At the hospital they eventually wormed the name of her parents out of her. When they arrived, they behaved exactly as if they cared. Her father shocked and manly, covering his alarm with a man-of-the-world bluff taciturnity. He fooled everybody. Her mother was truly frightened. Esmé could see it in her eyes. Why didn’t you help, she thought. Surely you knew about it? The walls aren’t soundproof. Surely you fucking knew?
The hospital made an appointment with a counsellor. Her parents took her home.
The day after, her mother stayed at home instead of going to work. This was unusual enough that Esmé was filled with hope. Maybe she and her mother could go away together. Away from him. When her mother sat on the edge of the bed, she seemed to Esmé to have shrunk. She’d always been a timid woman, but she appeared even more frightened now. Her eyes darted away from Esmé’s. Her gaze avoided her daughter’s.
“So are you a bit better now?”
Esmé didn’t know where she pulled the strength from, but she managed to say, her eyes fixed on her mother’s face, “You know why?”
In a light insincere voice, her mother replied, “No dear. I have no idea.”
Her mother was silent.
“You know what he …. What he does … to me.”
He mother stood up and went to the window. She hummed a little to herself. “I’ll go and make us a nice cup of tea. We’ll all feel better after that.”
Esmé was too worn to shout at her. After, she would run different scenarios through her mind, where she yelled at her mother, forced her to listen, made her understand what had happened. But at the time, she was too worn to do more than weep.
Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter