Sunday 22 – Thursday 26 May 2011
Did you see this coming?
The drive over to the building was torturous. Despite all the planning that had gone into this moment, Chrissy wasn’t sure they could pull it off. And now, as she stood waiting for the door to be opened, and consumed with doubt, Chrissy wondered what her future would look like. A life of freedom, or a life behind bars?
‘Be right there,’ his voice, even now, terrified Chrissy.
Steven threw Leigh out of the way and strode to the door. Leigh stumbled, and landed hard on the corner of the coffee table. The force of the impact would mean that she would have another terrible bruise on her left ribs. The thought angered her.
Lying against the table, she instinctively looked around, spied the bronze stallion sculpture that Steven had bought last week for some ridiculous amount of money, and grasped it in both hands. Launching herself from the floor, she moved up and forward towards Steven’s back, statue aloft. With one swing, Leigh slammed the bronze horse into the back of his head, and he fell to the floor, lifeless.
Knowing who was on the other side of the door, Leigh unlocked and opened it. Chrissy, expecting Steven to have opened the door, wore an expression of pure shock.
‘Leigh, what have you done?’ Chrissy’s eyes fell to Leigh’s blood spattered hand and the statue it clutched. She pushed Leigh gently out of the way, stepping over Steven’s legs as she entered the apartment, echoing her earlier question as she did.
Absentmindedly, Leigh closed the door behind Chrissy. She slid down it, slumped on the floor, and kicked out at Steven’s legs as she tried to make herself some room to stretch out.
‘I couldn’t wait for you. I had to do it. If you hadn’t rung the door bell, he would have killed me, I’m sure.’
Chrissy bent down and searched for a pulse on Steven’s neck. There was none.
‘Leigh, we were supposed to do this together.’
‘No. No. It’s better this way. You’ll get Dane back. If you were involved, you’d never get him back. You’d go to jail, and he’d be put into foster care. He needs you, and I have no one. But there are records, hospital records for me. I will say it was self-defence. They’ll believe me. They’ll believe me. They have to believe me.’ Leigh spoke slowly, measuring each breath, considering each word.
‘But Leigh, we agreed we’d both –’
‘Please go. I’ll call the police . . .’ her voice trailed off.
Contemplating her options, Chrissy stepped towards the door and knelt down next to Leigh.
‘Are you sure, Leigh?’
‘Yes. Sure,’ she replied, moving herself away from the door so that Chrissy could leave.
* * * * *
With Dane sitting on her lap, Chrissy patiently waited for Leigh to enter the room set aside for visitors. The cold, metal chairs and tables bolted to the floor made for a sterile, unfriendly environment. It was not the place for a child to be, but Chrissy wanted Dane to grow up knowing that Leigh was the woman who had saved them from a life lived apart. She wanted him to know that Leigh was a friend, someone to be trusted, and that when she was released from this prison, she would be ever present in their lives. He saw her first.
‘Aunty Leigh,’ he called out to her. Sliding off his mother’s knees, Dane ran towards her, and hugged her legs almost tripping her. A balding prison guard stepped forward to intervene, but was held back by an older guard.
‘There’s no harm in the boy hugging her. Step down,’ she said to the balding guard. He did as he was instructed.
‘Dane. My little bit of sunshine. Look how big you’ve grown!’ He took her hand as she spoke and dragged her to the table. She sat and he perched himself on Leigh’s lap. Dane had quickly learned that he didn’t have long to be with Leigh, so he made the most of each of the thirty minutes that he did have.
‘Aunty Leigh, whaddya do today?’ he chirped, oblivious to the fact that her incarceration made it impossible for Leigh to do much at all, except wait.
. . . The end . . .