THE CHILD WHISPERER. riginal.
Only the remnants of abused beaten neglected terrified children around the world can ever hear him.The dead had no need of auditory incitement,encouragement- to answer or heed the call. The bewildered young. Death muted- amplified their dying thoughts.They had no surround sound of joy or stereo type upbringing.Their parent/parents switched off. Occasionally a static burst of joy cut short. Erased by indifference. Misery loves company. Not chosen company even by a child's undeveloped understanding of reference or choice. No reference of prolonged love to compare. Only the living, too young to understand death's machinations, the flow- on peace after life effect for the child a poor reward misunderstood-too late. His voice reverberated through the mist. The mist was unseen, invisible to the offending parents. But the child hiding under the bed saw it, felt a warmth-heard the voice.
"New children for hold...new children for hold." The child winced, crawled out from underneath the dirty blood speckled mattress his drunken father had collapsed on.
"New children for hold..." The elderly child whisperer hunched over, pulled gently on the reins of the giant horse dragging the sled loaded with smiling children effortlessly through the mist. No apparent rumbling, scrape of such, no apparent clip clop, just a sigh from Conscience, the child whisperer. Little Ben opened the window fearfully, slowly,it didn't rasp. In the child's imagination the old cracked warped window his father had thrown him against in one of his rages- had roared in indignation, "Ben has wrenched me open! He must be punished, Ben is trying to escape...you can't escape Ben." It was silent though. Fear shook the lad involuntarily . He scrunched and cowered into a small painful shape, like kid's do when they know they're going to cop it. When he hid under the bed he pretended his father couldn't see him. Because 'invisibility' is a terrified kid's plaintive magic wand. Wishing the magic wand would turn into a sabre and cut the groping hand off. "No! he wasn't stopping...please stop!" A thin pleading begging wretched hand waved at the translucent vague figure hunched over in the driver's seat. Waved frantically at the man. Fearful of the consequence of raising his voice, should his father wake. More fearful he would be ignored, passed by, the child screamed. "Please stop!"
The horse stopped suddenly, the old man with the piercing grey eyes dismounted. He beckoned, opened his arms. Smiled up at the desperate face, "new children to hold...jump Ben..." The children outstretched their arms, smiling. Happy faces. "Jump Ben. father Conscience will catch you..."
Ben scrambled half way out the window, felt his father's unsteady grip on his leg. Kicked it off fearfully, easily. It was a twenty foot drop. Ben jumped, felt the terror of unknown free fall consequence The space between that of the trapeze artist conditioned to being caught, but still with that imperceptible fear controlled by practice and the knowledge their partner's timing was supreme.That romp with death,aghast amazed crowds loved to applaud. Wished they had that courage of the trapeze artists. They never would. But the small impart of adrenalin flow garnered from the swinging daredevils sufficed. Most unwittingly not understanding they too walked a life's straining flexing tightrope of bravery. As always, the disappointed few that wished the hi flyers would fall. Just to bring him down to their level of fear. The twinge of guilt for letting the thought enter into their mundane world where they walked on solid ground. Wished they could fly...anywhere, for a while, away from their enforced reality. Then realizing they just did. Clapped the bowing pair. Bravo. They had paid and got their humdrum monies worth. Saw the pleasure and awe in their children's eyes. Felt proud when they clung, breathlessly. "Did you see that dad? Did you see that mum?" The children clapped the tiny untrained trapeze artist who trusted the unfamiliar voice-unfamiliar partner.Felt the reassuring arms fold gently around him. Felt the warmth of the applause. Felt at home with the others. Wanted.Safe.
His father's emaciated dying face said it all. Ben nodded at the intensive care nurse pointing at her watch in the ward where most capitulated to God's will, grasping and gasping at the end of theirs."Don't speak dad, it's okay." His father did. The young trapeze artist wiped his father's eye, placed a finger on his cheek."Ben i'm so sorry...so sorry." "It's ok dad"
"Ben" he murmured, grimacing, "the day you jumped out the window was the day my conscience caught up and started choking me. When i saw you sprawled on the ground i thought you were dead and i wished i was. That guy? Where did he come from? I didn't get the chance to thank him for saving your life. For saving mine." "Dad don't talk..." His father whispered. "Son, where did the children on the sled come from? They were so happy...they were so happy, and the old guy kept saying, "new children to hold...new children to hold...i was so drunk but i remember that day the voice repeating over and over again, "new children to hold...was i that poisoned i imagined it?" His voiced trailed off. His eyes fluttered,closed. "Ben..." "Yes dad" "Please hold me and tell me again what you said when you came to see me in rehab...please...do you remember what you said?" You were just a little boy." Ben stroked his father's hand gently, "remember exactly what i said dad, like i said it yesterday. "New father for hold...new father for hold..."