Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Weekends Are The Worst By Isobel Fearn

Weekends Are The Worst

I hear the car doors slam. How long have I got? Maybe half an hour if I'm lucky. I look at the fancy metallic clock on the dresser in the kitchen. The one I have to dust and polish daily. 3.25pm. The light will begin to fade soon. I'll have to be quick or I won't be able to see. There's no light bulb in my room.

I try running up the stairs to my room, but my left leg drags. Mister kicked me yesterday. Can't even remember why now. When they told me I would have my own room, I was so excited. What a fool! I imagined one like I'd seen in magazines. There's only room for a dirty mattress on the floor with a few blankets thrown on top. A china pot is squeezed into one corner. I'm not allowed to use the bathroom other than to empty my pot. I sit on the end of my mattress. I had a postcard of London at home. All those tall, elegant buildings, a bridge over the Thames and a bright red bus driving past. A wonderful place to be, full of life and colour. But I've seen nothing of it, seen no one but them. I'm not allowed to go out or to answer the door. If anyone sees me when they come to the house , they say “Oh, that's Irina. Such a sweet girl, an old family friend. She's come to help us out for a little while, haven't you Irina?” All smiles and friendly gestures, but I can see it in their eyes- a threat. Don't tell.

I have a small pile of possessions hidden under the mattress though I know they could find them if they looked. They took my passport and my suitcase. I take out a small metal photograph frame. The children's faces smile out at me. I blink back a tear, trace the outline of their faces with my fingertip then press it to my lips and back to theirs. How I miss them. I was only doing this for them. Just three months at the most. That's what Missus said. How long ago was that? Best not to think. I kiss my angels again and tuck the photograph gently away. Mustn't be too long or I won't get all my tasks done. Don't want to make them angry. It's my fault when they're angry. They're always telling me that. I'm lazy. I'm too slow. I'm careless. That's why they shout at me. It's my fault. Everything is my fault.

.The front door slams. How long have I been upstairs?

"Irina!" Missus’s voice. Harsh and whiny.

"Come and get the groceries out of the car. Have you finished that ironing? Come on girl, get a move on. Don't think that you can stop just because we go out for a few minutes. Did you put that washing in the machine? I hope you've remembered to.........."

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