The soft gleam of whispery light seeps in from a slight shift in the blinds, hovering over my lamp light and stretching out above the ends of my hair. My finger tips pinch at the floating bits of light as they glide through the air, feeling the intangible touch of their magical airiness. My wardrobe door creaks open awaiting for me to enter yet I remain still, hunched in the corner gazing somewhat expectantly at the surface of warmth lying at eye view across my room. A smear of night blinds my view, shadowing me away from the drifting brightness so desperately trying to glisten through, but to now avail, the light surpasses and my eye lids droop. My skin eases out the folds on my forehead, the heavy bags under my eyes lightly sleep against the purple shadow looming in on my upper cheeks. My legs tense then freeze, my mind quickens then stops, I blink twice then lose, I lose all sense of willingness, all sense of control. Sleeping succumbs me to an inevitable daydream forcing me into a place where my thoughts always feel tested. I lay back awaiting the moment my eyes will open again and when they do will I still see the light draining away from my golden eyes?
this is the second chapter to my story but because it’s so long, it’s part 1
please tell me what you think, if you would like to read the preface or first chapter, just select ‘stories’ to read it c: thank you
I can feel the warmth, the light hovering on my skin, the tingly sensation constantly lingering at my touch.
The heat simmers to a faint glow looming in from the windows, it shimmers against the shadows which creep along the walls. I avoid the light, cautiously aware of my footsteps pressing down on the creaky floorboards, and a tall vague shadow right at our heel. I lead Harry away from the ambiguous figure, as the shadow gets smaller and smaller, until it vanishes with all light escaping.
A surge of anxiety consumes me heavily, as I turn over his tiny hands inspecting the cleanliness of his palms. He looks up at me hopefully resisting the urge to blink, as if this moment right now is infinite, with no inclination to move on, yet that’s only our hope not reality. I rub his hands warmly
” good, Not a speck of dirt, warm your hands up by the fire, oh and the slice of bread on the counter is for you, don’t get any crumbs on your cheeks alright?” He nods with a gleeful chuckle and runs off
I can feel the shadow lurking in the corner of the room, her shrilly voice calling, I carry on walking flinching every second the sound of my steps ring freely in the air. As the shadow outstretches their hand invitingly I swiftly close the door behind me, their vaguely visible fingers trapped in the hinges. I pace around the room constantly eyeing every detail. The tiles are scraped with a thin layer of dry liquid which loosely holds them in place. A hot steamy ambience enraptures me as I clutch onto the wobbly rusted sink, my scraggy hands shiver at the chilly touch, and my eyes look almost bloodshot in the dusty finger print stricken mirror. The dim lighting reflects oddly on the crimson streaks of my hair, I look down disgusted, I rub my eyes hoping to see a different scenery yet all I see is the the plug floating on a shallow sea of soapy water. Exasperated, I let go and force myself to stop stalling, the view of my red shirt hanging on the door brings me back to every little memory of it that all started two years ago. Two years go by fast, without a second thought, without even the time to remorse for your actions for nothing in life is limitless is what I’ve grown to learn.
The first bell.
Shrill as her voice, empty and shallow as the soapy water sinking into the pipes, and as endearing as an inviting smile with the intention to cut you off on all belief.
Twice she knocks on the door, I know it’s her from the way she leaves a long pause between each thud without saying a single word.
I undo the braces pressing against my top, and quickly remove my shirt and replace it with the red one. It flickers with the same flag, the same regulation, yet this time it hints at timid individualism, for it is my colour, red is me, it’s how they know who I am for I’m the only one to be identified this evidently, which can only worry the kind of person who intends to remain hidden, further.
The second bell.
As deep and raspy cut as the presidents voice, inflicted with sorrow and the remorse of every elderly figure and as enchanting as a glorified rose slowly deteriorating into a crumbled crisp of what once was life.
Another knock, this time heavier as well as an impatient sigh.
I open the door. She leans against the wall expectantly, i give her a small smile which eases her a little, her clutched hands relaxing and her stern cheek bones softening into her regular somewhat tight jaw line.
“Not long now, you look ready but maybe a snack before you go?” She asks warily with a speculative look in her eye, I slowly shake my head in response.
“I’m not hungry, I’ll just have a glass of water, in case I choke on my tears” I whisper the last part to myself and the way she flicks her brown curls away suggests her ears weren’t entirely open. I follow her through the narrow hallway, breathing down the sore desire of consumption from developing.
