Emma Harrington and the time BlipEPISODE 1
The note was on the table when Emma Harrington arrived home from school.
See you at the weekend.
Keep an eye on your brother.
Another lost week.
That summed up Emma’s life. Lost weeks.
Mrs Gwyneth Cluster, from the next farm appeared at the door.
‘Hello Emma. You’re home early.’
‘No need to be like that. You know your parents. Or you should by now.’
Mrs Cluster went to the stove.
‘You need a cup of tea love.’
‘No Gwyneth. I don’t need a cup of tea. What I need is a life!’
Gwyneth ignored the comment. She was used to Emma’s behaviour. She’d experienced it for the past ten years and had learned to take it in her stride. Sometimes, though, her stride was not big enough; especially now that Emma was approaching adulthood. When Emma was younger it was easy to give her a hug, take her for walks and read to her before she went to sleep. She could also manage Tim a lot better back then too.
But those days were long gone.
Children matured a lot earlier these days, she thought. It was such a pity. She thought of her twins and how they never wanted to be adults, except on the odd occasion when things didn’t go their way. That was thirty years ago and both her children were now married with children of their own.
She sighed and poured the boiling water onto the teabags waiting in their mugs.
‘Whatever happened to real tea? – or coffee come to that- These days it’s all bags and powder.’
Emma took a mug.
‘Thanks,’ she said, ‘you don’t have to try and engage me in conversation, you know. It doesn’t make me feel any better.’
Gwyneth raised her hands.
‘Right then. Well, I’ll just take my tea into the sunroom. Call me if you need anything.’
Emma sat at the kitchen table and played with the teabag.
The sound of singing suddenly reminded her that she had a brother.
Tim Harrington flew through the door and rushed up to Emma. He threw his arms around her.
‘I solved three puzzles,’ he said, ‘I’m really good aren’t I Em?’
'Yes Tim you're very good.'
Tim beamed and whooped. He always beamed and whooped. Most kids Emma knew mixed their emotions a little. A smile, a laugh and sometimes a beam. But not her brother. He just seemed to specialize in beaming and whooping. He was moderately autistic according to his teachers, but sometimes Emma wondered if there wasn’t something else wrong with him.
If she was around he was in her face a lot. If she wasn’t he’d spend his time in front of the TV mimicking the action on screen, talking to the characters or speaking the words with the characters.
Often he would just wander around talking to himself and making gestures with his hands. Sometimes after one of these sessions he’d rush up to Emma and say something like “An apple fell on Tristan Newton’s head didn’t it?”
Emma would explain that Newton was sitting under a tree, watching an apple fall and as a result discovered gravity.
Tim’s response was always the same.
‘The apple didn’t kill him did it Em?’
He was fascinated by how things worked. Anything mechanical, like old clocks and watches, could hold his interest for hours. He loved car engines; any engines.
Tim was only twelve and when her parents were away, which was most of the time, it was up to her and - when she was around - Gwyneth to keep an eye on him.
Tim could be very annoying. He was being very annoying now. He started fiddling with the teabag in Emma’s mug.
She pushed him.
‘Leave it Tim.’
‘No Tim. It is not fun. It’s annoying.’
‘But it’s fun.’
‘No Tim. It’s not. Go away.’
Tim ran to the cupboard where the teabags were kept. Emma got up and went after him.
Tim shrugged Emma away and opened the cupboard. Emma shoved her hand forward and slammed it shut.
Tim pulled it open again.
Emma pushed it harder this time. It slammed against his left hand.
‘Ow! That hurt! You hurt me Em.’
He cradled his left hand.
‘It hurts Emma. You hurt me.’
‘Tim, I’m sorry.’
‘Go away! You hurt me!’
Emma reached for him but he pulled away and ran outside.
Emma ran after him but when she reached the door he’d vanished.
Gwyneth came into the kitchen.
‘What was all that about?’
She looked around.
‘And where’s Tim?’
‘He ran off.’
‘He was annoying me. He wouldn’t listen to me and I slammed the cupboard door on his hand. It was an accident Gwyneth, I swear!’
‘We’d better find him then hadn’t we?’
They went outside and searched the usual places where Tim liked to hide but with no success.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Gwyneth, ‘he’s probably curled up somewhere watching us. He’ll come back when he’s hungry. He usually does.’
But he didn’t.