Oh, you thought that was the end of the story? You surprise me... did you really forget about Seamus so fast
Like any day, I ride home after class
Like any day, I chain the bike to the hoop at that smelly corner of the building and enter the equally smelly hall
Like any day I check the mail just cause Mom never does
Like any day I throw away the adverts and take the elevator, holding my breath
Like any day, I stare at our door for ages before I finally straighten my shoulders with a sigh and enter
Like any of the last few days, I draw a deep breath and call out for her
No response... again.
I carefully check every single room, but nope. She is not home... again.
Ok, this is it. Today is Tuesday, for fuck´s sake!
She´s been gone since Friday morning this time, I am done with waiting
After all, I am no longer alone these days
Time to get things going
"Listen kid... that was Seam on
"She did not come back, eh?"
"Nope. Still gone"
The twins will be home soon, I better not laze around here... so I clean the place, take out the garbage
Soon enough, no more to do here...
Shizz. What the hell am I going to do if she waltzes in now?!
No that it really makes a difference right now. There needs to be food on the table when Jay and Kay come home from school, so I better get started on that now...
thank God. Still got one bottle of milk and some rice, at least
I am still busy trying to produce something edible with this shitty stuff when I hear the front door slam shut...
I try hard not to cringe at the sound, but it´s just the twins
"Hey Seam! What´s for dinner today? I think I´m starving!"
"Is... is Mom home? Today?"
"Jay... don´t, man..."
Fuck, this is almost worse than I imagined
"Naw guys, she is not here. Again... and it´s been since Friday this time. FIVE days. You know what this means, right? Eat your rice pudding, ´kayes. Tonight´s the night"
"But... what if she comes home tonight? She´ll be so mad... she´ll kill you, man! And who will look after us then?!"
"Oh come on now. You know who will"
The three of us wolf down the awful rice pudding in total silence. It´s kind of hard to get that this might be the last time we´ll ever do that, one way or another
"Ok get your stuff together, I clear the table"
Creepy. They do not even bicker about it
Guess they are really with me in this
Shizz I hope I am doing the right thing here
Time to make another call
"Huh? Oh dear..."
"Hello Seamus. Is it time?...
Good. I am on my way!"
"Mr. Ashtree? A word!"
"Uh, eh, naturally- what can do
for you, Miss Su?"
"Sir, I just had it confirmed -
Ms. Sweeney has been gone
since Friday. It´s about time
we report her missing!"
Ok... any minute now... right? Any minute... Crap, how much longer can it take?!?
"Told ya, she ain´t coming!"
"Ah shut it..."
Thank God, there she comes
Man I feel like crying for real, she really really came to pick us up!!!
"Hey Seamus. Sorry I kept you waiting, my boss needed a bit of encouragement to let me leave the office early"
I swallow hard to get rid of that huge lump that seems to be stuck in my throat
"Ach no problem. Knew you´d come all along"
"Ok guys, this is Le, Nick´s girlfriend. She´s gonna drive us down to his place now- go get into the car, huh?"
"Hello boys. Nice to meet you, finally"
I can´t believe we´re leaving for real
As we get close to Nick´s place, I can already spot him waiting... but... is that Mac there with him ?!?
"Hey! Screw me, I thought I wouldn´t live to see that day - welcome to my humble home!"
"Hey Nick... same on that end, can tell you that..."
"Hey uncle Nick!"
"Hey guys. Good to have you round- what you say, shouldn´t we take those bags of yours upstairs now, huh?"
"Hey bro´... so... those are... "
Fuck yes, he has never met the twins, right! Must be a hellishly strange feel
"Yep. Jared with the pony tail, Kaine with the death glare- meet four eyes Mac, your other big brother"
Naturally, the pixies run off with a shriek right now. Typical... Mac seems a bit taken aback, given the way he mumbles
"Yeah well, nice to meet you, too..."
"Listen bro´, no need to take it personal or something, they´re just pixies. Give´m some time, they´ll grow to you for sure. Trust me"
Mac doesn´t look so convinced
"Eh, dunno... if you say so..."
"Seamus is right, Malcom. This is a very complicated and scary situation for... well, all of us. It will take time to adjust"
"And I think it is time for me to leave, too. You will call me if you need anything, right? Oh Nick, this is..."
"Hey, hey, relax... all´ll be good. I´ll call ya later, ´kayes? Promise"
"And you don´t hesitate to call me, either, alright? Oh dear, I wish I could just stay with you boys and..."
Aw crap why does she always have to be so... so... physical when she´s being nice?!?
Mac awkwardly shifts his weight and tries to look the other way, looking slightly embarrassed
"Le- let go, my ribs, you are, ouch! Let go!"
She laughs out loud and finally lets me breath
"Oh right, sure. I keep forgetting how fragile you are. I do apologize... talk to you tomorrow. Chin up- you did the right thing, Seamus! - See you around, Malcom."
Together, we watch Le get into her car and drive off. The right thing... Jeeze I hope she is right there
"Hey man... I better get going, too. Mum... she is really not well these days, and with the sucker still away..."
Crap. I keep forgetting his mother is fading faster by the day now
"Sure bro´, no problem. Hey, thank you loads for helping Nick out with the barn paint job, huh? And... being around, yanno..."
