For part one, click here
I am shaking with sobs now. I know the answer. I know the things Eleanor has seen. Things a seven-year-old shouldn’t see, shouldn’t ever know anything about. And I could do nothing about it. I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t save her.
But it wasn’t always like this. Her daddy used to make her smile. All the time. He worked hard at the shop and came home as early as he could to read her a bedtime story. He used to bring sweets home every Friday. Fizzy cola bottles were the best. So sugary and sweet. Her daddy used to swing her round and round. Her mummy used to scold him for getting Eleanor all excited before bedtime and then he would pull out a bottle of perfume and Mummy would fling her arms around him in forgiveness. Her mummy didn’t mind really. All she wanted was for her Eleanor to be happy. And they were happy. All of them. Such a happy family.
Then everything changed. It was all her daddy’s fault. Horrible, horrible Daddy. Poor Eleanor. Poor Eleanor, who had been feeling sick all day at school and who had come home early with Mummy. Her mummy had gone to school straight from work when they couldn’t get hold of Daddy at the shop. Her daddy had taken the afternoon off work and gone home to bed.
Dear Eleanor. She ran up those stairs when she saw his car outside, all thoughts of sickness suddenly gone. Her fast footsteps didn’t give Mrs Draper from number three much time to wrap Daddy’s dressing gown round herself.
Her daddy shouted at Eleanor. He shouted at her like he had never shouted before. Her mummy came up after her. She was so shocked and so hurt. For a moment, her face had crumpled and the floor had threatened to claim her. Then anger kicked in. Anger at how Daddy had spoken to their daughter. Anger at Daddy for what he had done. Anger at Mrs Draper.
Her mummy told Eleanor to go downstairs then while she marched on, pulling at Daddy’s dressing gown. Eleanor didn’t know what was going on. She thought her daddy was ill. Why else would he be in bed? Perhaps Mrs Draper was ill, too. But she knew something was wrong. It was in their voices and their faces.
Eleanor couldn’t move. She watched the ugly folds of flesh emerge as the emerald green gown fell to the floor. She stood rigid as Daddy leapt up, pulling his trousers past his hips and launched himself at her mummy. Mummy was wild, lashing out viciously and verbally.
Eleanor should have gone. She would have known what was to come next, but she wouldn’t have seen it. It wouldn’t have blasted into her conscious, raw and ragged, day in, day out until the only thing that made sense were the fairies.
Part three next week