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Contagion - Plans of Deception - Book One.

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Chapter Two.

The Trip to Weymouth.

Elaine awoke early, she pulled back the bed covers and leapt from her bed, there was an air of excitement about her, and walking over to the window she slid open the curtains, allowing a ray of warm sunlight to brighten her room. The other children were still in their various rooms and presumably asleep, Elaine didn’t particularly care, as they were related to Adam, and therefore in her eyes, they were strictly off limits.

She wanted nothing to do with neither Adam nor if possible, any member of his family. Looking over to the clock she noted it was only 05.47am, yet the sound of the waves rolling along the sandy shore, was like a magnet, drawing her from her room, and onto the beach. It was here that she found peace, and was able for a short while, to live like an ordinary 11-year-old child, who was enjoying the pleasures of a Seaside holiday.

Weymouth was a wonderful Seaside Town for children; and it offered a magnificent beach, which seemed almost endless, and it was cleaned daily by large yellow JCB type vehicles, which scooped up tons of sand into their massive jaws, and then placed it into a machine that seemed to swallow its load, like a hungry giant, and would then filter out all the impurities.

Elaine loved to watch these machines as they went about their daily business, seemingly uninterested in anything other than their immediate task at hand. She often wondered were they had gone to, once there were more people around. As the morning opened its arms to the horde of daily tourists, the machines were no longer to be found. She smiled at the childish thought of the sand opening its giant mouth and swallowing these monstrous machines, which daily ripped away at the surface of the beach.

Just to the East of the beach was an amusement area, this also housed Marine World. Over the many visits that Elaine and her mother had made to Weymouth, she had become friendly with some of the staff, where Adams Sister worked. They would let her in early, and allow her to take an active part, in feeding and caring for the enormous array of different marine species that were in their care. Christine always knew where to find her, and was pleased that Elaine was otherwise occupied, leaving her and Adam to spend more time together.

It was on one of the previous occasion that Adam had brought his charge to Weymouth that had given birth to his plan; Christine eagerly took to the idea, but had decided to leave the master planning to Adam. Sadly, she had lost some of her love, for the man who had once swept her off her feet, and fathered their child.

Over the years that it had taken for the business to grow, their marriage had started to drift apart, as by necessity the business had taken more of Peter’s time. Christine had enjoyed the rich pickings from the constant over sea’s visits, but had come to resent the demand that it made on her husband’s time. She had always had a high level of material as well as sensual desire’s, and within a setting of marriage, it was to be healthy and acceptable.

However, her expensive taste in clothing and a sumptuous liking of alcohol, bore a deep hole into her personal finances. Peter although generous, had put a limit on the amount of money that he made available to his wife. Adam had only within the last two years, become Peter’s business Partner, and he had been quick to see the cracks developing in their marriage, and had taken an un-noticed advantage. Always ensuring that whenever Peter was away, that Christine received more money than was necessary and to feed her ever-growing desire to be pampered.

It was only a matter of time before Adam had his way, and had her firmly in his control. She had not wanted to know the details of how he intended to remove her husband, the only immediate desire she had, was to be in the arms of this younger man, who so freely gave in to almost all of her additional desires, and seemed to have very deep pockets, with an endless supply of money. Only weeks later, she was to learn of the truth behind the charade, and of the evil which drove Adam forward, however for now she had no conception of what he was planning.

It was now some weeks later, when Adam had brought all of his cunning into play, and was secretively leading Peter into the arms of the law, and with Christine, unknowingly to her, to be dumped like an unwanted case of dysentery, and into a dependency on Alcohol and prescription drugs.

For now, it was a bright sunny morning and Elaine had made her way to the Marine World, and was waiting quietly for the staff to arrive to let her in. Today they were later than usual, Elaine was becoming bored of waiting and decided to explore the cliffs of Preston. She had often wanted to venture into the rocky area beneath the cliff, but had always been told that it was too dangerous. But then like any child, the moment one says no, then they want it all the more, almost like an ever-growing curiosity, until such a time arrived that the person just has to look and see for themselves what was on the other side.

