It was hard for Luna to imagine Laddie as a little boy, needing her mother. He had always been seven or eight years older than her, impossibly old, almost adult. He had disappeared on his fourteenth birthday. Nobody knew what happened, but her mother had taken it the worst.
Luna had always been jealous of Laddie, but now she began to understand their bond. He had needed his mother, and she had needed a friend in a situation that seemed to scare the life out of them.
And Laddie did look like her mother’s dead brother. No wonder she had been so upset. Come to think of it, her Mom had nightmares for months after his disappearance, it got so bad that her Dad had taken her to the doctor to get some pills to help. If the dreams in her journal were anything to go by, it was no surprise that she had needed the pills.
She checked the clock on her nightstand, almost midnight already. How could that be? It was only mid-afternoon when she started. But then, she hadn’t just been reading the entries, she had been visualising them, picturing her mother, trying to put herself in her place, trying to feel what she felt.
One more entry before bed, she told herself, but doubted she’d stop reading after just one. It was an exceptionally long entry, and messily written, as though her mother was in a hurry.
Friday 3rd July 1987
So much has happened in such a short space of time. Something both terrible and wonderful at the same time. D finally allowed me to leave the cave. I took Laddie with me, I’m taking no chances, leaving him around Dw—even P has started to join in with the ‘humorous’ tales of what they do. He likes it when they talk to him like an adult, but I’m not allowing him to be a part of that. Not while my heart still beats.
We rode as a pack down to the Boardwalk where I took Laddie to the open air concert. It was so wonderful to be around people again. I felt like screaming “You’re lucky you’re alive!” to every person I passed, but contented myself with dancing to the music. I think Laddie felt the same, for he was bouncing too. The only good side of what D has done to us, is that what Laddie and I go through, we go through together, it’s made us very empathic.
Then I noticed this guy looking at me. He was gorgeous, brown hair, brown eyes, and a smile that actually reached his eyes, unlike D’s. But what could I do? I know what I am, and I couldn’t drag another person down with me. So I took Laddie’s hand and ran. I could tell he was annoyed that our foray into the real world was cut short, but it’s what I had to do.
He followed me though. I could feel it, so I ran. Ran to D, ironically, hoping to lose him, but no, I climbed on the bike behind D, looked around and there he stood. I looked at him, wanting to shout at him “Go away! I can’t let this happen to you.” But he just looked right back at me. And I wanted to go to him.
D sensed this and we rode off. I had a feeling he’d be back.
Well, at least I know that everybody’s been lying to me about how my parents met. Luna thought. I don’t care what their reasons are, I should have known. She carried on reading, wanting to know the truth about her parentage. If they lied about how they met, they could certainly lie about who her father was.
Saturday 4th July 1987
He was. We went out last night, D told me it has to be him, one way or another. I know what he means, and I agreed just to keep the peace, but what I was actually thinking was if I can’t keep him out of it, maybe this guy can help us.
He was wearing a new leather jacket, (dear god, don’t try to be like us) and was looking at the price of ear piercing. As per D’s instructions, I made my entrance. I asked his name, I’ll call him Mi in here though. When I told him my name he said, “Oh, your folks too?”
And I couldn’t help it, I flinched and demanded that he explain himself. He meant hippy parents, he was nearly called Moon Beam or Moon Child, (which is nice, I like Moon Child if I have a girl) but he doesn’t suit a hippy name. His name suits him.
He asked me to go for a ride, and I accepted. Oh, you think I haven’t learnt a lesson from all this? Well I have, I’ve accepted rides from dangerous men, there’s nothing worse than D out there. We were just about to go when D arrived, his boys in tow.
Laddie had been with Dw, I wondered for a moment, had he? But no, he was still my Laddie. D wouldn’t let me go, and challenged Mi to a bike race, or in D’s words, “You don’t have to beat me, you just have to try and keep up.” Mi, like the fool, trying to win me, agreed and nearly got himself killed on the rocks.
I should have just defied D and ignored Mi. Or told him the truth. He may have thought I was insane, but at least he’d give up. But at the same time, I wanted him to beat D. I wanted him there. I wanted him.
The boys played mind games with him. If nothing else I finally understand that comment D made on my first night here. “Let’s play nice, boys. She’s our guest, no games at dinner please.” Then they gave him some ‘wine’. I tried to talk him out of it, but after all the games the boys played, he was in no mood to listen.
