Stepping into the building’s refreshing shadow, the boy eventually reached the glass doors that lead to mansion’s indoors.
One scratched hand shot up, flattening against the glass, while the other came up to clutch the lever-style handle. He pushed down hard on the last at the same time as he leaned into the door to push it open.
But it didn’t.
Eyes growing wide with horror and heart in his throat, the child pushed down a second time on the handle. Seeing as the door wouldn’t budge, the kid kept the handle down and pushed his meager body even harder against the door, but to no avail.
He pushed, hit, pounded, slammed, scratched and did anything and everything else he could think of, each action doing nothing but earn him the same result as the door remained there, unfazed.
Sweat poured from his skin, drenching his already begrimed, once pure white, shirt. With tears suspended on his eyelashes and sweat dripping from his nose, the boy whipped his head around and, heaving, squint his eyes up at the garden’s brim, right at the spot from which he had come out.
His heart was ready to leap at the mere sight of movement from there, of the three figures that would surely slip out of the green and then rush towards his own like predators on their prey.
Panic growing in his misty eyes, the child tore his eyes way from the scenery, turning them once more to the door. He resumed his useless attempts to open it, but also moved his body so he could take a look through the glass. Although blurry, the boy was able to make out the contours of the entrance hall, but failed to find any moving shape that could belong to a person.
Then, through the hot dry air, he heard it.
Whipping his head around, he saw them; first one figure, and then two more. Even from afar he was able to make out Dagga’s darker figure moving into the front, skipping steps as he ran down the stairs and towards him.
The child felt as if his heart would leap out of his throat. He wanted to run. He needed to run. But his shaking legs wouldn’t obey him, his feet stuck to the ground and refusing to budge. Tears raced down his muddy cheeks as he turned one last time to his only salvation.
Desperate, he banged on the glass, leaving red stains on the intricate designs.
“Please, open!” he sobbed out in a hoarse yell, despite knowing how useless it was. No one would hear him.
However, almost immediately after he had done so, a chime echoed in the boy’s ears, followed by the distinct sound of a door unlocking. Suddenly, there was nothing for his body to lean on and he fell, face-first, on the floor of the entrance hall.
Wincing, the child pulled himself up into a sitting position, hands hastening to cover his red stained and now sore knees. He swept his eyes across the room, looking and failing to find a living soul, the doors behind him wide open.
At this, the boy’s face scrunched up in confusion. His expression changed altogether though, when the sounds of familiar and angry voices reached his ears, sounding too close for his liking.
Doing his best to ignore the soreness of his body, the boy sprang up from the floor and, without casting one single look behind him, started running away from the glass doors and deeper into the hall.