Lucinda tended to the plant rolling her eyes as she recited the rhyme as she’d been instructed. Lucinda tucked Thomas up in bed, his eyes were heavy but he was keen that she read him a bed time story. He always insisted that she did all the voices ‘just like Daddy used to do.’ It was true, Jim had always had a real flair for accents. He would make Lucinda laugh uncontrollably until she thought that her ribs might dislocate with his hilarious impressions, mainly of their friends and family. She yawned and placed the metal fire guard across the fire-place for safety, tiptoeing into the bedroom. She hated the double bed. It was so cold and empty these days. Lucinda pulled the covers up to her chin, turning over onto her side and soon drifted off to sleep. It wasn’t long until her mind was plummeted into a terrifying nightmare.

Her brain transported Lucinda deep underground into the mine shaft. She had such a vivid imagination. Jim’s face flashed in her memory. He was trapped under the deep rubble, no-one could hear his desperate cries for help. His blood drenched hand reached out but no-one took it. Tears poured down his pale face as she watched him slowly suffocating. He was filthy, covered in the falling coal dust as the mine walls rained down on him as they crumbled away. This was not a quick death at all, but a torturous, slow one. Jim was sobbing and calling out Lucinda’s name begging her to help him. She pictured herself as her subconscious joined him underground. She glanced at him for a single second and then turned her back, deserting him mercilessly, leaving Jim to die. Lucinda screamed as she opened her eyes and sat bolt upright in the bed. Dewy drops of sweat soaked her brow, she was trembling. Thomas walked into the room having heard her cry. He rubbed his eyes still half asleep.

“Mummy why did you scream? what happened?”

Lucinda’s lip quivered and she buried her face in her hands. “I’m okay” she mumbled. “Don’t worry it was just a horrible dream.”

Thomas automatically knew “was it about Daddy?” Lucinda nodded. Thomas clambered up onto the double bed and hugged her as she wept. Where were all these raw emotions coming from? She hadn’t sobbed like this since receiving the life shattering news of his death. The two of them slept soundly for the remainder of the night. The following day Lucinda seemed distant when collecting Thomas from school. She engaged in no conversation, staring blankly in front of her, completely sleep deprived. The truth was, she couldn’t remove the disturbing image of her husband’s dying face in her troubled mind. Had he really endured that level of suffering in his final moments?

‘My darling I wish I could have been there with you.’ She thought with a heart like lead. Lucinda recalled his dazzling smile in her memory. She wished that his strong, devoted arms could hold her once more. It wasn’t fair, his life had been snatched away from him decades too soon. Why did he have to die before his time? There was so much that she wished to tell him. Had he really known how much she adored him? Lucinda regretted not uttering the 3 vital words ‘I love you’ more often but then it was too late for regrets now, yet everything felt incomplete.

Lucinda dressed and fixed her hair in her small bedroom mirror. It had been a wedding gift from her older sister Bianca. She started to make them both breakfast. It was the usual porridge meal, cheap but filling and warming on a cold winters morning. She carefully stirred the bubbling mixture as it cooked slowly on the heat. Thomas emerged fully dressed and ready for school. Lucinda smiled, he had forgotten to brush his hair it looked slightly matted and unruly. She fetched a comb, leaving the porridge to cook for a few moments more. She teased at the tangled areas until it was free of knots.

“Ouch Mummy! Don’t tug so hard!” Thomas protested.

“Sorry! How on earth did it get so tangled?” Thomas shrugged and then confessed : “I had a dream last night about Daddy too.”

Lucinda looked surprised. “Really, what happened?” she questioned curious to know. She prayed that Thomas had not had that terrifying dream.

“It wasn’t a nasty one like yours. Daddy told me to tell you to look after the plant.”

Lucinda jumped  a foot into the air. She didn’t think Thomas had even overheard the conversation. He continued.

“He said what the lady said to do was important, he looked quite serious.”

Lucinda raised one eyebrow but said no more feeling slightly spooked. She dished the steaming porridge into bowls and poured 2 clear glasses of water and placed one in front of Thomas. ‘How bizarre’ she thought and they continued to go about their day as usual.

Part 5 coming soon……

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