“Looks like you’ve got the jitters” she mutters gesturing to my thimble hanging on its chain as it twitches nervously.
“I guess so” I lie confidently, her curious eyes flickering into assumptions which are ready to pour from her pursed lips.
The third bell.
As soft and angelic as Harry’s voice, simply composed within silent tones which can easily be shattered much like a mirror if gazed upon for too long as the very beauty we perceive will eventually decompose, and as charming as a youthful face with a violently beating heart wishing to overwhelm everything in its path to avoid withering away.
Beyond that point there is silence between us as Sylvia ushers to Harry to gather his adventure books into a tidy pile. In the light, it is complete scenery, the way her hair falls into a layered tail of chestnut brown, and the way he skips around her with his golden eyes constantly rejoicing at the sense of feeling protected. I see it in the way she fantasises, a child with the adult who is their rightful guardian their parent in a perfect world, yet it is broken every time his lips open to call for his aunt, and who comes but her, not the mother she wishes him to see her for as there is no replacement only a substitute whom is Silvia. People can say how its because Harry continues to cling on to our mothers memory or others may say he’s grown into my habit of calling her aunt instead of seeing her as our mothers replacement but no, its purely because we don’t live in a perfect world because there are too many distinct views of simple perfections.
“Harry” my finger trails down my cheek and he quickly mirrors the action in confusion; wiping away a streak of melted butter from below his left eye. Its quick that feeling i get, uncontrollable, The gulp in my throat I desperately try to suppress. I cough repeatedly in my attempt to consume the enthralling hunger which captivates my every breath. My body tenses, and I shut my eyes tightly concentrating on the seconds, the seconds until I can leave, perhaps to never return, that is how the mind works, always attempting to outwit itself, as if to escape the very thoughts it conjures up itself. Distraction. I breathe.
Two pairs of eyes stare in my focus, not at me but around me, it’s an involuntary response, they can’t help it, I understand. My glass of water sits on the feeble counter patiently waiting for me to accept it, my hands shake as I sip the surface and I stop the glass from trembling by placing my other hand on my fingers and forcing pressure to form stillness. I put the glass down after I realise they’re not going to continue to pursue in their participation of life, I rub my right eye once more with the side of my fist and take those fatal steps out into open distorted art.
Their steps are followed by the mild rush of the wind, they are distinct from one another. His are quick and playful, her’s are short and sequenced. Harry runs to my side looking at me expectantly though I have not much to say,
“Harry come here, hold my hand now” Silvia waves at him and gives a friendly smile yet he does not come.
“Aunt Silvia, can’t I just hold willows hand?” He looks up at me again smiling as innocently as he always does, the silence is her acceptance, I outstretch my hand and with a wave of his arms flinging in the air much like a bird he grasps onto my wrists and slowly grips my fingers.
We live at the far end of town, right by the fields, there are few who walk with us, perhaps the others are anxious to be on time or maybe they’ve convinced themselves the bell is but a spur of their imagination. If that were possible, pigs would fly.
The fourth bell.
As rough and as frail as olde ben’s voice, woven from rapid notes which beat against the constant sounds of an ocean current thrashing against a shoreline and as inspiring as most diligent of workers who carry on with every attentive focus until their mind capacity slowly dries out with every ounce of life being entirely lost to theft.
The bells correlate with age groups, the first bell is for 12 year olds all the way up to 16 year olds with the fifth bell. It’s as if in a constant sound a calling becomes so personal that it is in fact for you, and all others who come are but bystanders in our everyday trails.
But life will always get in the way of people seeing that, because human beings tend to see one thing, the generic view with only the very few seeing more, and only the untouched voicing what they see, all others are hushed by the invisible glares of those judging them. It’s like art in one sense, like how we have green leaves, a blue sky, and a yellow sun but in my eyes that does not exist, we have yellow fields, grey skies, a red shadow of a sun, in that way life might be distorted, by what I know, and thus what I see.
The prospect of life being somewhat contorted art tends to appear unfathomable to those who suspect it, maybe life is more than the steps I take to my calling, more than his frail hold on me, always more than my feeble grip on home.
To witness every detail in one thought is almost the same as what Michelangelo said about man painting with his brains and not with his hands. Is that how god made life for us? Simply by imagining true Beauty into creation which then slowly deteriorated within time.
If that’s true, how can hope be possible without a feeling of fear?
