Chapter FourMature

I managed to get that policeman - I think his name was Herman? - to rescue Ezekiel for me. He wound his way around my legs, purring. Ezekiel, I mean. Not Herman.

I'm not usually the kind of girl to cry. I'm pretty level-headed, I think, but I doubt anyone could be informed of the death of their last living relative without batting an eyelid. The policemen all looked very uncomfortable, so I did my best to stop as soon as I could. I don't like making people feel uncomfortable. I'm really a very gentle soul.

Herman offered to call a cab for me, seeing as my house had been turned into a crime scene.

'Have you got somewhere you can go? A relative or friend?'

I paused for a moment, chewing my lip. I really didn't have much choice. It would have to be Esther or Gail. Gail, I decided - she was less likely to faint on me at the news.

'Yes, thanks,' I said with a timid smile. 'It's not very far away. I can walk.'

But he insisted, and so I found myself deposited outside Gail's peeling green front door with the brass doorknob and black railings. I stepped up and knocked. Ezekiel was still in my arms, getting cat hair all over my dress, but I couldn't find it within myself to care. He squirmed as Gail opened the door; I put him on the ground and he ran inside her house, already deciding it was his own, thank you very much.

'Rebekah?' Gail asked, frowning. 'What on earth is going on?'

I took a deep breath, and began to explain.

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I curled my hands around a mug of coffee, blowing gently on the top to cool it down. I'd already burnt my tongue once. That would be sore tomorrow.

'Of course you can stay here, Rebekah,' Gail was saying. She'd got over her initial paleness at my explanation, and was now doing what Gail did best - bustling around and making everything better. She'd already got me my coffee, and was now getting out spare bedding from a cupboard above the sink. A pillowcase escaped her grip and fell into the wet basin.

'I'm sorry,' I said, miserably. She was busy enough as it is. I shouldn't be imposing on her like this.

She turned round, leaning on the back of one of the wooden kitchen chairs. 'Don't talk nonsense. None of this is your fault. Now I don't want to hear you apologise or thank me, not now, not ever. They're my terms for you being here. Take it or leave it.'

For the second time that day, I felt tears in my eyes, but this time I was smiling. 'Th-' I began, but stopped myself in time.

Gail smiled. 'That's better. Now follow me, and you can help me make your bed.'

The End

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