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Everything was still, the rain just a thin drizzle. The air was cold to the touch, chilling; it whistled its way around every crevice and back alley as if it knew every turn. The houses stood out, towering overhead in the darkness of the night. There was no activity, no movement. Everyone remained blissfully unaware, locked up and safe. But then came a faint creaking for no one to hear. A soft moan of an old wooden cart crying out against its cargo. Its progress was steady and the noise grew louder as it neared the village. The rain got heavier now, driving into windows, battering them so that they screamed out in protest. The sound awoke Edmund, and he reached out to peer out of his small country cottage window. He yawned silently, annoyed at having been so rudely awakened. He glanced out into the night and there moving steadily was an old wooden cart looking several centuries out of date. The cart had no horses and no driver but still it moved. But that wasn’t what kept Edmund staring. No, it was the only passenger sat towards the back of the cart. Edmund could not turn away and the passenger looked up and stared right back. This was no human; the creature was ghostly, pearly white against the backdrop of the night. Yet it was nothing like the friendly kids stories of ghost. This ghost had no skin, just bones. It was wearing a hat, positioned jointly at an angle on his skull and a neat little dinner jacket that did nothing to cover the space where his organs should be. Edmund noticed that the cart had stopped somewhat abruptly outside of his house although its master had done nothing to cause such a response. Edmund knew what he must do, although he could not explain why or how he knew he must move. He crept carefully out into the hall and unbolted the front door. Within a matter of seconds he stood beside the cart, hardly aware of making conscience decision to be there.
He stood for a moment gazing up at the ghost before a thin bony hand reached down to beckon him into the cart. Edmund obeyed and they rode off into the night.
Myra looked up from the newspaper she was holding, taking a sip from her coffee and calling to her father “Look, at this missing person. Edmund Johnson in his late fifties just disappeared off in the middle of the night; left his wife and house and everything-just gone.”
“Hang on, this was just the other side of the village” Myra said shocked.
Her father looked up at her astounded expression. “And you say nothing interesting ever happens here.”He laughed before his expression shifted into one of concern” they haven’t found him “he confirmed. “Well poor Mrs Johnson she must be going through hell alright”.
Myra could sense that her father was talking from his own experiences with her mother back when she was just a child. She didn’t want to get into that today specially at eight in the morning.
“Well, I’ll be of then, for my last day and all that” She smiled getting up quickly to avoid talking any further. She kissed her father on the cheek picked up her school bag and the loose change of the side and slowly walked up to school.
Her school was a tiny little place made with old orange bricks and with a sturdy wooden red front door. The playground was small but surrounded the whole of the building. There were only a handful of classrooms and a hall. Total students: 100.Which meant she knew every single one of them; not a good thing, it meant everyone knew each other’s secrets cooped up in this little town and that they had all watched each other struggle through puberty and had never met anyone new. Myra had tried hard to keep herself of the radar, so clearly she was unpopular among most of her peers. But that didn’t matter to Myra because she had Jacob and he made everything better.
Myra still remembered meeting Jake back when they were just nine, she knew that he was the only boy that got her quiet timid way. She had never warranted much attention with her mousy brown hair and petit figure. As a little girl she had always hidden to the back, away from the centre and hidden her face with a blanket of brown hair. But Jake despite her guarded nature had stayed around long enough to get to know what she was really like not, just this shell she used to stop getting hurt. But she couldn’t quite understand what Jacob had ever seen in her, why he would have wanted to get to know her. He wasn’t the best looking he was a bit nerdy but still with his beautiful caramel skin and greeny grey eyes that as cheesy as it sounds looked like emerald; he surly could have picked better friends then her. As the years went on though Myra had began to realise that maybe she did have something to offer. Jacob had shown her that she could be herself around him and that he would always stay with her.
The school day wasn’t interesting. The only good thing was that it would be finishing early. She sat with Jacob at break as they always did at the back of the playground, sat on the floor sharing a sandwich between them. Myra was tempted to tell him about Edmund Johnson and the mystery around his disappearance but something made her wait as if she wanted to be free from this place first; she just wanted to finish the day .She sat for a while just watching the other kids. The younger ones still with so much energy chased each other round, pausing only briefly to catch their breath before they were off again. The older ones, the ones in her year would crowd round, gossiping and shouting while they waited for the bell to ring.
Final period was a drag. The summer air drifted in from the windows as the students lounged around on the desks the teacher too tired to be bothered to tell them not to. It was ten minutes to the bell and then they would be out for the summer; as with every year Myra would imagine what she thought the summer would bring, six weeks always seemed such a long time but it rarely was but she was still looking forward to a summer with Jake to herself. The two of them didn’t fit in here, they were just two oddballs, and it had got them some unwelcome attention through what had been a difficult school year.
Three, two, one and the bell sounded Jake caught her on the small of the back gliding her out of the classroom before she could so much as glance back.
“-NO MORE SCHOOL. I think this causes for celebration” Jacob announced and without any further conversation they both headed off for a piece of Victoria sponge at her father’s expense. Whatever the occasion that was a given-it was just tradition.
Myra’s dad owned a small teahouse, the only one in her tiny village. After her mum died it been tough for the two of them and her father had longed for something to pour his heart and soul into. The result had been this cafe he brought with his savings; since she was a little girl Myra remembered her dad telling her about his dream as she drifted off to sleep. He would always start with ‘one of these days..’ and Myra would remember the passion as he spoke of opening a cafe with a bakery serving cream teas and apple cake like grandmas. He said he want to make people delicious food-always have, always will. Food makes us happy and he would smile then and Myra would drift of lazily.
