Diaries Magazine

Ch 10 - i Was Never Alone, Anyway

Posted on the 11 April 2013 by Mavie
The bus was coming. It was coming fast. Just a few more minutes and it would all be over. Em’s mother’s feet were positioned at the edge of the pavement, ready to step out into the road when the time was right.The roar of the colossal engine intensified and her feet began to move. She could see the red machine a few feet away, bearing down on her fast. She closed her eyes took that crucial step off the ledge. A woman screamed, and a horn blared. Em’s mother kept walking.“No!” The familiar voice shrieked behind her. Arms circled around her chest and yanked her back. They fell hard onto the pavement, panting and sweating with the adrenaline rush that had peaked a second earlier.“What are you doing?” Em’s aunt cried, tears running down her face. Her heart hammered from running hard up the road.“I… I… Em. I want to be with Em…” Her body trembled and her voice broke on the cold hard slabs of the pavement. The wheels of the bus screeched and skidded, as it came careening to a halt.The driver jumped out and ran to them. The traffic behind the bus came to a slow stand still.“Is she alright?” his shaky voice asked. He knelt down by their side a look of terror on his aging.“Yes. Thank you. She’s fine…”“What do you think you were doing?” His voice took on a stronger tone. “I could have killed you.”“I wish you had.” “What…? You’re crazy lady. Get her some help!” He shook his finger at them and got to his feet.“Calm down, will you? She’s just lost her daughter.”The driver gasped as if he had been slapped. “Oh.” He stepped back. “Right, well…” he stammered before hurrying back to the bus.The traffic moved on and Em’s aunt struggled to pull her sister up. “What were you doing, sis? You can’t leave me. Without you, I’m nothing. I need you… please. What were you doing?” Her voice ended in a whisper, as if talking to herself.One look into her younger sister’s eyes told her she had made a big mistake. How could she think of causing more pain to her family? Losing a niece was bad enough, but did she have to lose a sister as well? “Thank you…” Em’s mother cried clutching at her for support. “Oh, thank you for saving me… I wasn’t myself. It’s… it’s just that I thought I saw Em yesterday. At the graveyard. And my dream last night… they were calling to me…” a sob racked her body.“Shh. Don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal to see things. You will have nightmares to begin with, but with time, it will get better.”They had reached home now. Em’s aunt settled her sister on the sofa and went into the kitchen to make some hot tea. Together they sat quietly sipping from steaming mugs, reflecting on what might have been.“Really, I am sorry. I can see now, that I was being stupid.” Em’s mother sniffed.“Let’s not say any more about it.”***I sailed through the wall and watched my family sip from mugs of hot tea. I had no idea how I got there, one minute I was stuck in the graveyard, and the next I was hovering outside my house. It was morning and an awful feeling of panic came over me. Something had happened here, something big but I had missed it.I sat on the sofa and continued my observation. By the end of the day, I had learnt nothing. They each went about their lives quietly and sombrely. Much later, Mum went to bed and I followed her, wanting to be with her for as long as I could. In her sleep, she mumbled a few things, things that broke my already retired heart. How would she cope without me? Unable to control myself I reached through the darkness and stroked her hair. She sighed and a warm smile lifted the corners of her mouth.“It’s okay Mum…I’m okay…”I whispered against her hair.Leaning back into the armchair, I focused on the shadows. “Why won’t you take me?” I called to a particularly dark shadow. It didn’t answer. How could it? It was the shadow of the cupboard. The night passed quickly and Mum woke up late the following morning. She skipped down the stairs in a better mood. “Good morning!” she called to her sister.“Oh. Someone’s in a good mood. How are you feeling?”“Better. I feel better. I think my prayers are working. Last night was weird though, I felt as if Em was sleeping next to me…” She hesitated, casting a weary look at her sister. She didn’t want her to think she was losing it.“Go on.” Her sister prompted.“Uh. I just had a feeling Em was telling me to let go. She’s with her dad now and that’s what counts.” She finished brightly.“Good. That’s good.” Em’s aunt wrapped her sister in a celebratory hug.“Right! I need to go into town. There are a few things we need for the house. Do you want to come?” I heard Mum jangle the car keys in her hand.“Do you want me to come?”“No, it’s okay. I can manage. I’ll take my phone in case you need me.” Em’s mom kissed her sister on the cheek and grabbed her handbag. She was looking forward to running a few mundane errands. Maybe she could forget about her recent loss and just enjoy the bright sunny day for what it was. I smiled as I followed Mum out. Maybe I was here to make sure she would cope. Once she settled into a routine, I would be able to cross over. He would have to come for me then. Mum popped a CD in and verses from the Quran flooded the back seat of the car. Shifting the car into reverse, Mum checked the mirror and gulped loudly. An incensed cough tore from her throat and the car stalled, engine dying. I leant forward, wishing I could help her. What happened? Mum was gasping, her hand to her chest as she doubled over. Still choking, she threw the car open and rolled to the pavement. Stepping out of the car I knelt down by her side. She was panting, gulping a large lungful of air in a frightened state of dread.