this is the first chapter of the Free.. Pleeez comment if you like it..or if you don’t!
I should’ve known what he was up to all right but I hadn’t a clue. It was easy enough to see what he fancied in her. That Janice was a real beauty. Besides being a stuck up bitch.
She used to have fellas queuing up to go out with her. I suppose we were a bit jealous. But sooner or later she’d tell all of them to drop dead. Which only spurred them on more, men being what they are. There were a whole gang of them in our school had their eye on Janice. Like a pack of randy dogs sniffing after her.
But my dad wasn’t one of them. When he took a fancy to Janice he swept her off her feet. You wouldn’t believe the nerve of the old bastard, and him married with four kids. Of which I, Linda, was the oldest, being about fifteen at the time.
Maybe I loved and feared him so much I was blind to his faults. But this time I couldn’t close my eyes.
It all began one day I was walking back to school after the dinner break. It’s a big wide road and windy, and the rain was beginning again. Rubbish and dust blowing. A few old vans and cars clattering by, and the wide road as grey as the sky.
Well, didn’t I come by the corner shop. There were a crowd of girls milling about and inside sheltering. It was half dark in there, the electricity was cut off again.
And there was stuck up Janice herself coming out, and she done up to the nines.
Looking down her snooty nose at our tatty uniforms.
Just because she worked in a fancy hairdresser’s.
Just at that moment didn’t a little car pull in by the shop.
Pulls up. And in hops Janice.
-‘Hey look at Janice going off with your dad!’- said Fiona from my class.
-‘You’re asking for a slapping.’- I warned.
There were girls pushing out of the shop. And I staring.
-‘I wonder does he pay her.’- said Beatrice, very loudly. -‘Look look!’-
-‘Shut your gob my father never would…’-
My dad and Janice were embracing in the car.
It couldn’t be. But it was.
Hot flushes started rushing up my body but I couldn’t stop staring.
And just before that air car hissed away,
didn’t she slip her elegant hands up his saggy cheeks,
a brown arm gliding snakelike round his stringy neck.
As she kissed him right on the mouth..
Rolling her big eyes back at us girls.
A big, wet, pouting, splash of a kiss in the mouth. And him responding.
She knew we were watching of course. And she was laughing!
The girls started squealing and cheering.
But I was ashamed and shocked. Hiding my scarlet face in my long fair hair.
Then they started to hoot and laugh at me.
So I took to my heels, and ran off down the street.
As the thunder clapped and it began to rain.
I’d never hear the end of it, I was mortified. It may not seem much to you, but such scandal would zoom round and round our area. Like a bee in a jar. I was in a state of shock, running the wrong way down that road.
I had the idea that my father was great. It’s true he did shout and roar and get drunk. But I was his own big girl.
It’s also true that he would always cuddle and pet me, and my mum would go mad. I used to hide my face in my hair and blush. Getting waves of panic if he didn’t stop.
Like what happened when Pado tried to dance touching me at the Clan Disco and I nearly choked.
I still believed my dada was the best. For me he’d always been the bee’s knees. In fact I didn’t dare doubt it
But now with just one jokey kiss, Janice had smashed the nice aquarium I lived in.
When I thought about my marvelous father now I felt quite queasy. So I stopped running and I walked. And I walked right round the block. Because I was afraid of arriving back at school early, of getting jeered and laughed at by the others.
I took it hard, my father getting off with Janice. And the whole of my youth took on a different light in a flash.
I arrived at the school gates before I knew it. And stopped. Afraid to go in and afraid to be late.
I hated that school, and I hated the gossiping girls. And for the first time I began to hate my dad.
One thing I was very good at was hating. I was a bad girl, a menace, and a mischief maker. I had I screamed and fought back since I was a baby. My brother was bad as well. If I got in a panic I would do anything. The worse the better! And as for my folks.. My mum and dad got on like an almighty riot.
I hated that Sister Bernadette and she hated me. I’d have to bite my tongue when she gave out stink, to stop myself getting up and throttling her!
Well my feet carried me through them big black gates all right. But I felt quite sick, and it seemed like my life was crashing down, like the thunder grumbling behind me. There was a big lump hurting my throat, and I was muttering to stop myself blubbering
When I got to the class it had already started, and the lights had come back on. I didn’t even bother knocking and walked straight in.
It was cold and grotty up there and it smelt bad.
There were ninety six girls and boys in our class, in theory. But lots were absent, or off doing Clan projects. The State couldn’t pay the teachers, and Sister Bernie had come back as a marvelous selfless volunteer.
