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“He just lay there, still as a pole. I tried to wake him I really did but it made no difference at all. So I ran. I did I just ran until the garden was totally out of site.” Ebony stated to the court. Before long she was in tears. I may have only been a little six year old girl but I understood everything that went on in that halo hall. Just for a minute picture this…A very petit girl with an angel’s soft face, very pure and pale. She has chocolate brown ringlets that are combed neatly back into a high pony tale. She dresses in an ankle length flowing white silk dress with lace embroidery, fastened with tiny little light wooden buttons. She has a small teddy in an identical white dress the dress creases as she clutches it in her hand. Her eyes are filled with dismay and fear as crystal tears fell from her pale cheeks. This little girl is me, Miss Hope Valentine, and I witnessed something that any six year old should never have to see in their life. Since that horrible night my sister Ebony and I have had one of the biggest life changes you could imagine.
Ebony, Daddy, and I live in a stunning cottage in the country. I never really knew my mother as she died when I was of the age of 2. I have no memory of her at all; all I know is that her pride and joy was her garden. I don’t blame her it’s a stunning place and it’s somewhere you can sit and just think. Once she left us Dad took pride in the garden and took it on as his own. He spent most of days down in the garden on his own in silence; if he’s not there he is in the pub. My sister Ebony, Ebb’s for short, Is very identical to me in looks even though she is six years older than me. She’s 12 and I respect and love her more than anything. Her personality is a lot different to mine.
The morning of April 3rd was an eerie morning; I could sense that something was not quite right. It may have been something about the slight fog that blanketed the house as the sharp cold breeze fought its way into the warmth of my bedroom. But I definitely did feel something strange from the moment I opened my eyes. As normal Ebb’s brought me my breakfast eggs in bed.
“Morning sleepy head, come on it 9:00am you should be up and ready by now.” She gently whispered into my ear.
“But…Ebb’s…Its Saturday please let me sleep.” I groaned back at her.
“Early bird gets the worm!” She replied. She often says this knowing full well I have no idea what she is going on about. I doubt she has a clue what it means herself but her words were full of meaning and wisdom so I pull myself out of bed and ate my salty eggs. Which was never a highlight of my day but at least I was fed and ready to go.
“Where’s Daddy?” I asked Ebb’s.
“What a stupid question Hope you know full well were he is and how long he will be there. Its Saturday its 9:00am he will be at the pub for a good 20 more minutes so stop being such an idiot and get dressed!” Ebb’s snapped at me. I hung my head in a sulk. I knew it wouldn’t get me any were but I felt a bit better for doing it. Ebb’s and I got showered and dressed and we made our way to the dining room table to do our stack of homework. When all of a sudden CRASH! Dad flung himself through the door. He looked extremely pale and angry; I hugged Ebb’s and Teddy tight in my arms. Dad was cursing the whole place down, he kept raving on about some twat named Tony. Dad normally got back from the pub in a state. He went to play poker and usually lost, who knew how much money he owed some of the men down there but especially Tony. Dad always seemed to owe Tony a lot of money. Along with another guy named Mick.
Dad rushed himself upstairs and was banging around for about an hour. When all of a sudden there was one huge BANG and it went deadly silent.
“Do you think dads ok Ebb’s?” I asked Ebony curiously.
“He’s probably just got in the shower or something, stop asking me so many bloody questions!” She shouted.
“Why are you shouting Ebony, it was a question and I don’t like it when you shout!” I wept. I snuggled down into the sofa cuddling Teddy so hard that his dress tore. This made me even more upset and I poured out my heart in tears. Ebony must have felt a little sorry for me and she came and gave me a huge cuddle to calm me down. Hour after hour past and there was still no sound from Daddy’s room. Ebb’s was cooking dinner so I decided to check it out for myself. I crept past the kitchen and up the great winding stairs.
“Dad…Daddy…Dad?” I whispered down the hall way. There was no reply. As I approached I noticed Dad’s bedroom door was wide open. The moonlight beamed through the window and out onto the landing carpet. The floor boards creaked as I snuck towards the giant door. There was something not quite right with the door, there were dents, scratch marks and the door handle was lying on the floor. This came as a shock and made my heart skip a beat with fear. My whole body shuddered and turned cold. As I peeped my head round the door not a sound was heard, you may have been able to hear a pin drop. All I could see was moonlight, moonlight and darkness. The room was completely empty, the only thing that moved was the linen curtain dancing in the wind. I slowly walked towards the window and as I peered over the edge I saw a tall wooden ladder leading from the window to the muddy ground. I took a huge gasp in and ran as fast as I could to my sister. I blurted out everything…
“I…I….I went upstairs and there was a mark on the door and…and then I looked o…out the window and a huge ladder and…DADS GONE!”
