Mercy stirred her tea. Outside her grandma was talking on their only phone, throwing her tiny left hand in the air and gesturing towards the hill. More worries about the Taylors. Again. More cold tears.three years since they arrived. Even the sunshine had betrayed her that day. Jacob Taylor’s ready smile. His casual betrayals. Mercy sipped her drink and closed her eyes. Breathed in hope. She wished for a new word today. A new voice. Her own was hoarse, throaty with disappointment and the steady erosion of bad luck. Back to black indeed.
She heard the dull thump of the back door and then her grandma was back, breathing slowly, sweating tiredness. This was becoming too much. Correction, this was too much. The girl was looking at her steadily, waiting for release. Come on.
Black eyes sometimes that girl. Lashes that shaded her absolute gaze. One day someone would fear those eyes, they would meet more than themselves. Not for the first time Gertie wondered at the wisdom of her name. Mercy. The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. Gertie looked through the kitchen window and saw her daughter’s hand searching, crawling towards her mother’s. Bitten nails.Never a painter of nails. Catching up grief this. She could taste that sediment still. The weight of certain desertion low in her stomach. My God. My small God.Sometimes life appalled her even more than death. The hours without her.
The black eyes widened and took her. ‘ Grandma.You know Mum wants to come in. You must know she does. Just Look at the rain, even our hill has disappeared. Promise I’ll cook. How many eggs have we got left today? ’
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