I stopped the car too desperate to find a proper place and ducked into a field. I checked there was no one around then fumbled with my clothes. Squatting down, I happened to look across and the breathe caught in my throat.
Three figures were standing in the middle of the field watching me. I felt heat creeping across my skin, my knuckles turned white clutching hard on my bunched pants. There was nothing I could do and nowhere to hard.
Finishing, I redressed and thought about going over to apologise and explain I had a water works infection and couldn’t help it.
I half turned away before swallowing my embarrassment and striding across the field. I could feel my heart racing, my pulse beating loudly in my ears and my face must have been beetroot red with heat.
As I got closer, puzzlement crossed my mind, these figures didn’t look right. They were too still but perhaps they were in shock about seeing my accidentally exposure?
Closer still and the realisation hit me. I laughed loudly and went right up to them.
‘Wicker statues! Not real people at all!’ I cried out.
The children called it the Witch’s House and told tales of a horrible old woman who kidnapped people and used them in potion making. There wasn’t any truth behind it but seeing the state of the house the tales were easy enough to believe.
They say family roots run deep but how does that apply to an orphan? Especially one in his fifties who’s only just found out that his parents weren’t actually his.
Sitting down in the root maze, under my favorite trio of trees in the park, my thoughts were clouded by betrayal and lies. My ‘parents’ had never told me and now they had both passed, the lawyer had been the one to break the news.
Sitting in the leather chair, a huge desk between us, I had read the looks on the lawyer’s face and decided he was going to tell me some super bad news. Like; ‘your parents had nothing to leave you. Or your parents left everything to a cat charity.’ But no, it was; ‘James you are adopted. Margret and William were not your biological parents.’
I didn’t know what to say or then did he have the right family? Was this the last joke of my father? Funny man he was, always up for a laugh and a prank. But no, it was all true. Here was accounts from a police officer and social services and newspaper cuttings too; Baby Boy Found Abandoned In Park; Police Appeal For Parents To Come Forward.
The lawyer said no one knows who my parents were but Margret and William created a paper trail if I wanted to try and find out. The lawyer give me a box file then my not parents’ house, money and everything else. I left numb and not sure what else to do I came to the park and the trio trees.
Reading through the some of the papers, it interested me to note that I was actually found close to here, in a yellow blanket. Perhaps, that’s why I had always been drawn to here or maybe it was just one of those things. Whatever it was, wasn’t important right now.
I felt myself slipping away, everything I had known no longer felt true. Who actually was I? I felt like an actor playing the role of James McBride who had forgotten his true self.
I shoved everything back into the box file and looked up. The sunlight was dancing through the leaves of the trees, like disco lights. I shut my eyes.
The remains of the town lay in rubble between the desert hills. Canada walk around the large bricks of a burnt down church, lost in thought.
Canada knew from the stories told in her village that her family had once lived in this town and when the maunders had come they had killed everyone but somehow not her. A villager’s dog had saved her and returned home with Canada in its mouth.
She had no memories of her family or this town but the desire to rebuild the place and rule over it as was her right burned deep within.
He followed the lights and they led him into the woods. The lights were a green-yellow, small in size and with a halo of fuzz around them. He had been seeing them for a year, since they had moved into the old country house and he’d spent a lot of time wondering what the lights were.
Deeper into the woods, into further darkness, the way lit only by the lights. He stumbled on something and looked down as the lights began to fade. There was a small grave stone at his feet marking the entrance to a forgotten graveyard.