A dark figure huddled against the wall, pulling the bin bags close to shelter from the coldness of the night.
Grimy hands cupped together in front of her face as she blew into them hoping to reinstate some sensation other than the bone deep icy chill they now held. It made little difference as her frigid breath puffed out like smoke.
Painful emptiness in the pit of her stomach groaned out as she tried to wrap herself tightly in the flimsy coat that offered little comfort.
Resting her head against the wooden fence that ran at a right angle from the wall, it was warmer than the bricks at her other side, she felt as secure as she could be on the streets. Setting in for the night sleep came quickly, but lightly, ready to awaken and move on in a hurry if need be…
He looked on waiting until he felt certain she was deep enough to make his move. It took some time to satisfy him as she seemed fitful in her slumber. He could sense that even in sleep she was ready to pounce and run like a frightened cat at the slightest disturbance.
This would be difficult.
Finally, a stillness came over her and he knew she was as immersed as she could be. Now was his chance.
Creeping slowly forward taking care not to knock the bags around her, which would surely awaken her, he reached down and covered her nose and mouth. Once he was sure, he moved the bags and gently lifted her slight figure from its resting place and carried her away…
Eyes still heavy with sleep, she rolled over softness surrounding her she leapt up with a start, panic consuming her – this wasn’t where she fell asleep.
Eyes open, the familiarity of the room instantly struck a chord which sent a pang of fear and guilt cursing through her entire being.
Without looking she knew what she would see if she turned to her right, tears began to trickle down as she turned to face his still sleeping form.
He had found her…
He stirred as her movement roused him. Reaching out a hand to brush her matted hair off her wet cheeks he smiled.
“Welcome home darling, I missed you so much. You have no idea how hard it was to find you. Let me get you some breakfast and your medication. Then we can get you cleaned up. I can see we will have to be much more careful with you from now on. We don’t want the doctors to put you back in the institute now do we? This running off has to stop. I have the lockfitters coming shortly. I’ll keep you safe from now on.”
Wiping away the tears she knew it was over. She would never escape again, this madman believed she was his wife and soon she would be doped up to the eyeballs again, trapped in his crazy world. Words would not form on her lips to protest, not that they had made any difference in the past – he believed her to be the mad one. So much so that now, not for the first time, she actually began to wonder which of them was insane.
Either way it didn’t matter.
She was home…
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