Mama’s friends

By Grace Holmes

It’s wet and cold out here. The wind howls around us, controlling us. The night is dark, black and icy. I hold onto my brother’s hand tightly. I don’t want to let go, for fear that he will blow away. He looks up at me with his big blue eyes like a lost puppy wanting to be returned home. I begin to doubt myself, why did I take him away? Then I remember, it was for our own good. Dad was throwing bear cans and cursing at the TV, as he usually does. But tonight he was worse, he’s had a bad day of work. He screamed at my brother and threatened to hit him. So I packed our bags. We are walking down the road, there is and eery silence between us, all we can hear is the whirling wind of the storm, it’s going to be a long night.

We walk through the town. The shops lights are out and the place looks deserted. Pieces of litter fly around in the wind. The rain bashes the roofs of the shops, it sounds like gunshots flying at us, which I feel it is. I feel as if this is a war. We are battered soldiers walking up to the front line, the bullets are fired at us and we don’t run, we just walk on, fearless. But I do not feel fearless now, I am afraid. I am afraid of the whirling wind and the bulleting rain and I am afraid of what to do next, but I do not show this, I am a soldier in disguise.
The thought of going back home keeps flashing in my head. But I know that our dad does not miss us and he is not looking for us, he does not care. If mum were still alive she would be combing the streets shouting our names but our dad stays and watches TV and he does not care one bit. I’ve seen some of my other friends dads, they are friendly and give their daughters hugs and kisses and are very protective. My dad’s the opposite, he never gives us hugs and kisses and he is definitely not protective, all he does it watch his TV and drink his beer. Sometimes I just wish mum was back here. She would stand up to him, she would kiss us and hug us and be protective.
I know I have to find somewhere to sleep and in the back of my head I know where we are going. There is this old house at the end of town. It is deserted. I know why this is, but I ignore the reason and walk on. We reach it eventually. We stand at the old battered rusty gate. I stare up at the house. The windows are smashed, the paint has been peeling for many years now. The black sky makes it look like a prison, dark and no one will ever escape once they go in. I wonder who used to live here. It looks like it could have been a homely house. I can imagine a family sitting in deck chairs in the now overgrown garden. But we aren’t like them. This was their home, we are invading.
” Katie, I’m scared, can’t we just go back home?” Tom asks as he shivers and coughs. The truth is I want to do the exact same thing but I know that if we go back now we’ll never have to courage to run away again. “ It’s okay Tom. We’ll make this our little home”. I circle the bottom floor of the house trying to find a way in. Finally I find a window that has been smashed enough for us to fit through. This probably means that someone has been in here too, this makes me feel unsettled but we must go on. I begin to climb the windowsill, the inside is pitch black all I can see is a sliver of light coming from the other end of the room.“I help Tom up and he tumbles into the house. The moon is shining on us, guiding us. I can hear dogs barking and cars whizzing by. The wind whirls around my face, making my hair cover my eyes and I feel blind and helpless, then the hair clears and I still feel blind and helpless.
We walk through the first room, it looks like it used to be a bedroom. The walls are covered in faded flower wallpaper. I can imagine a little girl sitting on her bed in here, reading a book. Then we walk into a bigger room, it looks like the kitchen. I can imagine the mum cooking dinner and calling her family, the family sit down to dinner at a grande table but then I notice that the cooker is completely burnt, all over. The whole kitchen looks like it has been in a fire. That must be what got rid of the owners of the house. Then a horrible image flashes to mind. The night of the fire, that’s when mum died. Our house caught on fire, my dads cigarette. My brother and I were rescued by firemen, we were in our room but mum wasn’t so lucky, she got trapped and went down with the house. I wonder if that’s what happened to this family too, in this room. Maybe the mum was cooking dinner, maybe the dad smoked.
There is a little light coming from the crack in the door in the next room. We make our way slowly forward. The wind is blowing from the room. I push Tom forward. I can feel the tension in the air. Neither of us want to go in, but I know we have to. I step forward push the door open. I hear a scream come from the room, I quickly shut my eyes and grab Tom. “ It’s ok Katie, it’s only just a little girl” he whispers to me.
I open my eyes and he’s right, it is only just a little girl. She stares up at us with her big green eyes. “ Hello. What’s your name?” I ask her. She only looks about five. “ I’m Sophie.” She answers in a sweet voice. Then I remember where we are, in this pitch black house , in the middle of a storm… “ What are you doing here?” I ask her. “ Mama sent me here and she never came to get me after.”She whispers. All she has in the room is a torch, a blanket and a little backpack that looks like it’s stuffed with clothes. I hunch down beside her. The wind whistles through a crack in the window. I reach out to touch her, she’s freezing. Tom comes and sits on the ground too. Sophie puts a blanket over all of us and we just sit in silence for a while. I try to figure out what to do with the situation. I now have another young child to look after and we don’t have any food or drink. “ When did your mum leave you Sophie?” I ask the poor little child, it looks like she’s been living here for a while, there are drawings on the wall with chalk. One of them has a little girl in the arms of a woman and underneath it says: ‘ They’ll look after you here, Soph’. “ Mama left me a few days ago. She drew me that picture and disappeared” She whispers as though it’s a secret. “ Who will look after you Sophie?” I ask her.. “ Mama’s friends. They don’t like me though, they lock me in this room and won’t let me out”, she whispers, as though they can hear her.
As Sophie says that I can hear whispers from the next room. I turn my head and the door slams shut. “ They’re here.” Sophie whispers“ What did you say Sophie?” I ask her, she sounded different. “ They’re here, mama’s friends. They don’t like strangers.” Sophie whispers into my ear. When she says this I can hear cackling in the distance. Tom looks at me and back to Sophie. We can hear the wind howling outside and the rain pelleting on the roof. I stand up and try and open the door, but’s it’s locked from the other side. “ What’s going on?” I ask Sophie. “It’s mama’s friends. She left me with them. They don’t like strangers.” She repeats. Tom looks at me, tears are running down his face, he looks helpless. Tears run down my face too, I dragged him here. Sophie is curled up in a ball in the corner, she looks frightened and alone. She glances over in our direction, tears are running down her face too. I don’t know what to do. “ I just wanted mama back!” She screams. I look at Tom and he looks at me. The wind is whirling around the rooms, from the crack. I take Tom’s hand. We can hear giggles coming from outside the room. There is banging on the door so I hug Tom tighter. Whatever they are, they’re here and they aren’t kind friends.
They begin to laugh subtly but it gets louder and louder until it is unbearable. I clench my fists, they’re wet with sweat I can feel his hand in mine, so cold. My hands are shaking, vibrating up my arm. The wind gets stronger in the room, almost like a tornado. It wraps around us, not letting us leave. I pull Tom and Sophie closer. I stare down at them trying to think of a way out of this. That’s when I notice the face, in the wind. It’s grey and staring right at us. I try to scream at the top of my lungs but nothing comes out, I cant speak I begin to scramble around the floor, searching for something to defend ourselves with, but it’s pitch black, I can’t see anything, other then the face. I feel a hand on my back and something whisper “ It’s all going to be ok” …

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