After shutting the door I led him upstairs to my room in the unlit house. Mum had decided to take Sam somewhere that was a first. I ushered Kai into my room closing the door behind me and closing the curtains, finally sitting down. “Thanks,” Kai replied sitting down next to me smiling. “No problem,” I said weakly smiling back. “Why did you do that? You could have let them cut me,” he said quickly, not considering if my feelings got hurt. “Why did I do that? I did that because… well we didn’t have a choice. We were the ones who killed Billy Black, not you.
Just because Ian is some stupid idiot who thinks that everyone is a squealer he shouldn’t have the right to do that to you,” I snapped. “Where is it? ” he asked cautiously, his smile growing into a frown. “Where is what? ” I asked. “Your scar? ” I sighed and took off my hoodie again gulping, standing up and putting my hair into a bun. Then I turned around. He moved off the bed standing a few inches from me, his hot breath blowing onto my skin. “It’s… horrible,” he whispered tracking the incisions of my skin. “I know,” I whispered, choking the tears back.
He continued tracking my cuts moving his finger finally towards the huge purple bruise on my back. It was fading slowly, the corners turning yellow. The bruise that had been made by risking my life to save the little boy I had killed. “That’s where… you were caught by the fence,” he gulped. “You guessed right. My shoulder,” I replied. He knew what he meant moving his finger across the scars on my shoulder – RIP B. B. He turned me round to face him “It’s wrong… all of it wrong. It’s a sick joke – RIP B. B – it’s like some corny horror movie. Absolutely sick.
How did you wake up to yourself in the morning knowing you had killed someone? ” he whispered. “Look Ian lied. I didn’t just push Billy boy in for the sake of it. Ian pulled me away from the others taking the knife to my neck saying that I would have to do the honours otherwise he would do it. I couldn’t do it so he moved the knife… to my wrist,” I mumbled tears swelling in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. I turned my hand over tracing the crescent shaped scar on my wrist. “Then he pushed me in. Ian lied because… I told him to. I said if he ever had to tell you the story to ignore those parts.
They’re not important… I’m not important,” I mumbled looking to the floor. “What? Cut that out Charles! Don’t start on that one,” he choked angrily. “Look I didn’t want anyone to know that, let alone my best friend! ” I exclaimed looking into his angry eyes, burning with fire. His eyes grew softer, his face broadening into a smile. “Best friend? ” he asked, obviously surprised. “Well what are you then? ” I replied smiling again. “I like good influence! ” he laughed. “Hardly, is that what I am to you? ” I asked puzzled. “Course,” he said beaming at me. “Me… A good influence?
I’m messed up, you have your whole life ahead of you… and I have nothing. Nothing at all,” “You don’t have nothing. Anyway I didn’t mean that,” he replied looking concerned. “Well what did you mean? ” I hissed. “Um… Well my mum is going to flip if I’m not home soon so I better go,” he said heading for the stairs, closely followed by myself. “Look I’m sorry if I upset you. It was stupid, I don’t want to end on that note,” I replied guiltily. He turned around to stare at me, his mouth turned up at the corners. “You bring out the worst in me Charles! I don’t behave myself when I’m around you, I can just…
be myself,” he laughed, I returned a smile. I opened the front door, a gust of cold wind and rain burst through the door. “I’m going to miss you,” I stuttered, the thought of not seeing Kai for nearly seven weeks was torture. He was a nice kid; there was no doubt about it. “I’m going to miss you to. Don’t forget me! ” he squealed hugging me tightly. “Ok you can let go now! Anyway I’ll only be gone for the summer, it’s not like I’m not going to come back,” I replied. “Look Charles, I don’t want to sound stupid or anything but just look out for yourself OK.
New York is big and you’re bad enough here,” he said, his smile fading. “Don’t worry about me,” I replied. He released me from his bear hug and kissed me on the cheek before vanishing down the dark street. I ran upstairs feeling happy and warm, something I shouldn’t feel when I was leaving so soon. Two days, that was all it was. I thought I would be excited, this was the first time I had been to America but I wasn’t. The feeling left me replacing it with a cold painful feeling. I would never hear the end of it if Ian and the others caught up to Kai. I pulled the band out of my hair running my fingers through it.
