Sunday, May 19, 2013
(#Three: Kate and Heath) Wuthering Nights: Inspired by Wuthering Heights
Kate and Heath
After Mr and Mrs Spencer separated, Hareton Hall was never the same. Mutual loneliness, secrets and headstrong natures had drawn Heath and Kate into an alliance. The days went by and as they grew together, the children craved freedom.
One cold day in November Kate and Heath lay side by side on Hampstead Heath making starfish in the snow. There was no sun as usual. Their arms and legs reached out forming windmills in the ice, so that their fingers almost touched.
‘Kate?’ the small boy asked as he sat up and wrapped his scarf around his neck and ears. He had dark hair and blue eyes and was as strikingly good looking as the girl, with her midnight curls and icy, reddened cheeks. Both of them had perfectly white teeth from their frequent trips to the dentist and Heath, in eighteen months, had learnt how to control his fangs, perfectly. Now that he was a little older, he never revealed them in public and they didn’t need to be filed anymore.
‘Yes,’ she replied.
‘I wish Harrison would stop picking on us.’
‘Me too, he’s…mean. Every time he comes home from school I dread it. He takes over the house and pinches me and locks me in my room when no one is about. Ever since mother…I can’t say the words,’ she said as she put her small hand to her mouth and Heath noticed a tear drying on her face. The recent abandonment of Kate by her mother had not overly concerned Heath, since the woman had had nothing to do with him on a daily basis and had shown little interest in his upkeep. But he understood how it felt to be left and reached out to commiserate with Kate.
That first night, after Mrs Spencer left, Kate and Heath had played with the train set until, eyes heavy, they fell asleep together on the floor. Greta had placed a pillow under each small head. Ever after, they slept near each other or on opposite sides of the wall. They made hand puppet shows in the moonlight on the walls of the play room and Heath always let Kate win at games.
‘Don’t cry,’ Heath told Kate that day in the Hampstead meadow. ‘You have to be strong. If you cry, your tears will turn to crystal in this weather and freeze on your face. Imagine how awful that would look. Yuck.’
Kate laughed. ‘Perhaps it’s for the best. You can save my crystal tears in a jar,’ she joked.
‘I don’t like it when you cry,’ Heath said, wiping the tears from her face.
Kate sat up and sniffed into her coat sleeve.
The boy took her mittened hand.
‘Never cry again, Kate. We must be stronger than that, stronger than them.’
‘Stronger than this?’
Kate rolled up the edge of her jeans to where her knee showed the beginnings of a scab and a remarkably deep bruise.
‘It happened when Harrison kicked me because I wouldn’t give him the riding whip father bought me for my birthday. I was afraid he’d whip Hero too much.’
To her surprise, Heath moved forward, leaned over her leg, touched the scab and moved closer, almost as if he was going to lick it.
‘That’s gross,’ Kate said, ‘you were going to kiss it better like Greta would. , I hate kisses, unless I’m the one giving them!’ the girl announced, pulling her leg closer.
Heath looked very dejected and turned his face away.
Kate smiled; glad to have evoked such a strong reaction. She was ‘quite the little exhibitionist’, as Greta told her once.
‘I’m only kidding! Gotcha…’ Kate smiled.
Heath grudgingly turned to face her.
Kate covered her knee and changed the subject. ‘I heard you playing guitar this morning. I can hear you from my room when I wake up. You play much better than Harrison.’
Heath beamed with pride. He wasn’t used to hearing praise before he’d moved to The Hall. His only real problem was his adopted brother.
As if reading his thoughts, Kate said, ‘Never mind, we’ll get Harrison back one of these days. C’mon, I’ll race you to the bus stop. I found some coins in Harrison’s coat pocket when he was sleeping. Now we can go and buy sweeties…’
Heath didn’t want to disappoint her with his unnatural lack of desire for sugary lollies.
Instead, Heath picked up a stick and used it to plough through the snow quickly. He withheld the urge, like small children sometimes have, to bash the flower beds because he was fairly sure Kate wouldn’t approve. In this way, the children civilized and complimented one another’s personalities.
‘One day, when we’re grown up…I’ll take care of you, Kate,’ he said.
‘Silly, you take care of me already…’
‘When we’re grown up we’ll get married.’
‘Even sillier, we’re brother and sister.’
‘Not really. We’re not actually related.’
The boy was annoyed his suggestion had not been taken seriously. He reached into his pocket and dragged out a remarkably fresh, although slightly crumpled, wildflower.
‘I’ve been saving this all morning to give to you,’ he said, handing her the daisy.
‘Thank you,’ she said, dismissively. Kate was already thinking about how easily they could avoid going to school and go straight to the sweet shop instead.
The boy picked up his brown leather satchel and headed to the bus stop, ignoring Kate as he walked past her. ‘That will teach her a lesson,’ he thought.
‘Stop! Now you are being the silly one,’ the girl said. ‘We both know we’re not really brother and sister.’
Heath smiled at Kate as she took his hand. The frozen winds played with their hair and both children forgot their conversation as they ran to stop the bus as it moved forward. The little boy was amazed at how fast he’d begun to run, almost merging in double quick time across the meadow. He had to wait at the bus stop for the girl to catch up.