We looked at the front steps outside my front door, though there was nothing to see. “What happened?” asked one of the policemen.
“Nothing much. Betty woke me half an hour ago and took me to the front door. There were two men with masked faces lying on the steps; they were not moving, but still breathing. I called the emergency number, the paramedics came quickly and took the two guys away. That's all.”
“One of our colleagues has been sent to the hospital. Can I ask your daughter some questions?” asked the other policeman.
“No, Betty doesn't speak or hear or read or write.” I suspected that Betty had discovered the two men trying to break in and had floored them both, however I kept quiet.
“Is that THE BETTY?” The two policemen walked away very quickly.
“Claude, you haven't asked me about Sarah.”
“No Carol, it's none of my business, really not.”
“Well, I want you to know. Sarah's left me, two days after our divorce came through. We had a terrific quarrel, I think that she engineered it, and then she dumped me. I've got to rethink through everything now. She told me a load of bad stuff, especially about you. And I believed it.”
“I've got to clear out my mind. I'm even thinking about you, Claude. It's good to have you around again; please forget all the bad things I said about you. I don't know why I've been so negative about you.”
The two girls came running from the end of the garden. “Betty has showed us some dance steps. Watch us dance, Mum.” They danced and everybody clapped. “Wasn't that good, Daddy?”
“I suppose Betty is the daughter of your new girlfriend, she doesn't say much.”
“No, Betty IS my new girlfriend; she never speaks; she likes you though.” Betty smiled and sat on Carol's lap.
“I'm going to take our two children for a walk up to High Cliff, they'll like that. Carol, why don't you stay here and play with Betty. She likes you.”
It was a warm July afternoon in the garden and the birds were singing. Betty was already playing with me, thought Carol; she's holding me tight; why does Claude need a girlfriend, I've changed my mind, he could come back. Claude is a ninny, but I want him back
Betty really likes me, thought Carol; she's got me in a clench, it's really good, I think I'm going to... Oh, that was good. How does Betty do it? What is that pouring out of Betty, is it glue? Is it love? What is she doing?
Wait a moment, is this THE BETTY? The little girl who murders politicians for the fun of it. She's sitting on my lap and holding me very tight, what can I do? There is something very strange pouring out of her and flowing all over me.
It was warm, the birds sung and the sun shined down on them.
There was a little girl practising ballet steps, no one else was there, Claude and Carol were working and the two girls were at school. There was one thing worse than a man and that was a child; and women were pretty bad too – Sarah hated everybody.
It was not right, not right at all, thought Sarah. They were divorced, Sarah had made sure of that, another marriage broken apart, Sarah was good at that. But now Carol and Claude are back together again and this awful child has probably got something to do with that.
She ranted and raved, about how awful men were and how awful children were and how awful this particular girl was. Betty heard not a word, but she noticed that Sarah was nasty. She said nothing and that annoyed Sarah even more.
More ranting and raving; she strode forward and raised her hand to strike Betty; why was the awful child so disrespectful? Betty grabbed her hand and dragged her to the kitchen and set her in a chair and push it very close to the big kitchen table. The message was STAY PUT!
Sarah tried to get up from the chair, but Betty whopped her. That was painful thought Sarah; I'll have to stay put; why is this awful little girl standing on the end of my nose and looking into my mind with binoculars?
Betty made two mugs of cocoa and put one in front of Sarah, nice cocoa.
Betty turned over all the junk in Sarah's mind and there were plenty of bad things to be found. Every time Betty found something bad she whopped Sarah.
Betty had made vegetable soup that morning, she heated it and ladled some of it into two bowls, nice soup, with big wedges of wholemeal bread.
Every time Betty found something bad in Sarah's mind she whopped Sarah; why is this awful little girl walking around inside my head with a flame-thrower?
It was going to be a long and bruising day.
Long deep groan. Pause. “Do you know what Betty has just done to me?”
“Yeah, good wasn't it?”
“Yes, but I ask myself if it's legal.”
“Who cares, as long as you enjoyed it.”
“Then, my turn to do it to you.” Long deep groan.
“She's like Mary Poppins, yer know.”
“Yes, there is something magical about Betty; she does things no one else does.”
“She's very good at dancing, just look at her. She can do ballet too. She can teach us to dance.”
“Yeah, we should join the carnival club, just like Daddy said; so when he comes to pick us up we'll tell him we want to join on the spot.”
“Just look at her swirling around the stage; I don't know how she does it, she can't hear anything, yer know.”
“She's like a pot of glue, she's trying to stick Mummy and Daddy back together again.”
“I do hope so; but then she will disappear, like in all the stories Mummy reads to us.”
“Oh, no, I want Betty to stay with us.”