The Story of Wayne Gamm
1 WAYNE GAMM
The screams coming from the secluded, old stone farmhouse sounded inhuman, which was just as well, because the only red-blooded creatures that could hear them were four-legged, although they fully realised what was going on inside. Mrs. Gwynedd Gamm was having her first baby and her mother was helping her deliver it. The ewes in the field understood the pain Gwynedd was going through, even if her husband, Samuel Gamm and his drinking companions in the pub in the local village of Dremaelgwn did not.
“Mam! Get this baby out of me right now! Arghhh!”
“Try to relax, dear, and push… keep up the pressure…”
“Maybe I should have gone to the hospital to have him… we knew he was going to be a big, arghhh, baby!”
“Now, Gwynnie, we discussed that, didn’t we, love? It was just not possible… far too dangerous. Just keep up the pressure, you’re doing a great job, for a first-timer.”
“Arghhh, oh, arghhh… uh, uh, uh, arghhh… Oh, mum, he’s huge! Arghhh, go in the kitchen, get the carving knife and cut me open… Go on, I don’t care if you make a mess of it! Mam, I can’t bear this any longer…”
“Yes, you can, Gwynnie, you have to, and you know that I can’t help you like that as well… no-one can… That’s why you have to have the baby here at home with no outsiders present.
“It was written, Gwynnie, you know that as well as I do. Hush now, Gwyn and concentrate, all women go through this and I promise you, that, one day, maybe in years to come, you will look back on this day with great pleasure.”
“I’m, uh, arghhh, never going to have another one and that’s for sure!”
“You say that now, my dear, but we’ll see what happens, won’t we, one day.”
She had tried squatting in a warm bath, straddling a camping toilet seat, going on all fours and sitting on her haunches, but it was all the same, so she just lay on her back on her bed and tried to concentrate on moving her big baby boy out of her, millimetre by agonising millimetre. Gwynedd could feel his progress, but it was not fast enough for her.
“Give me some more of those tablets the doctor said I could take, Mam, please.”
Her mother complied and then held a glass of cold water to her lips. Her face was dripping with perspiration.
Mother and daughter looked so alike that they could have been sisters, although on this day, it would have been a toss up, which one would have been guessed to be the older of them. There was only eighteen years gap between them and Gwynedd’s mother, Rhiannon, kept herself looking very young for her age, as all women would if they had the choice, like she did.
The cottage and its lands had been in the family for longer than anyone could remember and they had a family Bible with everyone’s name and the address of the farm in it that was 324 years old. Rhiannon, Rhiannon Phillips, owned it now and her daughter and new son-in-law lived with her, as was the local tradition. Mr. Phillips had long since passed away.
When asked what religion they belonged to, both Rhiannon and Gwynedd would say ‘Chapel’ automatically, and they didn’t feel that they were being hypocritical. After all, it wasn’t a bad religion, as religions went. It just didn’t go far enough for them, because Rhiannon, her daughter and most people they knew, believed in a lot more.
Not only believed, but knew.
However, saying that they were ‘Chapel’ kept everybody happy and made the census forms easier to fill in. They even did go to Chapel whenever they could, even if it was only for the hymn-singing, but then so did everyone else as well. Even the Minister believed in more than he would admit to everyone, especially his superiors.
Rhiannon and her daughter were both gifted with ‘second sight’, as it was called, meaning that they could see into the future, and sometimes even into the past as well. It gave them a different perspective on time.
They both believed in Y Tylwyth Teg, or the Fairies in English, and regularly talked to the ones they believed were tending their garden and mountain they lived on, and they believed in fate, a pre-ordained future, which was why Gwynedd’s baby was being born at home rather than in the hospital. They had both seen, in separate visions, that the baby, who would be called Wayne, would be ‘large and special’.
They knew that Wayne would be special in a fashion that could go either way. They had seen that he could be dangerous – a handful in more ways than one.
They weren’t sure of the details yet, but they had seen some awesome scenes, scenes that they did not want to become déjà vu. That was the last thing they wanted. They just could not be sure what would happen and that frightened them more than not having doctors or midwives around, to say nothing of the epidural painkillers.
“That’s the way, Gwynnie, come on, girl… I can see the top of little Wayne’s head! Keep pushing!”
“Arghhh, arghhh, he… is not ‘little’ Wayne, his head feels the size of a rugby ball… arghhh, and that’s not even the biggest part of him, is, uh, it? There’s another two feet to go after that as well! I hope his shoulders aren’t too broad yet. Oh, arghhh, never again, cut my tubes after this, Mam, phone up tomorrow, promise?”
“Come on, Wayne, help your mother to get you out, there’s a good boy. Work with your son, Gwyn, come on both of you, work together, you’re nearly there…”
“I’ve got him! Gwyn, I’ve got him! He’s beautiful, he’s perfect! Here, take your handsome son. Well done, both of you. My beautiful daughter and her handsome baby son.”
