Western Mail - - WM2 -

WHERE’S Pi­geon? Where’s Pi­geon? Be­hind Gwyn you can see there’s a door in­side the van, and maybe it’s a toi­let? And maybe Pi­geon’s in there, maybe that’s where he is?

“Mur­drer, mur­drer. He’s killed Pi­jin. Mur­drer!” Sud­denly Cher’s scream­ing and kick­ing the side of the van. I want to stop her, but I’m too shy in front of the big kids in the queue and so I just say, “Don’t be stupid, Cher, don’t be daft”, over and again. Cher ig­nores me and just keeps go­ing.

“Mur­drer. Mur­drer!” she screams, and I know now why Pi­geon keeps her out of his shed.

In the slot, Gwyn looks at Cher slow. He’s frown­ing, do­ing a job at look­ing in­no­cent. Be­hind him, kids on The Twis­ter scream and whirl round in the air. Some of the big kids lick­ing ice creams are laugh­ing at Cher and one boy puts on a girl’s voice and runs round in cir­cles scream­ing “Mur­drer! Mur­drer!” while his mates cackle like gulls so that I’m all red now, and em­bar­rassed. Pi­geon was right about Cher. Cher’s a pain.

“Don’t be stupid, Cher. Don’t be daft,” I say again, all quiet, feel­ing sick as usual.

Cher doesn’t stop, and the big kids are laugh­ing more now, so I get a hold of Cher’s arms, try­ing to keep her back. It’s like try­ing to hold back a dog that’s swim­ming, Cher’s arms and legs scratch­ing and ev­ery­thing.

Then, be­hind and through ev­ery­thing, there’s a shape, mov­ing like a cat out of the van, past the sign on the side that says Mind that child, and run­ning down the bank be­low, off into the dark. Pi­geon’s gone be­fore Gwyn and Cher can turn round to see him. He dis­ap­pears into the dark, like the smoke from his cig­a­rettes dis­ap­pears up to the black sky from his at­tic win­dow. Then he’s gone. Gone.

Watch­ing him, my hands have stopped hold­ing Cher and so she’s run­ning round the side of the van, pulling open the back doors. Cher’s pink coat’s flick­ing un­der the lights and my feet go smack and smack, hard and fast on the ground be­hind her, cos I hate be­ing sec­ond most of all, even with Pi­geon gone.

But now Cher’s gone too far. Too far. She’s jumped into the van with Gwyn and he’s say­ing “Get out! Get out!”

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