-‘Excuse me please.‘- I shouted aggressively, heading for my seat.
Sister Bernadette glanced me daggers, flashing her ratlike eyes. She had Trishia Conners up reciting poetry at the time. That woman spotted that I was in bits from right up front, and she seized her chance.
-‘Next, Linda Moon.’- she announced happily.
Now one thing I was proud of was my memory, and I never forgot anything. That is if I bothered to look at it at all. But this day I stopped short. And my mind went blank with fright. It was stupid really, like everything in school. We learned off all this poetry without understanding a word of it.
Now instead of a line of lofty poetry I got flashes of my father spanking me. Sister Bernie prompted me. I said a line.
But I couldn’t come up with the next.
She used to come down with a ruler, and whack with the edge on the knuckles. They weren’t allowed to hit us of course, but wonderful Sister Bernie had come out of retirement to save our souls, and she was doing three classes in one. It was a rare treat for her to catch me and down she came.-‘Whack, whack.’- and me stammering and starting to cry.
-‘Again, again from the start.’-
And I had to start again, it was groaning brutal.
Well, I’m a lovely big girl for my age, as my dad always says. And Sister Bernie is a short shriveled woman. I made two of her.
And me coughing and sniveling and stopping, while the others were enjoying my terror. And now I was feeling sick. But I didn’t dare say it.
Then it happened, I can see it now. What a shocking horror.
I coughed once and ..whoosh.. like a bleeding yellow volcano.
I puked on poor Sister Bernie, on her hair and down her habit.
And a bit on Rosaleen and all over the desk. I was only after eating my dinner.
But why didn’t I just turn my head and miss her? I’m still not sure sure that I didn’t vomit on her on purpose.
Sister Bernie squawked and Rosaleen screeched and ran for the door. I was still sobbing and choking.
She had to half drag me out of the class. Even the big bad Clanners were dumb with horror.
I thought she might explode. Her face went purple red.
Bits of meat and potato in her hair and down her neck.
It was only after that I saw anything funny in it. But all the rest, excepting Rosaleen, thought it was brilliant. They used to jeer and sneer at -‘Sister Barf’- behind her back.
My cruel classmates put the mockers on her.
Sometimes I still feel guilty for vomiting on my teacher. And when I’m really bad I still need to be punished for it.
A wretched sinner who spewed vile puke on a retired nun.
They always have their hooks inside your head.
She marched me down the corridors to the sick room, I was shaking with shock, and she with fury. She sat me down in a chair, and began to clean herself off with paper towels. Giving me a roasting all the time.
-‘Get up off that chair Linda Moon.’- says she. But I wasn’t listening. -‘Get up you dirty little brat!’-
She went to give me a slap. But I turned my head at the same instant. And she hit me smack in the eye.
-‘Go to hell!’- I yelled, half blinded.
-‘Now we hear it’- she said –’Now we hear the filth coming out.’- She was spreading vomit down her face with a paper towel.
-‘You touch me again’- I said. –‘And I’ll break your horrible neck.‘-
-‘You’ll suffer for this,’- she spluttered. –’You and your thieving brother and your stupid whoring father. And get that idiot grin off your face, I’ll…’-
She was going to slap me again. But I lifted my arm. I had risen out of the chair before I knew it, brushing her blow aside.
She stepped back. Her face suddenly white, as I let fly a punch to her face. Hurting my hand on her solid bony nose.
I was hopping with pain -‘ow ow’- as I watched her totter.
Sister Bernadette fell back on her bottom.
I stood there staring, paralyzed and sucking my knuckles. And just watched, as she half crawled, half ran out of the room.
Gibbering threats and clutching her bleeding nose
Oh my god.. Maybe I’d murdered a saint!
I’m sorry I hit her. At least I’m sorry I hit her to defend the family name. Especially as she was telling the truth.
I did it because I’m bad down deep inside.
As I say, I just watched her go, dead calm, like in a dream, and I watched myself walk to the basin. Splash cold water on my face and my sore fist. Dabbing at a blotch on my grey skirt with a wet towel. Then walking through the open door. Down the dark paneled corridor. Out the front door, past the big board listing former Head Students.
My feet went crunch crunch down the graveled drive, like a zombie late for lunch. That’s how I react when I do something shocking. I never turned my head and no one followed. . Just as I was
coming to the door, hoping it would be open, I noticed that the entire iron gates had disappeared, what would they steal next!
I heard this shout from behind me. More like a bellow.
