Mummy's Torchlight©

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Sebnem E. Sanders






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Desolation



The child crawled between the stacks of old furniture in the basement, and stood in front of a sofa, the back of which supported the plywood sheets piled up against the wall. The night before, he found the safe place, a nest where Mummy made a bed for him. She'd said, 'Go hide, I'll be with you soon,' and turned off the light as soon as he disappeared behind the panels.


He stayed put, as warned. Eyes adjusted to the darkness, he turned on Mummy's small torchlight to look for the wicker chest she had shown him many times when they played the game. 'This is a safe tunnel,' she said. He could hear voices and the noise of shifting furniture coming from upstairs, but didn't understand the meaning. She'd also said, 'Switch off the torch when you find the basket and only use it when you need to.'


Through the small window, a pale stream of moonlight dissipated the darkness. He closed his eyes and slept, seeking to find comfort in his Mummy's arms again.


As daylight broke in, he awoke hungry. It was all quiet upstairs. He crept up the wooden stairs, creak by silent step, and placed his ear against the door. No sound. Turning the doorknob, he opened the exit with care and tiptoed to the kitchen to see if Mummy was there.


She was there, on the tiles, in a pool of red, asleep. He crawled across the floor and poked at her.


"Mummy, wake up. Wake up, please!"


She did not budge. Her floral dress was red around her belly. He snuggled up to her, wrapping her limp arm around him. It slapped to the floor as soon as he let go. Cuddling her, he rested his head on her bosom and sobbed, his tears mixing with the stains on her dress. He closed his eyes, holding on to his only true love.



***



Jim unlocked the front door, holding it open for his brother. Jack crept along the hallway, halted by the kitchen door, and froze. Their eyes met briefly, as Jim entered the room and took in the scene. He covered a gasp with the back of his hand and turned to Jack. "Call the police, ask for Tom!"

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