I decided to take a shower and freshen up, the least I could do before going. I got changed into a long t-shirt and bounded to my room throwing the covers over my head. In the distance a siren rang piercing the silence. In my head I could hear my heart beating as I drifted off into sleep. I was in the same white apartment like last time except he wasn’t there and the room was wrecked. The once perfect white walls were now covered in eccentric coloured graffiti. The settee had been ripped, probably by a type of knife; the fluffy pillows had been slashed with the same knife, the contents spilled all over the floor.
The TV screen had been smashed, glass was scattered all over the floor. The windows had been smashed to, a strong gust of cold wind whirled round the room. The roaring traffic and ambulances could be heard from the city bellow. I choked back tears bending over to pick up a broken picture frame that lay smashed on the floor. My hand found the photo and pulled it up to my face. I examined the picture reminding myself who the picture was of, my father and my aunty. I turned the picture of looking for a date; I swallowed when I found it. The 6th September 2007. I turned the picture over again looking at my father.
He was quite short and round; he had a puff of ginger curly hair sprouting from the top of his head making him look more like a vegetable than a father. I walked towards the graffiti covered walls examining the words that were now permanently part of them. ‘He’s coming’ was written on several parts of the walls in different languages. Suddenly the room grew cold and out of the corner of my eye I could see a black figure leaning against the wall nearest the window. I turned round slowly studying him, he was wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing the last time I had seen him in my dream.
I woke up to bright sunshine and the smell of peaches drifting from outside of my windows. I stared out looking at a clear blue sky dotted with cotton candy clouds, it finally felt like summer. I dressed quickly putting on a black long sleeved dress and red sneakers. I pulled my hair into a black cotton hat and put on my silver skull earrings that had been a present from my father. The eyes were jewel encrusted glinting red in the sunlight. My mum was cooking pancakes, something rarely observed. She seemed quite pleasant today humming a tune to herself. Sam lay buried under a blanket on the couch watching a rerun of The Simpsons on Channel 4.
I wouldn’t be missed much today, I sighed making my way to the front door and opening it. The heat was bearable as I made my way through the avenues and alleyways of Ashington. Of course it had only become hot when I was about to go, for all I knew I could be flying off to a grey thunderous skied New York. Just twenty four hours of freedom and then the torture begun. My mother had already told my Aunty a list of activities and sights that I should see whilst my stay, I would almost have no time to myself. I reached the park gates in no time, it was quite busy today but than that was expected on a hot summers day.
I found the person I was looking for instantly spotting his bright green eyes and pitch black shiny hair. Ian. He was sitting on an empty park bench looking down at the ground. Katy, Simon and Kai were not accompanying him so he must have wanted some alone time. Screw that. “Charles, don’t you understand the meaning of being kicked out… and if you’ve come to beg to be part of the group again then I don’t really care,” Ian mumbled rudely keeping his eyes focused on the ground. “Of course. I’ve come here to get down on my knees and beg until you tell me I can come home to your arms,” I replied sarcastically.
He looked up rolling his eyes although I did catch a hint of smile on his face. “I’ve come here to talk about Kai,” I began slowly; this would either go down very well or not at all. “So you’re not here to beg? ” he moaned. “No. Listen if you dare hurt Kai you won’t here the end of this. If you even touch him I will kill you… and you know I can,” I said sternly, I didn’t even flinch when I threatened him with a death sentence. “So first it was Billy Black and now Kai. How many other younger boys do you fancy? ” he growled, his face suddenly becoming unfriendly. “You’re unbelievable!
” I shouted starting to turn away. I had to do this, for Kai’s sake. I couldn’t stand Kai’s death on my record. He had a whole future ahead of him, I had nothing. I couldn’t take that away from him. “When you say you’ll kill me… is that a threat or a promise? ” he glowered. “Look if I come back and you’ve hurt him or if I hear from him that he’s been threatened then… it will be a promise,” I said gruffly turning on my heels. “Oh come on now baby girl,” he said sweetly putting his arm securely on my shoulder. He turned me around to face him; I could feel his cool breath on my face.
His face was just inches from mine. “You’re just going to leave to New York with me feeling like this,” he asked sarcastically. “Yes. Yes I am. And I don’t feel one ounce of remorse,” I smiled grimly beginning to walk away but turning to look back once more. “Bye… baby boy,” I sneered, the corners of my mouth twitching up into a smile. Chapter 2 BILLY BLACK MY BIKE’S TIRES SPUN HASTILY ON THE BLACK COBBLED STREET, THE brakes squeaking every time used. My long hair flickered in the wind behind my back as I raced down the streets to the wrought iron gates. I hopped off my bike wheeling it into down the stony path.