-‘Linda Moon come back here!’- The Headmistress yelled.
But I didn’t turn a hair, just kept walking…-‘Crunch, crunch.’-.. down the drive. Then again.
-‘Come back here this minute!’- she commanded. –‘Right now. Or you’ll be expelled from The School.’-
I felt the eyes of half the school, gawking down from the classrooms at my back. And I knew those kids were dying to giggle with glee.
Then a rush of joy flushed through me, feeling I’d done something good after all.
So I stooped and snatched up a bunch of the first precious yellow daffodils, which grew there under an oak tree, by the gates which weren’t there. I turned around.
Dancing and whirling, waving the flowers at the old grey building.
Till I was sure my yellow knickers showed.
White faces gaping at the windows..The head right out the door.
Then a hop and a skip, and around the corner laughing.
The black clouds were hanging, lower and heavier, and the hills had vanished.
My jacket was back in the school but why should I care.
I had the conviction right then that I’d left that school forever. Maybe I was right.
See I was born just too soon to go to the De-School, I’d never get to learn like the Clanners, doing projects they chose for themselves. …………. [glossary and clic ref 10 )
That school didn’t work. Even the teachers knew it. They were just putting in the hours and hadn’t been paid in months. Upset and all irate because their retirement scheme had crashed.
That school might close down soon at any rate.
It just didn’t click for most of us girls. And for messed up kids like me it was worst of all.
If they didn’t throw me out they’d have to drag me back roaring.
I stuffed the flowers in the bus stop bin, what a waste, and walked quickly up the road.
Glancing behind me and obsessing with my father.
Then I thought maybe I was wrong about him,
Wasn’t he always chatting up girls, and he was just giving Janice a lift, and what harm really. Of course. He was great.
Maybe he’d just kissed and cuddled him to start more nasty gossip.
And I swore revenge.
But I thought I might as well check up, Crafty bitch that I am. So I went into Devenney’s shop and looked up the Bottle Factory and Maxine’s Hair Salon in their phone book. They let me use the phone coz I said I was sick, and I tapped out the first number
-‘No, it’s Miss Martin’s afternoon off.’-
Then I rang the factory and, sure enough,
–’Sorry Mr. Moon takes a half day off on Tuesdays.’-
Well that was proof enough for me. But funny enough I felt better then, and pleased with myself. Thinking how I could trip him up and all, not that I would ever dare.
I pulled some leaves off a garden hedge and threw them up into the wind.
I’d like to say I couldn’t care two drops of diarrhea what he done. But that would be a sinful lie.
I thought I loved him then. He had me in his power, like a mouse being toyed with by a tom cat. Okay I I was a bit paranoid. Often imagining him behind me, and glancing back to check. .
And the nun, the girls, my brother, my mother, those skinhead Hoods.. All chanting in my head that I was bad.
A bad and dirty girl and guilty as sin.
I never dared think before that, about why I was so scared. Only now, walking glumly from that school, did the questions come.
Why did I have to provoke my dad? Why was I bad? Why was it me got caught copying? When everybody did it. Why did they have to pick on me?
Like a flock of hens, pecking an injured chick.
They’d reported me to my mother, who blackmailed me and finally sneaked to my dad anyway.
And why did my father enjoy so much punishing me? Slapping my bare bottom till it stung.
I was crossing the nearly deserted Bayford Road where you’re not allowed. The traffic lights were dead anyway, so why walk round?..
About the short skirts scandal, here’s the truth. Some Clanner girls changed our yukky medievall uniform.
They would pull up their skirts at the waist, under their regulation blue woollies. So they rode up high, round their sexy thighs. Instead of just drooping under their boring knees.
Provoking a ferocious scandal and a shocking rumpus in the school.
Of course who but Linda Moon was branded behind my back as a raging pervert. Contaminating pure girls, god help me, with thoughts of fornication.. Just coz they thought I was laughing at them, I mean, I never even had a boyfriend!
Killian Bate had said I was a slut, and he was the Supremo of the Young Hoods.
Through the blocks of flats and into our nice little street. I was arriving home at the wrong time and quite mixed up.
I had adored and feared my dad, if you know what I mean. I had to believe in him.
Because foir me the sun and the moon and all of the stars shone out of his arsehole.
I was lying to myself, that’s all, it was obvious now.
I’d done it for years but Janice changed all that.
With one big sexy kiss she gave my dad.
NEXT EPISODE HERE Serialization of ‘The Free’ Ch 2 child abuse. Linda Leaves Home
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