Sam glared at Alex dangerously as his younger brother tried, and failed, to shuffle past him on the stairway. There had never been any love lost between the two, yet to Alex’s surprise, he wasn’t on the receiving end of a wayward punch this time.
“Watch were you’re going next time,” came the angry response from Sam, quickly forcing his was past and into his bedroom, slamming the door furiously.
Despite being younger by five years, Alex could have been his brothers twin, so much so, that in public, he was often mistaken for Sam. He’d heard his mother say, once, that he looked mature for his age, but Alex certainly didn’t feel it. Able to walk unobstructed now that his bother had moved, he glided down the stairs two and a time, and landed on the hard stone tiles with a thud. Mrs Graham was sat at the breakfast table, a look of condemnation on her face. Without even glancing up at her son, she raised her right hand and pointed in the direction of the fridge. It stood open, the white florescent light flickering idly.
“Why is my fridge open?” she asked in a voice to calm for her face, “you’re lucky the milk hasn’t gone off”.
Alex didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t tell her about what he’d seen; she’d never believe him.
“I forgot to close it,” he replied, looking anywhere but at her, “sorry”.
Pushing a stray strand of hair from her eyes, the same shade of brown as her sons, she smiled. “Don’t forget again. Now, go on, it’s time for school”.
Not wanting to be told twice, Alex laced up his shoes and headed for the door, only stopping when his mother spoke again.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” she asked, pointing towards the fridge again when Alex looked confused, “the door”.
Walking over to shut it, he caught a glimpse out of the kitchen window into the front garden. A cold shiver ran down his spine as he remembered the shadow from last night, clear in his mind like an unforgettable nightmare. Still in a daze, mind swimming with visions of dark shadows, he left the house without saying goodbye, only realizing he was outside when the fresh air hit him. Even though he knew there was nothing there, he still walked gingerly around the mailbox with the house number 27 on it, like the shadow could reach out and grab him at any time. Once Alex had passed it, and was through the wooden gate at the end of the garden, he relaxed a little. With the sun’s rays beating down, it would be a beautiful day, and the hustle and bustle of life had already started. People were leaving their homes, some dressed in suits, others in casual clothes, while excitable children’s voices could be heard as chatted on the way to school. There was something reassuring about being surrounded by so many people, and soon Alex was beginning to think about meeting his friend at the bus stop, and of their first day of the new school year. To his left and right, trees lined a road that ran directly through the suburban neighbourhood, and led on into town. After walking for five minutes, Alex entered what was known as the rich part of town. The first house coming into view was number 34, the Stormballs. Their house was nothing short of spectacular. White marble made up the exterior, while a large iron gate was surrounded by huge walls that ran the length of the front garden. Peter stood outside the gates, a look of impatience on his face.
“I thought I’d wait for you here,” he said, “but you took so long I could’ve already been sat on the bus by now”.
He was dressed in blue denim jeans and a white T-shirt. Carrying a black backpack on his shoulder, he rushed over to Alex and waved his watch around, trying to indicate the time. It read 07:56; the bus was due to leave at 08:00.
“We’re going to miss it if we don’t hurry up,” Peter continued, “come on”.
suffer from the past, to long for the future, but to forget the present.
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