Silent, A Tense Encounter (1)
Two Years Ago, Gavin
It was awful. I kept trying to leave, but each time I walked to the empty window space, Jace or Steve got me in a friendly headlock and sat me down again while the hoodie cackled in the corner, muttering before laughing out loud. I couldn't believe I'd tried to help Jace the previous night when he'd done his stupid walk along the sea railing. I should have let him fall into the water.
Meanwhile, Philippa and Aidan were bickering in another corner of the building. Aidan rolling around on the ground and crying like a little kid. Throwing up everywhere and saying he wanted to die.
'Gross,' Steve called over to him. 'You'd better clear that up, mate, or I'll smash your face in.'
'Leave him alone,' Philippa called back. 'He's ill, can't you see?'
'You can shut up too,' he said to Philippa.
'And you,' he added to me.
The rap stopped. A tense silence fell.
The hoodie girl glared at me. 'Hey,' she yelled. 'What're you staring at?'
Too much. Jace, Steve, Aidan howling like a child, and now the girl in the hood shouting at me too. I pretended I needed the toilet and climbed through the window space again, cutting my finger on the nail, conscious of the hoodie screaming more obscenities after me from inside the building. It was pretty light outside, breezy but muggy. My heart was hammering in my chest. I tiptoed round the back and climbed over a fence, tearing through hedges and branches on all fours, into a field, my jeans and trainers getting plastered with mud, my hands getting stung by nettles. The cut finger had begun to bleed a bit.
I continued on, across the field, looking for cover, somewhere to hide. If Steve and Jace got me, that would be it. I decided to make a dash for it by a line of trees. Started running towards another fence, sliding in the mud several times, nearly tripping. Up and over. The other side, and more mud from the rain earlier, but at least I was safe now. Just five more minutes to go, and then Lyme House. Not long at all. Just concentrate on getting back.
'Oi, Gavin,' a voice called. 'Oi, oi, oi.' A pair of hands gripped me. Laughing, Jace jumped on my back and spun me around, again and again, piggyback style. 'Gotcha, mate.'
'We went the other way,' Steve said, looking delighted with himself. 'Fooled you.'