This particular stretch of beach had a drastic and tragic history, as when the tide was in many a child, from over the years had lost their life’s, nearly always after becoming trapped from the rising water and having no way of escape. The shear cliff face was almost vertical and afforded little in the way of refuge, to anyone unfortunate enough, to have found his or her way barred from the incoming water. Often Windsurfers would use the area, as it was notoriously well known for the strong winds and high waves on that area of exposed beach, and soon the added buildings and preparation for the Olympics, had made this particular area a focal point for those constantly practising sailing and windsurfing.

It was still early morning with only few locals or holidaymakers in the area. Elaine had stopped to watch a lone fisherman, as he lifted his rod, and was frantically winding in the seemingly endless length of fishing line. His rod gave a jolt, as it bent under the strain of it sudden catch, quietly Elaine sat on the long stone Sea wall, and watched him reel in six wriggling Mackerel. Looking across to her the fisherman became aware of her presence and gave a wave.

Elaine stood back upon the wall, gave a wave back and then continued on the long walk towards the Cliffs. Some ten minutes later the Sea wall came to an end, and there before her loomed what looked like a small mountain of limestone. Elaine had heard there were to be good quality fossils to be found in this area, and was hoping to find some that had become exposed from the relentless pounding of the waves.

Carefully she started making her way around a length of cliff, which jutted out towards the Sea, for some thirty or more metres, and then returned on the blind side, back to an attractive sandy beach. In the distance, Elaine could see another older child, who was quietly playing on the beach, to her surprise there were no adults or other children to be seen.

Quickly Elaine made her way towards the girl and wanting to join in the fun, and in truth to just have someone to talk with. Taking her eyes off the child, she carefully watched where she was placing her feet, ensuring that she kept out of the small rock pools before she came onto the golden sand, which seemed to house a horde of mystical treasures, which had been washed up by every new incoming tide. When she was sure her feet were on secure and dry sand, Elaine looked up wanting to call out and ask, if she could join in the fun.

To her surprise, the area was quiet and that the child was no longer anywhere to be seen, thinking the child to be hiding, Elaine hurriedly explored the surrounding area, only to eventually come to realise, that she was now alone. Elaine knew she had seen someone, and had decided that there must have been some secret way out of the beach, and that the child had, for whatever reason, had simply left the area.

Happily, she played and amusing herself for some hours, and beach combing the area without even giving a thought to the time. This was an area where she could be alone and away from her mother’s excess drinking, and from Adam of whom she was growing to dislike more by the day. Her mother had on more than one occasion, noticed her daughters dislike of her newfound provider, she was not prepared to let Elaine destroy what she had fought so hard to attain. It was for this reason that Christine had actively encouraged her daughter to go her own way, and as long as she kept out of sight or trouble, then she was happy in the knowledge that her daughter could not scare Adam away.

Bending down to pick up a stone that she had found, with a smooth and rounded surface, Elaine decided it was an ideal stone for skimming it off the water, just like her father had once taught her. As she threw the stone, her attention was drawn to a person standing at the edge of the rock face, which had jutted out into the Water. Realising it to be the same girl that she had seen earlier, she waved, the girl appeared to be shouting, but the noise of the incoming water drowned out her words.

As Elaine watched, she realised the girl was waving at her beckoning her to come her way. In truth Elaine was now tired of her own company and had longed for a new friend to play with. She decided to make her way over to where the child was standing, having not realised that the tide had turned and that the water had come in so close to the shore.

She had to carefully make her way over numerous large rocks that were now wet and afforded her little in the way of any safe footing. By the time Elaine had made her way to where the girl had been standing, she saw she was now some thirty yards on the other side of the cliff, and making her own way towards dry land.

