General Fiction posted January 1, 2018

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Gillie faces life alone.

Bugsy; Snippets From The Past Cont..

by Mabaker

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
Bugsy and Bee were being spoiled something rotten. I felt sure he wouldn't be able to carry her for much longer as all the unexpected food was going around her waistline same as mine.

However, the generosity of Edward and Ronald was easy to become attached to. Mrs Dean was a total gem, and cooking for two extra mouths didn't faze her in the slightest.

Of course David was such a con-artist praising everything she pushed through the door, to the point of embarrassment. Being such a great guy he got away with all of it, and Bugsy had to take some of the blame.

These three people, Ronald, Edward and Mrs Dean didn't stand a chance.
Just being himself, and that included carrying a half-grown cat in his mouth, Bugsy had them wrapped around his left paw. And he knew it!
His latest parlour trick, lay Bee on an unsuspecting human lap, with a look that said I need to attend to a little cat business. Could you hold this for me please?"

The rotten shonky thing got away with it too. People felt privileged to be asked. Mrs Dean was a total pushover. Bugsy got more free snacks by just toting Bee out to the kitchen so she could see them, than either David or I ever got. Of course, I love him to pieces and secretly smile at his gall.

By now I was enmeshed in these stories but the ones in the cigar box were particularly interesting. We all felt shocked and yet found ourselves barracking for a illiterate Irish girl, now at seventeen a widow with two small children to care for and a nut-case of a landlord, to contend with.

It was day three of my Melbourne holiday. All I had done towards writing these snippets down, was read this story aloud to Edward, and David mainly. Ronald was still able to get around on his own, and spent a goodly time in the garden.

Bugsy, never took Bee outside nor left her alone. There were dogs that could harm her, and Bugsy Malone wouldn't run that risk, no matter how many exciting smells begged to be investigated.

I hadn't really realised I had an audience until a call of nature hit David one afternoon,
"Hang on there Stella. Gotta spend a penny." Away he raced and I poured myself another cup of tea sat talking about the subject closest to Edward's heart. Bugsy Malone. He wanted to know where Bugsy had come from and when I relayed the story of how he'd turned up on my doorstep at four in the morning, he nodded his head.

"A cat like our Lad there wouldn't have bothered with a conventional method, climbing fifteen steps to your door, is exactly right. For Bugsy Malone.
David raced back in wiping his hands on his jeans. "Ok go on Stella, what happened next. While you're reading I'll take some shots so don't get a fright."

I already had the next page ready, so I continued with Gilles story. I don't believe either Edward or David breathed the whole time.
It was Gillie that came down with what she thought as a head-cold. By Tuesday it turned into something else, and she could barely talk her throat red-raw.. On Friday she had a runny nose, and she was burning up. Attending to her children was torture. Also the rent was due.
Gillie had the money. Sean had put the rent in envelopes and she never touched them. There was no way she could walk to the landlords house. It took every ounce of energy to change and feed her two little ones. Her head was pounding, rent was out of the question.

She fell into a heavy stupor and only came to her senses with something poking her savagely in the ribs. She opened blurry eyes and had difficulty in focusing. Then tried sitting up her landlord was standing over her with his walking stick held ready to poke her again.
"I am sick." Her voice rasped in her throat. She slowly pushed the eiderdown aside and like an injured animal crawled on hands and knees until she could stand upright.

"Drunk is more like." The man flung words at Gillie while he opened cupboards and peered at her two sleeping children. It's rent day." The man stood glaring at her spitefully. "Don't make me come here again. I'm not a charity. You make sure the rent is paid on time, or you can find somewhere else to recover from your hangover."

The man stomped out and Gillie was grateful he'd not woken the two little ones. Then she had go to the outhouse. Because she was delirious was the only answer she could come up with for the next event that took place.
Looking outside she saw all was clear so, Gillie never put her green chenille dressing gown on, just slipped out the back door and into the smelly lavatory. The stench of Phenol Sean had poured into the pan before he left rose in a wave. She felt her stomach turn completely, and dry retched spasm after spasm.

Finally, she could trust her belly to stay steady Gillie started to weave back toward the door when out of nowhere her nightdress was grabbed at the back neckline and ripped from her body.
Then the worst happened, blow after blow was inflicted on her back, thighs and buttocks, with such severity to drive her to her knees, her arms wrapped around her belly protecting the new life that grew there.

Gillie counted one on each finger the blows that reigned down. Ten in all, and they only stopped because her tormentor wielding the stick ran out of air. She never moved a twinge, in case she start him off again, hunched over until the sound of the back gate slamming, told her the man had left. Like any whipped creature she whimpered as she sought a dark place to hide and lick her wounds. The large oak wardrobe was a safe cave and Gillie huddled and sobbed broken-heartedly, wondering what she had done to deserve such a beating. Across her kidney area ached, and her thighs and legs burned horribly. The old bugger had put all his power into every slash he'd inflicted.
Later that same day a strange man with sad eyes knocked on the door and handed her a telegram, as he turned to go, she had to call him back. Holding the slip of paper out she croaked two words. "Can't read."
Sean was dead.
Now Gillie hit rock bottom completely. In a total daze she cared for the two little ones. Making sure they were fed and changed but herself she let slip away. She wanted to join Sean.
It began with bodily hygiene. She stopped changing clothes. The sheet on the bed was filthy and she spent more hours huddled under the quilt,

The bleeding started during the night, and by dawn the formless mass had gone. Her unborn baby was dead. Gillie was no scholar but in her religion the collection of cells was a life, and the man who had belted her had destroyed that life, killed an Innocent. Therefore he was a murderer. She would make him pay for that.
Gilles mind started to slip into an unhealthy place, where revenge was a sweet repayment. She hardly ate. She became like a wild thing. Hair mattered, face grey and hollow. Her eyes sticky and rimmed with matter. She stank of stale body odour. She only crawled out to push the pram to pay the rent, it was vital she never let him catch her again.

It was on one of these forays she started the slow road to revenge. Reason started on a twisted road, in her mind. Her Catholic Faith she pushed aside.

Why should she pay him to live when he had killed her baby. He shouldn't be allowed to draw air. Her baby didn't get a chance to take one breath. He must be made pay the consequences.
One night after the little ones were asleep she walked to the landlords house and spied on the killer. He felt he was safe in his house. He hadn't drawn the blinds fully. He sat by his gas heater reading a racing paper. There was no one else in the house, he lived alone. Her mind twisted by his cruelty that had taken Sean's baby. Something faceless called War had taken Sean. Now she was alone with nothing to remember her husband and therefore nothing to live for. Thus, began her slow decline into insanity.

Once back home Gillie thought through her plan carefully. She must not get caught again, never again. All the houses along the streets in this shabby part of Melbourne were very old, made of stone with a narrow path leading from front garden to backyard. Each had an outside lavatory and small woodshed and a wire clothesline with a wooden prop. Every house was identical to the one on the left and the same as the one on the right.
Also each house had a cellar. Twelve steps down into the cold dank space. The walls leaked from rising-damp, no window for ventilation, a low watt globe, hardly pushed the darkness back. The cellar wasn't the place anyone would go willingly. That would suit her purpose perfectly. Now to put her plan into action.
To Be Continued.

Gillie plots to make the landlord pay for the death of her baby.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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