He watched his father Otis anxiously, with intensity uncommon in little boys. Otis paced round the bare room. He loved this woman so much, her blazing red hair, her beauty, her dreamy, happy go lucky way of living. True, they had not gone lucky but – but nothing, no time for thought. On the grey, stained mattress, worn from scrubbing, laid a thin, pale, woman. You could only guess how young she was, how beautiful she had been, by the fiery colour of her hair, which Otis insisted upon washing and combing until her last hour. She was dying from fever.
Otis wiped her head with a wet cloth, as his little son hopelessly squeezed some stale water into her mouth. She coughed violently, choking and spluttering out her final breath. Meshak Gardiner was five years old when his mother died.
Some people are sad when death occurs, and they let this show by tears and mourning, grief and prayer. Others are angry, taking it out on others, because they need someone to blame and hate, someone innocent, like a five year old boy.
Otis Gardiner screamed at Meshak, slapped him, hated him. "YOU CHOKED HER YOU STUPID BOY, PATHETIC, USELESS CHILD!" He hurled out all the love, passion, sympathy, kindness that he had ever had, and it did not return.
Meshak had never experienced loss before. He was small, he was sweet, he was smart, but his most defining characteristic was his huge heart. He had loved his mother, even more than his father did. Not with passion, but a pure, limitless love. He never felt pain from his father's words or his father's hands. He was up in the clouds. From there he could see the angels, his mother among them. Meshak's angels talked to him, told him to go back down to Earth. They told him he deserved to experience the hardships life and love, to live to feel the rewards. But Meshak didn't listen; he was being dead.
From the outside, the only sign the child was alive was his heart beat. He was entirely still, entirely silent. But inside his mind, Meshak was completely awake, just somewhere else. It was like a portal in his head. His body was in the room with Otis, being beaten and abused, having insults, and also objects hurled at him; but spiritually, he was not.
Finally, after what could have been minutes, hours, days, or weeks (because time passed strangely with the angels) Meshak went half way back down to Earth. He had been awoken by another voice entering the room. It sounded like a man, who was in deep debate with his father. After a while, the door closed loudly. Meshak felt his father shake him, but what hurt more was what he said. "Get up boy, we're going travelling. We're going to take unwanted babies away from their mothers." "For a certain price, of course."
Then Meshak wanted to go down. He wanted to save those children from where he was sure his father would take them, or wouldn't. He knew he was too little, too weak, but just maybe... But he couldn't get back. The portal had blocked half way through, and Meshak was lost in the clouds.