A member of the Australian
Society of Authors and a diploma graduate of a world renowned correspondence
writing school;. Alida van den Bos was born in Arnhem, Holland in 1930 and later
educated in Tilburg.
With her husband and two
children, in 1959 Alida emigrated to Australia where adventure beckoned and the
family tried opal digging in Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge where she wrote at
every opportunity, using life experiences to produce a series of short stories.
Then came the move to the
mid-western New South Wales town of Orange where Alida gave birth to her third
child, and with her husband started a horse stud aptly named Running Hoofs,
leading to success in local and metropolitan racecourses, all the time storing
ideas and data to develop fictional novels of which she now has written eight,
including The Story of Prisoner Number 329, Dead Certainty, and Jennifer and the
Bunker of Horrors.
please get in the jeep?” the policeman asked while opening the back door for
Amy, a pretty young girl with big blue eyes and blonde,
shoulder length, wavy hair, had just spent the night in a cell at the local
police station in Breda. She looked around to see if she could make a run for
it, but a second officer, a policewoman, sensing what she was thinking, took her
by the arm. “You won’t get far,” she said. “It’s no use.”
Amy felt trapped; she had thought that maybe she could get
away, but where would she go with no money. The policewoman had her purse and
she couldn’t go home, that would be the first place they’d look.
“Why do I have to get into the jeep?” she asked.
“Get in and I’ll tell you why,” the policewoman said.
Reluctantly she did as she was told, then the policeman
started the jeep. “Don’t worry,” he said, “we’re taking you for a drive.”
Amy couldn’t believe what was happening; it must have been
that moron, Mr Temmens. She had been kicked out of her home by her elder
brother, her guardian since her father had died two years before, and her mother
had not stopped him. That hurt the most.
It was because she had run away a few times that she was
being taken back by the police. It was not her fault; she had good reason to
have itchy feet sometimes. She had stayed at her boyfriend, Frank’s place, but
he still lived at home and his father wanted her to find her own place. She had
started work in a biscuit factory where Frank worked and there she met Mrs
Temmens, who knew she was looking for a room to rent.
“After work, would you like to come with me and I’ll show you
the room you can have. I live just around the corner, only five minutes walk,”
Mrs Temmens told her.
“I’m sure it would be great, but do you mind if I go with
Frank first to get my things, he knows where you live.”
“Of course. Don’t be late though, we turn in early.”
The room looked all right; it was clean, a bit small, but the
bed felt soft enough. She thought herself lucky to find a reasonable place so
close to work and her friends, although she was not sure about Mr Temmens. He
was creepy. She didn’t like the way he looked at her, he didn’t say much, just
stared and made her feel uncomfortable.
In the middle of the night something woke her. She didn’t
know what it was, but felt there was someone in her room, and then she saw Mr
Putting his hand over her mouth he muttered, “Don’t scream, I
know you want me, I saw it in your eyes.” He tried to open up her nightie while
fumbling her breast with one hand, his other hand still on her mouth. He was
lying on top of her and she tried to fight him off, but he was too strong and
“You bitches are all the same. You turn a man on and then you
She bit his hand and that made him really cranky.
“If you make a fucking sound, I’ll kill you,” he hissed.
Finally she managed to get her knee up and kneed him in the groin, making him
double up so she was able to get to the door and open it.
“Now get out or I’ll call your wife,” she warned.
He had no choice. He left.
In the morning, at work, she was told that Mrs Temmens had
called in sick. When Frank came in she told him everything. “I can’t go back
there; we have to find another room, even if it is further away from here.”
“Don’t worry,” Frank replied, “we’ll go at lunchtime. I’ll
help you find something, you’ll see.”
This gave her a bit more confidence, but when they were
having a break for morning coffee, she was asked to go to reception where two
detectives were waiting.
“Are you Amy Landers?” one asked.
“You have to come with us to the station.”
“We can’t tell you, just come with us.”
At the station, a young policeman put her in a kind of large
holding cell and told her, “Please wait in here until we have sorted out what to
do with you.”
Amy had no idea what was going on or why she was there in the
first place. After a while they told her she had a visitor, and the priest of
her church, which she had not attended for some time, walked in. He asked how
she was and if he could help. He must have expected her to be crying her eyes
out, being in police custody, but instead she stood up from the wooden bench
where she had been sitting, then looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Yes,
you can help me by telling me why I am here.”
Her defiance surprised the priest who shook his head and
replied, “No, I don’t think I can help you.”
Turning to the young policeman who had been attending at a
discreet distance, she exclaimed, “Please get this man out of here, I don’t want
to talk to him any more!”
As the policeman opened the door for him, the priest looked
strangely at her, shrugged his shoulders and left. The policeman whispered,
“Well done,” to Amy, then closed and locked the door behind him. She had been
given lunch, dinner, tea; then a bed with a flea-ridden blanket and by then it
was dark. She was told to get some sleep and still nobody had told her anything.
