He braced himself. Delivering the message wasn’t going to be an easy task. John gave himself an hour.. and another, before he called.
He laughed.. “Gone, you said?” The laughter continued.. “And that would be to where exactly?” Laughing John’s phrase off- it was obviously meant as a joke- he continued, “Anyway, it’s time to move, you know. You’ve been in that place for way too long now.” He mumbled something about John’s 23rd birthday and how he thought they should celebrate it, but was soon interrupted-
“I mean it. She’s gone!” came the reply.. stern and anxious. He sounded unusually frightened.
“What do you mean ‘Gone’?”
“Gone. As in, she’s not here anymore. I just got back and the door was unlocked. She’s gone!”
She enjoyed the surroundings.. having lived in that place for almost a year and a half, she was disappointed at how little she knew of it. The sun shone differently around here, the grass was greener and thicker, the bushes lower and less intimidating. She could have stayed here longer, but it was too late now; and there was no time to waste. After having briefly enjoyed the rays of sun that she’d been deprived of for longer than was humane, she decided to run.
..and she continued running- ignoring her own exhaustion. She ran relentlessly.
Where to, she wasn’t sure of herself, but run she must. Through the thick forest, past the stream and far off any main roads, that much she knew. But other than that, she was clueless.
Bracing herself, she knew she needed to slow down. It was getting cold and she needed to keep warm.
The frontdoor opened.
“Where did you take her?” he screamed. Hitting and punching John, until blood came gushing out.
“I didn’t take her anywhere. I swear.” He was trying to remain calm. He knew his father’s fury.
Mathilda hid behind a tree as she saw someone entering the shed she had been walking towards.
She decided to put on yet another sweater; this time not fighting the weather- she needed to conceal her bulge. They might not want to take me in.. they might think I’m a slut. Reciting the very words her father had been hammering into her. Words spoken by the very person who had been keeping her in a room for so long- far away from friends, away from outsiders, away from the world; in short: away from life.
She wasn’t sure when or whether at all to enter, what to tell them, where she was going, or -sadly- even where she was from.
.. the treasure box!
Searching through her duffle bag, she hoped to find an answer within the silver treasure-box. The box her father had refused to give her after her mother’s death. Death.. I will never know the truth. She always wondered why- having seized all her inherited property- he had to seize her too. She sighed, and opened the box.
John didn’t mind the beating; not really, anyway. He was willing to bear it.. anything for Mathilda.
Deep down he knew they had both done her wrong. And all for money, he thought. At least I really loved her. While his father was beating in on him, he couldn’t stop hoping she was safe. Although he wished she hadn’t run, and not sure whether his sister – she was merely 14- was capable of surviving out there- he knew she’d be safer still. I can’t believe she is gone though..he thought to himself.
They both wanted her- for very different reasons.
Opening the treasure box, a butterfly escaped.
A butterfly? How? And where did it come from?
No one ever opened this box, so how did it get it?
It was mom’s.. she died over two years ago. It must have been in there for ages.
With no food, no light, no air? How did it survive? This makes no sense..
… Smiling, she understood. It really did make no sense at all.
Turning around, she walked away from the shed.
Mother had called her butterfly too. I shall retain my freedom!
John was pleased with himself for not having properly put the chains on the door that morning.
It really wasn’t the first time he had acted “carelessly”.. and she knew. He knew she knew.
But until now she wasn’t ready to go. Aware of her reasons, he sighed. They never spoke about it.
“Mathilda, you’ll eventually be OK”, he mumbled
Wrapping her arms around her soon-to-be-born child, she prayed,
“Lord, please let it be John’s and not father’s.”
She didn’t mind carrying his seed; for -in a strange way- she loved him too.