For the visually challenged writer, the photo shows a woman sitting at a desk writing something down in a notebook. She’s sitting inside and is framed by a window.
Hazel sat back in her chair, glaring out of the window, whilst feral kids charged about, yelling at the tops of their voices. If she wasn’t so drained, she would have done something about them ages ago. But she had little left to give.
Why were some mother’s so ruddy useless? Couldn’t they teach their annoying progeny better manners than this? But no, they sat around, laughing and gossiping while their ankle-biters ran riot. So much for taking a quiet moment to recharge herself.
She grimaced as one brat barrelled into her table, sending a wave of hot chocolate spattering across her notebook. Hazel got him when he pelted past again. She itched to do worse but could only clench a fist and smother a grin as the rug-rat tumbled arse over tip on the hardwood floor.
One of the mother’s, his presumably, darted over and hoisted him to his feet. Hazel made a shooing motion and tilted her head. The woman paused for a second, then loudly informed her friends she was taking Charlie home. There was a flurry of kisses and goodbyes, and she left with another child in tow.
Hazel concentrated, and within minutes they’d all gone, leaving messy tables and upturned chairs. The soothing sounds of gentle conversation, interspersed with the delicate clinks of cutlery on china, washed over her. She smiled with relief: this was just what she needed. Hazel closed her eyes and flexed her right hand: Nothing happened. She frowned and tried the left hand. It wouldn’t move.
“Not working, is it!” A gleeful voice whispered behind her. “And it won’t, not while I’ve got strength in my body.”
Hazel struggled to turn around.
“Oh, no, you don’t!” The unseen speaker continued. “You ain’t going anywhere until you pay me for loss of earnings.”
“What are you talking about?” Hazel spoke with great effort.
“The Mummy Club. They were good for another fifty quid this afternoon, but thanks to you, they’ve all buggered off.”
“Sorry,” Hazel panted; it really was getting harder to talk. “If you release me, I can go to a cash point.”
“I don’t want your money.” Hazel felt a light pressure on the back of her neck. “You’re not the only one who knows the art of regenerative assimilation.”
A low hum filled her ears, and her vision faded. “You’ll be fine in a minute or two. Just don’t expect to do anything like this for a very long time.”
The last thing Hazel heard before she lost consciousness was the voice hissing: “And that’ll teach you to pick on children.”