The White King Enters
Start Chapter 5
One long moment passed. Rebecca stared at Elizabeth, her mouth agape, her eyes boggling. The babysitter rested her thick hand on the smaller, older woman's shoulder. "You need to get some sleep yourself," Rebecca said, dark eyes lighting with concern, "Honey-- you look like death warmed up."
Elizabeth nodded in feeble agreement; she felt shaky and sick, and her brittle fingers felt like ice, her circulation failing in its duties. She felt tired and anemic, but she new at the pit of her stomach she would be too worried to sleep well. She voiced her concerns, "I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep; I mean, what am I supposed to do? How can I got to bed with all of this-" she gestured wildly at the world in general, "-sh*t hovering over me?"
Rebecca firmly pushed her employer towards the bedroom. "Let me deal with 'all of this sh*t' for a bit. I'm going to search your house to make sure there are no cameras or recording devices anywhere. Then I'm going to check on your neighbours-- I'm sure Dacre will tell me if he has seen anything suspicious." Dacre was Elizabeth's good friend, a failed musician who worked at one of the logging mills. He was an unkempt man, with a kindly face and sad eyes. Rebecca continued her spiel as Elizabeth's eyes began to flutter closed, "And I'm going to put a watch out for your ex-husband.."
"What makes you think he's involved?"
"I'm just making sure that every possibility is covered. If it's him, well, he deserves jail. H*ll, he deserves worse than jail."
Elizabeth nodded wearily in agreement, collapsing onto her bed as her knees finally gave out. But she couldn't sleep. She was too scared, almost to the point of sickness, of throwing up; her stomach was in knots, she felt weak, and her life was suddenly out of her control, out of her hands. Indeed, as Elizabeth listened to Rebecca clatter around the house, moving shelves, shifting cabinets, emptying cupboards and boarding up holes in the walls, she felt like even Rebecca was more in control than she. Elizabeth continued to listen as Rebecca made a call to the neighbourhood watch, describing Elizabeth's ex-husband as closely as she could. Elizabeth listened distantly, not wanting to think about his cold dead eyes again.
She finally slept, and dreamt of skin against skin and cold sheets, of romance without money, and of a creeping darkness; cold hands reaching out to breach the silence that had fallen. She was alone.
After a fairly typical night at work, Elizabeth felt weirdly energized. She needed to take control of something, and what else was there but her own flesh and blood? So on that nice, Saturday morning, she decided to take her son to the Redwood Park. They hopped onto the shuttle-bus that took residents to the smaller town, and hiked the half mile up the hill that led to the park. The playground was a big one, with slides, and stairs, and tubes, and climbing walls, and swings. They played there for an hour, before Elizabeth decided it was time to go explore the woods. As they walked, they managed to have a conversation for once. Elizabeth felt happy, being outside, wandering through the woods with her son, looking for faeries and forest folk. Michael was convinced that he had seen a dragon, though Elizabeth blamed that more on his love of dragons that had infused with his childhood. They skipped and played and pretended to be elves. Slowly as the day wore on, they lost energy. Michael squeezed his mother's hand, "A bunch of kids at school are going to church. Why don't we, mom?"
His mother felt vaguely guilty for a moment, "Mommy's very busy, you know..."
"They say it's really fun there, though."
"I guess it can be, but-" She couldn't say anything about it. She didn't know what to say about it. What did you say to an eleven year old who wanted to find religion?
"They even taught me one of the church songs, listen!" Michael exclaimed, taking a deep breath and singing in a playful way;
"You're a lost little lamb,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
You're a lost black sheep,
Come into the fold;
The slaughter will keep you warm."
Elizabeth was suddenly so shrouded in concern-- about her life, about the song, about her son-- that she didn't notice the White King.
End of Chapter Five
The White King Exits.