Title: Left behind
Word Count 473
Disclaimer they are not mine
The sun dazzled even through his
With an effort Archie pushed sleep
back. He gave himself over to the soft white flatness of the bed,
stretching until his legs shook. The bed-curtains were tied back, the
whole room visible. The plaster ceiling was a complexity of white. As
a child Horatio had looked up at just this same shining curve.
Archie smiled to think of it.
He did not need the sun to tell him he
had slept late and long. The room was warming with the advent of day,
and the house was silent. Archie was empty above and too full below.
And with this awareness, of course, there would be no going back to
sleep, even had he wanted to do so.
He would get up, in a moment. It was
good not to move. There were remnants in this room. Here was the
debris of Horatio's childhood, too loved be removed. It was here all
around, shed husks of boyhood like the midden piles of a long gone
race. There were books of course, and tops, and battered cards,
little drawings, and blotty bits of writing. In the wardrobe there
was even a small pair of shoes. They were no longer than Archie's
palm. They had no smell at all, not even of leather, but there was a
bit of long ago mud caked to one sole. Perhaps Horatio had worn them
to school. Horatio claimed not to remember, and why should he?
Archie knew well that his own things
were long gone. With brothers above him, and sisters below, there was
not much time to be saving one boys leavings. He fancied some of his
copy books might be saved in the London house attic, but that was
all. Maybe a historian would find them someday. They would know only
that small Archibald had held his quill poorly.
The tutor had belted his hand, and his
brothers had laughed at his tears, but they had been kinder later. No
one would ever know that. And no one would ever know of Horatio
skipping solemnly beside his father, in his little shoes.
Well he was awake now. He washed and
dressed quickly. The chamber pot had a picture of a duck in a hat
flying a kite.
From the stairs he could hear quiet
voices. Horatio and his father, speaking without heat, but with
interest. They were leaning across the table, looking at something
together. The table was full with coffee cups and elbows, and the
sunlight rioted in Horatio's hair. They looked up, and saw him, and
They smiled to see him.
“Good morning Mr Kennedy,” the
“Come have apple cake.” Horatio
Surely that was no reason for Archie's
throat to fill with tears.