As I said yesterday, here is more of my first draft story. Hope you'll enjoy it...
Church bell chimed in a distance and suddenly his ears were deafened by ferocious sound of alarm echoing through the whole building. Chris could hear steps rushing behind his door, but no sound of talking, no words, no laugh, just feet shuffling along the corridor. He shut the trunk and approached the glass panel in his door to find out where those feet are going. When he looked through the dirty glass, he met eyes of the others, in a hurry, some of them running, some struggling to keep up with a pace for any reason. They were not much older or younger than him, at least those he could see. One thing was obvious; none of them looked happier. They had that in common.
Chris wasn’t sure if he was supposed to follow other children and join the crown. He did not feel particularly keen on socialising anyway, but had the feeling he should, just to fit in. He opened the door, looked around and stepped in to the crowd of strangers. He could feel their eyes burning onto his skin, grafting a symbol of a newcomer, assessing him closely. It looked like as though they were preparing themselves to defend what they’ve had here before he came. Nobody smiled, nobody invited him to the table, but Chris did not expect that.
‘As long as they leave me alone, I’m fine’, he thought to himself and avoided any unnecessary eye contact. He knew from previous places that to stay invisible is the best way to sail through anything, although it meant more loneliness, destroyed possibility to find a friend he had longed for so long, a kindred soul.
Many years have passed since he spoke to somebody who understood him, who loved him and cared for him. Many months he kept his muteness under control many months it has been since he felt the warmth of other’s hand on his face. Many days have passed without him eating any food. Chris kept drinking though, as he remembered an article he read long time ago that you don’t have to eat to stay alive as long as you drink. Carers at Woundhill House thought he was on a strike, refusing any food, but there was no evidence Chris would do so for he has not said anything. He did not give them any reason to think that. They have tried to force the food down his throat, literally, stuffing his mouth with mashed potatoes, pushing the spoon inside his mouth but he resisted. He spat everything back out, encouraging the carers to slap him when the food ended up on their uniform, precisely pressed. It looked like as though they were proudly wearing the black and grey dresses with the rim reaching their knees. They wore black stockings as well as black long sleeve cardigans and a heavy chain with a cross and Jesus figure hanging down their neck. Bare flesh was not seen within those walls. But bare emotions were something else. If the kids behaved badly, the carers did not go far for punishment. They did not pretend kindness or understanding. They acted as they liked and nobody could do anything to stop it. Nobody from outside saw what was going on behind the closed doors of this institution, claiming high rate of corrected residents able to step outside and live their lives to the full.
So it happened, when Chris refused food for another week, they decided to lock him up into a room with no windows and wait for his begging. They thought he will finally talk as no one before him did last more than three days in solitude and with no food. Chris was something else. He welcomed the darkness, the smell of mouldy mattress and rough blanket, the only things in the room. He could smell human excrement too but could not make out where they were. He sat in the far corner away from the door, as he knew they would try to loosen his tongue by throwing buckets of cold water at him. He did not stir a little when one of the carers did so and it made her even angrier for she was trying so hard to be the one who would break him. She was the last resort of the institution. If she could not do it, nobody could. They left him alone the first day, second day they used buckets of water, following day it was scrap food ready to be thrown to the pigs in the courtyard, another day they did not even come to check on him. He sat in the silence, knees drawn up to his chin and embraced by thin arms. When he knew there was nobody around, he loosened the grip, stretched his legs and began to move his fingers along the floor in one line as though he was paying invisible piano. Serene humming echoed through the room, silent singing resonated peacefully and his mind was flying above the institution walls, uninterrupted by the rudeness of the staff. He took himself back to the place he was safe, back to the arms of his mother, holding him tight and kissing him on his forehead. He could smell her perfume, sweet scent of ripe strawberries with a hint of spice; he loved Sunday mornings when he was aloud together with his sister to join their parents in their bed. There was no better secure place to be.
‘Take me with you, mom, please. Take me where you are’, he begged trying to reach her hand.
She smiled, looking into his eyes and then turn around from him. Pain engulfed him as he was slipping away, starved to death, neglected by the system, abandoned by everybody. He was now flying above the ground, looking down at the other children with no future, with no past, with no hope. And he was happy, for the first time in months, in years, that he controlled his life. The joy in his heart grew and grew and he was free at last.