Gwyn said a few words to Wayne and cwtched him close, but no-one except Wayne knew what she had said, but he answered with a cry. After a few minutes, Rhiannon took him back, cut the umbilical cord, cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket and handed him back to his mother. Then she went outside to get better reception and phoned Wayne’s father.
“Sam, your beautiful son has arrived. Come on up and see him. He’s perfect and Gwyn is well too.”
He was more than a little drunk, but he did want to see his son.
“OK, Mam, I’ll be there now.” He clinked his glass with his two friends, finished his whisky and got in the van.
“We’ll be off now too then, Sammy, congratulations, we’ll call you tomorrow.”
“All right, lads, thanks for keeping me company. See you tomorrow. Goodnight, be careful on those mountain roads now.”
When he got home, which by pure chance was without having had an accident, he parked the car perilously close to the cottage and rushed inside.
“Oh, my dearest, Gwyn, you look a picture there, propped up in bed with our little shon, er… our Wayne. I’m sho proud of you both. Thanks, Mam, for getting them both through thish. You can’t guesh what I was thinking might be happening up here, you know, under the shircumshtances.”
“Let me try to enlighten you then, Sammy, have you ever tried to pass anything this big on the toilet? I thought not, so, be a good boy and say no more… But, he is a lovely boy, isn’t he? Mam, you were right, I don’t regret any of that pain anymore already.”
“Can I get you anything, my darling, I am yoursh to command?”
“No, I don’t want any more than I already have. Come and sit by us and put your arm around me, Sammy, but don’t breathe over us. I don’t want Wayne drunk on his first day out in the open.”
Samuel moved his stool to the top of the bed, reached over and put his arm around his wife’s shoulder. He held his breath, gazed into his son’s face and thought that he had to be the happiest man on the whole of God’s green Earth.
Samuel was not from Wales, he had gone there from Cornwall one summer, four years before, in answer to an advertisement placed by the local sheep farmers for shearers. He had turned up on Rhiannon’s farm and he and her daughter had fallen in love. Both Rhiannon and Gwyneth could see that it had been inevitable. There weren’t many single people about, and certainly not within a twenty-minute ride, so when the handsome young man had stayed on the farm for a fortnight’s shearing, it was, well, predictable, fate.
Rhiannon approved of him too. He was a knowledgeable sheep farmer, from sheep farming stock. He was tall and strong, and seemed besotted with Gwynedd. What more could a mother want for herself and her daughter? And Gwyn was too in love to care. She had led a lonely life on the mountain since leaving school and her mother understood that.
His only problem had been that he did not speak Welsh, but he was trying and the locals were giving him chance to learn, because he was a sheep farmer and because they all respected Rhiannon so much. There wasn’t a family within fifty miles that had not had call to ask a favour of her at some time or another, and she never turned anyone away.
She was bringing Gwynedd up the same way, as her mother had done to her – ad infinitum, as far as anyone knew.
Samuel mixed and fitted in. He never argued about his workload, and seemed to relish being with the flock. The only thing was that he was used to drinking in his village public house in Cornwall after work, whereas where he was now was twenty minutes from Y Ddraig Goch – The Red Dragon, the nearest pub, and it did get him down sometimes.
Gwynedd had only ever been in a pub in Wales once and that was on her wedding day and she hadn’t liked it much, even though she had been to school with most of the people in there. She had also had a drink with Samuel’s mates in their village, but she had been happy to get out as soon as possible, although she did like his parents and phoned them more often than he did.
At twenty-two and twenty-five, Gwynedd and Samuel were a fairly typical, happy couple for the area with their first child and, being the offspring of farmers, they didn’t think it unusual to live in their parent’s house. In fact, Samuel appreciated Rhiannon being around and even enjoyed her company, and the feeling was mutual. The only thing that they did not quite ‘see eye to eye on’ was the supernatural, although Sam had said that his parents believed the same as Gwynedd’s. However, Sam thought it ‘old fashioned and stupid’.
He had said that to them both one night with a supercilious smile, that told both of the women that he was only giving the opinion of someone else, someone he admired. In other words, that he was talking through his hat. They both thought that he would grow out of it, when confronted with reality – the reality as they experienced it everyday.
He hadn’t learned anything yet though that he could quantify that was not particular to hillside sheep farming in north Wales, but they still thought that he would come round eventually.
Rhiannon thought of herself as a white witch, that is a witch who would not harm anyone purely for self gain and Gwynedd liked to think that she was the same, but without the experience because of their ages. Rhiannon’s mother had been a white witch and so had all the other matriarchs in their family, for ever, and every girl had been given the chance to learn.