“Em?” She croaked peeking into the backseat. I inhaled loudly, my eyes round as saucers. Had she seen me? She must have seen a glimpse of me in the rear view mirror. Mum crawled forward and placed both hands on the back door of the car and looked in once more. She saw nothing, how could she? I was standing right next to her. Then shaking her head she dusted herself off and slid back into the car. Turning the engine once more, she laughed at herself thinking she was seeing things. “Maybe a drive will sort me out.” She muttered as she shifted the car into reverse. Heading out of the street we took a left. I knew it wasn’t the way to the store, maybe Mum was going the long way around to clear her head. On the main road, she approached a traffic light and gently pressed the brake. The car slowed to a halt and Mum drummed her fingers on the steering wheel.The CD jumped and Mum frowned. Pressing the eject button, she returned the CD to the pile between her and the passenger seat. Thumbing through them, she hummed to herself and let out a small shriek when the car behind her honked telling her to move along. The lights had changed to green. I whipped around and glared at the impatient driver.“Get lost!” I stuck up two fingers at him, safe in the knowledge that he couldn’t see me.There was a sharp intake of breath and the car swerved. Mum’s eyes were on the rear view mirror and not on the road as they should have been. Our eyes connected. Mum’s were wide, round and frightened. Mine were simply curious. Horns blared and Mum yanked at the wheel over correcting the mistake of drifting to the other side of the busy road. The car behind us slowed down, creating a safe distance between him and the erratic driving Mum was executing. Mum’s car veered too far to the right and she twisted the steering wheel back. In an instant, the car spun out of control and rocketed to the far left where a group of students waited for the oncoming bus. Mum screamed and stomped hard on the brakes. The car protested and skidded narrowly missing the pedestrians but it didn’t miss the large bus that bore down on us.“Mum!” I screamed wrapping my invisible arms around her trembling body.The impact of metal on metal was deafening. A split second later, the sound of tin crushing filled my ears. It was the same sound you get when you step on a can of cola. There was a moment of silence before the hysterical screaming began. I opened my eyes and found myself lying face down in the bus. The driver had hit his head on the large steering wheel and had passed out. Passengers were crying and pulling at the emergency exit doors further down, no one looked my way. Frantically I pivoted in search of my mother. The scene that greeted me was worse than anything I had to endure when I was dying. Behind me, Mum’s car was unrecognisable. The front end had smashed into the bus, tangling itself into one large mass of metal. And then I saw her. My mother’s blood stained arm was draped over the steering wheel that poked over the seat she had been sitting in moments earlier.“Mum!” I bellowed allowing the fear to take over. My head spun, I felt sick. Lunging at the car I pulled at the seat with all my might, but it wouldn’t budge. I trembled, screamed and kicked at the seat but it was firmly squashed into place. In the distance sirens screamed, warning others out of the way. But I knew it was too late, no one could survive a crush like that.In despair I stepped back. I mounted the pavement and crumpled to the cold gray slabs. The police had arrived. Minutes later, the ambulance followed and work began to extract my mother’s body from the wreck. The paramedics shook their heads, defeat clear on their faces. I couldn’t bear to look anymore, dropping my head into my arms I cried empty tears. My chest heaved as the pain shot through. “Em…?” I heard her sweet voice and snapped to attention. Her body was being cut from the wreck, but off to one side, meters from me, she stood beaming widely. My mother. “Mum!” I leaped to my feet.“Em! Oh Em! I knew it was you! I saw you!” She cried holding me against her heaving body.“Mum! Mum...mum!” The words spilled from my lips as water from a gushing tap. I had never been so happy to see her.Suddenly a darkness surrounded us. The air prickled and the temperature dropped. We pulled apart and stood still. “What’s happening?” Mum drew closer to me.“He’s here…” I whispered spotting the dark shadow form.“Who?” But I didn’t answer. I now understood and a bubble of laughter surfaced dying suddenly on my lips. I had been kept here for a reason. For Mum. Just as Zac had been around for me, I had been around for my mom and in that instant I realised I was never alone, anyway.
*** THE END ***

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