Could I help her, or was it not worth it? Would it only worsen the situation? Could it only worsen the situation? It did on the previous occasion. Another loud scream later, followed by a familiar bang and it was over. He was home. Her haven. She whimpered in his arms, but he was oblivious. Immensely intoxicated by drink, he had fallen backwards onto the empty bottle on the table. Well, that was our version. Who would doubt it though? Her numerous breaks and bruises were plain for all to see. For four years the guilt still haunted my Mum. And Chloe, the result of that fateful night. By James Prescott ...read more.

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