Chapter One. Jack
Rossie. The day I met you wasn't a good day. Sorry if I offend you by saying this, but it's the truth. On top of being completely humiliated in front of Linn, I had a hurricane waiting for me at home. Not to mention it was freezing and I had to walk home without a jacket.
I'm sure you remember how I gave you your bracelet. Truth is, Rossie, it was meant to be Linn's birthday present. I'd liked her a long time at this stage, and I considered her to be a close friend. But there was the issue of Alan - her boyfriend at the time. After he threw his plate of potatoes and gravy over me, beat me up and walked away with his arm around Linn, I'd kinda forgotten about her present. Especially since she giggled at me as she turned away.
Sorry. I told myself before I started writing this that I wouldn't make it about Linn. Coz it's not about Linn. It's about you.
I was about ten minutes from school when I stopped to take the stupid bracelet out of my pocket. I had stopped just outside the old abandoned courthouse. I think it had been abandoned over twenty years ago at the time.
I was so angry, Rossie.
I channeled all of my anger into one fierce throw. I was a little satisfied as I watched the sparkling silver bracelet soar through the air and inside the old courthouse through one of its big fancy windows that had been smashed open.
I remembered that I'd use about three months' worth of pocket money to buy that bracelet, and my heart sank. I wanted that money back if I wasn't going to see that bracelet on Linn's wrist.
After glancing quickly around the street - it was a cold October's evening, and everybody had bustled indoors once they arrived home. I then climbed on top of the wall and hopped down into the overgrown, weed-infested grounds of the courthouse.
As I circled the building as best I could without tripping in the overgrowth, I had the feeling I wouldn't get the bracelet back; the huge fancy windows were too far from the ground for me to see through - let alone climb. And the doors had been shut up long ago. Bottom line, Rossie, there was no way inside.
Something moved in the long swaying grass. I froze and watched as the fat, hairy grey creature skulked towards the right side of the building. It turned its head lazily to look at me; it was a cat, and it was missing its right eye. I shuddered as it turned away and continued on its way.
I was intrigued as to what the cat was up to; surely it didn't live on the grounds of the courthouse? What was there here for a cat?
At the back of the building, the cat wriggled into a huge cluster of weeds that had grown up against the wall of the courthouse. I assumed it must have spotted a rat or something, and I waited for a few minutes to see if it would emerge with its catch. However, there wasn't even the slightest movement in the grass and weeds.
I grabbed a branch from the ground - it seemed to have fallen from the nearby sycamore tree - and poked it into the weeds to see if I would disturb the cat. Nothing moved. I pushed the branch in further, wondering why it hadn't hit the wall by now. I dropped to my knees and began to pull the weeds apart, ignoring the stings of the thistles, and pushed my head in.
It was then that I crawled - for the first time - inside the old courthouse. And Rossie, I had no idea that my world was about to be flipped upside down.