CHAPTER TEN - TORN TO SHREDS
The convoy of caravans pull into the showground on the outskirts of the small town of Narrandera New South Wales. I'm anxious as I scan our surroundings from the front passenger seat of Bryan's car. Narrandera sits upon the Murrumbidgee River, just 2 hours’ drive from the border of New South Wales and Victoria. Approximately 2 and a half hours from where I believe the community is. I hate being this close to my childhood home. We've been closer before, but I usually don't leave the caravan when we are near. Only this time I have to. Bryan hasn't been well the past few days and he needs my help. I just hope father doesn't have any idea where I am.
I get out of the car to stretch my legs after the long journey, the cold July air freezing my skin. I push down the feeling of dread manifesting in my stomach and get to work setting up camp. Bryan sniffles beside me.
“It'll be ok Katie... it's been over 3 years.” Bryan assure me. I nod, wanting desperately to believe his words.
“Why don't you go rest, I've got this.” I say. He smiles and nods his head.
“Thanks kiddo.” He says. Bryan disappears into our roaming home as I start to inventory the stock we have for the upcoming show. My paranoia is at its peak as I glance over my shoulder constantly while I work. When I'm finished I set out to find Judy and Brandon to see if they need help.
The sun is beginning to set, the sky turning grey to match my ominous mood. Judy and Brandon are just finishing up as I arrive.
“We're done. You kids go explore.” Judy says making Brandon roll his eyes at being called a kid. I stifle a giggle. He grabs some blankets and supplies from his caravan before reaching for my hand and pulling me away from the camp, into the adjacent vacant field.
Letting go of my hand, Brandon lays out one of the blankets and we both lay down to watch the sunset. I rest my head on his chest and he covers us with the other blanket.
“Are you ok?” he asks softly, concern evident in his voice.
“Just anxious being this close, that's all.” I say. He kisses the top of my head and strokes my hair.
“It'll be ok. We are only here for a few days.” He assures. I nod quietly. Brandon moves me off his chest to look at me. He places a soft kiss on my lips. “What can I do to make you feel better?” he asks. I give him a shy smile as I run my hand up the inside of his jumper and over his chest.
“I can think of a few things.” I say as I look up at him through my lashes. He grins and crashes his lips with mine. The kiss is heated and desperate as we tear each other's clothes off under the heavy blanket. His hands roam my body before making their way between my legs. I moan into his mouth as his thumb finds my clit, flicking over it quickly. He doesn't waste anytime pushing a finger inside me, then a second. I grind against his hand as I run my fingers over his hard chest. But I want more. I need more.
I break the kiss, my breathing heavy
“Brandon...” His name comes out as a moan from my lips. “I want you... all of you.” I say. He pushes his fingers in deeper, curling them slightly to hit that sensitive spot.
“Are you sure?” he asks, his eyes searching mine.
“Yes.” I say. I reach down and grab his solid member in my hand. “Please…” I beg. He kisses me hard and pushes me onto my back. Pulling away quickly he searches for something under the blankets and pulls a condom out of his pants pocket. We've never done this before, but I'm glad he came prepared. He rips the packaging open and rolls the thin rubber over his hardened length. His lips crash back on mine as his hands run over my breasts and down to my core. He pushes two fingers into me again, moaning into my mouth as he finds me still ready for him. Brandon rolls on top of me, positioning himself between my legs and stops to look at me.
“If you need me to stop, just tells me.” He says seriously. I bite my lip and nod, reaching down and stroking his cock, moving it towards my entrance. He slides his tip slowly inside of me, stopping momentarily to let me adjust before moving in further. His eyes never leave mine as he slowly enters me. I feel a slight pinch and Brandon stops, noticing the small amount of pain on my face. He moves in slowly until he's all the way in and gently caresses my face.
I raise my head up and capture his lips with mine. He kisses me back as he slowly moves his hips. I know he's holding back, not wanting to hurt me. I break the kiss.
“Harder... please…” I moan breathlessly. He obeys, kissing down my neck and sucking on the sensitive skin just below my ear. I can feel the pleasure building inside of me as Brandon brings me closer to the edge. We both cry out, a sweaty mass of naked skin and limbs as we reach our climax together.
As I come down from my high, Brandon slides out and rolls into his back, pulling me with him to rest my head on his chest. He rubs my back and I snuggle into his warm body.
“Are you ok?” he asks. I smile and kiss his chest.
“I'm more than ok... that was perfect.” Although I can't see his face, I know he's smiling.
For a small town the Narrandera show was pretty busy. Housing the world’s largest playable guitar, they paid homage to their claim to fame with a lot of live bands playing over the loud speakers.
It's almost 1am when I finally finish closing the van and head off to bed. I'm exhausted, not just from the long day but my nerves were a wreck, my paranoia working overtime as the entire day I felt like I was being watched.
I quietly open the caravan door and creep inside, careful not to wake up Bryan. I move to the bunks at the other end to where Bryan sleeps and change into my flannelette pyjamas. Slipping into bed, I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow.
I'm startled awake by Bryan grabbing my shoulders. I sit up quickly, Bryan looks at me and I can see pure fear in his eyes in the dim light from the small kitchenette.
