Outdoor was black tonight, and sealed with a languid March air. Yet an unforeseen icy coolness, almost heavenly, caressed Karena’s sweltering bruises and aches. The soft ruffles of the branches above, conceived eerie ideas in her already distraught mind, frantic she staggered almost blindly towards the back-woods, forged by a narrow rough track, away from her parents large parcel of land with the small bone white, ‘Wackle and Darb’ three rooms structure and away from all who knew her.

A part of the district’s gully, ran stealthily along the back of their property and the woods spread hundreds of acres of wasted land fortified by wild bush and trees, that provided a heaven for birds, insects, stray animals, and some seasonal coal miners and farmers.

Karena had been through the woods several times but somehow tonight it seemed twice its thickness, with so much rainfall recently , she thought with an uncertain fear and the track was almost hidden by overgrown trees that felt crawly as they brushed against her.

Reluctantly, she inhaled the stifling gully stench, of citrus compost . The gully usually gleam silvery sparks at nights from oil poured in by the health authority, to reduce mosquito breeding but tonight it stood blank. The wood land was safer than most places she knew, and only stray hogs, insects and dogs were her biggest enemies.

The fireflies moved playfully about her, like earth stars, creating a pleasing design. She gently fanned off a few that came too close and had an instant memory of her childhood days, when she usually adored their twinkling lights in the open air.

The almost murky gully ran a few miles engulfing the  small district of Sunny Garden and further outside of it along part of the woodland.

In reality, the citrus factory on the outskirt of the town, created that huge situation, in order to out-let their factory waste of chiefly orange, lime and grapefruit.

It significantly decreased the value of the properties in that vicinity, creating an influx of low-income residents, who grasp the opportunity, owning their homes, despite the situation. The factory was an important means of survival for many residents as well.

Over the years of poor maintenance by the factory turned out unfavorable, and Karena had lived many years inhaling tainted oxygenic. Even though it was the least of all her troubles, tonight she couldn’t help feeling drugged and nauseous by its odor.

Beaten, disgraced by her fuming mother and thrown out of the only home she knew, was frightening. Her perfect school life and reputation was ruined, tarnished forever. Things could never go back to where they use to be, and she fled to the only exile she knew in the middle of the darkest night.

Coreen sat in silence. “After a storm there is always a calm.” She sighed. She had given Dave’s parents the length of her full tongue. They would never dare accept Karena now, not after this argument. She was bursting with anger by the time she left Dave’s parents mansion on Trenton Road. His mother had a gall disowning the pregnancy and blatantly accusing her of trying to destroy her son’s good character. She felt the tears set at the back of her eyes ready to shed once more and she wasn’t sure when poor heart was going to stop crying over the situation, over her Chiny. Funny how Karena was now the culprit, a short while ago she was their Miss world.

It was not only her daughter’s world that had crumbled apart, but hers’ as well. She asked herself a thousand times, how could Karena be pregnant? Things were going so well for her. She had the soundest mind, she was smart, focused and intelligent. “She was Glenhill High School’s queen,” Coreen whispered contritely. It was like a punishment as she remembered how she had wept openly this morning as her stocky frame devoured the busy roadway as she stormed out through the Dawes front gate. It was the result of the argument with Mistress Dawes that triggered her action to put Karena out. If she was woman enough to get pregnant, she should be woman enough to find her own place, she decided.

After that Coreen sat motionless in the dark room, confused and distressed, wondering if she had done the right thing, or if she had put Karena at any serious health risk. She had loss all control tonight. “She better off  dead now…”


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