How does life live without the element of death?
How are we truly free, if we are subdued to the tiniest of things?
Questions that are unanswered because those who are wise have self doubt, and those who are confident lack judgement in their answers. Always indefinite.
My eyes glide over the scenery, I can just make out the opening of the pavilion, it’s shielded away by the willow trees which hover protectively in front of it. I can hear the mayor’s thunderous voice calling us all to our posts. My hands tremble and I’m not sure why, but Harry’s grip on me tightens and he looks up at me, his youthful eyes speculative. I shake my head slightly, and he turns his eyes way after giving me a quick sad smile, the kind of smile that makes you feel guilty for shutting someone out, but how can I openly refer to all my fears to a sibling who can barely see the shadow behind every glow? I can’t
A crowd of people trap us around the pavilion, and we’re instantly in the middle of all walking as one.
Harry’s grip on my fingers loosen, as Silvia ushers him to follow her
“Come, Harry, we must go now” her voice cracks nervously, I can see it then, she has fear consuming her every thought but why?
“But, I want to stay with willow” he says softly with an anxious tone, even children are affected by a cold ambience, they can feel it, the fear in someone’s voice, the terrified look in an adults eyes, they see it all. Why has she feared him?
I let go of his hand and breathe.
“Willow needs to go alone Harry” she says this slowly and sternly but the reaction is quick and painful, he turns away from Silvia and clings onto my hand again, pulling me away past the crowd but I resist and stop him in his tracks
” no Harry, ok listen to me” I kneel down and brush his curls away from his eyes,
“Remember what I said about mama and papa not being here but still with us?” He nods slowly
“That’s like now, I have to go with the others but I’m still with you,” I gesture to a line of young adults walking up the pavilion their grim faces don’t exactly reassure him. Why are they so grim, what is it that sorrows them? Why don’t I know?
“I’ll be up there, listening, you’ll see me from down here, And then it’ll all be over I’ll come back down and we’ll go home ok?”
“Do you promise?” He asks this cautiously, I can see the element of doubt in his eyes not yet totally withdrawn,
They say promise is a big word, not to be taken lightly, yet I nod my head anyway and give him a smile, a smile I really shouldn’t have given because it’s a gift of false hope but then there’s no worse feeling than a lack of trust. Is there?
The Fifth bell.
As dull and eerie as the mayor’s voice, each sound composed with the soft tones of the airy ambience gliding through the grey skies waiting for the earth to show its sadness, and as gloomy as a barren field neglected of nurture and keep until the very nature withers without even growth.
Hi c: This is the first chapter of my story, following on from the prologue I posted recently.
The actual story’s called ‘the simple wonders of a willow tree’. Enjoy, and please tell me what you think. I really appreciate the feedback.
Chapter 1: Society’s love of apples
I open my eyes to a pictured view of sun lit strokes. The heat pressing against a huddled field of golden shaded willow trees. The sound of my faint steps sprinting across the thick straws of emerald grass, are faded by the dull thuds of a metal cane thrashing against the trees. I look up to feel the wisp of the wind Curl through my windblown hair and to hear it’s soft whistle glide beneath the flight of a bird’s wing. The trees hover over us in a protective manner as the heat sears through the flaws in the ongoing sequence. Pink brush strokes the sky as the sun sets a shadow amongst the surface and the Raspy sounds simmer to a diminish. Short steps cloud the hushed ambience and as I turn, my eyes narrow in on a barren field with no source of further breath incoming.
I call gently hoping to see a flick of his auburn curls or his wide golden eyes staring back at me yet the view remains still.
I amble deeper into the ends of the forest and as the wind sprawls against the trees, i hear a sudden shake and I notice the tip of a child’s boot peer from behind a slight tree.
“hmm, where has Harry gone?” I whisper softly as I walk closer to the tree with a muted trail.
I can hear the slow shakes of his breathsand chills of the grazing wind wisp through the bronze leaves lifting them around his frame.
“Harry? Now why are you hiding behind this tree?” I ask as I tickle him and he responds with a gleaming laugh. I can feel the sense of life uplift my lips as his wide eyes crinkle with joy but my smile fades as he turns and reveals the hoary metal structures of his left leg deepen into the scars of his weak bandage strewn skin. My opaque smile covers the hidden sadness I wish to scatter aside and my hands move away from him as I force them to remain stationary in order to concede the shaking inside.
