They left me alone with the kids. Me, the least maternal person in the world, except maybe Nat of course, but I guess she couldn’t be counted anymore. Andrew and Connor had left by the back door, over the fence after we’d overhauled the room where the other two had slept, where the other two were still unaware I was left in charge with Nat upstairs.
It was Connor who’d seen the door open, who’d smelt the outside world drifting in, who’d slammed it shut and run around the house counting everyone, upstairs, downstairs, only calling as the number hadn’t added up. There were two of us missing. The boy and the dog. Nothing gone, but a thick coat. The men of the house had puffed up, running after, leaving me to play house. Did they know what a state I was in? Still, I checked both doors were locked, as I’d been told, checked the two kids were still sound asleep, the two sisters, but not of each other and no relation to me, but still they were precious. Right? Was anything precious anymore?
I stood at the bedroom window with the curtains open and watched out, staring across the field, up and down the road as far as I could, which wasn’t very far at all. I turned back to watch Nat stir, my hand grabbing for my chest as I fixed my focus waiting for the sheet’s rise and fall, soon turning to the window, looking back through the rain across my vision, even though the clouds were only just building. All I could do was wait, all I’d been doing was waiting, going along with their plan and look where it had got me, look at where it had got Nat. I turned again and watched her breath pause. Picking up my own only when hers did.
A decision had been made and this time it was my own. When Nat and I were no longer, I would go it alone. If I lived for an hour, a day or maybe more, it would be on my terms not on those of another. Yes, I felt something inside me react. Yes, I could feel the guilt rising in my chest. Logan had done his best, but the best wasn’t good enough. I thought about going now, about leaving the children sound asleep to be found by the two big strong men, or by Logan and his wife to be, if they ever came back. If they could ever make the journey. I looked out again, across the window and down the road, turning either side to see the empty street rolling out. The plan was set and I wouldn’t be turned away.
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Reading out of sequence? Why? Here’s Chapter One