Copyright 2018 -


The Sarah Chapters








It was hellish dark and so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. To her it felt like an aeon has slipped away since the door slammed shut so hard that the whole house rattled in its coat of flaky paint, though not more than fifteen minutes could have passed. Yet she sat frozen in the same spot where she had flung herself with force those few minutes ago, her eyes wide as a possum’s, drinking in every plausible pinhole of light the darkness may offer. The little boy clamped between her legs have long since given up the struggle and the only way she knew he was still alive was the warmness of his breath against her fingers where they were clamped fiercely over his mouth. Hot perspiration on her upper lip mixed with snot and she longed to wipe it away but she dared not let go of him; not until she knew it was safe to do so. Her ears ached from the strain of listening; listening for any sound that would provide a possible report on the status of the situation on the other side of the door. All she heard was silence and more silence, raging like the song of a thousand cicadas in her head. Then, it came; a single sorrowful sob, a solitary suck of air through a wracked throat, a sound so sickening, yet so familiar to Sarah. The sound that provided the required status report, the sound that said, soon, everything will return to normal.

Then suddenly there were more sobs and her mother screamed, “Why me, Mother? What did I do to deserve this?” and she broke down and cried and pummelled the threadbare blue-grey carpet desperately covering the wooden floor with her fists until her sobs subsided, giving way to silence once more. Sarah did not understand those words, as they had nothing to do with the preceding commotion, but she had heard them many times before. Only then did Sarah release her grip on Jamie, giving him space to move and to breathe. The toddler wriggled around and wrapped his arms tightly around Sarah’s neck, crying softly and searching for every little bit of comfort he could find in his sister’s smell. Sarah rose from the cupboard floor, clutching Davey against her body and felt for the doorknob in the darkness. She found it and prayed that Bob would not return too soon. Perhaps he will not return at all and it could be just the three of them again. But instinctively she knew, no sooner will Bob be gone and there will be another. Before Bob, it was Tim, before Tim, it was Raymond, before Raymond, it was the guy who looked like he posed for pictures of the abominable snowman and before him, names and faces convoluted like the rivulets down a mountain side that fed the unstoppable roaring river down below in the valley. For Glenda did not possess the strength to be on her own, not with having to provide for two snot-noses to boot and soon found another man when she lost one. Sarah stepped out of the darkness carrying Davey like a shield and into the mess that a few minutes ago passed as a sitting room. The couch was turned upside down, the small stained and scratched wooden table lay defeated in a corner with a broken leg and the lamp lay broken next to it. There amongst the mess, half-sitting against a faded blue wall with a trail of fresh blood next to her head where her nose struck it, sat Glenda, her eyes as empty as the cupboards in a deserted farmhouse. Sarah did what she always did. She sat beside her mother, cradling the sad woman’s head in her small lap, trailing her fingers though her stringy blonde hair, so like her own, and softly singing the only lullaby she knew.

f t g