Quickly Elaine tried to follow, but had found her way was barred by deeper water; frantically she looked for a place to find a secure dry footing, but discovered that nearly all such places of refuge, were now under water. In the distance she could see a man running in her direction, within a few minutes she realised it was the lone fisherman, the one who she had waved to earlier on that morning. The water was cold, and kept lashing up in big waves, which covered the one rock that had given her some form of refuge, by now she was wet, cold and scared, very scared.

She was mad with herself for not realising sooner that the tide had turned, and realised now the wisdom in her mother’s warnings. Fortunately for her the fisherman waded his way through to the rocks, with the incoming water almost reaching to his chest, at times the waves even swamped over his head, and for an instant Elaine had lost sight of him.

She was frightened cold and had started crying, thinking herself trapped and that she would be rescuer had fallen, and drowned, and then in the next instant something took hold of her and gently lifted her from the rock. Picking up the child, the fisherman then lifted her above the water and brought her safely to dry land. Elaine was in mild shock and was still crying, the water had been icily cold, everything had happened so quickly that it had taken her some minutes before she was able to recover. By the time she came to her senses, the fisherman had carried her to his car, and had given her a large towel to dry herself with.

As Elaine sat by the Sea wall, she shivered, the towel lay beside her, and it had taken some time for her to regain her breath, as it had for her rescuer. He had recovered, and was now lifting up a thermos flask, as Elaine watched her mysterious rescuer, pour out two mugs of hot milky chocolate. He then walked over in her direction, Elaine could see he had a kind face, and accepted the mug that he handed to her, the smile on his face eased her feelings of fear, as in truth, she was scared he was about to tell her off.

After taking a sip, he lowered his mug and spoke, “Well now, that was fortunate for you that I saw you when I did.” He said in a Broad Welsh voice. “If it hadn’t been for that other girl drawing my attention, I would have never known you were there.” Elaine realized in all the confusion that she had not thought of looking, to thank the girl for saving her life. After some minutes, as she sipped the warm chocolate drink, she could feel it flowing within her and warming her from within. She no longer felt as scared, and had decided to talk to this strange sounding man, who had snatched her from the very jaws of death. She could not thank him enough, and pleaded with him to not mention to anyone, the events that had led up to him or her coming to know each other.

Over the next few days, Elaine went every morning to the beach, to talk with her new friend and watch him fish, on the very next day she had purchased a box of chocolates and had drawn him a card, to say thank you. She had sat quietly on the Sea wall watching him fish, but after a while, she had ventured once again to the cliff face, looking to see if she could find the girl, who had saved her life.

It was just over two weeks, after the initial near fatal incident, that Elaine had plucked up the courage, to once again venture around to the other side of the cliff. This time she had ensured she was wearing her watch, and had checked to see what time the tide was due to turn. On venturing around the rock face, there to her surprise in the distance was the girl she had been looking for.

As Elaine sat quietly, she watched her distant friend pick up stones, and then skip them along the water. Quickly, Elaine decide it would be fun to join in and quietly had made her way along the beach, until she was able to stand almost along side the girl, and join in throwing stones and then watching them skip along the water. For some forty minutes or more neither spoke, it was as if they were sisters, aware of each other’s’ thoughts, having no need for small talk, or such conversation, they only gave the occasional smile at each other, and enjoyed seeing who could make their stones skip the furthest.

As Elaine drew herself to within inches of the girl, she put her stone down and spoke. “Thank you for warning me the other day, had I stayed there any longer I would have never have made it around the rock face.” She reached out her hand and handed her new friend, a beautifully smooth and round stone, it was almost perfect for skipping off the water. There was a moment’s pause as the girl looked into Elaine’s eyes, it was almost as if, she was looking deep into her very soul, and then she took the stone, thanked her, and threw it with the skill of a master craftsman. Elaine watched in amazement as she counted seventeen skips before it had disappeared into the depth of the water.

Adam’s brief holiday had finished, and he had to return to work, but had agreed to leave Christine and Elaine staying at his sister’s home. During the weekdays Adam stayed in the Windsor flat, and he was only able to be with Christine during the Weekends, yet Christine was content, as she had found someone who appeared to care for her, he gave her expensive gifts and Weymouth offered them a time away from the eyes of those who knew her husband.

