This is a short extract from a story opening I’m working on, I’m not sure if I will continue with it but if people are interested there is more I can feature at a later date:
Bethany wasn’t getting any younger. She talked to me less and less. She rang Tanya on the phone every evening, even though they had spent all day together at school. They would talk for hours about everything that had happened that day.
How cute Sean Hugh’s hair was.
How Bethany wasn’t sure about whether she should get a fringe cut into her hair and oh my God no way, Tanya had to come to the lakes on Saturday because they were going to sunbathe and watch the boys play football.
My chest hurt every time she ignored me as I sat there in my usual spot on the end of the bed. Her mother would eventually come in and tell her to get off the phone and get ready to go to sleep. This was the only time Bethany would acknowledge me.
“You have to get off the bed,” she’d say. I’d stand up and look at her. “Oh my God don’t be weird, I’m getting changed,” she’d snap, pointing to the door. I would leave the room, melting through the door, feeling even more invisible than usual. I was becoming more invisible every day.
My right hand was slowly turning grey and translucent, like how I’d imagine a ghost to look. I’d re-enter the room when she had gotten into bed and turned out the light. I’d lie next to her and watch her sleep and wish that she still needed me. Once she was fast asleep I’d go out and meet with the Group.
“You need to find a new child,” Mamma Grey said one night as we all sat round a patio table, discussing how things were with our allocated children.
“But Bethany is still a child,” I mumbled.
“She is 14 years old Reeves, she doesn’t need someone to talk to anymore.” Mamma Grey scolded me.
“No she’s got Tanya for that,” I snarled. I slumped in the chair, “I’ve only ever known Bethany, how do I find a new child?” I asked.
“You don’t find them, they find you.” Mamma Grey said. The rest of the Group nodded in unison. They had all looked out for at least five or six kids each, I was new to this game. “And you need to find someone else soon Reeves, otherwise you’ll simply cease to exist.”
“Go to a park or a school playground, there’s always some loser…I mean lonely kid sitting on their own…” Stig wasn’t the best with words, he chose the tougher kids, the ones who didn’t have friends because they were usually bullies or would probably grow up to become murdering psychopaths.
He did offer them a shoulder to cry on when they were upset after they found their Mum passed out in a drug related stupor again or if their Dad decided to take his anger out on them.
“Okay,” I muttered, sipping my cold cup of coffee. I hadn’t made it strong enough, I could only just taste it. “Should I tell Bethany I’m leaving?”
“No,” Mamma Grey said, “Just break it off. She’ll just think she’s finally grown out of it.”