This story begins here: Eric John
A light knock on the door as it opened followed by a soft “Good morning dear” and Eric John thought it had all been a nightmare. But he looked up to see Kathy, not his mother, in the doorway. She had changed into an orange ensemble for the day so she was a blob of orange in the door – she was still smiling and urged him to come down for breakfast as she left.
The horrors of the previous night flooded his mind as he felt an ache in his bottom. He rushed to the little bathroom and found blood and feces in his pajama bottoms. He had a sudden urge to vomit and just made it to the toilet before it came up. He cried again and tried to hold back the sobbing but it just wouldn’t so he let it all out. He took a shower, got dressed and headed to the dining room.
Kathy had heard him being sick and asked him if he wanted to stay home from school – she said everyone would understand. But one look at Mr. Smithton at the table and he knew he wanted to be as far away as possible. She asked him if everything was all right, catching Mr. Smithton’s fierce glare he nodded.
Breakfast smelled wonderful but tasted bland. He felt guilt for not being able to stop what happened, shame for it happening at all and fear that it would happen again. After just a few bites he couldn’t handle being at the table any more and asked her how he would get to school.
As it happened, his regular bus route came right through here as and would get him to school at his regular time if he was outside in five minutes. He packed up his school bag and said goodbye to Kathy before heading out.
This stop there wasn’t a bench glittering with morning dew – just a blue sign and an overflowing trash can. He waited and waiting and five minutes seemed to take forever – tears threatened to overtake him once more but he smashed them down – he needed to be strong, he needed to be safe.
When his bus pulled up the bus driver was startled to see him at an earlier spot – he wished him good morning but didn’t ask any questions. Eric John sat in his regular seat and tried to disappear.
Mrs. Wirsing had been up most of the night worrying about Eric John. She wondered where he was and if he was ok but most importantly if she’d see him in class today. She felt so powerless to help him and wanted desperately to do so.
While grading papers she even let common mistakes students made pass with a small red mark instead of a explanatory note. She was distracted and had to put them down.
She had spent a great part of her evening combing through the news sites for any word of his mother appearing, his house being ransacked or about him in general. Someone out there had an explanation and she wanted to know. She found nothing though, not one mention of any of it made the news. She imagined the police and children’s services were keeping it quiet for the privacy of the child.
Eric John’s mother was a very nice woman to her memory. She had been to four parent teacher conferences in the last two years and was always very inquisitive about her son. She wasn’t a bossy know it all parent, she was honestly interested in what they were learning what kinds of things Eric John could do at home to be better and how she could help him. She was already introducing him to classical literature and music he might be exposed to for several years in primary school and went over his homework with him each night. She was an ideal parent for such a gifted boy.
A thought occurred to her – maybe she could do something after all. At the last parent-teacher conference they had gotten photos of all the children with their parents for a memory book. She jumped up and went rifling through her school items looking for the book. When she found it she quickly flipped to the page with young Eric John and his mother. She then started to craft a missing persons flyer with her image on it that she could place about the neighborhood – surely someone saw her somewhere that morning.
She couldn’t wait to show Eric John her idea in the morning. This one notion gave her some hope and helped her drift off to sleep so she wouldn’t be a complete waste of space in her class tomorrow.
Unfortunately for Mrs. Wirsing, Eric John never made it to class that day.
The next chapter starts here: Eric John – Part VII