“I’m getting better at this game, it took you longer to find me this time” he murmurs fingering his lean cane that is decorated with several dents. I lean against the tree and my fingers trail down the markings of the tree trunk where enfoldments have been made, my head tilts as I read the engravings that we have crusted into the wood. Harry’s words beside his marking of height are all of good things such as previous birthdays or embarking adventures, all things he wishes to remember. Yet my side are all things I wish to forget, I marked dates that I thought then would escape my mind and come burden upon the forest. I shake my mind of the memories and I can’t help but smile as Harry’s eyes shine with timid pride.
“so it did, but still it wasn’t very nice hiding like that when I needed your help” I say as sternly as possible but he smiles and his hand opens up to reveal a ripe apple.
“truce?” he asks shyly and in response I accept the apple and toss it in the basket.
I walk through the opening of the meadow picking apples from the branches wanting to close my path, whilst Harry follows closely behind picking flowers, intertwining them with strands of grass and placing them into his rusty green wheelbarrow.
“how long is it now?” he asks impatiently as he hurries along the seemingly endless fields separating it from the ever so slight beauty it beheld.
The escaping sun shimmers upon the evening sky glowing upon the yellow leaves shaking in their branches.
“not long now, are you almost done?” I say as I continue to pick apples and drop them into the overwhelming pile in the basket.
“yes, can we see them now, please?” the rough touch of hope seaming into his innocent question causes me to nod reassuringly in his direction and I find myself walking closer to the end of the forest as he pulls his wheelbarrow behind him and follows.
I say nothing and neither does he as we enter their home so hidden from the rest of the meadow but still yet the most beautiful aspect of it. I see his touch let go of few bouquets as he places them upon those forgotten graves choosing flowers he sees as the most precious to place upon deserted lives.
Their fragile posts lie at the far end of the meadow distant to any other. I kneel down in front of my mother’s grave stone and my brother replicates my movement though his eyes are fixed on my father’s tombstone. My fingers trace the simple words upon the carved stone, ‘mother’, is one word I will never be able to recall so clearly as any other and my fingers fumble on the hold of the small basket in my hand. I turn my eyes away and watch Harry observe his parent’s names cautiously.
“did they have to go?” he asks as he frowns with discomfort upon the sight he cannot recollect
“they had no choice Harry, they left because it was their turn but they still cared” I say thinking about my words ever so carefully before I answer
His frown lessens and he looks on with only a brink of sorrow
“sometimes, I forget what they were like, I try not to but then everything becomes so blurry that it feels like it’s lost” his eyes are closed as he speaks not wanting to see my reaction though with the simple gesture of my hand upon his is enough for them to reopen.
“they were good people, Harry, they cared for us, they always did. When you think your forgetting just remember they were good and they cared” my voice remains impassive but I try to show the truth of my words and the sadness in his eyes appears to cascade away through soft tears.
“would they be happy to see us here with them?” he asks
“they are always happy, when we visit, when we smile or laugh”
“how do you know, for sure?”
I gesture for him to listen
“hear that soft sound in the shadows, the one that is never truly overheard by the wails of the wind?, that’s their laughter, their joy, that’s how I know they’re happy because they still see us as we grow. we just have to wait until the day we can see them again. We can wait can’t we? Since we have each other.” I whisper as I listen intently to their soft spurs of laughter forcing a smile in me.
“yes, I have you, and we can go on adventures with mama and papa too, they’ll just be watching over us is all” he says with a strong sense of hope brimming in his voice.
I smile in asset
“Now, what flowers have you chosen to replace the weak bunch?’ I say as I toss aside the crispy petals of white roses into the trail of the wind.
He places one blossomed calla Lille upon each of their graves
“I hope mama and papa like them’ he says with a smile in his voice and as his words come to a close the melodic sound of the birds brings us out of our reverie signalling the end of the working week.
“it’s time” I say as my heavy breaths overpower the words, the sounds of the birds are still too faint which shows that work has only just ended. I walk towards the tiny well near the gate and place the apples into a wooden bucket with holes and press down the heaver that pulls the string attached to the well, to cause a stream of water to pour over the bucket of apples. I rinse the apples by placing them into a more light weight basket and let go of the string that is the works of my invention.
