(This is chapter two of my story, at best it can be described as a working progress!)
Arbutus’ childhood was now just a shattered window peeking onto his life, as fragile as a lace of squinting dust. He was always embarrassed growing up- to grow up meant you were still a child; precocious, innocent and ignorant. He was repulsed by the familiar comments from his neighbors; “my dear Arbutus! Look how tall you are getting!”. He wasn’t polite enough to reply with a smile; instead he glared and began conjuring up a mean revenge for these nosy, Methodist good-doers.
It’s most likely because of this he was not short of a reputation around his town as ‘a funny little child who’s clearly not all up there’. He’d spent all of his days and continued to live them in Stonebank, Dorset. To him this town was always tainted from the air of war. As an unfortunate witness of the hatred shared in war, he didn’t see rows of spotless houses with beautiful gardens- he saw shattered buildings bedded under thick layers of brown, smoking dust. He could not hear outside the children playing but he heard the roars that came from impossibly low spitfires, bombs too close for comfort: exploding through his underage brain. Too scared of the dark was he to even blink during such times. So why did our character Arbutus decide that Stonebank would forever be his home? He depended on his old, fragile memories- of his lost wife, his final days of happiness and even to some extent- his father.
To leave would be to run away.
From reasons he couldn’t run from, or hide from.