Laddie enjoyed making fun of Mi about the food, but when it came to the wine, he knew what was happening, and cuddled up to me.
So now I’ve brought another person here. First Laddie, no Mi. What happens next. I know what D wants, but that’s not going to happen.
I wish I weren’t so hungry.
The last comment struck Luna as very odd. The diary had just told of how D’s boys went on food runs, but her mother was hungry? Unless they were starving her. A new form of torture. Bastards.
She wondered where ‘D’ and his boys were now. Wearing suits and working in the bank? In rehab? Still on the Boardwalk, not knowing when ‘too old’ was?
She wanted them to pay for what they did to her mother.
Wednesday 8th July 1987
Mi came to the cave last night, asking questions that I couldn’t answer. We ended up making love on my bed. I heard the boys return, and felt their disapproval. I know they wanted something different to happen, but I couldn’t. Strange as it seems, I think I’ve found my soul mate. And I can tell when I look in his eyes, he feels the same, we’re both unable to say what’s going on in our hearts, it’s too soon, the situation is too horrible. It can’t end they way we hope.
Even if he can save Laddie and me—and now himself, I’m still carrying D’s baby.
Luna’s breath caught. She counted on her fingers. If her mother miscarried or whatever, and got pregnant a month later from now, she would be born at seven months. And that hadn’t happened. She was exactly on time, right down to the predicted date, everyone mentioned it. Her Dad wasn’t her Dad.
She shut the journal. Unable to read any longer, but unwilling to leave it unfinished. There was a great deal she didn’t know, but she was too frazzled to finish it right now.
Her world was caving in. Her Mom and Dad had just died. Except her Dad wasn’t her Dad. Her biological father was the head of some gang in Santa Carla who had bullied and tormented her mother, initiated the man she had always called ‘Dad’ into the gang for an unknown reason, and snatched a child as another way to torment her mother and tie her to the pack.
It was too much. She needed an outlet for her feelings. She didn’t even know what she was feeling, they were whizzing by too quick. Anger. Rage. Sorrow. Confusion. Grief. Hatred.
Usually she would put on some music and bounce around until the excess physical energy wore off and she could deal with the mental confusion, but it was, she checked the clock, it was three am. Now was no time for Guns N’ Roses.
She tiptoed into her parents room, and took out the cigarettes and silver lighter from her Dad’s—from Michael’s—bedside drawer. She went back to her room, perched on the windowsill and lit her first cigarette.
She raked her fingers through her hair, as she usually did in times of stress, causing a small sizzling noise and the stink of burning hair. She couldn’t seem to think rationally. Or even at all. Her mind was racing too quickly to consider any of the thoughts as they whizzed by.
Did Michael know he wasn’t her father? If so, did he care? Was he secretly hating her for being ‘D’s child? Was that why he wasn’t as bothered as her mother about the trouble she kept getting into at school? Who was ‘D’? Where was he now? Still dealing drugs, for that was what she assumed he did to her mother. Was he still in Santa Carla?
Now there was a thought that stuck. That thought brought stillness to her mind. Was ‘D’—her biological father—still in Santa Carla?
“Only one way to find out, blondie,” she muttered to herself. Not even sure of what she was doing she went to her closet and dragged out the rucksack she and her father—she and Michael—used whenever they went camping.
She began to pack, her mother’s journals, not all of them, just 1987 to 1989, that would cover any immediate questions. She stuffed in clothes, her mother’s gypsy skirt went in without even registering, Michael’s leather jacket wouldn’t fit in, so she decided to wear it. She crammed her long blonde curls into a baseball cap and made her way downstairs.
She went into the kitchen and helped herself to the stash of money in the ‘emergency pot’. I’d say this qualifies as an emergency, she thought, trying to muffle the clinking of the coins. My parents died and my Dad isn’t my Dad. ‘D’ is. Whoever that is. She grabbed the joint credit card from its hidey-hole behind the refrigerator and made her exit, trying to remember the pin code. She paused at the front door, noticing the framed picture that had been on the phone table for as long as she could remember.
She was only a few months old in it, her parents looking impossibly young and attractive. She took the picture, took a final look around her home, then left life as she knew it.