Title: Far From Home
Fandom: 2009 revival of Hair, the musical
Rating: PG-13, for angst
Word Count: 1,151
Author Note: There is always at least one chapter which everyone must plough through to get all the details and, unfortunately, this is the one for my story! :P I promise the next chapter will be better. As always, thanks to all who do read (I know you are out there!) and please do review if you have the time: all comments; good and bad, are welcome. Prepare for more angst. Enjoy!
"Watching you sleep for so long,
Knowing that I can't turn the rain into sun any more,
I've given you all that I have,
Now I stand here, too scared to hold your hand,
Afraid you might wake to see,
The monster that had to leave."
-We Are The Fallen
Lying awake, blanketed in the darkness, Sheila was once again silently battling with her mind and heart. Her plans were tangling with her emotions; a risky situation that she knew could potentially hinder her – or worse – trap her in New York, never again to summon the courage to escape. She knew dwelling on the emotional side of things for much longer would force her to surrender the plans she had spent all night carefully forming, and then she would forever be niggled by the thoughts of what life would have been like had she ventured out with the city. She glanced at the clock on her bedside table: 3:12AM. For a few moments, she remained still and quiet, listening to Jeanie's soft, rhythmic breathing beside her.
Jeanie had been quick to establish a sleeping pattern for Samuel in order to help him on the route to sleeping through the night. The first month, as had been anticipated, had been the worst, with the child only sleeping three to fours hours at a time before disturbing them both during the night, resulting in the pair sharing sleepless evenings together. It had been a great relief to them both last week when they were able to indulge in a full night's sleep uninterrupted. At this moment in time, Sheila was relieved. There would be nothing worse than Samuel shrieking awake just as she was slipping out. She couldn't bear the thought of being caught red-handed by Jeanie and, even now, just the very thought of having to explain to her friend was enough to bring a dull ache to her stomach. The girl sighed. Who was she kidding? If she were caught, she would have to lie. And lying to one of her closest friends would be more painful than just leaving without a word.
Convinced that the younger girl was most definitely asleep, Sheila took a deep breath and gingerly slipped out of bed. Then, she deftly tiptoed across to Samuel's crib. A peaceful expression lay on his face, his tiny hands clenched into two miniature fists at either side of his head. Sheila leant in and planted a kiss on the child's forehead, her hair tickling his cheek lightly. She would miss him and his cheeky smile, his contagious laugh. She would miss seeing him grow up. The very thought brought tears to her eyes. Reaching the door, she steeled one final glance at Jeanie, before grabbing the bag she'd packed earlier from under the sofa, changing into clean clothes and leaving, stuffing her pyjamas into her bag as she did. As she locked her apartment door for the last time, she hesitated and glanced at the silver set of keys in her hand. She slid them under the doormat, butterflies forming in her stomach.
She had no use for them anymore.
Sheila arrived at Manhattan's Penn Station with just five minutes to spare; a deliberate act that she had meticulously planned out. She did not want to be hanging around waiting, giving her brain that opportunity, that crack in the door, to bring troubling thoughts into her mind and attempt to convince her to go back home. Although she walked with purpose, the young girl was unaware of what was going on around her; blanking it out. She was running purely on adrenaline, her mind on auto pilot, running through the plans, times and platform that she had spent the last few days searching and memorising, careful not to run the risk of leaving a trace of her plans behind her. She had managed to walk to Penn Station just two days prior and noted she would need to take the 4.40AM 151 Northeast Regional to Washington DC. According to the timetable, it would arrive in Union Station at approximately 6.55AM, well before Jeanie would waken. The thought momentarily frightened her. She would have traveled 227 miles, and the Tribe would be none the wiser. Without stopping, she scanned the glowing departure board to check her platform, passed through the turnstile and headed to her coach. Only then did she hesitate, before taking a deep breath and climbing aboard.
As the sun bled in through the blinds and gently illuminated the bedroom, Jeanie stirred. She lay still for a few moments, her mind hazy from sleep, before rolling over to discover Sheila's side of the bed empty. Nevertheless, she was not alarmed; the girl was often an early riser and often scooped up Samuel from his crib and into the kitchen with her whilst she prepared breakfast to allow Jeanie another precious half hour of sleep. Rising, she padded into the lounge, where a sudden sharp cry stopped her in her tracks. Turning on her heel, she followed the cries back into the bedroom and discovered a squirming Samuel in his crib, his azure blue eyes meeting hers, glistening with tears. Odd. Perhaps he'd been restless and Sheila had put him back down after feeding him? Gently lifting her son into her arms, the young girl was stunned as he began to shriek and howl much louder than one would expect of a child so small. His face turned an angry red as the tears poured down his cheeks. It was enough to unsettle Jeanie.
"You can't be hungry, Sheila never forgets to feed you in the morning if she'd up before me…"
Then, a low grumble rising from the child's stomach confirmed her doubts.
She called out the girl's name as she padded through into the kitchen. She gasped, confusion spreading across her face. With Samuel still inconsolable, she continued to prepare the milk formula and breathed a sigh of relief when he immediately calmed. However, a troubling twist in her stomach still remained. Where was Sheila? Only one scenario seemed viable; she'd had to go out for something. Perhaps she discovered there was no bread left and had gone out to buy some? Maybe she'd forgotten to tell her that she was heading out someplace early with Crissy or Woof?
Despite finishing his bottle, Samuel still seemed restless and vocal.
"You know something, don't you, Sam?" she whispered, placing the baby back into his crib as she proceeding to change clothes.
But, as she opened the wardrobe, another gasp escaped her mouth. It revealed a secret that Jeanie would never have expected. Half of the wardrobe was bare, the hangers hanging skeletal like, the shelves just as naked. All of Sheila's clothes were gone. Despairingly, Jeanie opened all the drawers and realised her handbag, purse and keys were missing. As if sensing his mother's discomfort, Samuel began to sob, his hands clutching at the wooden bars of his crib. As the girl continued to scour the room, something caught her eye as she passed the door. In the next room, by the front door, lay a set of silver keys on the doormat.
Jeanie broke down in tears.