Issue 32 Jan 2016
As Will and I walked down the Hill, Westmore school looming large behind us, I could sense that something bad was going on nearby. Some unusual quality in the air, maybe. When you’ve been bullied, you tend to be able to sniff out trouble.
It was Ronnie Fallow and his mates. Ronnie was the cruellest bully at Westmore, and me and Will had both had our share of run-ins with him and his gang in the past.
‘Who’s that they’re pushing around?’ asked Will. I could hear the undercurrent of anxiety in his voice; he was even more scared of Ronnie than I was.
The group were still a way off near the lake that lay at the centre of the park, and I couldn’t quite make out any faces, but it was obvious what was happening.
Henry Jenkins squinted into the glare of a magenta sun. As far as he could tell, he was in a vast windswept wasteland strewn with mounds of junk. The distant mountainous heaps were hazy, but he could see what the nearest ones were made of: linty socks, hubcaps and rusting tools.
His mother’s voice barged into his buzzing head.
“I’m sick of finding God knows what in your pockets Henry Jenkins,” she’d shouted earlier that morning.
“If I’d kept my soccer socks in my pocket you wouldn’t have lost them in the wash. I had to play a whole game with only one on,” he’d retorted.
“Well you can just wash your own stinky uniform if you don’t like how I do it. I’m off to play bingo."
He’d found his gear in a damp clump under his bed as well as a half-eaten Whizzy Bar (which he pocketed for later).