Mercy hid the small satchel under the bed and dusted her dirty fingers on the front of her plaid skirt.
Her knees were scuffed and there was an assortment of coloured hair on her once white tights. With a merry skip she hopped out of the alcove and back onto the trail she really shouldn’t have left.
She thought about that satchel as Aunt Mima whipped her with a cane for ruining her nice tights and staining her beautiful dress. The satchel got her through Aunt Mima’s rage and she barely even registered the sting on her skin when she had her evening bath.
Daddy got home late, again. She watched him remove his jacket and Aunt Mima fuss over how tired he must have been. He didnt speak to Aunt Mima or Mercy. Aunt Mima served dinner for the two of them and Mercy silently ate her butternut soup while Daddy stared at his plate. Aunt Mima, quickly brought out his main course and Mercy hid her smile, even she knew Daddy wouldnt eat soup. He ate his steak as it bled on his plate and when he was almost done noticed that Mercy didnt have her main.
“Why isnt the girl eating?” He asked and Aunt Mima held her hands together as she narrated the butchery of Mercy’s beautiful clothes and this was a lesson in wasteful behaviour. “Wasteful only exists for those who cant afford not to, let the child eat.” Mercy raised her eyes to Aunt Mima and didnt hid this smile.
As she slowly ate her steak that Aunt Mima had to slice for her, her mind went back to that satchel. Soon, that satchel would rid her of Aunt Mima but not tonight.
Her father allowed her to sit at his feet while he smoked his pipe and she painted his latest train set. They spoke no words but the mood was comfortable and Mercy enjoyed having him in the room with her. Just the two of them. Like it used to be.
Aunt Mima came in on time as usual and shuttled Mercy off to bed. There were no late night stories like Aunt Helga used to read. Aunt Helga always smelt of rum and vanilla and if only Daddy hadnt started visiting her bedroom she would have stayed longer. Mercy rolled over and waited for Aunt Mima to leave the room. She heard her humming her usual lullaby as she brushed and braided her hair. She couldnt see her but Aunt Mima left the door between them open so that she could hear Mercy, it didnt help that Aunt Mima slept very deeply.
Mercy did not have to wait long before she heard Aunt Mima’s deep throaty snoring. She crept out of bed and pulled on her winter boots and Aunt Helga’s old heavy shawl before walking down the stairs, she peeked in on her father asleep and stepped outside. The satchel was where she left it. She smiled and walked back into the house.
Mercy walked confidently into Aunt Mima’s room and poured a bit of the brown powder into the water by her bed. She watched the particles sink and took a pencil to stir them till they were all gone, she was careful not to touch the sides of the glass. Soon Aunt Mima would be gone soon, the same way Mummy was.