Goodbye, Gordon

By Charlotte Booth

Gordon and his brother were happily playing at the edge of the field near their house. Their mum had told them they must never go past the fence and into the road as it was dangerous and car always drove too fast and weren’t able to stop in time.
Normally Gordon was well-behaved and would stay on the field side of the fence, but this evening something interesting had caught his eye on the other side. He desperately wanted to explore. He started to run slowly towards the fence until his brother said to him: “Don’t go there! You know what mum said. It’s dangerous.”

Gordon hesitated for a second before deciding that he wanted to explore the other side of the fence, and would ignore his mother’s and brother’s warning. He gave one last look at his brother and jumped over the fence. Straight into the path of an on-coming Audi TT doing 70 miles per hour.
The car didn’t stop.

Later that evening Gordon’s mother was in the living room of the house, feeling very anxious. All of the girls had arrived home safely after playing in the field, but there was no sign of Gordon and his older brother. They always came home later than the girls as they went further from the house. Gordon’s mother stuck her head out of the front door and called for her two boys: “Gordon! Jeremy! Come home now. Tea’s ready!” She listened carefully, hoping to hear the pitter-patter of their little feet as they ran towards the house.

She tried again: “Gordon, Jeremy! If you don’t come home this instant you will be in serious trouble!” Again she listened and still she heard nothing to indicate her two little boys were coming home. She retreated back into the house and started to prepare the girls for bed. Everyone always came home at dusk, which gave just time for a snack before going to bed. They would all be up again at dawn to have breakfast.
She gave the girls a light snack of a raw carrot chopped up very small with some lettuce leaves. They seemed to like this as a pre-bed-time feast.

“Where’s Gordon, mum?” the youngest asked. “He promised to tell me a story tonight, about foxes and badgers”.
Gordon’s mum closed her eyes and gave a deep sigh. “I’m not sure, Petal, he should be home by now. When he gets in, if you are still awake, I’ll make sure he tells you a story, as promised, although I think a story about foxes and badgers might be too frightening for a little pip squeak like you”. She ruffled Petal’s brown hair and helped her into bed. Petal curled up tight with her sisters against the cold night air.

It wasn’t long before all the girls were fast asleep, twitching and grumbling as they dreamed. Their mum continued warrying about the boys. It wasn’y long before she heared a scurrying outside the front door. She ran to the entrance unsure if she was furious or relieved.
She was surprised to see only Jeremy at the door, soaking wet from the rain and looking forlorn.

“Where’s Gordon?” his mum asked while giving him a huge hug and trying to dry off some of his hair. Jeremy mumbled something into her shoulder.
“Speak up! Where is he?”
“I told him not to, mum. I told him it was dengerous”. Jeremy started to cry, making his face all wet again. “You told him what was dangerous?” she asked him, holding him out at arm’s length so she could look at his face.
“The fence by the road”, he answered glumly.
“Did Gordon run to the other side of the fence, Jeremy?” his mother asked in a panic. Jeremy nodded. Huge tears ran down his face and dripped onto the floor.
“Go to bed! Now!” She pushed the tearful boy into the bedroom and darted out of the house, running as fast as she could to the edge of the field and the fence. She had warned the children not to cross the road. She had lost her husband that way.

The fence loomed up ahead of her, tall and wooden, overgrown with grass. She could see where the two boys had been playing. There were indentations in the grass where they had wrestled and rolled about.

With her heart in her mouth, Gordon’s mum walked towards the fence. She hoped she would see her little boy just on the other side absorbed in something he had found, but she feared the worst.
She crawled under the fence, wanting both to find her son quickly but also to face the inevitable. As she arrived on the other side of the fence she could see the body of little Gordon on the side of the road. She moved a little closer, hoping he was sleeping.

“Gordon! Can you hear me?” she cried.

There was no movement from the little boy. Then she saw the bright lights of a car speeding towards her. She sat very still and waited for it to pass. In the wake of the car she could see Gordon’s long, slender ears wave in the wind. The light reflected in his dark, lifeless eyes, and she knew she would never see the twitching on his little nose and whiskers again, or chase the little white bobbing tail back into the house when it started to get dark.

She shed a single tear and whispered “Goodbye Gordon”, before hoping back to the house and her surviving babies.

[SpeakUp, ottobre 2013]

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