A Shoebox V

Posted: September 21, 2010 in #tuesdayserial, A Shoebox

She sat in the car starring at the tall stone building, with the engine running.  The exhaust was pumping steam from the rear exhaust and the windscreen wipers squeaked against the glass, sending shudders down her spine.  The building looked harsh, cold and bursting at the cracks with secrets.  But the bars and sounds of crashing of cold steel gates and clunking of bunches of keys was the harshest reality.  He was in there.  Somewhere, William Brown sat in his empty cell, alone with his thoughts.

She’d sent the visiting order the day after she’d returned from her dad’s.  Mixed with emotions, at the time she’d thought his input might help.  After all she’d known of her mum’s pain and anguish.  She now knew her fathers reasons for running away and his view on why William was like he was, but the third person in this Bermuda triangle which she had been caught up in, was him. 

She remembered his visits when she was a youngster, always telling jokes and doing magic tricks for the girls.  But he never stayed long and actually rarely visited, but when he did, he made a big and dramatic entrance. 

She turned the keys in the ignition and pulled them from the cars grasp.  She looked up again, before taking a deep breath and opening the car door.

The room was cold and the prison wardens not much warmer in their people skills.  Barely smiling, the larger of the two male wardens, frisked her down from top to toe, whilst the second one emptied the contents of her bag and rummaged through the items.  The larger guard pointed to the door, where several visitors had already disappeared through.  The butterflies in her stomach were playing havoc with her indigestion, an acidy bitter taste, forming at the back of her throat made her nausea even more apparent. 

She knew immediately who he was; the years had unfortunately been good to him.  He smiled at her, as she touched the back of the chair to sit down opposite him, making her queasiness take on a new meaning.

“Gem,” he said, “What a lovely surprise.  I haven’t seen you since…let me think…”

“About fifteen years ago when you moved to Australia, but actually had been sent here!” She scowled.  The anger that was suddenly bursting out of her was not the way she wanted this meeting to go.  She wanted answers, not a fight.  The anger taking over like a drug, travelling down the veins in her arms, pumping energy and adrenalin like never before.  And don’t call me Gem, she thought aggravated.

“Erm.  Yes I suppose so,” he said slightly taken aback but still annoyingly smiling.

“I need answers Uncle Bill!” she said trying her hardest to visualise the anger gremlin inside her and sit on it, disenabling it’s next move and allowing her to get what she came for.

“Answers?” he said still smirking, “Answers to what Gem?”

“Why you’re here? What happened between you and my mum?” she said.

“Listen Gem, you’ve probably only heard your mums side of things ain’t ya.  There’s two sides to every story you know!”

“Yes, I do know,” she said through partly gritted teeth, “That’s why I want to hear yours.”  She didn’t at this stage want to go into her mum’s death or that actually it was her dad’s side of things she had heard.

“I was young.  Some would say silly, others would say spoilt, but to be honest, I was just me!  You see when I was growing up, my Mum, your Gran, felt guilty that she’d had me so late in life and that my brother and sister had already grown up and that her and my dad were older than a lot of my peer’s parents.  I was half way through primary school, when my brother, was in his last year of secondary. I was effectively an only child.  I knew how guilty she felt sometimes and I knew exactly how to get my own way,” he smirked and let out an inappropriate chuckle and a reminiscing stare over her shoulder, as if he had his own slide show going on behind her.  “If there was something I wanted, I got it.  I used to throw tantrums, smash up furniture, head butt walls, anything to get my own way.  When I was about 10 or 11, all of a sudden I had a brother who was interested in me.  He wasn’t as lenient as mum and dad, but he still gave in.  I knew which buttons to press with all of them and I used them regularly.  Everyone deserves to get what that want in life.”

Gemma looked at him curiously and angrily.  “You get things when you earn them or deserve them, not just ‘cos you throw a tantrum or feel you should have everything you desire.  Life’s not like that!”

“But it is Gem.  If you think about it.  Why work all your life to get something, when its just in reach.  Why waste time?  If I want it, why shouldn’t I have it?”

Gemma was perplexed by his way of thinking and still to this day, fifteen years in prison for various assaults, offences and ill doings, he still believed life was for the taking.  The anger gremlin was fidgeting hard in the seat, desperate to be allowed to slap him hard across the face, but she remained firm and calm.

“So what happened with my mum?” she said starring at him, trying to find any part of him that was human.

“Well, I’d grown up a bit then from my tantrum days, but still knew the ways to get what I wanted.  Your dad had refused to take me to a party he’d been invited to.  It was at the football stadium.  He knew I loved that place and had been desperate to see the grounds since it had been refurbished.  But he said it was a company event and he couldn’t bring anyone.  Still reckon he was full of shit.  He could’ve taken me if he’d wanted to.  Anyway…” he scratched his head and looked back at Gemma, “I went around to see your mum, see if she could persuade him, but he had already left.  I was so angry.  I begged your mum to call him but she wouldn’t.  Anyway she calmed me down and got me a beer.  Then I just thought to myself, the best way to get back at your dad,” he smirked again “was to take the one thing I knew he’d never allow me to touch!”

“WHAT?” Gemma cried in alarm, “you raped my mum because dad wouldn’t take you to the football grounds?”

“I didn’t rape her Gem, don’t be silly.  She wanted it, she just didn’t know it.  She struggled to start with, even screamed, but then most girls scream with me, I have the knack.”

“You pig!” she spat, unable to keep the anger from seething, “What about the others?”

“Others? Oh them.  Well some of them claim they didn’t give consent.  One of them was my long term girlfriend so had no real case.  When you’re in a relationship you don’t have to ask for sex, or be given permission.  And the sixth, well I did force myself on her, I admit that, but she called me a ‘nasty piece of work’.  I wanted to show her what nasty really meant.”

“You’re… you’re…” Gemma was lost for words and could feel sharp tears at the back of her eyes.  Desperate to leave but adamant to stay, her head and emotions were in a conflict like no other.

  1. Vandamir says:

    Interesting development in the story. One small critique: I’m not sure he’d be so self-aware as to admit he manipulated people to get his way. Subtly revealing his manipulations would be more effective and real to life.

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