My schoolmates know that I am a haunted person. But they don't pity me. That is why I cling to the image of my dead sister so. They act nervous of me, and back off if I start talking as if I'm diseased. They know that sooner or later I'll say my sister's name. My sister's name is not spoken in my village. My village, my town: they don't hold a sympathy for mystery. And there is certainly a grave mystery about my sister's murder, and a mystery about my family.

People do not like to speak of how my mother has turned half-mad. They do not deem it appropriate to mention of how my father has turned to painting terrible abstract pictures for a living, how he never even scanned the paper for another job after he got chucked out of Mr Morgan's office, and later, that fast-food place. It is never said that my parents ignore me wholly and totally - if people notice that in any case. They do not like a mystery, and now that Vere is dead they find no interest in a family with an unexplained murder. All they find is fear, but they are too proud and unkind to admit that fear. They carry on - like unreactive bystanders to a scene of bullying. They are too sympathetic of Self to enter in on the mystery of Another.

I don't know if they still believe there was a murder; if they still recall that Vere was once a person, a soul, a thinking feeling presence, rather than merely a rotting body beneath a cold gravestone. Do they even think of that rotting body? No; they shun every aspect of the whole episode. That's me: an aspect. It is but a phrase, an allusion, a tiny something in the great book of Self, to be forgotten about; it is not important. But I know, as the people do, that there is something strange going on within my family. Could something strange strike again at any time? I think it is likely.

I hate November.

And in November, there are few circumstances that are more blindingly miserable than walking home from school beneath a consistently weeping sky. When you trudge along with your head down, your mouth drooping, constantly aware of that undoubted unattractiveness which prompts people to unconsciously recoil from you, persecute your accidental ugliness without thinking about it, even when they are not remembering that it is the anniversary of your beloved sister's death - it is pure misery. Is she still beloved - my sister, is she? I don't know. I don't know my sister any more. But I pretend to myself that I do, because that pretence is the only bright spark in my miserable life.

My eyes scan what I can see of the road, my sandy hair falling over my eyes, searching for the ever-present tough gangs, rude tarts,  and the blue-cloaked murderer who haunts my life in a discreetly paedophilic way.

I have had a good day on the whole, despite the protest in the pit of my stomach that five years is a good measure of time. But then no day is particularly good; so, all told, I had a good day.

Mostly my schoolmates hang aloof from me, because they do not understand me or my problems, and don't want to, and are scared of my odd past. Either that or they bully me, but since I know that is mainly a factor of their fearfulness I don't allow it to bother me. Being bullied makes me feel better, actually. So they don't do it that much anymore. There is nothing less satisfying than bullying a guy who enjoys every second of it. Am I a masochist? Probably.

The factor of my day being good is slightly embarrassing, for me, though I'm sure it couldn't be remotely consequential in any way; not that I care to be honest. But, knowing how I am, I am charmed. I replay the scene again. I'm used to replaying scenes in my mind, especially on this particular day in dreary November...

The End

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