I looked around taking in the colours of every tree, the scent of every blossom. The heat was unbearable, ‘the hottest day of the year’ the weather man had said. But then again who listens to the weather man – they’re always getting it wrong. “Charles! ” Katy called running towards me. “Hi, am I late? ” I asked. “No, did you know you have a stalker? ” I turned around confused about her use of words, out of the corner of eyes I spotted a short blonde curly haired boy. As soon as I spotted him he inconspicuously moved back into the shadow of the tall trees, his curls bouncing on his shoulders.
“Hey, who brought the baby? ” Ian sneered swaggering towards us. Ian was very tall for his age; he had golden skin and had black hair that came down past his shoulders. His green eyes glittered in the sunlight beneath his curtain of hair. “Guilty, he’s my pet retriever,” I teased putting up my hand. I imagined what the boy would look like if he had a golden shaggy tail and giggled. “It’s not funny, he’s a squealer! He’ll go and tell his parents and eventually the whole town about this place,” Ian grimaced. Simon walked up beside Ian sharing his furiously disappointed look.
Simon was quite the contrast to Ian; he was short and tubby and had blonde hair that looked white in the sun. “Ummm… I was wondering if I could play… with you guys? ” a small voice squeaked. Billy wobbled up to us, it was clear he was much younger than Ian, Katy and Simon. Billy Black was very short, shorter than Simon. Now that was saying something. He had a round face framed with blonde curls that came down to his cheeks. He looked up at us with his bright blue inquisitive eyes. I looked into his bright blue eyes wondering why he wanted to ‘play’ with us in particular. He caught my stare and flushed tomato red.
I quickly looked away checking if anybody had seen and then dropped my eyes to the floor clearing my throat. “Sure you can play. We’re playing hide and seek, you hide and we seek you,” Ian replied sweetly. “We count down from ten,” Simon said smirking at Billy. We started the count down by closing our eyes but we didn’t start yet. My eyes snapped open when Ian tapped me. “What is it Ian? ” I asked. He laughed for a second, the smile fading from his face. “Billy Black… has the hots for you! ” he laughed again. Everyone started chuckling but then stopped when Ian growled, “Charlie can do the honours seeing as he fancies her.
” I gulped looking round the group; their eyes were all on me. I felt like I was in the middle of a play and I had forgotten my lines. “Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five,” I yelled. “Billy might have some competition,” mumbled Ian taking a step forward to me brushing my long, wavy golden brown hair from my eyes. My eyes snapped open breathing heavily. Simon and Katy watched me intently obviously recording my reaction. “No? ” asked Ian, his hand retreating. “Four… Three,” I carried on shakily. Ian stroked my cheek with his thumb, almost taunting me. “Two… one… ready or not here we come!
” I shouted quickly. I brushed out of Ian’s reach and started searching. “Billy! ” Katy called loudly from behind. I turned round to face the house, an obvious hiding place. I walked up the stone steps finding the door open. “Way to go Charles! ” Ian taunted striding up the stairs, closely followed by Katy and Simon. “What do we do now? ” I asked. “We lock him in. Let’s see how he handles the dark,” Ian smirked. I looked round to the other members of the group who were all nodding, how could they do this. What was this – an act of bravery to make sure Billy could cement his membership in the group?
“Voila,” Simon said gruffly picking something from out of his pocket. A key. To the house. So they had been serious, it was just plain sick. “Seriously guys, we shouldn’t do this,” I gulped. “So now you have the hots for him? ” Ian asked grinning. “No… ” I mumbled. “Well what does it matter then? Come on, let’s get it over and done with,” Katy replied. Ian walked forward to the door slamming it and locking it. “I think we should give the key to Charles,” Simon said beginning to smile. “Yes. That will prove if she can handle keeping Black in there till midnight,” laughed Ian tossing me the key.
I sighed placing the key firmly inside my pocket. Mum better not wash this hoodie. “Meet back here at seven, and don’t let Billy out,” Katy told me giving me the evils. I turned and ran to my bike as fast as my legs could carry me. I hopped on remembering to put the helmet mum placed in the basket on my head. Dad had always been a road safety kind of guy. My bike wheels spun precariously on the gravel, I was still breathing unevenly – I was shocked that Ian and the others could do something so cruel. If this was what it meant being part of their gang then I was out.