Mac just nods quietly and walks away
I watch him make his way down the road for some time. That place of his, it´s not so far away from Nick´s barn... maybe I should start stopping by there...
But right now, there are other things to take care of before I can even start to think more about this
Nick and the twins have dissapeared to the back of the house, so I guess they went upstairs
"Hey! All settled in yet? Wow you guys are fast. Eh - where did you put my bag?"
"It´s in the closet, whatcha think?"
Jay chuckles quietly
"Ah just ignore him. He´s just pretending... he loves our new room, and so do I. What?! Don´t give me that glare of yours, yanno it don´t work on me! I´m your twin, remember! Immune!"
"Doesn´t work, Jay. It´s `doesn´t´... and you stop moping, Kay, right..."
I slowly walk over to my bed
This attic, it´s so.... large, it´s almost like I have my own room with that huge book shelf separating my bed from the rest... and hell, we even have our own CLOSET
Slowly I unroll my posters and put them up
I can´t believe Nick has gone to such lengths for us. I hope so hard we can really really stay
I feel so weak in the knees all out of a sudden, I just have to sit down
I hear the door open
"Hey Seam... ready?"
Stiffly I get up again
"Listen I am about as hot about doing this as you are. Let´s go get this over with"
I just nod
It´s not that far, so we walk over
I don´t feel like talking anyways, but I notice how quiet Nick is nevertheless
Gee this is not easy for him, either
"Yeah, right, here we go..."
The police station. Yikes
Ok, so he IS very much better since Le and him came back from Al Simhara last year, but still. I know he´s got major issues with cops... crap I really appreciate him being here right now
Time to make a report
"Eh, good afternoon, Sergeant O´Bregon"
The cop behind the counter turns to face us and rises an eyebrow in recognition
"Mr. West. Well that´s a bit of a surprise"
Oh crap. Those two have met before?! Not good... not at all...
Then again, the cop seems not to annoyed, more like cautious as he gets up from his seat
"Well, what can do for you.... Sir?"
What is it with those two, I don´t get it
"Yeah, see, it´s a bit complicated... I am here about my nephews. This here..."
he nods my direction
"... is Seamus, the oldest..."
The cop looks at me directly for the first time and smiles a little
"Seamus, eh? I see, this might take a while. Why don´t we all sit down for a bit? Come on, follow me, please..."
"Sharon?! Take over the front desk, willya? Will be done here in a bit" he yells over his shoulder while he is leading the way to another room
Uh. This place it totally bare... must be the interrogation room...
I gulp and sit down meekly at the far end of the table
Fortunately, the cop talks to Nick first...
"Alright now. What is it you wanted to tell me, Mr. West?
"I want to report my sister gone missing"
The cop furrows his brow, slightly confused
"... excuse me, but given that your nephew is oviously in his teens, I gather that your sister is a grown woman? Do you have any reason to believe that she might have been victim to some crime, or why exactly...."
Nick shoots me a quick glance, but I won´t chicken out. Not this time- so I just nod
I can see him clench his fists under the table as he turns back to the sergeant
"No. I don´t think she was victim to anything, and we already called the hospital, too. She has left the kids all alone, Sarge. No money. No food. Since Friday last week"
"What?! West, did this happen before? And how many kids are we talking here, exactly?!
"Three boys. Seamus will be seventeen soon, but the twins - Jared and Kaine- just turned nine two months ago. And hell yes, she has done it before! Many times, but somehow Seam always managed to handle things on his own! This can´t go on, man! "
Crap crap crap
"Yeah, she... but, normally she would be back after the weekend, but... but this time... hell man, there is no food left, I, I just... can´t ..."
"Sergeant I tried to mind my own business, but I can´t sit back and watch any longer. I have taken the boys to my place today"
"West... if you report her missing... you know I have to tell Child Services about this, don´t you? With your backstory... are you sure?"
"See the state the kid´s in? Please. Take that report. It´s about time things get official. I have to take that risk"
The sergeant seems to think the whole thing over thoroughly
"... alright then. I´ll better make that call right now before their office hours are over..."
"I´ll be right back, West. And Seamus... don´t worry kid. You´ll be ok"
I don´t know about him, he seems so... steady, but my brain is racing like mad
"Eh, Nick..? We ARE doing the right thing here, are we?"
"... I mean, it´s not ok what she... is it?"
"No, Seam. It´s not ok. Remember the time we talked about this before, back then in the park? When I said you needed to talk to Social Services? Wasn´t ok then, isn´t ok now"
Suddenly, the cop is back
"Alright gentlemen. I got lucky and got hold of a social worker who was just about to leave her office... told her what you told me so far"
I can feel his gaze on my skin
I keep staring straight ahead
"The name is Ms. Hudson, and she will come to see you tomorrow in the afternoon..."
He turns to Nick again
"I still need you to give me all the detail about your sister and the boys, West. Full name, date of birth... all that... we have a form for that, at the front desk. Please follow me."
That´s what we are, frozen
Slowly, hesitantly, we get up
"No turning back now, kid"
No. No turning back
And hell with it, it was about time