Harry offers to hold the basket while I put on my boots and rub my hands in the hope of creating some warmth. I take of my jumper and hang it over the fence, my hair flows wildly in the wind as my fingers run through the thin crimson strands of my dark hair. my black shirt adorned with lace strengthens the touch of duty in the atmosphere now that it is no longer hidden. I press down my dark, leather braces, smooth out the creases in my skirt and pull up my white socks to my knees. My collar flickers with the glimmering strips of our flag. Perhaps, the sense of patriotism should overcome me yet I gaze upon the role with a sense of hollowness.
“Do you think they’ll be happy today?” I ask my brother
He gives me a reassuring laugh and hands over the basket of apples
“everyone smiles when you arrive like you make them happy” he says gently
“People need food Harry, but sometimes an apple is just the tad bit dissappointing.” I say though my words are muffled by the sounds of the thrushes. I hurry past the gate, holding Harry’s hand as I do and clutching onto my basket with the other.
I focus on my tread as I walk, hoping the sense of calmness will overwhelm my jitteriness yet nothing comes. I finger my soul on it’s chain around my neck , as the basket hangs on my wrist. The silvery lavender coloured butterfly twitches as it attempts to escape it’s net but it cannot, it remains trapped on my black chain. I must remember happy memories, those that remain so clear in my mind. Harry’s birth, his Frequent story telling, his care for smaller creatures everything that makes things seem good. Then I breathe.
“the butterfly’s escaped” he says gazing upon it’s fragile wings as it flies upon the daisies
I laugh a little, no longer fretting for what might have happened if the butterfly had remained trapped on my necklace.
“come on Harry, it’ll fly back” I say as I let go of the no longer entrapping net.
“Magic” I hear him breathe and sigh in awe as he gazes at the butterfly gracefully hovering above clouds.
We walk along the promenade where fresh people linger for the end of work gift and the thrushes continue their melodic sounds. As the Notes become frail and are close to vanish, I let go of Harry’s hand and usher him to go play with the other children. I see his face beam as the souls are set free and almost all the thimbles escape. I remain ignorant on the meaning behind each individuals thimble or soul as I should call it though most of us refrain from using that word, the regulators are far more wise on deciphering the silent codes, as each thimble that trembles ever so slightly is given a stern stare though only brief. As the thimbles travel back to their hosts, I continue to walk as gracefully as I can ahead as my butterfly hovers over me. I give the most pleasurable smile I behold as I hand out the apples to workers on the farmland. The land boys are smothered in sweat, sticky red crusts upon their skin with their coarse hands gripping the sweetness of hope the red fruit deceivingly brings. Though of course I cannot admit to that. Maybe there’s more truth in a simple apple than I know of. The land girls are of similar presentation though they show more sense of pain in their emotions, I feel as-though I am a silly sunflower in a field of distraught roses. If only I were not apple keeper, I would be beside them right now, feeling what they feel, seeing the world how they see it. rather than being considered an outsider who has been excused. I can’t feel their sadness just their hope, their smiles, their pride, there is nothing more behind it, I must remember that for it is all I know.
Olde Ben, the land owner of the great strip of work, acknowledges me and though I am not supposed to, I hand him an apple,
“what’s this for? I don’t think I need as much encouragement as them boys over there. They only time they seem to work properly is right before the apple keeper arrives” he says humourly, fingering the apple in his hands
“these apples must be very special to have that affect on them” I respond hoping not to have been too serious in my reply. However he smiles with a glimmer of fatherly admiration as he looks over to the workers cleansing their cuts with humid, drenching water.
“they work very hard, these apples are a nice gift but they deserve a lot more, they do” he says with a far more sad note to his raspy voice, all good humourly conversation suddenly lost to the wind.
“a lot of people around here do sir, yet you treat them so well, I’m sure their thankful for that” I say firmly and his friendly smile reappears
“take this Cole, for yourself, you’re far too bony, it’s not good, you got to eat something” he says sternly as he gestures me to accept the slice of bread in his frail, wrinkly, scar stricken hands
“thank you sir, but I can’t accept it” I say with every ounce of gratitude as my words decline his gesture, yet he opens up my hands and forces my fingers to pry over the thin slice. I try to elude him but he walks away yet not before saying thank you once more for the apple.
I can feel a smile breaching my lips as I mindlessley hand out apples declining any more offers of bread from the young workers.
“thanks for the apple” I hear a quiet voice murmur from behind me and turn to see a red haired boy, smiling at me with such familiarity.
“I hear You deserve it .” I say with the same recognition in my tone. His head tilts in response as he registers the undertone to my words.
