Delight in this decadent indulgence
Excerpt from Isobel Warren’s historically accurate contemporary novel In Them Days:
In his dream, Adam was four years old again. He was crying and covered in blood.
Uncle Joseph stood over him, looking annoyed. “What have ya done to yerself, laddie? Ya should know better than to climb on that wire fence?”
Adam didn’t try to answer – there would have been no point. Uncle Joe believed that children should be seen but not heard so even when he asked a question like that, he would not permit an answer.
“Get on up to the house,” he ordered. “Get yer Auntie to look after ya and clean ya up. And mind ya stay off that wire fence like I told ya time and time again.”
In his dream, Adam staggered a bit as he headed up the path to the house. Blood was pouring down his leg and into his sock and boot. When he had fallen, he had not only gashed his leg but smacked his head on the hard ground. Blood was everywhere. When he swiped at his tears, his hands came away bloodied. He was scared.
Aunt Sarah, busy with the baking, didn’t look up when he came into the kitchen. Then she heard his sobs and turned to look at him. Her floury hands flew into the air. “Heavens above, Adam, what have ya done to yourself? Come over here into the light so I can see ya. No, you’re messin’ up the floor – go back to the summer kitchen and stay quiet.”
Adam stood miserable and sobbing in the chilly summer kitchen. He was very cold and feeling dizzy. His head had begun to ache and his leg was hurting fiercely.
“What happened to ya,” Auntie demanded. “You’ve surely made a mess of yourself.”
“I climbed up the fence,” Adam sobbed. “And my coat caught on a wire and I fell.”
“How often have I told ya not to climb fences,” Auntie scolded. “You’re a very wicked boy. Now look at the mess you’ve made of your clothes and boots. And the mess on the floor and all the extra work…”
Her voice trailed off as she realized the depth of the leg injury. She spread some sugar bags on the couch and lifted him by his armpits to lie there. Then she bound up the leg wound and turned her attention to his head. His forehead was bruised but his cheek was cut and bleeding. She made a pad of cloth and ordered him to hold it firmly over the wound.
“Now stop that crying,” she snapped. “It does ya no good. Lie still so’s not to make more bleeding.”
“I want my mommy,” Adam sobbed.
Auntie’s eyes hardened and her mouth formed a straight angry line. “You’re a nasty ungrateful boy,” she flared. “Ya know very well that yer ma didn’t want ya then and doesn’t want ya now. Uncle and I took ya in and we care for ya and give ya everything you need. Instead of complaining, ya should be thankful for your blessings.”
She left him there, shivering and still bloodied, and stormed back to her baking.
His teeth chattered, from cold and fear. His head throbbed. But he lay still for a long time, cowed by Auntie’s wrath and longing for his mother. He hadn’t seen her since coming to live with Auntie and Uncle but he still remembered her plump warmth, her strong arms holding him, her hand brushing back his hair and wiping away tears.
The dream seemed to fade yet he couldn’t wake up. He struggled to find consciousness but it eluded him. The pain in his head was brutal, just like the one so many years before, the one in his dream. He felt lost and he tried to call out for help.
Immediately his mother was beside him, her cool hand on his cheek, speaking gently.
“Adam my dearest, you’re awake at last,” Julie said. “Don’t try to talk, dear, and don’t move. Just lie still if you can. I’m right here beside you.”
Adam opened his eyes. Just for an instant, he was disappointed. This was not his mother. And then he recognized Julie, her loving smile, her soft voice, her gentle touch and a wave of gratitude washed over him, so powerful that he wanted to weep.
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Don’t miss hearing Isobel read at the JUzDIzRTS Author Event Saturday August 17th starting at 1pm!