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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Drama · #2210596
Reposted, updated version. New dream sequence.
Previous: Jamie Radcliffe went AWOL from his abusive captors, Pedro and Delilah. He took a teddy bear named Oscar with him, which he believes capable of telepathic communication. They came across a deserted house and Jamie was in the process of placing an envelope into its letterbox when his captors' van came down the road in hot pursuit. Jamie hid in the bushes down the adjacent bank but was spotted by Pedro and taken back to the house. Unfortunately during his struggle between Jamie and Pedro, Oscar was left behind, down the bank.It is now early next morning and Jamie is in Pedro’s Study being grilled over his desertion.

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Water, Water Everywhere



The ceiling fan was rotating on maximum but Jamie still felt cold as he sat in a hard wooden chair awaiting judgement. Less than two meters in front of him was a large mahogany desk, behind which were two leather-bound chairs. The one on the right was occupied by Pedro and the left by Delilah, both had stern expressions.

“Ungrateful little brat,” commented Pedro. “After all we’ve done for you.”

Jamie shifted his misty eyes to the metal cabinet on his right. One of its doors was open ajar and he could see the wooden handle of the banister brush sitting on the top shelf. He stared back at his captors and considered his response with care.

“I’m sorry sir,” he offered.

Pedro's dismissive grunt spoke volumes for his lack of compassion. A loathsome bully, that seemed obsessed with finding faults in Jamie’s behaviour or attitude. He wore thick rimmed glasses, plaid shirts, corduroy pants, and assorted baseball caps to hide his receding black hair. Tobacco stains marred his moustache and there was a slight scar just below his left earlobe that he seemed unwilling to discuss.

“What on earth possessed you to try such a stupid stunt like that?” continued Pedro, his scowl intensifying. "You’ve got no one where to run, and no one to run to.”

“I don’t know,” said Jamie shrugging his shoulders. Deep down he knew that Pedro was at least partly right, yet he felt no regrets about at least trying to escape.

“If you leave here you’ll end up a street urchin.” alleged Delilah. “Is that what you want- to end up a skinny destitute street urchin?”

“No Aunty Del,” he conceded.

“You betrayed us. That is unacceptable,” said Pedro. "But your betrayal was not entirely your fault; I should have been more vigilant, as should have Major. That is the only reason I’m going to allow you to leave The Study this morning, without a swatting.

“You’re not going to punish me?”

“I didn’t say that. Last night’s escape has lessened our faith in you, and we feel it would be prudent to confiscate your clothing so you won’t run off again.”

“My clothing?”

“You’re losing the lot, Boy; except for your pyjamas, socks, underwear and slippers. You’ll get them back, once you’ve proven yourself worthy of regaining our trust,”

“I’ll try my best.”

“You ever run off like that again, I'll make you wish you were never born! You hear me?”

“Yes sir.”

"Okay, that's all. You can go now."

*****

“We’re having some plumbing problems with the shower right now,” explained Delilah, catching up with Jamie in the corridor shortly after he had left the Study. “You’re going to have to take a bath instead.”

“No worries,” replied Jamie.

“Don’t take too long. Remember; water belongs in the tub, wet towels go in the laundry basket and your feet must be dry before you leave the bathroom.”

“Yes Aunty Del,”

Jamie continued onto the bathroom and shut the door behind him. He then plugged the bath and turned on the tap. Water poured down and slowly pooled on the porcelain tub. His thoughts drifted once again to his biological mother. Baths back then were more fun. A time when his imagination would transform face cloths into sea monsters, attacking plastic battleships, only to be thwarted by soap submarines and giant rubber ducks.

Weariness enveloped him and he felt his eyelids beginning to close. He had endured a restless night, stressing over what plausible excuse he would offer for his transgression. Neither of his captors had said much to him upon his return; just a few disgruntled sentiments and summons to the Den early the following morning.

Pedro and Delilah’s house was one with countless rules and just as many associated penalties for disobeying them, but nothing yet had been mentioned concerning boats in the bathtub as far as he could recall. Getting into trouble for disobeying a rule that did not exist seemed grossly unfair; though such factors did not always save him from being reprimanded anyhow.

Jamie turned the tap until the water flow eased, and then wandered out the bathroom, back down the hall and into his room; a far cry from the one he had left behind. Dull-grey paper adorned the walls, whilst turquoise carpet lay on the floor; lifeless and almost threadbare in places. It's meagrely furnished as if by a tight-fisted minimalist. He crouched and retrieved a small sailing ship from the toy box that sat beneath two cluttered bookshelves on the Western wall of the room. The material on one of its masts was frayed and the forward pulpit was damaged but he felt confident of its buoyancy.

A sudden flash of light drew his attention to the window. Metal bars had been installed as a precaution after his previous attempt, two months prior. It had been a brief escape, thwarted prematurely by the sound of crunching gravel, during his walk up the drive. The noise had alerted Major, who in turn alerted Pedro. His recapture had been swift and reprimand extremely painful.