It was a warm summer, and one that Elaine had grown to really enjoy. Her new friend’s name was Amander; they spent every chance they could together, exploring the many caves along the rock face, and looking for fossils. Strangely there was one area that Amander always refused to go near, saying that it frightened her.

By the end of the six-week holiday, Elaine had massed an impressive collection of very rare fossils, some she gave to her friend’s in the Marine World, ensuring she never once told them from where she had found them. But the best ones she had wanted to keep, so that she could give them to her father, when he returned from his business trip.

In truth she really loved him, and knowing that he had always, even from his childhood, to have had a passion for such things as fossils, and had at one time dreamed of becoming a palaeontologist.

Sadly, the weeks seemed to Elaine to have flown by, and it was now time for them to leave Weymouth and to return home. Elaine knew this would once again place her in jeopardy, as her mother had managed to control her drinking in the company of others, but once alone and in the confines of their home, she knew it would mean that the quality of her life would change drastically.

Elaine was maturing enough to understand, that her mother would never intentionally of hurt her, and that she really did love her. It was just when the drink had taken a firm hold, her perception of reality seemed blurred, and that she was not always responsible in her decision-making.

In truth, she had wanted to stay in Weymouth, with Amander; she had found a friendship, which was almost unexplainable. There was a bonding between them, which went deeper than just that of ordinary friends, as such she had decided to try and stay, and had refused to pack her belongings.

Christine had been unprepared for her daughters reaction, and after some severe words, Elaine went storming out of her room, and making her way to the one place where she knew she would find peace. To her disappointment her friend was nowhere to be found, and then making her way back to the Sea wall she sat there crying, unaware of the situation that she had left behind.

Adam been devious by nature, had taken full advantage of the situation, and used it as an opportunity to drop Christine, on the pretence, that her daughter hated him and that it was not right that he should be giving such attention to his partner’s wife.

Some hours had passed without Elaine returning, and then to her surprise she had suddenly realised that Amander was sitting next to her. “Why are you crying?’ ask Amander. Elaine wiped away a tear and not having a tissue, she blew her nose in the sleeve of her jumper. Both girls suddenly burst out laughing when Elaine realised what she had just done.

Quietly they both sat on the wall talking. Elaine used the opportunity to explain her fears, and of how her home situation was distressing her, it was also now starting to become dark, before either of the girls had even realised what time it was.

Unknown to Elaine the police were out looking for her, as Adam had informed them of the situation, knowing Christine was already almost too drunk to stand, let alone talk to the police. It was the Welsh fisherman, who on hearing on the evening news that the child was missing, had phoned in explaining how he had come to know Elaine, and where the police could possibly look to find her.

From the distance, the two children watched as a helicopter circled above the beach, its bright searchlight lit up the surrounding area, as the sand on the beach, swirled in a mass of sudden movement. Within a few minutes two police cars approached the area, as a WPC got out of one of the cars, Elaine turned to talk with her friend, and to her surprise she had quietly slipped away.

Safely wrapped in a blanket, Elaine was taken to Dorchester Hospital for observation. Her mother was informed of the situation and allowed to join her daughter. Adam had explained to the police, that Christine was in a delicate situation with her husband, and that she suspected he went to Thailand to indulge in his liking for young children. He asked the police to not mention this to Christine, as it would only heighten the difficulties that she was now facing, and that he thought it would be a better idea to have the Thai police intercept her husband as he came back through customs.

Two days later unaware of what had transpired, British customs officials met Peter in Heathrow Airport, as he went to walk through the nothing to declare section. He was put through a humiliating ordeal, and had demanded to know why he had been signalled out and treated in such a hostile and off handed manner.

Ongoing through his belongings, the officials eventually came to the framed photograph of his daughter. He explained with some pride that his daughter had given it to him as a surprise going away present, with a card that he still had, with the wording written in the hand of a child. Every time you look at this, think of me, we will be waiting for your safe return.

