A CASEWORKER'S FILE...by b. Malin
CASE #1743 A SHORT STORY...
She was such an unhappy child, who came from a broken home. What did that expression mean? She wasn't quite sure at age six. But it was a statement she'd come to hear whispered over and over again when they thought she wasn't listening.
Her Social Worker, a Ms. Apple, would come to visit her at her Aunt's House once a month, usually on a Monday, and in a most matter of fact tone, she would sign a deep sign, before asking..."So Brooke are You Happy Here? Brooke knew that if she said yes, she would get to stay another month, and another visit, until Mrs. Apple would repeat the question once again. It was a routine...they both knew their lines, and they never varied. Ms. Apple sat poised, notebook in hand. Brooke stared down at her fingers. "Brooke dear, is something wrong"? "No, no" the little girl sighed. Ms. Apple learned forward, "you can tell me Anything".
From deep within Brooke listened to her own voice, which sounded barely above a whisper, "I'd like to live with my Mother". The room remained silent, except for the large grandfather clock as it slowly ticked the time, which now seemed to be standing still. Ms. Apple starred down at the frail child with golden curls, and no smiling lips, who seemed aged beyond her years. "Let me see what I can do Brooke" she said as she closed her notebook until the next visit.
The month had flown by and now it was June, and Brooke sat waiting in her Aunt's Drawing Room. A small cream colored suitcase sat next to her and on her lap was her Doll named, Nancy. The door opened and in came Ms. Apple followed by a pretty, nervous looking woman and a balding thick waisted man. They quickly sat down. Ms. Apple cleared her throat. "Brooke, do you know who this woman is"? "It's my Mother", Brooke said, her voice sounding clear and strong. "That's right Ms. Apple said, clapping her hands together, and this is her friend, Bernard. You will be staying with them for the next month now that school is out." With that said, Ms. Apple stood up, closed her notebook and the four of them left the Aunt's house for the half hour drive to Brooke's new home.
Brooke became the "daughter" Mr. Bernard never had. Nightly, he would come into the bathroom when Brooke was in the tub and just watch her. Always smiling at her. That same week her mother brought home a dog from the pound, her name was Karen. Karen and Brooke became instantly bonded. The following week Mr. Bernard began visiting Brooke at night in her room, where he would talk softly to her as Karen lay at at feet. Sometimes she would reach out to Karen, who would gently lick her trembling hand.
When Ms. Apple came by on week four, she left the house smiling. She'd been able to get the Happy Family another months extended time...Everything seemed to be going so well...and Brooke had taught Karen so many tricks out on the back porch. The Dog did seem to be limping a little...But that really wasn't her concern.
The second week in July, things began to change...Brooke and Karen began to stay on the back porch a lot more. Brooke would look over the edge and encourage Karen to Leap. She would put her front paws up over the small railing and push the dog from behind. Karen would land below and then come scampering up the back steps. She would look to Brooke for approval. Brooke would stare sadly into the Dogs eyes and say "Good Karen, Good Girl".
The night visits from Mr. Bernard were happening more now that Brooke's mother had taken the six to twelve shift at the motel down the road...She was putting the money towards their pending wedding...They were going to be a real family.
Karen began to limp more and more and Brooke's mother began to question why? The "tricks" on the porch were beginning to take their toll. And so the following Saturday Brooke's mother took Karen to see the Vet. He x-rayed Karen and found that half the dogs ribs were broken and she was having trouble breathing. He would have to put the dog down. She could not be saved.
Brooke stayed with Karen and held her gently in her arms as the Dog licked her hand in friendship for the very last time. They both had tears in their eyes.
When Brooke and her mother got home, Ms. Apple was there waiting for them. The small cream colored suitcase was by her side. Nancy the doll, lay on top of it. Brooke's mother never said goodbye, nor did Mr . Bernard, they just turned away from Brooke.
Brooke would go back to live with her Aunt. Ms. Apple would write her report: It would read, Brooke is not ready for Social Interactive visits with her mother. Brooke acted out abusively towards the family pet. No reasons could be found. The pet had to be put down...
And sadly, only Karen the Dog, and Brooke, the child, knew the truth.
CASE CLOSED, until further notice.