Chapter 4

Written by: jessica g

Gretchen held onto the doorframe to steady herself. Dazed, she walked towards Grandma Whitaker and the rocking cradle.  The old lady softly spoke  “ What a sweet child you have here. So much like his father. I used to rock Matt to sleep when he was a wee thing like this.”

“What?” exclaimed Gretchen, now more awake. “How? Why did he never tell me?” She reached for the slumbering Brent.

Outside the house the storm had started to dissipate leaving a quiet suspended silence. A strange peace came over Gretchen.

A mother’s love can conquer any fear. As Gretchen pulled Brent close, Grandma Whitaker got up from the chair and walked off into the hall without a word. Gretchen called after her. “Wait! You haven’t told me...” Gretchen’s words trailed off. Mrs. Whitaker had gone.

Gretchen carried her snoozing son to the main bedroom. With care, she popped him in his bouncer next to the bed and, grabbing a pile of quilts, she made up a place for herself to lie next to him.

She switched on the small black and white TV set. Static crackled on the screen. On one channel she could vaguely make out a re-run of ‘I Love Lucy’. That would have to do for now. She’d ask Albert to fix the aerial tomorrow, knowing full well there would be many more sleepless nights after this one.

Questions plagued her. Did she sell the house? What was Gran Whitaker’s relationship to Matt? And the worst one , what would she do without her husband? It all seemed surreal. Gretchen could not believe he was gone. Surely the visit from the Troopers was a dream….a bad dream. Matt was the one person she could rely on. The reason she woke up in the morning. The father of her son.

From the bedside table next to her, the photograph of the two of them on their wedding day taunted her. The thud of a migraine came on. She reached over to the table, and placed the photo between her and Brent, like a protective talisman. Matt would watch over them.

Gretchen opened the bedside table’s drawer and found the bottle of morphine the local doctor had given her for her headaches and post pregnancy pain. Taking two tablets, she put the rest back for later. She didn’t want to rely on them too much; she’d heard they caused hallucinations. That was the last thing she needed.

She heard a knock at the front door. It was almost first light. Holding Brent close to her, she went to answer the door. Half expecting to see Grandma Whitaker, Gretchen placed her hand on the handle and turned it.

Instead it was Albert, his mouth tight and concerned.

‘Good morning Ma’m,’ he said. “Sorry I’m so early…I heard about Matt.’ He looked around and shuffled his feet. ‘Also thought after last night’s storm I’d check on the leak.”

Fighting back tears Gretchen opened the door wider. “Thank you.”

Jessica Gillon (NZ)

Comments

I want to say he is a killer.  This chapter seems a little devoid of emotion following Mats death.  I'm still trying to work out what is going on
This is nicely written but it seems to lack a little punch. Perhaps just concentrating on the old girl and not on trying to put too much into a chapter on other issues would make it more interesting. Having said that, I liked it.