Gwynedd had jumped at the opportunity to follow in their footsteps, as had her mother before her.
They didn’t meet many people during the course of a typical week and most of them were known to them, but when they did meet strangers, or anyone for that matter, they would ‘give them the once over’ to see if they were on the level. Local people knew better than to try to cheat them, but the occasional travelling salesman might treat them like hicks, and they in their turn, considered them fair game to be taught a lesson.
Gwynedd remembered her father pleading with her once not to tell her mother that someone had sworn at him in a fit of road-rage when he was giving her a lift home from school one afternoon. She had been very young and not heeded the warning. She had related the incident to Rhiannon that night before going to bed and two days later the same man had skidded into a lamppost and was in a coma for months, although he did pull out of it.
Rhiannon had very intense powers of concentration and she looked after her own as everyone would like to be able to.
It had scared her husband into an early grave, because he was frightened to tell his wife anything, lest something happened and he would feel responsible.
He had been a good man and his conscience had not been able to bear that, no matter what anyone had done to him.
Samuel was the typical, proud, doting father with his new-born son, for the first few months. He and Gwynedd took Wayne into the hills with the sheep if the weather was fine and they took him to the market in the village on Saturdays when Sam would parade his baby around in his pushchair. However, gradually a feeling of rejection and even jealousy caused by the transformation of Gwynedd from a young lover into a mother caring for her first baby began to replace the pride of being a new father and Sam started to drink more, and with that he become more and more irritable.
Naturally, Sam didn’t blame his son for this state of affairs, but he did start telling Gwynedd not to ‘mollycoddle the boy’ and several times he forced his attentions on her when she protested that she was too tired.
Gwyn was not happy with the way Sam was changing, but then she also knew that he was not happy with her either. Rhiannon tried to stay neutral and rarely said anything on the subject, but in reality she sided with her daughter and thought that Sam was being unreasonable.
Minor arguments soon became blazing rows with Wayne crying in his cot in the corner of the small living-room and his grandmother trying to pacify him. Sometimes, they would all be crying when they thought of what had become of their happy little family.
One evening, when Wayne was about six months old, Sam started an argument because his dinner was not to his liking, but he knew that that was only an excuse. He was shouting at Gwyn and standing over Wayne when he screamed:
“You care more about him than you ever did about me. You only want me around so’s I can provide an income for our two witches and your precious baby. Neither of you give a damn about me anymore, as long as I’m fit enough to go to work… Well, do you?” He was jabbing his finger a everyone including Wayne, who was becoming used to the tantrums and rarely cried anymore.
“I can’t eat that swill, I’m off to the pub!”
Neither of them remonstrated with him, because they knew that there was no point. He snatched the car keys off the mantelpiece and made for the door to the hall, but tripped over the tiny threshold, fell and hit his head hard on the wall in the hall opposite. Blood trickled from a lump forming rapidly on his forehead. With a loud curse, he picked himself up, opened the front door and slammed it behind him.
They listened in silence as the car started up and drove off at high speed. Then they smiled at each other.
“Serves him right!,” said Gwyn and they both laughed. Wayne reacted to the change in atmosphere and began to chortle as well. They both looked at Wayne and said something appropriate for a baby.
“Sam will have a nasty bump tomorrow, he took quite a fall there and his headache will be more than just a hangover. He shouldn’t have been so aggressive to little Wayne… You don’t think that he had anything to do with Sam’s fall, do you?”
“Sam is only jealous. He’s just adapting to not being the only man in your life and not having your undivided attention. I’m sure he doesn’t really blame anyone, it’s quite normal. Isn’t it?
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking about Sam’s accident just now?”
“I think I am. We were both shown more than six months ago that it would be dangerous to upset Wayne, which was why I couldn’t have him delivered in the hospital. If a strange doctor had slapped his bottom to start his breathing, who knows what might have happened? Still, it looks like we were being overcautious. Perhaps, his powers are only just starting to wake up.”
“Have you ever warned Sam about Wayne?”
“No, it wasn’t necessary at first and then, when the rows started, nothing happened, and I just sort of forgot.”
“He will need to be told, Gwyn.”
“Yes, I know, Mam, I’ll do it as soon as we’re talking again, but that fall could just have been an accident… Perhaps, he wouldn’t hurt his own father.”
“We don’t know, do we, Gwyn? We just don’t know that yet, my dear.”
It was two days later that she had the chance to talk to her husband. Gwyn had arranged for her mother to give them thirty minutes of privacy, but to then come in so that she could ask her to confirm what she had said, as if unrehearsed.
“…and that’s the long and the short of it, Sammy. You know that Mam and I have the second sight, you believe that already. Well, we were both shown that Wayne would be able to cause things to happen… perhaps things from someone’s own future, to compress their fate, or give it a twist, so to speak. We’ve been waiting for evidence that it is true.
