Water Water – episode sixty three

[start at episode one]

Laura makes a move

Laura had been watching the new moon grow larger with each passing night, and finally she made a decision – she was not going to stay in this gilded prison any longer. It would be full moon again in only a few days and she wasn’t going to sit around and wait for Joseph to ride to the rescue. She was going to do what she should have done in the first place, sort it out herself. Laura turned her back to the window and faced the bed. What a waste of time it had been clinging onto that night as if it meant something, it was up to her to get on with it, on her own.

 At first light Laura packed a few things into a small bag. She’d charged her phone (just in case) and deleted all the messages that had accumulated on it. No she didn’t want to upgrade, buy more minutes or phone a friend for free. She knew of course that Mrs Patterson could not physically restrain her, but up to now her mere presence had been enough to keep Laura in the flat. Not any more, and though she didn’t think Harry or Colin would have the nerve to try anything, she’d have to be quick and decisive just in case.

 At seven she opened the door of Mrs Patterson’s bedroom and peeped in. She couldn’t leave her without saying anything, she would worry, maybe blame herself, and that wouldn’t be fair.

 “Mrs P? Are you awake?” The old lady stirred but did not wake.

 Laura took a small step towards the bed and tried again. 

 “Mrs P, wake up, it’s me, Laura.”

 “Are you alright?” Mrs Patterson struggled to wakefulness and tried to sit up. She reached for her glasses and saw Laura in the doorway, silhouetted against the light from the hall, fully dressed and holding a bag.

 “What are you doing?”

 “I’m so sorry, but I just can’t stay here any longer. I have to get out there and try and do something.”

 “No you mustn’t, please my dear. Joseph asked me.”

 “But Joseph isn’t here is he? He’s nowhere to be seen or heard in fact, so I really don’t think what he says matters any more. I don’t want you to worry, but there’s nothing you can do, I’m leaving.”

 Laura turned away from the bed before she could see the look on Mrs Patterson’s face. Her landlady just watched her go in silence – she knew couldn’t stop her, and in truth she had half expected this moment.

 Neither of the guards was on the landing outside the flat so Laura knew they must be down in the lobby. If she called the lift its wheezing and clunking would wake the dead, let alone Colin and Harry, so she hunted for the stairs. The first door she tried opened straight onto a ten story drop. Laura swallowed hard and closed it again, very carefully. Heading down the corridor she passed several more doors that she presumed were for the other flats, and then finally at the end one with a little green sign alleging that it was the emergency exit. She opened the it very gingerly and was relieved to see stairs. 

 Reaching ground level she spied Harry, sitting on a stool, head leaned back against the wall and eyes closed. Not asleep though, a polystyrene mug of coffee steamed beside him and a newspaper sat on his lap. Laura tiptoed past, feeling like a naughty schoolgirl creeping out of a dormitory.

 “Where do you think you’re going?” Harry opened one eye.

 “Out.”

 The other eye opened. “Come on Miss, you know you have to stay here.”

 “You can’t make me.”

 “No, I can’t.”

 “Exactly.” Laura was slightly taken aback. “Exactly,” she repeated. “You have been protecting me I know, and that’s very nice, but I am leaving now.”

 “He said this might happen.”

 “Who did?”

 “Never mind. Can I come with you?”

 “No you can’t. I’m sorry.”

 “I’m sorry too Miss. Please be careful.” He tore a corner from the newspaper and scribbled on it with a stubby pencil. “This is my mobile number. Just in case.”

 “Thanks. Will you look after Mrs Patterson for me?”

 “Of course. She will be staying here for now I think, for when you come back.”

 “Right. Bye then.”

 “Good bye Miss.”

 And that was it. She was free.

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