Part One: Number Twenty Elk Lane.
"For fuck's sake, Cane you're ten years old, cut that baby shit out!" Cheryn spat at her son. "Go play outside and let me watch my fuckin' shows for once." She slammed her body into the giant armchair which sat in front of the small television making bits of dust poof into the air. She lit up a cigarette, sighing with the relief. Crawling on his hands and knees, Cane scurried up the carpeted stairs. He dodged the multitude of take away food containers and empty cigarette packs which were littered up them.
"Mmmeeoowww!" Cane cried out as his palm hit the top stair. He used his teeth to remove the push pin which had embedded itself into his palm.
"Meow," he cried out again, dragging himself up the stairs with one hand, and cradling his injured one against his slapped cheek.
"Shut the fuck up!" Cheryn screamed at him, "I just missed the fucking important part!" Cane sat up onto his knees once he reached the top stair. He made a low rumbling sound in his chest and throat and he licked at his injured hand.
He scurried across the stained and prickly carpet into his favourite corner near the window - the roof sloped downwards here, and his mother had trouble getting down to hit him when she was drunk. He sat like a cat on its hind legs, and rested his chin on the window sill. On cue, just like every Thursday prior, Cane heard "Greensleeves" echo over the houses of Beechwell. He watched the top of the Ice Cream van weave its way through the rusted roofs of his neighbourhood. He imagined leaping from the window like a cat, and chasing the van down the street until it stopped. Then the Ice Cream man would give him a ride in the front seat and let him eat the cold, sweet, creamy creamy ice cream while all the other children chased the van and called out their jealousies, wanting to be friends with the cat boy who rode in the Ice Cream van. He continued licking his wounded hand, and lightly caressed the tender bruises on his arms with his cheek. He curled up on the window sill and let the sun's ray wrap their arms around him, taking him into a warm sleep. When the air grew cold, he began to rouse and climbed onto the floor. The stair case rumbled and a booming voice followed it.
"I teld yoo to 'ave yerself in to sleeeeep! Why can yoo not follow what I tell yoo!?" Cane held his hands in front of his chest in a similar fashion to a meerkat as Cheryn stumbled up stairs.
"Mreoowww!" was all he responded with. Cheryn raised a broom above her shoulder. Cane was on all fours, backing into the wall. He spat and hissed and swiped at the air as she came nearer; weaving carefully through the thicket of green army men scattered across the floor. Cheryn was not so agile, and her size eleven foot came stomping down onto one of the plastic guns the toys were holding. Cane continued hissing and screeching as she stumbled backwards and retreated down the stairs, cursing her son's existence.
Cheryn woke the next morning with her cheek resting against the bathroom tiles. "Helooooooo?" she heard a man's voice sing from the lounge room. "Fuggorf!" was all she could moan in reply. Her mouth was sticky, and tasted like bile and old vodka..
"Oh Cheryn, my darling, wake yourself the fuck up," the man called out, this time from the doorway of the master bedroom. He could see her feet poking out of the bathroom door, and her toes gripped the edge of the old dusty rug which lay abused on the bedroom floor.
"Earth to shit-head. Get. Up." the man yelled at Cheryn, cupping his hands around his mouth like a megaphone.
"WHAT!? Fuck's sake Cam..." she trailed off as she choked and coughed into the toilet bowl.
"Meet ya in the kitchen sugar tits," Cam said and he left the room.
© Copyright 2016 Lauren Bruty. All rights reserved.