Words by: Sadna Choudhury
My shoelace is gone off. I can’t tie it like Mummy can. It is getting dark outside. Big, tall lights in the sky have come on. I can’t see Mummy. Where is Mummy and Auntie Dee? Tommy said to wait, but I saw the blue tortoise and it was blue and I want to tell Mummy. It was stucked in a big, tall machine. Mummy is gone. I can’t see Tommy or Mummy, or baby Kimmie and my hands hurt. It is cold now.
I find my glove in my coat but not the other one. I put it on and I walk. I walk past lots of cars and there is no sound. And then one comes like a whoosh and then one makes a vrrrum sound and it is loud and hurts my ears. The big lights flash in my eyes and I am scared Mummy. I runned past it. I hear a scary voice. I can’t see Tommy. I look for Auntie Dee. I look for Kimmie’s red pushchair. I put a ribbon on the wheel and it can spin now, but it is lost. I look for the blue tortoise, but the machine was too big. It is gone. I just want the blue tortoise.
Mummy says I was good because I waited and and I went on the big teacups and I spinned and I was dizzy. Tommy just runned on. Tommy always does because Tommy is big. I waited for a turn like Mummy says and I was good. But Tommy says I am bad and will only get peas for dinner. I don’t like peas. Tommy will tell and say I runned away, but I didn’t.
My feet are hurting and there is a stone in my green shoes. I stepped on it and it hurts in my foot. I am hungry, is it dinnertime? I listen to a loud noise and it sounded like a dog. It is a big dog. It woofs like a big dog. I don’t like it. It is too dark.
“Mummy,” I say. “Mummy? I lost Tommy. Mummy? Kimmie?” I am crying but Tommy says boys don’t cry. My nose is cold and I cry.
“Mummy,” I cry. “Mum- Mummy?!”
Dee Plume- Saint Claire brushed her cheek. Flyaway hair stuck to her skin. She let out a weary sigh. The day had been long, but entirely auspicious and sunny. It had been the perfect opportunity for an impromptu family trip. There was a theme park situated on the outskirts of the city and the kids had been itching to go. It was the second week of the holidays. They hadn’t done anything which might constitute as ‘fun’ yet.
So she’d taken the sunshine as a good omen and packed her son, Tommy, in the car seat. Dee double-checked the boot. There were enough snacks and juice to feed an army. She grabbed extra coats, bags and baby wipes. Not to mention the all-important car keys, and she drove over the road. Red-faced and craving coffee, Dee listened absentmindedly to Tommy, who was trying to decide which ride he’d get on first. Dee got to her sister Annette’s house. She pecked her nephew Vince on the head. She strapped him in beside her own six year old, whose excitement was bordering juggernaut proportions. This child was far less boisterous than her own. He was happy listening to Tommy dictate whether they would visit the tilt- a-whirl or Ferris wheel first. Annette’s newborn Kimmie was crying shrilly. Yet, her sister was smiling. Dee cooed at the baby. She checked again they had everything they might possibly require; just short of Armageddon in the boot of her car.
“Forgot the coffee Dee.” Annette said. She groaned in sympathy. They set off for the motorway.
Eight hours later, Dee took her nephew and son on the bumper carts in turn, as her sister watched Kimmie. She took them on the merry go round, a slip ’n’ slide, the hall of mirrors, a dubious log flume and every other ride they were old enough for. They had a short picnic on the grass. Exhausted, but happy, as such a pair of mums might be from looking after three young children. The women decided to end their trip. Dee’s feet were swollen.
Annette nudged her. “Aw look. Kimmie’s asleep again. Poor thing. I think the boy’s excitement wore her out as well.” Annette said. Dee grinned. It was getting dark.
“It’s getting a bit cold. Let’s be off then.’ Dee tugged Tommy’s hand along. He needed convincing that it was time to go home, but little prince Vince needed no urging. He followed obediently at her side, with his scarf trailing behind. A small, woolen glove dropped on the ground. Dee stopped short of a queue. It was past tea-time and other groups had a similar idea to head home.
“Damn.” Annette muttered, just as they reached the gate for the monumental car park. “I think I left Kimmie’s nappy bag on that bench.” She sighed. “She needs her bottle. I’ll just be one sec.” Dee glanced back, distracted. Tommy decided now was the perfect time to kick up a tantrum. He suddenly started crying. He tugged on Dee’s sleeve, whimpering about not getting a turn on the looping starship. A ride he was too young for, not to mention too short to get on safely. Tommy was adamant for attention. Dee noticed Vince out the corner of her eye, tugging at her son gently. He pointed towards glittering and pinging lights. There was a darkened arcade section in the distance. Dee held tightly onto his coat and resolutely ignored her son’s wailing.
“Come on boys. Time to get in the car.” They trotted forward as the queue dispersed. Thank goodness they’d come early enough to get parked nearby. She didn’t have to walk the kids far. Momentarily, Dee let go of Vince to pick up a bag which had fallen off a pram. Another dad was struggling to fit it inside his car boot. The man muttered his thanks.
“Oh it’s not a problem.” Dee said. Boys get in the…”
“Got it!” Annette called, hurrying toward them. She hitched the still-sleeping Kimmie up in her arms. Dee turned back.
“C’mon boys.” But only Tommy was standing there, cheeks red and stained with tears. He was sniffling. Dee glanced around. Then she looked at the car seats. Confused, she spun on the spot. She turned to Annette, who frowned. She didn’t understand. Dee looked again, expecting to see Vince strapped in his car seat. It was still empty. She looked at her sister. Shock morphed into horror. Dee’s mouth dropped open in astonishment. Annette’s pupils widened in fear.
“Where’s Vince, Dee?” She said quickly. Annette inhaled.
“Where is he, where’s my son?” She asked again.
Sadna is currently a 3rd year at MMU studying English Lit and Creative Writing, as well as a wannabe writer and painter, whose lifelong ambition is to grope Misha Collins in the dark.