She could hear the chains rattling inside the room. She pulled a little gold key out from her trouser pocket, placed it in the lock and turned. This wasn’t how she wanted it all to turn out, but she was doing her best.
As the door opened the rattling became more frantic.
“I brought you some food darling,” she said, taking the tray from outside and placing it on the little oak table, “tomato soup, your favorite.” Steam came off the top of the soup like asphalt in a heat wave.
“You’re going to have to eat it this time honey, you need your strength. It’s one of your five a day; it’s good for you.” She said.
She looked at the little girl chained to the chair; she hated that she had to be kept like this, like an animal, but she couldn’t be trusted to let her out. Trust had to be earned.
“I’m going to take this off you now, ok?” She put her hand on the gag. “I’m going to take it off so you can eat your food, do you understand?” The girl mumbled something into the fabric of the gag, her eyes doing the communicating.
“I don’t want this to be like last time. You know Mummy doesn’t like it when you scream.”
The girl nodded.
She had always wanted children, ever since she was young, but she had never imagined how difficult they could be. It was hard being a single mum.
She pulled down the gag. The girl was quiet.
“There’s a good girl. Mummy’s proud of you. Now open up.”
She aeroplaned the spoon of hot soup into the girls mouth. This was the part of motherhood she missed, the feeding and looking after. It was times like this that it didn’t matter that the child wasn’t her own.