From behind the framed picture, the custom official undid the backing and took out some developed film negatives, there tucked safely away were about three dozen negatives of young children all without clothing. Peter was in shock, and unable to explain how they had come to be in his possession, let alone hidden behind a photograph of his own child.

The police later visited his office, and on examining his computer, it was discovered there were numerous entries to a child pornographic site. All had been apparently made on numerous days when he was still in this country, unknown to him Adam had taken great care in ensuring his plan was executed with no apparent area to find fault.

Sometime later Christine had filed for divorce, and had acquired a court order ensuring her husband was not aloud to come near the family home, or spend any time alone with his daughter, Elaine could not understand what was happening and could only cry when the police, accompanied by a Social Worker, kept asking her if her father had ever touched her or taken any photographs of her without any clothes on, or to have done things to her that she had disliked.

It was some weeks later, before the case eventually came to the Courts, although Peter had since been held on remand, no amount of pleading innocent could help him. It was recommended that he be placed under a custodial sentence and to be given a psychiatric evaluation.

Elaine constantly cried, as she watched her mother turn more and more to depend on alcohol, to give her the strength that she needed just to see her through each and every new day. Elaine had also taken an instant disliking to their assigned Social workers. Christine’s Social Worker Brien, had repeatedly warned her, that should he feel her actions were at any time, endangering Elaine; that he would be forced to have her taken into protective custody, and placed with Foster parents. At least until such a time as she had sought medical help for her ever-growing dependency on Alcohol, and proved to them that she was a fit and capable mother.

It was only Elaine’s devotion to her mother, in that she had managed to give the illusion that efforts where been made by Christine, to keep the apartment tidy and look after her daughter.

Elaine detested Brien, in her eyes he was a monster, and who had taken her father away, and placed in prison. In her innocent rage, she was unable to comprehend that Brien’s efforts were taken from and under the information he had before him, and made in what had appeared to be in her best interest.

At the time, it had been proven beyond doubt that Peter had an unhealthy interest in young children, his visits to Thailand and the negatives along with the pornographic files found in his computer, had sealed his fate. Her mother’s fondness of alcohol had placed Elaine on the At-Risk File, and the family was constantly visited by Social Services, and a close watch was put on Elaine to ensure her schooling and welfare was not suffering.

Adam had taken full advantage of the situation, enjoying the freedom that he had now acquired, while his partner was in prison. He used the business to finance his extravagant life style, yet very astutely, he ensured that all paperwork had showed that it was Peter and Christine, who had been draining the finances and destroying the company.

Within three months he had filed for Bankruptcy, having filtered and hidden countless thousands into numerous private off-shore accounts, unknown to Christine every time she had wanted money, he ask her to simply sign for it from the company Petty cash, and later filling in the signed forms to show that she had withdrawn over twenty four thousand pounds on each of her 122 requests.

Christine was completely unaware of the fraudulent actions of her lover, and had trusted him implicitly. Neither Peter nor the creditors were aware that this was one of three such actions that Adam had initiated over his short life span. Having learned from his father at an early age, and had acquired near perfect deception skills.

What he had not accounted for, was falling in love, Jacquie had taken even Adam by surprise, and had almost enchanted him into marrying her. Playing him like an expert fly fisherman, who tantalisingly places a sumptuous fly before the fish, without it even realising that a skilled predator was hunting it.

He had come to accept that even he was getting no younger, and that he could do far worst than find himself waking up each morning with her by his side. As for Peter, he had become powerless to defend himself, and was still trying to recover from loosing his family, his home and business.

From within Dorchester jail he sat in stunned silence, having gone into shock and denial, refusing to believe that this was actually happening to him, and that he would soon awake, to find it had all been one very bad nightmare.

