By Anthonia Nicol
Penny was surprised that Christopher wasn’t with her mum when she returned with his ice-cream, and even more puzzled to see her mum on her feet, pulling a syringe out from her wrist with her other hand.
‘Mum, where’s Chris?’ she asked, placing his ice-cream cup on the table close to the bed.
‘We have to leave Penny,’ Sarah said decisively.
‘I want to see Chris’, Penny demanded. ‘ I won’t go until I see him.’
Sarah wiped her nose and gave her daughter a tired look. ‘Look, Penelope, I do not have time for your drama. We need to leave now.’
‘How?’ Penny asked. ‘The car is at home, and we are a long way away!’
‘I don’t care! We’ll walk home!’ she shouted. ‘Where’s Daisy?’
Penny shrugged her shoulders. ‘We bumped into her on the way to the cafeteria, but I don’t know where she is now.’
Sarah took Penny’s hand and left the hospital via the nearest exit without signing her release papers. Penny followed obediently, looking behind her to see if she could catch a glimpse of Christopher anywhere. An hour later, they were home after Sarah hailed a cab and paid, with money she was able to conceal around the house, away from Hebert.
‘Now that we are home, can we call Chris to tell him we are ok?’ Penny asked, irritated that they left the hospital in a hurry.
‘Where do you think Daisy might be?’ asked Sarah nervously. Penny rolled her eyes. ‘She’s probably at Brenda’s place. She’s mostly there these days. Now can we go back to calling Chris? We didn’t even say thank you.’
Sarah handed Penny the phone absent-mindedly.
‘Look, mum! There’s a text on your phone,’ said Penny, opening the message.
‘I’m out, and I’m coming for you, bitch. You and your brats.’
Sarah froze. ‘Mum, I think dad sent this message with Uncle Timothy’s phone,’ she added, looking fearfully at her mum.
Timothy got him out again, thought Sarah. Now they were in serious trouble.
‘Penny, lock the door! I’ll close the windows. We need to find Daisy,’ cried Sarah. ‘Dial her number!’
Penny dialed away with shaky hands. She had never been more afraid in her life. Her heart pounded against her chest with such ferociousness that she thought it would break free from her rib cage.
‘Mum, she isn’t answering her phone,’ she said, tears running down her cheeks. ‘I’m scared!’
Sarah limped over and held her close. ‘We will be alright.’
‘No, we won’t,’ said Penny, pushing her away. ‘We shouldn’t have left the hospital. We shouldn’t have left Chris. He would have protected us!’
She was right, thought Sarah, collapsing on the sofa. She was overwhelmed with guilt and regret that she had exposed her daughters to imminent danger again.
‘Penny, call Chris.’
‘I have!’ snapped Penny, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. ‘He’s not answering. He must be upset that we left without telling him. See what you’ve done!’
She ran up to her room and locked the door.
‘You are a real train- wreck,’ said Sarah to herself. ‘A real piece of garbage.’
Then she thought of something. Suddenly, she didn’t feel so useless and maybe, her life could be worth something. She unlocked the front door and looked at the stairs, ‘I’m sorry, baby. I’m going to make things better,’ she said before closing the door behind her.