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Chapter 1

The world can be a cruel and lonely place, when viewed through the eyes of a latchkey child.

Randy Mason’s hands, once strong and calloused by years of farm work, now trembled. His eyes were red and raw; his imposing frame partially obscured by the dark.

Hannah, his diminutive and demure wife, stood among the clutter of unwashed dishes and empty pans that inhabited her otherwise drab little kitchen. She faced him square on, her tiny frame racked with emotion. The single fluorescent bulb flickered brightly against the dark of night. Her face, scarlet with rage, contrasted sharply with the pale calico of her dress. How could he? This was a new low, even for Randy.

In her youth, Hannah had fallen heavily for his rugged charm; his rich deep voice; his smouldering dark eyes. Time and his addiction had, however, stripped him of attraction. “For Christ’s sake Randy, look at me!” she yelled. “Look at your handy work and tell me again, that you’re sorry. Better yet, lie to me; tell me how you love me. Good God Randy, my eyes are purple. Do you want me to take the bandage off, so you can really see?” She paused, breathing deeply, fortifying herself against the pain, “Do you?”