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Jessica Cambrook, 19 Jul '12

"Kids, please get into the car. We'll be caught if we don't leave very soon." Jeremy ushered his three children into the people carrier and strapped the younger ones in. It was just after sunrise and the weak sun cast a warm and hopeful glow on the street they were in. It was going to be a very hot day, and Jeremy took that as a sign they were doing something right.

"Harry, did you get everything done?" He asked his oldest son. Harry nodded sullenly with a forlorn glance back at their home. Their old home, now.

"Harry, where we going? We go seaside?" Sammy, the middle child and only daughter, asked innocently. Harry opened his mouth to reply but his dad butted in.

"Yes, darling." Jeremy soothed, jumping into the driver's seat with Harry sat beside him. Harry passed his baby brother Dan a Star Wars toy to play with to keep him quiet. Sammy had five dolls somehow balanced on her lap, her chubby arms wrapped around them all protectively.

Jeremy turned on the radio to a children's station, and made eye contact with Harry. Jeremy smiled encouragingly but Harry scowled and turned to look out the window. Jeremy tutted and his foot met the accelerator. In his haste, he stalled the car before they had even left the drive.

"Shit!" He muttered to himself. Harry nudged him in the ribs, pointing to Sammy and Dan who were staring with wide eyes. He tutted again before reversing properly, and setting off onto the road that was taking them to their new future.

After a few minutes with the reassuring movement of the car and the soft noise of child-friendly songs lulling them to sleep, there was nothing but faint snores in the back of the car.

"Dad, where are we going?" Harry asked. He hated that word, but he knew from experience it made his dad listen.

"Somewhere far away. Where she will never find us." He focused out the front window, gripping the steering wheel hard. The sun was high in the sky now, and blazing hot. Harry cracked all the windows open to stop the kids getting too sweaty. After a few hours of silent driving, Sammy woke up when her favourite song began to play on the radio.

"Here my nummer, so call me Samm-eeee!" She squealed along to the song. Suddenly she stopped, and looked upset. "Where mummy?"

Harry knew they usually sang the song together while mum made dinner for them all, prancing around in the kitchen like lunatics. Their mum usually tried to get Harry to join in but he never did, shyly blushing and smiling, digging his heels into the laminate flooring.

"Mummy is at the old house, Sammy. She's not coming with us. Mummy and daddy had a little argument so we're moving away for a while. Is that okay, darling? You'll see mummy soon." He said, neck flushing red. Sammy's broken-hearted sniffles didn't stop for a long time.

After a while longer, Dan began crying for food. It had been hours since they'd last eaten some soggy cheese sandwiches. It was lucky they hadn't had ham or it would have gone off in the heat. It really was far too hot to be stuck in a car with five people.

"We're stopping soon, Dan. Shh, now. We... God damn it! What the hell is that shitty smell?" Jeremy demanded, banging a hand on the dashboard. The car fell silent. The smell grew even stronger. It was disgusting, like rotten fish mixed with vomit. Harry felt like he was going to be sick. The windows were fully open, there was nothing more they could do to stop it burning their nostrils.

"Dan!" Sammy giggled. No, it was far too disgusting to even be Dan. Harry stared at the floor with his hands knotted together on his lap, avoiding his father's stern gaze. Jeremy's breathing got heavier and the atmosphere grew tense. Jeremy swerved the car in the middle of the motorway, and braked quickly at the side of the road.

"We didn't bring food, other than those sandwiches. Dan would be crying if his nappy was dirty. What could it be?" Jeremy searched the car for the cause of the rancid stench, but found nothing. Harry's motionless mouth was nothing but a line of fear.

"Oh god. Oh, no." Jeremy's mouth hung open in revolted disbelief. Pushing the door open so hard it swung back and hit his leg painfully, he ignored it and ran out to the boot of the car. He yanked it open to reveal Hell.

"HARRY!" He bellowed, stomping around to the passenger seat and unbuckling Harry's seatbelt before throwing him out onto the road. Jeremy rammed his knee into Harry's chest and wrapped his hands tight around his throat. "Now why would you do that, you little rat? Why would you betray me?"

Jeremy punched Harry again and again, breaking different bones in his face every time. The kids were screaming, but Jeremy was intent on extinguishing the flames of anger burning up inside of him by beating his treacherous son until he paid for what he had done. He was going to ruin the family. This had been the perfect opportunity to start again after his blunder earlier.

Harry could do nothing but splutter on the blood he was trying to cough up, and allow his tears to slide down his already bruising cheeks. Cars drove past, uncaring and uninterested. Most saw what was happening but they didn't want to get involved.

Jeremy gave a frustrated shout before going back to the boot and leaving Harry. He howled like an injured wolf, falling to his knees with both his hands inside of the boot. Harry stood stealthily and shuffled to the car. Harry placed a finger lightly to his lips and their screams quietened. Crouching, he grabbed the shovel from the back seat that his father had given him that morning. He slid to the back of the car, where his father was still crying out to no one in particular. With a deep inhalation to calm his shaking hands, he swung the shovel in a deadly downwards arc.

By some miracle he managed to hit his father right on the balding crown of his head with a sickening crunch. His father's eyes fluttered shut as he fell like a car crash test dummy to the floor, with a steady stream of blood trickling from his skull. Harry dropped the shovel and fell to his knees, as his father had, and held the hands of the woman who was scrunched up like a piece of unwanted paper to fit in the boot.

"Mum..." Harry whispered through his tears. Her small clutch bag lay beside her, and he raked in it to get her mobile. Pressing nine three times, he hoped they would finally be safe from their unstable father. The man who scowled at any man who dared to look at their beautiful mother. The man who used his fists more regularly than his words. The man who had stabbed his mother after a petty argument about who would take Sammy to school that morning, and asked Harry to bury his own mother in their back garden. It was all over now.

Unseen to Harry, behind him Jeremy's fingers twitched lightly, grasping the shovel that lay there next to him.

Comments · 4

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  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    I'd just like to say my dad is lovely and the atithesis of this character. I hope people aren't put off by how long it is but I felt I wasn't telling the story properly skimming over bits as it didn't seem real enough without the little details. Let me know what you think please! :)

    • Posted 9 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Thrilling! I didn't pick up on the earlier 5 people reference until the ending - which by the way I didn't see coming.

    I spotted one thing 'By some miracle *he* managed to hit'.

    • Posted 9 years ago
  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    Thanks @Anthony Blackshaw, I try :) Also, is this okay to keep as non-adult content?

    • Posted 9 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Hi @Jessica Cambrook, I personally don't think that this needs to be marked as adult :)

    • Posted 9 years ago