It was now early December; the nights had drawn in with a cold frost greeting each new morning. Elaine was always awaking, long before her mother. She would quickly do the housework, and ensuring that any unscheduled visitors would find the apartment pleasant and clean. The apartment’s never-ending supply of wine and spirit bottles, were always scooped up and put into boxes neatly outside by the bins, waiting for the weekly visit to the bottle bank. Elaine often smiled at the thought, “That if these bottles were full of valuable blood that the national shortage would disappear over night.”

It was difficult at first, but Elaine was a natural born survivor, and knew the importance of attending school, and giving no outward sign of there ever been anything wrong. Her mother had taken Adams marriage to Jacquie very badly; she was a much younger woman, far better looking, and an annoying size 8 in her clothing.

Although having spent many hundreds even a few thousands of pounds on Alcohol and expensive clothing, she knew she had not taken the reported small fortune from the business.

The fact that the Liquidators had taken her company car and her home, only depressed her even more, and in her stupid innocents, she had refused in her mind to accept, or in truth even realised that Adam had set her along with her husband up to take a fall. In her eyes, it was Elaine who had scared him away, he had repeatedly commented, on how he thought she disliked him, and that her reactions had given him cause to be concerned about any future that they may have planned to have together.

Although in fairness to Christine he had always over the last year been there when she needed him, and with ample supplies of money and love, to finance her extravagant lifestyle; and she had known Peter would have disapproved, and would even have prevented her from taking the money, so in her mind that very thought had made her take and spend far more than she really needed.

Yet buried deeply in her sub conscious, she did not want to accept the idea, but none the less, it was growing within her mind, and she was now starting to realize that she had been used and then discarded like a throw away camera.

Adam had now moved on, taking with him the proceeds that he had filtered from the company, although he had lost his much prized company car, he had his homes in his sisters name, compensating her for her part of the deception, as such he soon secured himself another position of employment, from a company that had been in rival opposition to Peter, and taking with him a wealth of knowledge and contacts, knowing that such information would in time acquire him a position on the company’s board of directors.

Dorchester Prison is a formidable jail, been built in the Victorian era. It now housed three to a cell, as Portland, Reading and Bristol Prisons, were all under reconstruction and modernisation. Word had soon spread that Peter was a Paedophile, and that he was in on a custodial sentence for such behaviour, the wardens were unsympathetic to his plight, and often turned a blind eye to the violent abuse, which would come his way from his various fellow inmates.

After constant protest, his solicitor finally secured a court order, forcing the Prison authorities to place him into isolation, for his own safety and protection. It was a particular day in May that his Solicitor had brought him some much needed and long over due good news.

He had received an anonymous phone call, suggesting that the police read the software signatures left on his computer hard disk drive. Unknown to them, it would seem that whenever an entry was made on the office computers, regardless of the computer system been used, the secretary had installed recognition software. Due to this specific software, which Jacquie had secretly installed, it had all such entries leave an identification signature, indicating which computer system it belonged to, and to whom it had been designated.

After an independent examination by a software engineer, it was discovered that the hard disc had a different signature on all the accessed pornography files to those used for daily business transactions. This was the first ray of light forcing the police to re-open the case file, it now showed an area of doubt as to Peter’s guilt, and opened the possibility, that he may well have been telling the truth, and that he had been very expertly set-up.

However, it was a long way from proving outright, that he was innocent, and also fully been aware of the charges that had since been brought against him. It was also imperative to now find the remaining office computer whose software signature matched those found for the pornography files. Since the court conviction and the following bankruptcy, the various computers and office equipment had been released, and gone into the hands of the Bailiffs, all the goods, other than Peter’s person office computer had been sold at auction, and making it more difficult to track down the new owners.

Peter’s solicitor had used this to his advantage, stating the police had failed to adequately ensure all relevant evidence was tested, and that they failed in their duty by releasing the rest of the office equipment to the Bailiffs. This in turn had placed doubt into their proficiency, and if their evidence was accurate, which they had used to convict Peter, also it was discovered that finger prints on the negatives did not match to that of Peters.

