For K L Caley’s WritePhoto challenge, where we write about the image below:
“There, there, my darling. Try to get some sleep.”
The child sobbed and made a loud sniff.
“I don’t like it here, mummy”, whispered the frightened girl, as she held her duvet even tighter against her damp surroundings.
“I know, I know, my love. As soon as New Year is behind us, we’ll start to look. I promise.”
Jude’s eyes lifted momentarily to the dark patches of mould on the wallpaper. Glancing around the room, several of the cheap, cream strands of paper had peeled away from the wall completely. How much, she wondered, had this room contributed to what had just happened?
As the child’s eyes closed, en route to a better place, Jude realised just how weary she herself was. Since the 23rd, she hadn’t stopped. That’s when Amy’s asthma had finally become too much, and she was admitted to hospital. Since then, Jude had been forced to eat when she could, to sleep when she could, to build a fresh schedule around her now twice-daily visits to her daughter. At least she’d been warm, thought Jude, and the food, though unappetising, had been regular. And, the nurses had done their best, but… nobody wants to be in hospital at Christmas.
As the child settled into a shallow sleep, Jude was startled by a noise from the kitchen. Bloody rats again! There was no point her trying to catch them – they were way too quick, even for her – but new puppy Jack – Amy’s ever-vigilant new Christmas present – was up like lightning, leaping from the girl’s bed in search of blood. Good, thought Jude, the dog had only been in the house a week and was already starting to do his job. A reminder, nevertheless, that while there were rats at large, she should double-check that the food they’d just brought in was stored securely.
But before she rose, Jude took one last look around the miserable room. I wonder what sort of Christmas the sodding landlord has had?