Every parents nightmare

The light still hurts my eyes. I rub them again, just to make sure I am seeing what I’m seeing. I feel sick, I can not believe what I am seeing. Standing there staring at me is an eight or nine year old boy. He looks ill, he looks skeletal. He looks like he’s been tortured, mentally and physically. I have seen a lot of terrible things in my life but none like this. I know straight away that this image, this boy, will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I reach out to touch him, I can not stop myself, the boy needs love. He needs to be shown care and kindness, he needs to know that not everybody will hurt him. He pulls away from me, deep down I wouldn’t have expected anything less, but it still hurt. It was only when he pulled away I noticed the chain that was holding him to the wall. The same chain that I had knocked. It must have been the boy that had switched on the light. I take a step back, hands held up in surrender. I want him to know I mean no harm.

I can’t help but notice the way he hugs the chain to his chest, like it’s a security blanket or something. I can’t help but notice his cuts and bruises, his nakedness and nervousness. I feel dirty just bearing witness to this horror and it sickens me.

I follow the line of the chain, from the wall to his wrists, his wrists to his ankles. My eyes end up resting on the pool of blood swelling at his infant sized feet. His toe nails are disgustingly long, I ask myself, how long has he been down here? What is his name? How did he get here? Did Mr Hobart know he was here? Did he hurt him? Or, have I stumbled across something that has nothing to do with Hobart? I can’t answer any of these questions. The only one that can is the boy, and that’s if he still talks. I have read how shock can bring on a dumbness, how people can not or will not talk, wont say a word.

I pray to God, the God I don’t believe in, “please God let the child be alright, what can he have done at his age to deserve this? Please, let him talk and learn to trust, let him grow in to a normal teenager, a normal man”. I kneel down in the filth and blood that fills the six foot area around the imprisoned child. I feel it soak through my trouser leg and stick to my knee. Once again I’m ready to chuck up. I’ve still got my hands held up in surrender, I look him in the eyes. Those eyes look at me, into me, through me, and I feel a chill run down my spine.

I reach one hand out, palm up. “Are you ok?” I ask, “My name is Darren, I’m not here to hurt you, I promise.”

The End

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