“What?” Ebb’s looked at me in a confused way.
“Come I will show you.” I replied. I pulled Ebony’s arm until it nearly came out of the socket. I yanked her up the stairs and pushed her to the window. When she saw the ladder she tried to act like it would all have a reasonable answer but her mind was obviously blank and she had no idea. Then I showed her the door and you could see her heart sink and her face went a ghostly pale.
“Come on Hope, Let’s go and see if Daddy’s down in the garden. He probably didn’t want to disturb us so he went this way.” She said in an upbeat voice.
“But what if he was taken on he ran away. Any way why wouldn’t he want to disturb us he normally does?” I asked.
“I don’t know Hope but he hasn’t been taken ok!” She screeched back at me.
The garden transformed into a dark damp demonic place at night. It looked like a whole new world, all the gorgeous pink roses and the soft white tulips all disappeared into the darkness and all you could see was a blanket of grey that covered the whole garden. I herd a slight mumbling through the bushes and I turned to Ebb’s, who was squeezing my hand so hard it was turning purple and I asked,
“What was that Ebb’s?” I’m not sure Hope, it will just have been some birds or something just looks around for Daddy.” She whispered. We walked and walked for about 20 minutes until we both finally looked at each other in a what’s the use way and we both decided to have a rest under the pear tree. I snuggled into Ebb’s and she held her arms around me tight. I felt a cold spot on my arm, I gazed down at it and it was a small tear drop. I peered up and saw Ebony’s eyes were puffy and red just like a plum. I hear a voice. A low voice. I said,
“What do you think you’re playing at? Aye? Where’s my money!” Another voice replied,
“I’ve got it just not here! Ok!” It was my dad’s voice. I peered through the bush and I saw my Daddy. He was on the ground all tied up. There were two men standing over him. One looked familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on who he was.
“Hey, come on Mick you know I’ve got it.” Dad said. That’s who I remember it was Mick. He came to our house one morning looking for something and he never got it. I suspected it was the money he wanted. Mick held his hand to his head and he shouted,
“How can I believe you, you have been telling us you’ve got our money since January. We want it and we want it NOW!”
“I don’t have it ok!” Dad burst into tears.
“Not good enough mate. You had it coming” Mick said. Ebb’s and I watched with fear in our eyes. We couldn’t draw them away from my Dad’s face. As Our eyes filled with tears. Mick reached slowly into a bag and pulled out something long and thin in shape and it was extremely shiny. I tuned to Ebb’s and asked,
“What’s that Ebb’s? Is it a toy?” She looked at me in utter despair and she whispered,
“Yes Hope. But it’s a bad toy.” Her voice broke in a squeaky way as she cried.
The man pointed the L shaped toy at my Dad. He let out some yells and he kept sobbing and sobbing, then he bent over and placed his forehead to the ground and groaned,
“But my girls, my little girls. They can’t loose us both!” This alarmed me even though I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Don’t be so pathetic.” Mick sighed. In a split second a huge BANG filled the air. Paint splattered everywhere and Dad hit the floor. He looked asleep. Ebony screamed louder than I’ve ever heard her scream in my life. Mick and the mysterious man ran into the darkness as Ebb’s jumped out of the bush and dashed towards Dad. She cuddled him and shook him until she was also a mess with paint all over her. I ran towards her and sat down beside her.
“What’s the matter Ebb’s why are you crying? Dad won’t be happy if you’re crying when he wakes up. Will you daddy?” I asked. I shook him, but he didn’t move. I shook him again but still no movement. Ebb’s kissed him on the cheek and grabbed my hand. Then like I had earlier she pulled me so hard that I nearly fell off my feet. We ran, we ran until the garden wasn’t even in site. Once we got to the neighbours house they put blankets round us and they rang some one. I kept asking,
“What about Dad, he’s asleep outside. You need to go and wake him up. He will get cold.” The neighbours looked at me with sadness in their eyes and from that moment on I knew Ebb’s and I would not be seeing Daddy for a long long time.