Elaine was showing signs of losing weight, even though her mother had managed to reduce her alcohol intake. It was the necessity of budgeting, that had caused her the most trouble, having lived the last eleven plus years with a very middle-class income, she in truth, was simply unable in her almost constant drunken state, to make her greatly reduced income agree with the financial outgoing.

It was the school who had reported their fears to the Social Services, Elaine’s Gymnastic teacher had seen how thin she had become, and realised that over the last few months, she had also started showing signs of becoming tired. Her concentration level had dropped, and her academic test’s although good, were below her usual level. That evening Elaine had hidden herself in her special hiding hole, Brien her social worker, had come into her room looking for her, as he had not believed her mother when she informed him that she had apparently vanished.

Elaine was scared that he would come and take her away; so secretly over the weeks Elaine had hidden the occasional bar of chocolate and cans of Coke and Lemonade. Included in her home-made survival kit was also a torch, some plasters in case she cut herself, and a variety of personal clothing along with a Teddy Bear, which her father had given her on her seventh birthday.

On hearing Brien’s footsteps entering her bedroom, Elaine pushed herself further into the darkened void, which lay before her. She was too scared to switch the torchlight on, in case it was seen and would give her position away, feeling her hands against the wall she edged herself slowly forward. To her surprise the wall never ended how she had imagined it, squatting quietly on all fours she waited until she could hear Brien’s footsteps walking away from the bedroom.

It was then that she felt it was safe enough to switch on her torch, to her great surprise, she discovered she was in what looked like a long passageway. There was ample headroom for an adult to walk upright, and even if she stretched out both of her arms, she was just short of touching the opposite wall by over 12 inches. As Elaine explored further she realised voices were coming from behind the wall. “I really am sorry Mrs Johnson, but I am afraid you have failed to adequately look after your daughter, I am forced to recommend that we place her into temporary protective custody.”

Elaine could feel the rage building up within her, this man had not only taken away her father, but was now about to try and separate her from her mother. She had not wanted to go into care, in her mind she wanted everything back to how it had been before this nightmare had started.

After Brien left, Elaine quietly made her way back into her bedroom and ran to her mother. “Mummy, please oh please, don’t let them take me away, I love you and want to stay here with you.” Christine was surprised by her child’s sudden outburst, she was angry that both Brien and her had been unable to find her. Yet deep within her she loved her child, and she knew she needed help, and that if she really were neglecting her, then, possibly temporary custody would be better than loosing her permanently.

For some minutes they just hugged each other, both were crying, and unbeknown to them, Brien had only pretended to leave. From his vantage point he observed the interaction of parent and child, knowing that if it were thought he was not there, then their action would not be false. As he observed them, he could sense the deep love that was still there, it was to his surprise when he over heard Christine, as she tried to explain to Elaine, that possibly he was right, and that she had come to realise that she had partly neglected her.

Christine tried to explain further, that if possible she would get some medical help and that once she was better, that the Social services would bring them back together.

Elaine’s reactions were almost hostile, frantically she screamed out, sobbing desperately, and repeating the word, “No…No…No mummy No.” At that point she ran from the living room and went crashing directly into Brien, the force of the impact knocked her sideways, and she fell hitting her head against the wall.

Quickly she picked herself up, but Brien had also regained his posture and took hold of her, with a sharp kick, Elaine placed her foot firmly and with considerable force between his legs. In an agonising scream Brien released her, as he fell to his knees, and clutching at his swollen and painful groin. In Elaine’s mind, he was about to take her away, however, what she had not realised was that Brien had been witness to their conversation, and had decided to do everything within his power to keep this family together.

Christine had taken the first vital step in realising and admitting that she had a problem, and that if she was to keep her child and that she needed help. Without stopping, Elaine opened the door and raced from the apartment, dressed only in her school uniform; it afforded her little in the way of any warmth. She kept running not knowing where she was going, in her mind, she needed to get away from Brien, and find herself a place of safety.

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