Little Prisoners

Little Prisoners by Casey Watson

Book: Little Prisoners by Casey Watson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Casey Watson
cross-referenced, which led to a possibly pivotal bit of info being stashed in some archive, unread. So what was new? The paper documented an incident a couple of years back, whenOlivia was four, when she’d complained of being ‘sore down below’. When questioned by the nursery teacher to whom she’d made the comment, she said it was because her Uncle Petie ‘raped’ her.
    Given her age, she was asked what she took the word ‘rape’ to mean, and she described the act of oral sex, both performed on and by her. By this time, my dander was good and up. ‘God! So what happened?’
    ‘Well, obviously, we were called in, as were the police. She was taken to a special unit to give video evidence using dolls, but once there she was so frightened that she apparently refused to speak. So nothing further was done, bar the whole family being classified as “at risk”.’
    I felt sick. Was this the way it worked, then? That if a child couldn’t bring themselves to speak about a crime, that crime was treated as having not been committed? ‘I’m sorry, Anna,’ I said. ‘But I just can’t get my head around this. Nothing was done? Nothing at all?’
    ‘Nothing anyone could do, not without Olivia talking about it. And that’s why it’s so important’ – she leaned towards me, her expression earnest – ‘that you record everything the children say verbatim. We can’t afford to miss another opportunity to get to the truth, can we?’
    I couldn’t help feeling cynical. And wondering why the intervening period hadn’t seen a similar level of determination. ‘And the uncle?’ I asked. ‘Where is he now?’
    ‘Well, he was 15 at the time, and apparently living with the family. Along with – she checked the papers – ten cats, a couple of dogs, rabbits and God knows what kind ofvermin. Honestly, Casey, I’ve been in there – it’s disgusting. Dog muck everywhere, maggots crawling over all the surfaces, pee and human excrement all over the carpets …’ All of which, to my mind, was old news. This was altogether so much worse. ‘Anyway, he’s not there now, by all accounts,’ she went on. ‘He’s apparently now living in a flat with some other cousins. And causing havoc on the streets, apparently.’
    And on the bodies and psyches of other defenceless little girls?
    After Anna had gone, I stood at the kitchen window for some time, just watching my daughter and grandson playing in the garden. What a lottery life was. What decreed the circumstances a baby was born into? What roll of the celestial dice saw to it that those poor children, currently residing in our family, ended up in such a hell hole as the one just described?
    I went out into the garden to join them, and swept a giggling Levi up into my arms. I didn’t know. Would never know, I thought, as I kissed him. I just silently thanked God for our own lives.

Chapter 8
    It was a Saturday afternoon, towards the end of September, and Mike and Kieron had both gone to football. And as Riley was due over with Levi for a couple of hours, I’d set up the laptops for the children in the dining room, so the two of us could natter in peace.
    We’d bought the laptops a while back with foster kids in mind. And these two, though woefully behind with their school work, were both really competent where computers were concerned, and really loved the treat of spending time on them. I rationed it, of course, and kept an eye on what they did; Ashton invariably plumping for fast-paced adventure games and Olivia opting for sites about musicals and pop music, both of which, even at her age, she was mad about.
    ‘Just look at them, Mum,’ Riley commented, when she arrived. ‘You’d hardly believe they’re the same kids!’
    I looked across to the dining room, where they were quietly engrossed, and reflected that, in some ways, Rileywas right. But then, she wasn’t up to speed with all the ‘touchy-feely’ stuff, was she?
    ‘In some ways,’ I agreed, as she

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