“I don’t know about that. My life feels pretty easy compared to say his right now” he snickers lightly as he inclines towards a boy around our age scraping off the dry, crimson crusts from his skin.
“I take it that being commodity carer isn’t as challenging as it seems?” I ask sarcastically, already knowing how both our roles are equally futile in comparison to the land workers who work tirelessly to provide us with our colonies’ trade, wheat. While me and sage act as Propaganda puppets who are the faces of our colony and our purpose acts as simply raising the hopes of our fellow civilians. At least that’s what I know.
“All I do is organise the trade, and not even completely until I turn 17 in a few years, but I definitely think it’s harder than an apple keeper’s role of once every week handing out an apple to anyone whose fresh faced and working” he says with a mirrored touch of sarcasm in his tone. I laugh in response because it’s true, I get paid in food to hand out apples as if it were gold but in this case it seems to have a similar sense of precious value. All workers get paid in food, it is the only way we can be paid. money is a resource that is difficult to possess, so every land worker gets a certain percentage of what they have produced, a small sum of vegetables, commodity workers get resources which they then trade for food, and I get apples and the gifts from workers which I don’t like to accept, so mainly apples and the occasional bread from olde Ben. I look at sage once more and I realise how much I have missed his ironic smile as it remains a link to my more favourable childhood memories.
“It’s rewarding, for me that’s satisfying enough. Anyway, How are you and the little ones?” I ask as I step closer to observe him more clearly, his flushed cheeks are not as hallow as they were and his healthy colouring appears to have returned showing his renewed strength. Sage as a child, sage now, he’s still the friendliest person I know. Becoming commodity carer meant he could get far more food than before to substitute for money, for not only him but for his younger siblings.
“I think the pay is what made us better, I guess I shouldn’t complain as much. But You look so different, so tired, I thought things would have been better for you too?” all sense of sarscasm and humour is lot in his throat.
“age does change a person. But hey I hear you’re a black shirt now? When did that happen?” I say casually ignoring his questions
“yeah, I changed around the same time I got better. But how are-
His words are cut off by the sounds of the bells ringing on every side of the street, the pavilion lights in the far end brighten as the bell sounds greater and the flag flies up on the centre pole. There are no other sounds besides the bells, the flickering of lights, and wind thrashing against the flag. No other sounds until I let go of my basket and the few remaining fruits of hope are scarred on the ground.
Hello! For a while now I’ve been thinking of an idea for a potential story, and I’ve just recently started writing it.
I’ve currently written up to the second chapter, and I would love your opinions on it. I’ll post the story in moderation since the chapters are quite long. I’ll just give you guys some background on the story because its sort of ambiguously written.
It’s set in America but in the future, recently resources have been running out which has put most of the world’s richest countries in severe debt, hunger and starvation. The story picks up from there.
But please tell me what you think and be honest, and give as much criticism as possible please! 🙂
Smokeless fire burns through each single stripe searing the patriotism as the crackling flames cheerfully disperse. In response Hushed murmurs escape into the crispy ambience collapsing against the thick, thrashing steps of existing citizens whom are haunted by their shadows. Silence is surreal until the sudden lapse of a crowded judgement occurs through the ceasing sounds of airplane components. There is nothing but deprivation, deprivation from a sense of protection amongst them as they converge past the decrepit skyscrapers showered with soot and chilling imagery of what occurred. The children’s eyes shed tears with an urge for a voice to speak yet only one frail cry shakingly comforts her child and ambles on. The child adorns the scene as she wisps in a smooth and unwavering manner though her dainty wings to only some visible cling to the enfolds of her father’s crumbled sleaves. A chain of minors follow on the wordless orders of their carers into the vast opening of endless lanes, where a shadowless figure bellows in a way that no child perceives what is said but yet are able to recognise the mesmerising presence their young lives have made. All are rushed amongst the sloping trail leading to the somewhat visible figure who eyes each one of them in turn sceptically followed by an assuring nod. As the ten children are freed from their parents grip, the man turns away and a thin line of ink splashes on a chartered document causing an unstable cheer to unnerve each child’s security. An inaudible utterance erupts amongst the surface of the clustered group as the same vulnerable voice softly consoles her child whilst brushing away her own tears as the thoughts of the doctrine and the subtle years to follow shade her mind. In dispute, closing her eyes is forced in the painted desperation of hope to help.