I could almost hear Billy Black’s screams in my head, his accelerated heart beat. I could see the fear in his eyes. I shook my head making the weird assumptions and visions disappear. All I needed now was to look guilty going home to mum. I got off my bicycle wheeling it to the bicycle chain. I shrugged out of my helmet letting my curly golden locks spill over my shoulders. Mum answered the doorbell the third time it had rung, she was conscious of unnecessary people coming to the door offering towels and other products that meant nothing when you already had them. “Charlotte, I was wondering where you had got to.
I wish you wouldn’t wear hoodies and sneakers when you’re around that group of friends. Just because you want to be different, you could have at least worn a miniskirt,” she rattled on. Again with the miniskirts. Ugh. “The rest of them are going to go… sort of camping. They’re going to light a fire and eat marshmallows whilst telling scary stories, please can I go? ” I begged. The lies became easier as I had been going out at night with the guys for a while now. “Be home at midnight, you know where I’ll be,” she sighed. Her behaviour had certainly changed since Hugh, her boyfriend had left.
I had hated Hugh right from the start; I didn’t want another man to replace my dad, let alone some drunken Casanova who was willing to replace the position of my father so easily. Some nights when he had come home he beat me, partially because of how drunk he was but sometimes I thought it was because I was so horrid to him making his job much harder than it should have been. High fives all around. I thought it had been better when he had left but mum’s mental health had just about deteriorated when he was gone. She became drunk more often; she smoked heavily and became very argumentative some days.
Today was an exceptionally good day for her as she was pestering again about the dreaded short skirts. I shut the door behind myself and walked into the sitting room where Mum had gone back to lounging on the sofa watching some unknown American sitcom. Little Sam lay in her arms, his eyes were firmly shut dreaming. Sam had been a very pretty baby; he had very light grey eyes and thin strands of golden hair. He was face was particularly round and remained the same colour most of the time – a constant pink that reminded me of someone who was short of breath.
He turned over in his sleep making small noises that reminded me of the days that dad used to blow ‘raspberries’ on my cheek. I sighed and turned to go up the stairs wondering what had put mum in such a good mood. I opened my bedroom door and peered inside, my bed wasn’t made and my dirty clothes lay on a pile by my feet. I picked up the dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket. I went round the room in no time clearing things up and making the bed and so on. It was so easy for my mother to forget about doing the chores. Eventually I was done and I slumped down onto my huge yellow bean bag by my window.
It was four, just three hours away till I made my way back to High Bridge Road. My thoughts crept back to Billy, a big lump rising in my throat. If I was to survive the next three hours I would have to keep myself from thinking. I noticed a walkman by the edge of my bean bag and picked it up placing the ear plugs into my ears. I turned it on and jumped because of how loud the music was but then remembered that it would be very hard to think like this. I usually did this when I didn’t want to think about something and it had become my routine on Saturday to sit upstairs and familiarize myself with the lyrics.
I set it up to repeat and eventually got tired of the CD. By that time it had repeated five times and I had been singing along to the words, no matter how bad my singing actually was. I glanced at the now luminous clock, it read six forty-five. I looked outside to see dark clouds in the sky, absolutely great. It started to rain when I left; I was wearing black jeans and a black skeleton hoodie with the hood up. I had made sure none of my hair was visible before going out. I didn’t like people saying things like I was pretty because I wasn’t and I didn’t feel pretty either.
I also thought I did this because I was told I looked so like my dad, it was unbearable sometimes so I decided to hide everything; my eyes in front of my wannabe-emo fringe. Mum was always pestering me to grow my fringe out; soon she would get her wish. The rain lashed down hard against my face cooling my hot skin. I blinked blinded by my rain covered eye lashes. I tried so hard not to think about Billy Black up to this point but now it was useless, at least he was dry and warm I thought. I drew a deep breathe as I entered through the gates, the gravel crunching beneath my silver sneakers.
The full moon was visible, peeking out of the dark grey clouds that littered the sky. It seemed irrevocable, like I was trying to walk to France or somewhere but never stopping. Finally it came to an end when I saw three tall shadowy figures leaning against the door to BlackMore House. BlackMore House was abandoned now, all that was left in was old rotting furniture beneath white sheets – the kind people went around pretending they were ghosts in. The garden was wild and out of control, everything was overgrown. It was a struggle just to get to the house.