Chapter TenMature

Chapter Ten

I checked my phone again, and found nothing. What had I been expecting? William had taken me in because I needed help. I figured he stayed away because I was ill before. But I'd recovered days ago and still nothing. Zip, Nadda. It was getting frustrating. I left my phone on the bedside table and glanced around. Diane had taken her mothers bed and told me I could stay in her room. I'd gotten used to the black drapes on the ceiling and the fairy lights. The last time I had really been in here was when we were little. Back then her wallpaper was unicorns and rainbows, not black gothic patterns. Diane was away now, in the woods with Bryan. When he had learnt she couldn't do her photography project anymore he volunteered to help. I was glad for them, when I wasn't bitter about the state of my own love life, or lack thereof.

I turned over, muttering unintelligible into the rose-scented pillow. I sat up, grabbing my backpack. If I stayed in this house any longer I was going to go stir-crazy. Bryan spent a lot of time here of course. He claimed he was helping me protect Diane. I was pretty sure she could see through it. Penny had stopped by once. Her reaction had been more subdued to the news. She'd just nodded silently, before moving onto different questions. She hadn't had a chance to stop by since because of dance recitals.

I had no reason to think she was lying, and she sounded genuinely annoyed on the phone. I had no clue if Bryan or Penny talked to dad back home. I walked towards the city centre. Diane was a lot closer than me, living in Taversham as opposed to Madingley. Diane's mother had moved to a cheaper place closer to the city when Diane was ten. It just made more sense to walk, rather than waste money on a bus ticket. I texted Diane to tell her I might be out when she gets home and kept walking. I considered texting William as I walked. I put my phone away before I could. Maybe he was ignoring me for a good reason.

I was walking along Newmarket road and past the industrial areas near the airport, when something felt off. It was hard to describe, but I had a feeling something wasn't quite right. It was a Saturday so the area was empty, save the airport. I walked until I reached a turn and headed down the street, further into the industrial heart of the area. I slowed my steps as I walked, wondering what my senses were trying to tell me. I reached an area of warehouses that looked pretty much abandoned and paused. It was the middle of the day, what was I expecting? My head was playing games with me I decided, and turned to leave. Then I heard a cough, it was raspy, and the person sounded in pain. I stopped mid-step and glanced at its source. The empty warehouse at the end of the street. I walked quickly.

It was made of a thin, congregated-iron roof and blackened brick walls. Tall windows that were mostly painted over from inside. Same as the others. I wondered how bad the fire had been that put them out of commission. There was chains and padlocks in front of the two sets of double doors and the large garage ones in the middle. I could definitely sense signs of something inside there though. I saw a low wall between the warehouse and the next one and some nearby dumpsters.

I pushed it closer to the wall, grateful it was basically empty. Once that was done I climbed up and used that to get over the wall. I glanced down and saw there was nothing soft to land on. If Bryan was here he'd have jumped by now without a care. I hesitated. Maybe it made better sense to call him. Doing this on my own was probably a stupid idea. I moved to go back and slipped, falling backwards. I cried out as my head connected with the concrete. I felt my whole body jar with the force of it and bit my lip to stop from yelling out more. When the worst of the pain passed I breathed out slowly.

“Ow,” I muttered, pulling myself into a sitting position. I reached a careful hand to my head and winced. Looking at my hands confirmed I was bleeding. “Brilliant.” I used nearby railing to pull myself up, feeling a wave of vertigo. At least there was no one around as I striped and shifted. Once I was back in human form and dressed, it was still painful. But a throbbing headache was better than the blood. I looked at the railing I'd held onto and saw a side-door. This one had been padlocked, but someone had ripped it off. That didn't bode well.

Well, I'm this far. I pushed the door opened and it groaned as I did. Secrecy went out the window when I'd fallen though. There were twisted forms in rows that were once shelves, reaching the high ceiling. The fire had melted the metal out of shape, some had fallen over, blocking my path. Old crates and other rubbish blocked the way. I had a feeling homeless people had probably used the space before. I made my way, ducking and jumping over obstacles, searching. I reached an open area that looked recently inhabited and glanced around. Something collided from my right as I turned to look. I cried out a second time as I hit the floor with cracking force.

The End

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