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Alone in the hall
I dropped from the skylight into the dusty, dark village hall. It was a longer drop than I expected. I hit the floor with a sickening thump. I lay on the wood, winded and took in the room. I only had a few minutes to do it. The windows were boarded up. The door was locked. The heating was off. It smelt of damp and dust. I coughed as I inhaled the heavy air and got to my feet.
It was empty, of course. No one had been here for a while. Months probably. Years. The only window not boarded was so coated in dust no light shone through. The only light came from the skylight I’d come in from. I suddenly realised: there was no way back up. I was stuck down here. I wondered if the others would’ve brought a rope.
“You O.K., mate?” Came a man’s voice from the roof. I couldn’t tell who it was.
“Get on with it then.” I turned and tried to find the key to the side door. They’d promised it would be there. They’d promised. I stood on tiptoe to feel over the ledge above the door. It wasn’t there. I started to panic. What if the key wasn’t there? What if I couldn’t let the others in? What if I couldn’t get out? I couldn’t even think what the others would do if I failed. I was probably safer locked in the hall than out with them. That’s what my Mum would’ve thought anyway.
There were three boys on the roof. No, they were too big to be boys, too strong, too cool, too old. Men then. Three men on the roof. I was younger obviously, lighter, smaller and if I got caught I could get out of being prosecuted because I’m only fifteen. I only know one guy’s name. Mike. He’s the tallest, meanest and oldest. He’s also my brother.
There was no key anywhere near the door. I was scrambling around on all fours, desperately trying to find it. There was no key. Not that I can see. I was going to die.
“Hurry up loser!” That was Mike.
“I can’t find it!” I whined quietly.
“Seriously? You are so dead when you let me in! I already told you what I’d do if you messed this up.” He growled. There was no key anywhere.
“I can’t find it.” I whispered, voice quavering. I knew I sounded like a real wimp, but you haven’t met these guys! I had every reason to be scared.
“Come on Mike, leave the kid here. Teach ‘im a lesson!”
“Sounds good. See you, loser!” Called Mike through the door. I heard them walking away, laughing. They left me! In the middle of the night in a locked up building. Dad would kill me if I got home late. Or if I didn’t come back until morning. Or if I never came back. If I just stayed here for ever, until I starved to death. I can’t believe Mike left me! I knew he was ashamed to have a baby brother like me: short, geeky, smart and boring, but I never thought he’d just leave me on my own in the dark!
I lent against the wall, slid down and sat on the wooden floor. It had started to rain through the open skylight.
I waited for anyone to come. Hours I sat, still and silent, waiting. Until the sun rose. Hours after that.
I stared at the skylight. Waiting for someone to come down and rescue me. But no one came.
“Kid?” came a whisper from above. I jumped up and saw Mike’s ugly mug staring at me.
“What do you thing you’re doing? You left me for hours! You’re such a jerk!”
“Hey, shut-up!” He slurred, “It was only a joke. We was just having some fun! No ’arm done, ey!” He was drunk. Really drunk.
“Do you have a rope or something?”
“No, you can climb the wall like spidey! Go on, it’ll be fun!”
“Fine! I’ll go get you some stupid rope!” He left. He was gone for ages. “Got some!” He through down the end, and I scrambled up it, like in gym class at school. I got up the rope, climbed down the fire escape ladder and walked off with my hands in my pockets. I walked on, past my house, past my street. Out of my town. And I walked away from my family. From the consequences at home. From Mike and from my Dad. From myself. But I followed me.