Here is an excerpt from my new young adult novella, Best Friends Forever.
Sometimes I enjoy giving people my address. I like to watch how they react. You see around here Mellar Place is more famous than number ten Downing Street. I watch as they carefully write down my address and wait to see if they are brave enough to ask.
What was it like living next door to a murderer?
Of course other days I absolutely hate it. Today is one of those days. All I want to do is get my cinema pass and go to see the film.
I look at her name tag. “Yes. Kristy.” I say emphasises her name. Stephanie was always doing things like that even to adults. She would have approved and that makes me feel warm inside.
“Isn’t that where those murders took place?” Kristy oozed.
“Yes. Look is this going to take long? Because I would like to see a film tonight.”
“I couldn’t read everything in the papers about it. It turned my stomach. I bet you knew him ‘n’ all?”
This one will take all night, the persistent ones always do. I tried to think about Stephanie and how she would handle this. I lean forward so I am close enough to see the spots hidden under Kristy’s foundation.
“Yes I knew him. I knew the whole family rather well actually. I often went round. I even ate there. But right now I want you to fill in the form give me my cinema pass and leave me alone. And before you tell me you were only asking I want you to do it in silence.”
Kristy is at least four years older than me. I can tell she is shocked. She is not used to being spoken to like this by anyone, especially someone who has just left school. I don’t break eye contact or back down. She starts to copy out my bank details and I know I’ve won.
“You have to stand in front of the web cam for your picture.” Kristy says coolly, but I can see how uncomfortable she is.
“Here’s your receipt so you can get in today. Your card will come through the post in three to five days.” Kristy says busying herself tidying up papers on the desk. I grab some sweets and line up for a drink, standing in the queue I feel lonelier than ever. Not because I am at the cinema alone, after the arrest I had to get used to spending time alone. I miss Stephanie; I miss how we would have burst out laughing as we walked away.
Stephanie who was quick and clever and could mimic anyone even if she had just met them minutes before. Stephanie who would have bought some sweets and then pretended to eat them. Except I knew she was dropping them on the floor, waiting until I ate all mine, so that I could then finish hers. I buy the sweets but not a drink and head for home. Suddenly I don’t feel like a film anymore.
I let the sweet dissolve slowly, hoping it will take some of the bitterness away. It is quite bizarre that I love living at Mellar’s Place. I have always been happy there. It was where I met my first real friend. Of course I didn’t enjoy it when the police were digging up bodies and the press was around all the time. That was awful.
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