Almost finished now – Dennis chewed the plastic top of his
pen thoughtfully. “Black…black seeds … no, petals
of black – seeds? no, petals of black beetling grain,”
hmm, that’d do it, for now. “Capture the essence of
the flower,” he could still hear Mrs Cunliffe saying and
he’d spent the best part of an hour trying to do what she’d
asked. Dennis glanced through the window again nervously –
it was early. Early, and he still had the whole day ahead of him
for investigating. Funny that, again he could have sworn …
but he knew that he often felt uneasy, often felt observed. “Get
a grip, man,” he muttered to himself.
He wished he knew the answer already, didn’t have the weight
of doubt on him, could look Jerry in the eye and just say to him,
“Tell me who my parents are. I’m fifteen; I need to
know.” Just that, so simple, but he couldn’t, he didn’t
have the courage, yet … another coffee was in order. Kellogs
cornflakes, cocoa powder and spilt milk were still stuck to the
kitchen surface along with the dirty breakfast cutlery and the
kettle. Light from between the net curtains trailed lazily over
the mess, and went on, further behind, lifting the coffee jar
into a bath of warm stardom. My God, he’d have to stop that
bloody writing – it was addling his brain. No way –
would they get him to do the scholarship and study at Cambridge.
Only he, Dennis Pearson, was going to decide on his future and
to do that he needed to be clear about his past.
Pretty unnerving, that feeling again, of being watched –
paranoia? Queer? – was he queer? – he smiled, only
in the quaint archaic sense of course. Really nearly made it the
other night with Carol though – he smiled again.
Something moved in the yard outside and suddenly the back door
opened. Two middle-aged men: one bearded and stocky; the other:
slim with glasses – nervous, unsure - appeared before him.
“Unwise to do anything hasty, son,” the heavier one
seemed to be trying to reassure him as Dennis instinctively grasped
a knife. “Very slowly does it. We just need you to come
with us for a chat, son,” he continued. ‘Xiphoid’
- sword-like was a Greek word they’d learned with Mr Tyson
at school, but the bearded man didn’t pull out a sword,
just a card with what seemed to be his photo on it – identification.
You need to be told the truth, son, and we’re here to take
you to it. Zooming in on him now so physically, Dennis had to
admit that the truth seemed a little too intimidating to be dealt
with all in one go – he put his hands into his pockets and
looked down, thinking.