Katelyn glanced at the ticking clock above Mr Matthew’s desk. It was nearing six o’clock, and the end of her detention. He barely moved to accept her work. He was staring at some scribbled piece of paper.
‘Good, thank you Katelyn.’ His jaw moved rigidly as he said her name. He had forgotten it, again. She packed up her books. Her watch told her it was already too late to catch a bus.
She took sir’s nod as a sign to leave and slowly walked through the school. Little lit empty schools used to scare her, now days she was used to it. Her fingers traced over the walls of the corridors plastered with work only parents could be proud of. She sniffled as her shoes tapped on ...view middle of the document...
‘What do you want?’ Dan was so tired of this.
When he tried to talk to Bracus, the words took so long to get out. ‘Why are you... why are you here?’ It was like a tie wrapped around his throat.
‘Easy question, Daniel. I’m not.’ He tried to shake his head but the caterpillar was still there, raising his body and swaying side to side. He had always been massive and always unnerving.
‘You... you’re right. I forgot.’ Dan tried the exercises he had been taught. Clench your fists, unclench. Bracus just laughed with his wheezy voice. The caterpillar sounded like it smoked forty a day. Bracus told him to pay attention. He kept on meowing.
‘I might, maybe be crazy but I never... ever liked cats.’ Breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose. He had forgotten about breathing. It was nice.
It wasn’t nice for long. The caterpillar was swaying quickly now, side to side like a dancing snake. ‘Dead cat, dead cat, dead cat’ Bracus repeated, constantly crackling. He tried to reach out to the scaly lips of the insect and push them together. He was soon screaming at him to stop. The caterpillar just kept swaying and singing.
Then a voice like an intercom interrupted. ‘Ticket please?’
Dan’s eyes opened up wide, revealing dim green dots. He shuffled around trying to find his ticket. He flicked the rubber band off his wrist as he watched the guard punch a crisp hole into the orange paper. Every smack reminded him of the three most important things. Trust dad. The kids at school won’t remember. And get rid of the imaginary human sized caterpillar.
Except, that was all lies. Even talking to his dad was hard. The kids at school would remember. The caterpillar? Well, the only way to get rid of him would be never closing his eyes again, and he had already tried that.
Dan heard his phone ring and picked it up to his Dad’s voice. His dad had seen him happy literally two hours ago. But he just had to check. Their conversations were all the same. It was just his dad telling him everything would be okay, again and again.
‘Just remember, school will be alright. You have some good friends.’ He had pretended to agree but the next day, as he stood outside the school he knew it wouldn’t be. It never used to be a scary sight. The old seventies structure on the outskirts of the city used to look like somewhere you’ve always known. It had been comfortable and easy. Now a mass of bare trees scarcely covered a building falling to pieces. He took a quiet route instead of the main entrance and for a second thought it would be okay. Maybe he could get through today without anyone noticing.
Then a shriek hit Dan like axe and a seagull flew in front of him. Dan’s skin felt like it was splitting. He wanted to run and hide and never come back and avoid people and insects and birds and.... The school bell rang and Dan got up off the ground. He didn’t think anyone had seen him after he collapsed just because a seagull was...