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Panting, Billy watched the dust lift and float as he tried to control his breathing.
‘BILLY. BIL…LLY… MAGGOT.’ His stepfather’s voice reached under the porch, turning his stomach to water, he struggled not to pee himself. His stepfather Josh only called him “maggot” when furious. He kept a bowl of sweets on the counter. His sweets. Billy couldn’t resist stealing just one. He never thought it would be missed, but the bastard counted them and now he would get it. He rested his head in the dust praying that his mother would be home early. The heat lulled him into sleep.…
Billy felt the sting of the slap just before his head rocked back, making him cry out in pain.
‘Boys don’t cry’ his father shouted into his face, spittle flecked across his cheek but he dared not wipe it away.
‘Are you a girl?’ Billy shook his head, pinching himself to stop the tears that threatened to fall.
His father sneered at him, ‘Now get your ass to the shop and bring my tobacco. Don’t dawdle and make sure it’s the right one.’ …
Mother ghost returns night after night, the legend says. An old woman in a wispy, charcoal dress, hands clenched around a black rose. She moves dreamlike through the house, searching each room. Her cries grow in intensity and sadness with each empty room, she calls her babies in a ghostlike wail.
‘Callie? Andrew darling? Beth?’
Her voice halts in the kitchen, she sees them. They turn towards her and smile. They merge into a ghostly soup, crying.
4 ghosts enter the basement through the door. Leaving silence behind.
Mother will return tomorrow and again look for her children.