Thunder rumbled in the distance and hailstone began pelting the rosebushes. A few meters from them sat what a causal-observer may describe as a neglected garden over grown with noxious weeds. Jamie knew, or at least suspected different. Careful planning had gone into cultivating a nasty barricade to thwart trespasses, or in Jamie’s case; escapees. Negotiating the rosebushes, thistles and blackberry would be precarious even in times of full clothing, but attempting to cross such a barricade in pyjamas was bordering on the insane, or at least his captors had assumed.

“I’ll show them insanity,” he mumbled

*****

Clouds obscured the late afternoon sun as Jamie and his youngest stepbrother Deacon ran down the beach, with Koromaru bounding alongside them. Squawking seagulls circled above, a radio sounded from behind, and here and there were crudely constructed sandcastles.

The two boys charged into the crashing waves. They came to a sudden halt and winced when the cold water smote their bare feet, but Koromaru continued on; splashing about and barking with glee. The waves receded, drawing hard against their ankles then pounded them again.

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” chanted Jamie; jumping seconds before the next wave reached him.

“SpongeBob SquarePants!” answered Deacon.

“Assordent and yellow and Poor-us is he”

“SpongeBob SquarePants!”

“SpongeBob SquarePants!”

“SpongeBob SquarePants!”

“Sponge-Bob…”

“…SquarePannnnnnnnnnnnts!”

“Arf-arf-a-arf...arf-arf!” said Koromaru “Arf!”

“Plunge time, Jamie,” asserted Deacon, wading forward.

A strong southerly breeze buffeted Jamie’s short chestnut hair. He paused indecisively for a few seconds then followed after his stepbrother, jumping over each wave in turn.

“Arf-arf-arf” said Koromaru.

“Koromaru says that’s deep enough,” alleged Jamie. The tide was already above his knees.

“Fairs enough…One…two…three,”

Jamie crouched and dug his heels deep into the sandy bottom, then braced himself for impact. A large wave crashed against his unclad chest. Salt water sprayed up onto his face and in his mouth. He stumbled slightly but managed to keep his balance.

The two boys kicked water at one another for a brief period and then started roughhoused amid the waves, while Koromaru bounded around them; supervising their mischief. Jamie was tripped by Deacon, and fell sideways into the tide. His head submerged All went quiet, except for a low muffled roar. A pair of hands plunged in after him and gripped his shoulders firmly, thwarting his attempts to get up. Panic ensued. He tore himself away from the grip and thrust his head out of the water.

“I could have drowned!” groused Jamie, between gasps and splutters.

“Yeah I could have gotten my room back and pissed on your grave.”

“Arf-arf-arf!” said Koromaru.

“Don’t get smart!” scolded Jamie, then thumped Deacon’s upper arm.

“Ow, you hit my army; big mistake!”

Jamie slowly calmed down as Deacon splashed his way back passed the shore line. His stepbrother searched around for a short time, then picked up a long thin length of driftwood and charged back.

“Help me, Koromaru,” cried Jamie. “Quick, protect me from that insane warrior!”

Koromaru raced in front of Jamie and barricaded him seconds before Deacon re-entered the sea. He barked several times then bounded forward and bit into the driftwood, splintered debris showered in all directions. His grip tightened and an intense tug-war ensued.

"Jamie!"


An unnerving sensation gripped him as his surroundings abruptly faded but Deacon’s smiling face remained, like the Cheshire cat from Alice and Wonderland, then it too vanished and he found himself back in Pedro’s house.

*****

Jamie’s surroundings abruptly disappeared and he found himself back in the bedroom. He twisted awkwardly and saw Delilah behind him. He studied her disapproving scowl and knew he was in big trouble, though for what, he was not totally sure. He dropped the ship back into the toy box and awaited her wrath.

“Did I do something wrong?” he asked.

“Yes, you’ve been a very naughty boy.”

He started retreating backwards but Delilah snatched his upper left arm and marched him out the bedroom, down the hallway and into the bathroom. His heart chilled at the sight of the overflowing bathtub. The faucet was now off but water continued spilling onto the floor; pooling around a bucket with a mop in it.

“I’m sorry Aunty Del I got a little distracted and…” started Jamie, but his sentence was cut short as she twisted his earlobe clockwise with her free hand . “Ow you're hurting me.”

“Good, maybe it will teach you not to be such a careless little hobgoblin!” she retorted; releasing the lobe and then swatting the back of his head with her open palm. “Just look at the mess you’ve made!”

“I promise it won’t happen again.

“It should not have happened at all, now mop up every drop of water from the floor, and then go to your room, and stay there for the rest of the day.”

Delilah gave Jamie another sharp swat before shoving him forward. He stumbled slightly but managed to keep from falling. A strong urge to object to such abuse became prevalent, but one look at her intense scowl was all it took to dissuade him. He gave a dismal groan before wading through the water towards the bucket.

Just over 1.5 kilometres to the south east of the bathroom, Oscar remained mislaid



-TO BE CONTINUED-

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