So on the following Saturday they headed for a
small café nearby.

Sienna and Braeden waited for a long time.
Sienna stroked her two tattoos, the one on each wrist. It was a habit she’d
developed to calm herself down and it worked quite well.

Braeden even seemed nervous, though he didn’t
have reason to be. He was nervous for Sienna.

Eventually Sienna’s mother arrived.

She was different though.

Diane, Sienna’s mother, now had small cuts on
her face and arms. She seemed as nervous as Sienna.


She said in an excited sort of way.

“It’s been so long!”

There was an awkward silence for a minute,
before Braeden came to the rescue.

“Hi! I’m Braeden!”

He said cheerfully, shaking hands with Diane.

“The night you disappeared…”

Diane began, as soon as the introductions were
over with.

“Everything changed that night. I was worried
but your father was so angry when he found out about you and Desiree being
friends, and burning that bible. I was angry at first, but then I realised that
you were right to leave. I was blinded by the religion laws. I realised that I
just wanted you back. But then I thought again, and it was like something
clicked in my brain. I didn’t want you back. You had a brighter future outside
of Virtue. I wanted to leave. But I wasn’t allowed to leave. Your father began
beating me. A new law had been made up, that a woman was her husband’s
possession. The bible suddenly seemed violent and sexist. A husband could beat
his wife if she wanted to leave, but if a woman fought back she could be
punished by law. So I did what you did. I left in the night. I got an easier
time of it; I bribed a driver not to dump me in the middle of nowhere. I was
driven straight here.”

Diane told Sienna.

“Dad beat you?”

Sienna whispered in disbelief.

“Yes. We received your copy of the book as
well. He didn’t burn it. He said burning was too dignified a way to dispose of
such filth. He threw it in the trash. I dug it out and read it though. Oh
Sienna! It was so haunting and so frightening! But such a beautiful story!”

Diane said in a whispery voice.

“You liked it?”

Sienna was surprised.

“I adored it!”

Diane insisted she had adored the book. Sienna
was amazed it hadn’t been burned straight away.

“And when I was going to find a hotel to stay
in, I bought a newspaper for the first time. The front page had your name on
it, so I read it straight away. When I saw what happened to that boy, Keir, I
was shocked!”

She added.

“I couldn’t believe it was James. His trial is
coming up soon. Braeden and me have to talk about what we saw, what we’d
suspected, and all that stuff. I wish we didn’t have to, but still I want James
to be punished for what he did.”

Sienna told her mother. She was slightly wary
of spilling out all her feelings to someone she hadn’t seen in a very long
time, but she was her mother after all.

Diane seemed to notice Sienna’s tattoos, a
burning cross on one wrist and Keir’s name on the other.

“They say you should never get anyone’s name
tattooed on you. It’ll be there forever and you’ve no way of getting rid of

She pointed out, suddenly  a real mother.

“I want it to be there forever, I wouldn’t get
rid of it for all the money and publications in the world!”

Sienna said defensively.

The End

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