Earlier, a policewoman had dropped in a bag with her toiletries and her best
clothes and shoes. Must have been my mother sending them, she thought.
After spending an uncomfortable night in the cell, she
decided to dress up and selected her nice blue dress, white coat and black
high-heeled shoes with the straps and put her working clothes back in the bag.
She wanted to look her best. Then finally while travelling in the jeep, the
policewoman started to talk. “You are nineteen, right?”
“Well, until you are twenty-one, because your father has
died, your mother and your brother are now your legal guardians. They want you
to go to an institution where you’ll learn some discipline. Your mother can’t
handle you and when the priest visited you, you showed no remorse.”
“Why should I show remorse? I haven’t done anything, for
God’s sake. It’s that moron, that Mr Temmens, he tried to rape me. Oh, I can see
it now, he must have told you where I worked and probably told you some
cock-and-bull story that I tried to rape him, if that’s at all possible. Yes I
do feel remorse now, but only for not screaming when that monster came into my
room. I just didn’t want to embarrass his wife because I liked her and now I
feel sorry for her. If only I’d crawled and cried, maybe I would be free, but
I’d never crawl.”
“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do now to change
anything, it’s your mother’s wishes. She is responsible for you until you’re
twenty-one. If you behave, you may not have to stay very long. It’s up to you.”
They had been travelling for about two hours when she saw a
sign, Terneuzen, 6km. A bit further on they came to a long driveway where there
was a sign, St Rudolph Institute, Erected for the Community, 1930. Must be
thirty years old, Amy thought.
Getting closer, she saw a large building at the end and was
surprised that there were no bars on the windows. Looking around she saw more
buildings, a collection of houses, a hall, a church, a few stores; just like a
small village. A bit further away, a building similar to the main house came
into view and had a sign, Boys Pavilion.
Some beautiful park like gardens were around the buildings,
then she saw girls coming from one direction, making for the main building while
boys went in the other direction, all happily talking and no doubt looking
forward to lunch.
Past the lawns and gardens there were some open fields and
market gardens where the boys came from, and she knew then she’d have no trouble
escaping. The front door opened and a lady with grey hair stepped out. “I’m Miss
van Dam, I’ve been expecting you. Are you Amy Landers?” she asked.
“Yes, this is Amy,” the officer said. “I’m sorry we’re a bit
pressed for time, we have to go back now. Do you think you can manage, Miss van
After looking Amy up and down she said, “Yes, I think so.
Thank you for bringing her.” and turning to Amy, “Come on, I’ll show you around,
just follow me. I’ll take you to your room and then you can have dinner with the
It was a small room with a single bed, small closet, a
washbasin on a stand and a chair. She saw there were bars on the window, but it
did overlook the gardens, which she liked. It gave her some sense of freedom on
the other side.
“Now I want you to get into these clothes,” Miss van Dam
said, pointing to a pile of clothing on the bed.
The top one was a denim dress which she had seen all the
girls wearing. Pointing at her, Miss van Dam said, “I’ll take the ones you have
on.” Amy looked at her, but did as she was told, no good making enemies now.
Miss van Dam then told her, “We’d better get back to the dining room, they’re
waiting for us with dinner. We have a hot meal in the middle of the day.”
In the dining room the table was set and the chef, a Miss
Hoogendam, was waiting to dish up.
“Everybody, this is Amy Landers,” Miss van Dam announced.
“I’ll give you a few minutes after dinner to get acquainted, then you can take
her to the laundry where she’ll work with you. Amy, Miss Hoogendam is in charge
of the kitchen, she does all the cooking. Now enjoy your meal and girls, I trust
you’ll help Amy. You know what I mean.” With that she left the room.
Miss Hoogendam started serving and the girl on Amy’s left
whispered, “We have to stop you from escaping, that’s what she means. By the
way, I’m Elly Vermeer. I work in the house.”
Dinner was not too bad, basic, but all right. She learned the
names of the other girls and what most of them were in for. Only seventeen, Elly,
an orphan, had been in foster homes before, but it had never really worked out.
Joanne, who sat on her left, worked at the house of the administrator, but she
was always running away, trying to join a circus and had not given up the idea.
She only came in for dinner and sleeping.
Then there were Rita, Janine, Marian, Tina, Linda and
Jennifer, with their ages mostly between nineteen and twenty-one. They had
committed some minor offences or their parents had split up and their mothers
couldn’t control them. They all worked in the laundry except Tina, who worked in
the house and kitchen with Elly. All the girls came from Protestant families;
there were no Catholic people in the institute, which was ironic since the south
of Holland was predominantly Catholic
Presumably Catholic girls were sent somewhere else.