Several years down the line this was the result. The was a small counter with a glass cabinet serving the freshest new scones, cakes and bakes this was surrounded by neat little tables with red checked tablecloths. There were low hanging beams and a large original fireplace. Sometimes Myra would help out in the shop and occasionally even give a hand at baking; surprisingly for such a small village the customers formed a continual trickle. Myra knew that the cafe had gained a reputation for many miles around. She was proud to call this her second home and liked to sit in here of an afternoon with her friends. There had been many friends but particularly since her mum died Myra couldn’t stand the big crowds and she was only interested in her and Jake, slowly her other friends had drifted out of her life leaving only Jacob behind.
Myra and Jake had been friends for years, they were inseparable. They seemed to complete each other, one’s flaws the other’s strengths. Myra felt that she could depend on Jacob; that whatever happened he at least would stay with her. He had proved himself when her mum died in a car accident when she was just twelve. She had been a complete mess but Jacob had somehow pulled her through and reminded her that they were things worth living for, fighting for and for that she was eternally grateful, extremely glad that she had let him into her world so that he could stop it crashing down around her. She smiled at Jake as he waited patiently for her to speak her mind but she merely said “I think we have found a new adventure. It’s time for a little investigating” She carefully folded out the newspaper and turned it upside down so Jacob who sat opposite her could read the headline clearly ‘Mysterious night death in quiet country village’.
“it’s only two miles just the over side of town, come on we may as well look- I mean we have all summer to sit around this dump” she said as she smiled affectionately at her Father’s little tea house. “ tonight, though I think it’s time for a celebration” She said smiling cheekily as Jake watched her father coming towards them holding two large pieces of their favourite Victoria sponge. The cream freshly made and the jam oozing out from the middle. “There you are you two” Myra dad said as he placed them on the table and turned way. He called back “Myra I do expect you to do some work this holiday you know”
“I know” Myra sighed.
They tucked into their cake which seemed to be gone in seconds and much later in the evening when it just began to get dark they moved from the cafe and out into the night. She was holding Jake’s hand as they walked to the green in the middle of the village; she liked the feel of his soft hands hot against her skin; she never wanted this to change, she wanted nights like these to last forever.
Once they reached the green, the both lay down side by side and looked up at the magnitude of the sky. There wasn’t much light and sky was clear so Myra could see thousands of stars glowing as one to make up this beautiful picture. She looked down from the sky at Jake and she could see his scars glimmer in the moonlight. It reminded her of the first time she had seen them when she was just a ten year old. They had been driven down the coast by her parents and were playing themselves against the sea shrieking as it drew nearer so as not to let its wave touch their little toes. It had been a good day until Myra saw the first scar twisting from his back round to his stomach-it looked old but not as if it had faded. It was the kind of scar that would never heal. The scar itself looked brutal, it was like an ugly tattoo but instead of having a choice of choosing to remember something great this tattoo would always remind Jake of something so painful he wouldn’t even admit it, because Myra curious and questioning had asked Jake how he had got such a scar and he shied away from her then; distancing himself. The rest of day had been ruined, Jacob had refused to talk to her, talking only when it was absolutely necessary and for weeks at school he barely even glanced at her until one day he came into school with a black eye and a bruised and battered face to go with it. Myra had guessed the truth then. She knew this was unlike Jacob that something was up and eventually he admitted it. Ever since he was a boy his father would drink and when he drank he would get angry and if you were so much as in the same building then you would feel the rant of his anger until it would subside eventually in the middle of the night as he dozed off in the kitchen chair. Jacob told her how his father would apologise insistently for the next couple of days until a week later when he would find once more the urge to drink and then he would come back to Jacob and his Mum. Myra once asked him why he would put himself through it, why would he stay? Jacob told her how he could not leave his Mum that perhaps if he left her with the full force of his angered father she would one day die from the seriousness of her wounds but with him to share the pain they could survive together.
Later Jake had told her why when her mother died it was so important that he was with her that he saved her. Because she was the only one who understood and to him it was so important that once savoir to his life now could he could return the favour and save her from the pain of her life. Occasionally Jacob would stay round hers when it all got too much but for the most part, he would stay as protector for his mum who would never leave. Jacob had described to her that his mother was so scared but she stayed anyway because she believed her husband would not let them escape. She could not escape herself knowing him like she did; knowing that he once was good, that once a long time ago she had loved him.
Myra traced Jacobs scar with her finger, watching his eyes as she did so. Since she had seen that first scar there was now more. There was one round his wrist, one on his shoulder blade and across his knuckles on his left hand. Myra knew them so well she could trace the shapes on her own skin. Jacob told her that the worse nights. The nights he got those scars were the nights that the belt came out. When he told her that she remembered she forced herself to be strong for him but once alone at night in her bathroom she had cried for him, for his pain and for the cruelty that mankind possess and is possible of.
Jacob looked up into the vast black sky like a sea surrounding him .Pausing before he spoke “My, it goes on forever , there’s no beginning and no end. It makes me feel like we can do anything, you know, like one day I’m gunna get a job far away from here and take my mum with me and he’s never going to find us again as long as we live and sometime a while from now my mum’s gonna find someone who treats her right.” Myra squeezed his hand tightly in her own. “You can do anything” She replied simply.
After several minutes just laying there they both resigned themselves to the fact that they had to get up and return to the living rather than losing themselves in their dreams. They walked slowly back trying to make the night last as long as they possibly dared. “Tomorrow, we’ll go round and see Mrs Johnson, ask a few questions, look around a bit and then assess the next plan of action. She hesitated before continuing with more venom in her voice. “I really want to know what happened, I mean they lived practically next door to us .No one deserves to get away with this.”
“And no one will” Jacob answered. “We’ll find out who did this, ok?”