Thursday, 5 May 2016
The Meldings (5) Nudge
When Sarah was young she asked many questions; most were answered, except for those that her mum deemed too old for her to understand and then she would say “Another day, Smidge, another day.”
Years later, nothing had changed much. Sarah was still called Smidge and her mum still refused to talk about certain subjects. The most recent example of which was the magic door handle that Smidge had found, which opened door ways to anywhere she had a mind to go (and had been keeping a secret from her mum).
Except her mum already knew about the handle, and the parent-teacher evening that had been arranged by her mentor Mrs Norn hadn't been for her mum's benefit at all… However, since the evening had been interrupted by four people waving baseball bats, demanding that Smidge use the handle to break into the local bank, nothing else had been accomplished (except for Smidge transporting them to the local police station instead of the bank).
It was then that Smidge realised that her mum knew about the handle and what it could do, but for days afterwards she didn't want to talk about it, no matter how much Smidge pestered her.
Her mum was extremely reticent, almost embarrassed to talk about the situation and even Mrs Norn was reluctant to carry on the teachings. “Until your mum agrees, I'm afraid that I can't teach you any more about how the handle works. I'm sorry.”
“What about those four guys with baseball bats then?”
“All the more reason to stop the lessons… The more you're told, the deeper involved you become and the less chance you'll get to back out.”
“What… like mum did?” Smidge asked. “Is that what mum did?”
“No more, Smidge… I'm sorry.”
And that's how things were left for a while. A few weeks passed and Smidge lost interest in the door handle but always kept it with her, as if it was still her responsibility.
Things got back to normal, her mum went back to leading the local girl guides and Smidge did her best to be a model student again, even though she felt empty inside.
Somebody else had been biding their time, intrigued how things were turning out. This Smidge wasn't the all conquering hero she had initially seemed to be; she was very hampered by the failures of her mother… How much of a nudge would it take for her to walk away? Now was the time to send in the blunt instrument to cause more misgivings.
Smidge wasn't great at making friends, she felt a bit of an outsider; only at the guides because of her mum. She kept to the back to stop people from accusing her of being the teachers pet.
There were a couple of other girls who were also outsiders too though. Anesh's love of Gerry Anderson science fiction put her at odds with the whole “New [Dr] Who” craze who couldn't understand how she could love the wobbly puppets on Thunderbirds and the wobbly acting on Space 1999. Ferrise loved archaeology, was fascinated in the past which endeared her to Smidge's mum but not to her fellow guides.
Smidge, on the other hand, found them easy to get on with and they often helped in packing things up at the end of the evening, ensuring that the hall was left exactly the way it was found.
They didn't smell the fire outside until Gert burst through the doors of the hut, creating a vacuum which sucked the heat and smoke in with her. Neither the girls or Smidges mum had time to react, it all happened so fast. Gert went straight for Mrs Midgen who tried to defend herself, but all it took was one push from Gert to send her flying. She fell hard with a thud.
“MUM!” Smidge cried out, making a dash to her mum but Gert was there first. Like a coiled spring she struck, twisting Smidge's arm around her back until she screamed.
“You know what I want -the handle! Give it to me or else.” Smidge had no choice, the other two girls were cowering in terror and she couldn't tell how her mum was, she wasn't moving. She gave Gert the handle.
“That won't do you any good.” She spat at Gert.
“And it'll do you even less!” She looked to the two girls. “Now -tie up Smudge and then I'll tie you both. Hurry up, you don't have much time!”
Within minutes they were all bound.
“You've made my life a misery and now even my family wants nothing to do with me!” Gert snapped, incensed; there was no telling what she was capable of now. “This is the end for you now; not even you can escape this time.”
Gert ran for the doorway, slamming it shut and locking it. Smidge then herd splashing sounds, petrol from the smell of it… they didn't have long.
She looked round, her mum was barely conscious and Anesh and Ferrise were both scared out of their wits. They had to get out, but that meant cutting their ropes somehow.
“Anesh… Are you any good with knots?” Anesh was too scared but Smidge had no time for niceties. “OY! Anesh! Are you any good with knots?!”
“Yes, but it's too late!” Anesh cried back.
“It's never too late to try.” Through the smoke and through the tears Anesh undid the knots, surprised at just how easy they were to untangle. Within minutes they were all free.
The heat was unbearable, smoke pouring from everywhere – they wouldn't have much longer before the building collapsed completely. No one knew where they were and they could only just hear the fire engines desperate wailings; they would never get there in time.
“Stay low, kids.” Smidge's mum groaned.
“MUM! You're still with us!” Smidge was relieved, even amongst the inferno.
“You.. have...to get us… out of here...” Her mum gasped.
“But she took the handle.”
“You don't need…. the handle… it only focuses…. the intent… You have the power, Smidge, my darling… You always did… just as I had...”
Without a second to spare Smidge found a table in amongst the smoke and got the two girls to help her overturn it so there was a flat surface she could use. Using all her intent she focused, picturing the door in front of her.
The front of the building collapsed just as the door finally opened. The girls screamed but Smidge grabbed her mums arm and together they all dragged her through the door, just as the rest of the building collapsed.
Miraculously the door somehow opened on the side of one of the parked fire engines and they managed to climb through without being seen until they needed help. Soon Smidge's mum and the girls were being looked after for smoke inhalation and a possible concussion.
But Smidge wasn't with them. This was going to end. She hadn't started things with Gert but she was going to finish them. Her way.