Despite my best efforts, it looks like there will be a war after all. Which is a shame, I was hoping to establish certain societal systems and William's outlook without having to resort to that. But if the dictators of Aixlene's Republic want to be stupid and let a revolution happen then I suppose I can't be blamed for that.
Is it wrong I know the national anthem?
And I'm stalling. I was hoping for a lovely 15k, but I'm stymied.
Here's the scene in question.
“Oh, little Willy, just a moment, I hear your sister crying,” with some regret Matilda picked herself up from the floor by William’s side and moved to the small crib near the window. Picking up the bundle she held the child close to her and began rocking gently, shushing and singing beneath her breath with eyes that were firmly fixed on the face of the small baby.
William, the painting laid forlornly at his feet, watched with a small frown on his serious face. Father would be home soon and then the whole thing would start again. His chance to paint had been lost and now the attention would be firmly on the baby. Father loved the baby more than life itself and he and mother always looked so happy and smiling when they sat together with her. Perhaps it was because she was a baby or because she was a she, whatever the reason; she made his parents happier than they were with him.
Pointing back at the paints William grunted to get his mother’s attention.
“Oh, not now, little Willy, I’m trying to calm your sister. Can’t you find something to do on your own?” Eyes only for the baby.
Another grunt, repeated, and louder with more insistence in the syllable was made, accompanied by a stamp to emphasise the entreaty and the urgency of it.
This time no response, but Matilda did turn slightly away from him.
From nowhere he felt the tears come and let them loose, letting out a long undulating wail that changed pitch but remained annoyingly high. As soon as the first tear had reached his chin, eyes clouded with them and mouth wide open, drool running from the side of his mouth, he flew at his mother with his little fists flailing; a ball of anger and frustration. It was as if she was purposely misunderstanding him, all he wanted to do was paint and the small baby could be left on her own to cry, he’d heard his father say the same of him.
“Willy, I ca- Ow! William! No!” Using her arms ineffectually to try to ward off the blows of her son, Matilda backed away, holding her child closer and protectively. “Will- Ow! Stop hitting me! No! Stop- Ow!” Without conscious thought one of her arms snaked out and her hand grabbed the arm of her son tightly, so her fingers turned white. The other arm went on hitting her, joined now by feet stabbing out, and still the wail continued and the tears fell. In her arms, the baby was stirring again, having been soothed to sleep by the singing a moment ago. “William!” In her own anger she kicked out, once, and instantly regretted her decision.
The foot caught him squarely in the stomach, winded him, and then the force of it sent him across the room and off his feet. But his arm was still held fast by Matilda and so as his body moved away the arm was pulled closer. There was a sickening popping noise and then the grip was lost, the forearm hung limply for a moment and then the boy was slumping down near one of the walls in silence. Tears still ran down his cheeks, the mouth was still open but the anger had been replaced by shock, betrayal and the eyes were filled with fear. There was no blood. His right forearm hung unnaturally at his side as the boy stood and looked at his mother.
For her part, Matilda simply held a hand to her mouth in shock, her own eyes wide and uncomprehending. She had kicked her son. The words were repeating over and over in her head, taking on a mocking and accusatory tone: you kicked your son; you kicked your son; you kicked your son.
There was no time for anything else as William simply fled from the room and thundered up the stairs, slamming the door to the small room at the end of the hallway with finality. Matilda tried to listen but could hear nothing, and her baby was awake and making sucking motions, this would soon escalate to crying and she knew that Walter was due home very soon. Reverting to simple learned response and unable to think straight she sat down and began feeding her child. She was an awful mother, she knew, and she was going to be punished for this, she just knew it, not even Jesus and all his angels would be able to forgive her the sin she had committed.
In his room, William was still unable to make a noise. Making a noise would reveal his location and doing that would open him up to danger. Mother had kicked him. There was no telling what she might do to him now, there was nothing that could be done to protect himself as the door locked from the outside and so he would be unable to bar her entry should she choose to make it. The arm she had pulled hurt, so he looked at it and worked out that the bones of the forearm were not linking to the elbow like they should have done. He pushed it back and nothing happened but a lot of pain and shooting stars in his vision, so he pushed it harder and felt something giving or clicking. At any rate there was a lot of stabbing pain, but his arm was working properly again. It was better to be fully ready for whatever happened next. His mother provided food and warmth and shelter and comfort and all he wanted to do was paint but she had deliberately caused him pain and suffering: he had seen it in her face and the frown. Nowhere was safe.
Looking out of the small window he watched the sky bruise like his stomach and arm, he had stripped off his clothes to look and sat naked, then slowly go dark as the stars came out. Below he heard father and mother talking in low tones for quite some time, some noises from the baby, then laughter and the smell of cooking. Laughter. They would be coming for him. He pulled his legs up to his chest, ignoring the pain from his arm and stomach, shivered in the cold of the evening and waited.
So it was that at some time after midnight he was still awake, the trails of tears salty and dry on his cheeks, when the screaming started and did not stop. At first he was too afraid to move, his mother may hurt him again, but the screaming continued and he heard his father bashing and crashing around downstairs. The telephone was off the hook and there was a conversation, the screaming continued. There was the smell of cold and of desperation, and the screaming continued. His mother was screaming. William got up from the corner and padded softly to the door, no one had been up to lock it this time and so it was still open, listening. The screaming continued. Opening the door, he peered down the hallway to where mother and father slept with the new baby. The lights were lit here, oil flame guttering as the wick took hold and the smell of burning onions faint on the dusty air, and the screaming continued. Without really knowing how he got there, William found himself in the room with his mother again and she was holding the baby and screaming.
“Mama?” William had learned that she responded more positively to ‘mama’ than ‘muvvah’, as close as he could enunciate ‘mother’, and something in him told him that something needed to be done. “Mama?”
The screaming stopped. “Willy. Dear little Willy. She’s dead. She’s dead.” The sobbing that followed was quieter, but more wretched than the screaming. His mother was upset. His mother was punished.
William stood quietly for a moment, eyes wide, and then blinked. Very deliberately he fixed his mother in his gaze and frowned that intense frown. “Good.” Justice had been served. With that, William walked calmly from the room and returned to the corner.
It was two days before a relative brought food and another day before he was dressed and taken downstairs. He was only four, they said, he didn’t understand. But they were wrong. His mother had threatened him and had meant to take his life – before she did, her baby was taken from her. She hurt him, she ignored him, she attacked him and she had been punished because that was wrong. He understood perfectly.