“Katie... there's men raiding all the vans.” His voice is a whisper as the fear in his voice seeps into my veins. “They're looking for a Genevieve.” He continues. I gasp, my hands covering my mouth as tears form in my eyes. I've never told anyone that name. Not Bryan, not Judy, and not Brandon.
“I thought so...” Bryan mumbles. “You need to run kiddo.” He says. He opens the small window next to my bunk and pulls the blankets off me. I nod and move towards the window. Bryan pushes me out. I turn to look at him and see tears in his eyes.
“Run. Don't stop until you're safe.” He says. I nod, a small sob escaping my mouth.
“Thank you... for everything.” I say. He nods, I can see he's trying hard not to cry.
“My pleasure kiddo... now run.” He orders. I nod again and turn around, sprinting barefoot into the bush behind the camp.
I run through the thick bush as it tears my clothes and skin to shreds. I run as the soles of my feet are battered and bruised by the rough ground. I run until I reach the Murrumbidgee River, flashlights and voices behind me. I plunge into the freezing cold water and let it sweep me down stream.
As dawn breaks I make it to the other side of the river, the voices still calling out Genevieve in the distance. I climb barbed wire fences and walk through paddocks, my wet clothes freezing me to the core. Until I reach an orange orchard. Hungry, freezing and thirsty, I reach up and let an orange drop into my hand.
“Genevieve!” The voice is distant but still fills me with fear. I turn away from the voice, ready to run, and come face to face with the dawn off end of a double barrel shot gun.
So there you have it. How I got to the point in my life where I'm running from my crazy ass father and facing down a man with a gun.
The voices behind me are slowly getting louder. Still quite a distance away but too close for comfort. In front of me stands a man, whom looks to be in his 80s, pointing an illegal firearm in my face.
I know I have a choice to make, drop the orange and run towards my father and his men, risking getting caught and having my father do god knows what to expel the demons he must think inhabit my body. Or, surrender to the man holding a gun in my face and risk being killed instantly. I chose the lesser of the two evils.
I look the man in front of me in the eyes, begging and pleading him to listen to me.
“Please help me.” I say, fear evident in my voice. His hard eyes soften as the shouts of Genevieve grow louder. He looks behind me, squinting hard, then back at me as he takes in my shivering form. Sighing, he lowers the gun.
“Come quickly.” His voice is stern, a thick accent making it hard for me to understand, if it wasn't for his actions. He turns and walks through the orchard. For an old man, he sure is sprite, as I struggle to keep up with him as he rushes through the orchard and out to a rundown ute. He throws the gun into the tray and opens the driver’s door.
“Get in.” he orders. I run to the passenger door and jump in, closing the door quickly. He starts the car and floors it, throwing up dust in our wake. He fiddles with the dials on the dash and heat starts pumping out of the vents. It's only then I notice the chatter of my teeth as I shiver from the freezing cold.
“Thank you.” I whisper, looking over to the stranger.
“What's your name girl?” he asks. I pause for a moment. I can't say Katie, father may know I'm going by that. And I'm definitely not Genevieve anymore. Instead, I say the first name that comes to my head.
“Nicola.” I say quietly. “My name is Nicola.” He simply grunts in acknowledgment.
We travel along a worn down makeshift road and come across a small farm house. He pulls the car around the back and gets out. I hesitantly follow along, not wanting to leave the warmth of the car.
He nods his head towards the house and I follow him down the small path to the back door.
“Maria!” he calls out as we approach. An old woman, who I presume is his wife, appears in the doorway. She sees me and gasps, running down the steps and wrapping her arms around my shoulders to lead me inside.
“Come inside before you catch your death... quickly.” She orders. Her accent isn't quite as thick as her husbands, but still very noticeable. She pulls me inside and walks me over to a fireplace in what I presume is the lounge room.
“I'll call Rafael, you look after her.” The old man says before he disappears down a hallway as the old woman grabs a blanket out of an ornate wooden box.
“Get out of those wet clothes and wrap this around you.” She says. I hesitate, not really wanting to strip in front of a stranger. She clicks her tongue. “You have nothing I haven't seen. Quickly now.”
I nod and strip off my tattered clothes and wrap the blanket around me. The blanket and wood fire slowly warms my skin.
“Stay in front of the fire, I'll draw you a warm bath.” She says and I simply nod, unsure what else I can do, she bundles up my wet clothes and disappears down the same hallway as her husband.
I take in the small lounge room I'm standing in. Floral print couches, a glass cabinet full of ornate dishes, a large television, the ornate wooden box and a simple coffee table. It's homely, modest and even though the house is tiny, the furniture simple, the odd mix of luxury and productive makes me think they have more than they wish to show.
The old woman re-enters the room and ushers me down the hall to a large bathroom.
“Hop in the bath, the water is warm, it'll help warm you up.” She says. I nod and give her a shy smile.
“Thank you...” I whisper. Her smile in return is warm and caring.
“What's your name?” she asks me.
“Nicola.” I say quietly, still getting used to the name coming from my lips. She pats my arm and turns to leave.
“I'm Maria. The old grump is Antonio. Get warm, I'll find you something to wear.” She leaves the room and I remove the blanket, folding it and placing it on the bench. I sink into the warm water, hissing as the scratches on my skin start to sting.
I lay in the bath as the events of the past two hours wash over me. The knowledge that I will never see Bryan, Judy or Brandon again, just like Tommy, reduces me to tears.