“Your fall the other evening after losing your temper in front of Wayne and pointing at him like that, may have been the first instance of him performing or it could have been a pure accident, we don’t know.
“I’m only saying this for your own safety, so you can’t say that I didn’t warn you. I think that you ought to take care, cariad. I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Well, thanks for the warning, but I don’t believe that that is possible, my dear. I have respect for your powers and your mother’s, but you must both have got it wrong this time. You make our little Wayne sound like one of the X Men, but he’s not. He’s just a lovely little boy, who has turned our lives upside down and I hate myself for feeling bitter about it sometimes, but that’s how it is. I do feel like that sometimes, and I know that it’s wrong, but… I suppose I’m only a man, not an X Man, and I miss not getting all my beautiful wife’s attention and the only one I can blame is little Wayne. I know it’s not his fault, and I hate myself for thinking it.
“We made Wayne, you and me, and I know that you have to take care of him, I know all that, but knowing it doesn’t make the loneliness any easier to bear.”
“I know, my dear, but I’m sure that what I have told you is correct. Mam feels the same as well.”
Rhiannon entered right on cue.
“Mam, I was just talking to Sam about Wayne being special. Could you tell him what you think? Perhaps, that will persuade him.”
Rhiannon told the same story but in her own words, and Sam came a little closer to believing them.
“But he’s not going to hurt his own family, is he? It just doesn’t make sense that he should bite the hands that feed him.”
“Fate shows no favouritism, Sam. Whoever does wrong gets repaid in like kind, as do those who do good, whoever they are, family of not. Universal laws operate the same for everyone, and anyway, not all parents are good to their children. Some kids suffer all sorts of abuse from their family.
“If Wayne can somehow have an influence over how quickly that fate catches up with them, well, it’s not as if people are not getting something that they don’t deserve, it’s just that they are getting it a bit earlier. The way I see it, he cannot change fate, no-one can, but maybe he can twist it so that the order in which events take place changes.”
“We’re not sure of all the details yet, darling, it is still early days, but it is our best guess so far.”
“Do you think that he knows that he can do it?”
“I shouldn’t think so, he’s only a six-month old baby, but he is growing up fast and his powers may develop quickly too. We just don’t know, this is a new situation for all of us.”
“Yes, it sure is! Especially if what you say is right. I’ll have to have a think about what you’ve said and in the meantime be very careful how I behave around Wayne.”
“Good, just keep your eyes open, because we believe that Wayne’s powers are starting to become active. It might be a good idea to keep him out of stressful situations, until we better understand what’s going on.”
The following Saturday, while walking in town, an incident occurred which went a long way towards convincing Sam that his wife and mother-in-law were right. Sam was pushing the pram across the road on a Zebra Crossing. He had reached the policia beacons in the middle of the road, checked the traffic and was half way across the second lane when a speeding car appeared out of nowhere.
He froze for a second or two not knowing whether to go on or to go back and all the while the solitary car was bearing down on them at speed. At the very moment that he decided to go back to the safety of the beacons and give the car enough room to pass by, it veered sharply to the left and crashed into a concrete lamp post full on. The car stopped dead and the lamp post cut a deep V-shape in the bonnet and engine, but the driver was only badly shaken, not physically hurt.
He later admitted in an interview with the local newspaper that he had been speeding and driving while intoxicated, but he claimed to have lost control of his vehicle seconds before it crashed into the lamp post. He also remarked that if he had not been wearing his seat belt, he would have been killed. He even gave a public apology to the Gamm family and said that he had never been so scared in his whole life as when he found himself bearing down on the father and baby and lost control of the steering.
Sam had noticed that his son had looked rather ‘worried’ as the car had approached them with its horn blaring, but he assumed that he had been picking that up from him, since Sam admitted to being very frightened for them both. When Sam had finished relating his story, Gwyn and Rhiannon looked at each other knowingly and Sam knew that they thought that Wayne had caused the car to crash.
He had to admit that it could look that way, especially in the light of what they already believed. He looked at his son who was sitting up in his cot playing with some plastic animals that were hanging from a cord strung across it. There was nothing in his demeanour to suggest anything other than that he was trying to amuse himself playing with his toys on his own.
There would follow many minor instances which proved nothing taken as solitary occurrences, but which together gave a strong indication that Rhiannon and Gwynedd were right about Wayne and his nascent powers.
The biggest problem they had though, apart from the arguing, which had decreased, was how to integrate Wayne into society. He was still only six months old and would not have to go to school for about five years, but the way things were going, he wouldn’t know any other children or how to behave correctly when he did meet any.
One thing they did know though was that they couldn’t just throw him into a classroom of strangers and expect everything to go all right. He had to learn the concepts of give and take and sharing, and how to control his temper, if he had a bad one.