Something I'm not sure what disturbed my sleep, I listened straining to see through a darkness that seemed to be moving, swelling, shrinking, sliding...deep.
Hark! ... there... an angry voice...
"You dirty tart, you fat slapper."
An hysterical screech answered,
"pervert.. filth.... he touched my crotch mam, said he'd gimme a quid."
Out of bed now I crept slowly down the stairs. I heard mam crying softly amid the chaos. As I pushed opened the door four faces turned to stare, my stepfathers, puffed up and sulky yet defiant. Mam's damp eyed and red rimmed, in a chalk white mask.
Gran's, shock, fear and something more that I was to young then to define; later I realised it was shame heavily laced with disgust and revulsion.
My elder sister's, flushed, excited, sly?....
Gran ushered me straight back to bed, hugging me tight to her in her no nonsense way, whispering that every thing was fine,
" go back to sleep now, the nine-o-clock horses are about tonight"...
My fear of the mythical horses that haunted the unwary children of Leicestershire soon had me burrowing deep into my blankets and falling asleep almost immediately.
When I awoke the next morning the nocturnal disturbances seemed dreamlike and unreal as if they had never happened.
Life went on but with a subtle change; mam’s quiet dignity disturbed me most, yet I couldn’t understand why. Gran watched everything and missed nothing, my stepfather remained unusually silent. My sister was sent to live with my aunt.
Mam was never quite the same afterwards, she became more watchful of my younger sisters and I. My stepfather slunk around the house like a restless shadow, grumbling incessantly under his breath with a sigh.
Briefly I wondered why, I pondered on the strange new mood of the household I couldn't make sense of any of it, so I promptly forgot, like I was told to, secretly basking in the serene absence of my bossy elder sister.
She breezed importantly back and forth into our lives every now and then, precociously imitating my aunts posh voice, and showing off her new finery; somehow I felt that mam didn't like her very much then...