Monday 18 August 2014

My Bedroom Window

My Bedroom Window
Alison Peden
A mug of hot chocolate

My room is at the front of our house; it is only small but I love it.
It is warm and safe and has all my books and toys in it. I am not allowed a telly in my room because Mum says too much TV addles your brain and gives you nightmares, but she lets me read my books or play with my toys till quite late, so I don’t mind. The best thing about my room is the big window which looks out onto our road. At night when it is dark I turn off my light so no one can see me, and I look out at the stars and the moon, and at my neighbours.
            My best friend, Ziggy, lives next door. I can’t see into his house but I can see his front garden. It is very different from our garden which has neatly cut grass and flowers; his is full of rubbish, including an old broken fridge and a dirty mattress. We like to jump on the mattress and pretend to be gymnasts doing handstands and forwards rolls. Mum says it’s a disgrace, but I think it is as good as the park down the road; and no one bothers us there because they are all scared of Ziggy’s mum, Maureen. No one messes with Maureen, but she is always nice to me.
            Tonight, there is a full moon which gives the whole street a spooky glow. The street is very quiet. My Mum says that when it is like this something bad is going down. I don’t always agree with her, but tonight I think she might be right.
            I can see Mick, Maureen’s latest boyfriend, staggering down the road. He throws an empty can into Mrs Jones’ garden and carries on to Ziggy’s house. Ziggy doesn’t like him. He says that Mick is nice to him when his mum is there, and wants him to call him Dad, but when she goes out to the bingo Mick hurts him, and, if he has had a few beers, makes Ziggy do stuff he doesn’t like. Ziggy says he doesn’t know who his real dad is but his mum once told him he is called David Bowie. Ziggy is sure that he would be much nicer to him than Mick. I told my mum what Ziggy had said about his dad’s name being David Bowie. She laughed, but she stopped laughing when I told her the other stuff. I saw her talking to Maureen over the hedge after tea and Maureen was crying, which I had never seen before. I hoped it wasn’t about Ziggy’s funny name.
 I can’t see Mick but I can hear him; he is banging on Ziggy’s front door and yelling at Maureen to let him in. I have a funny, sick feeling in my stomach. I hope Maureen won’t let him in. I don’t want him to hurt Ziggy. Eventually, it goes quiet and I see Mick sitting on the mattress in the front garden. He is holding his head in his hands and I think he might be crying. After about ten minutes he stands up; he is very wobbly and I am surprised that he doesn’t fall over, but he manages to stagger into the road. As he does, I see two men walk round the corner. They are big men. One has a pony tail, the other is bald, and the light from the moon bounces off his head. I recognise him as Ziggy’s uncle Steve. Mick sees them too and tries to run away but his legs just seem to crumple and he falls onto his knees. Steve and his friend walk over to Mick. They don’t speak; they just punch and kick him whilst he is curled up in a ball on the ground. It is too horrible to watch, so I crouch down and hide my face in the curtains.

 After a while, I peek out. Mick is lying in the street, not moving, I think he might be dead. I wonder if I should call an ambulance, but then Maureen comes out. She stands next to Mick, then nudges him with her foot. He holds his arms out to her, maybe hoping she will help him; she ignores him and then lifts her foot up and stamps as hard as she can on his privates. I hear his scream even through our double glazing.
I have seen enough. I climb back into bed and bury myself under the quilt. In the morning there is no sign of what had happened, but it will be a long time before I dare to look out of my window again at night.

About the author:

 Alison Peden, living in Manchester, writing short stories sat in her wheelchair.

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