Rewrite: Jamie makes a selfless sacrifice in order to protect Deacon
|Recap: Jamie got into trouble with Katrina’s. Katrina and a neighbour named Alice Burgess were long-time friends but had had a falling out. In an attempt to rekindle the friendship, Jamie had gone over and spoken to Alice; prompting the end of the feud. Though touched by his compassion, Katina was angry that Jamie disobeyed her and limited his Wi-Fi privileges. |
Later that day Jamie and Deacon met up with Alice whilst walking Koromaru. Jamie reluctantly agreed to allow Deacon to continue walking Koromaru whilst he used Alice’s computer.
“Any sign of them, Aunty Alice?” asked Jamie, looking up from the laptop.
“No yet; but I’m sure they won’t be long,” replied Alice but Jamie could tell by the tone in her voice that she shared his concern.
A small open fire crackled and spat beneath the marble mantelpiece that ran three quarters of the way around Alice’s dining room. Upon it sat a sizeable collection of curiosities and quaint souvenirs from various overseas trips she had been on. Its two ends met on opposite sides of the far wall which was taken up with an extensive library of paperbacks and reference books.
Travis and Jamie had spent most of the previous weekend chopping the same wood that was now keeping him warm. Harvey had been having a sleepover at a friend’s house whilst Melissa insisted such manual work was better suited to boys than girls. Deacon had complained of a tummy ache and headache and not feeling up to helping, or so he claimed.
“He should have been back by now; we’ve done that walk heaps of times. It’s never taken more than fifteen minutes. Perhaps something’s happened to Koro and he’s run off or something. Maybe he’s looking for him or too scared to come back and face me with the news or whatever.”
“Calm down sweetie, be the patient big bro that understands his little brother’s need to spend one on one quality time with his dog.”
“I understand that…it’s just if he’s late back here we’ll both get yelled for being late home; or worse Mum will come looking for us and see Deacon walking Koro on his own and I’ll have a heap of explaining to do.”
“Don’t fret; he’ll be here soon with some feeble excuse. You’ll grouch at him and then you’ll be both home before your Mum misses you.”
Jamie thought back to the previous day’s torment by Sebastian and his nasty minions. Something would have to be done about the situation. It would take more than thorns to get the truth, but as for the others, who could say. In fact it was only a matter of time before they came for Deacon.
“Mum’s like already real mad at me. I sort-a like lost her camera, and I disobeyed her by visiting you when I wasn’t meant to.”
“Anger is a brief madness, Jamie. Katrina will get over it in time. Giving up cigarettes tends to make people cranky.”
“It’s not fair she takes it out on me. It was like her idea to smoke those stupid things to begin with.”
“Yes it is a crazy habit.”
“Er- Aunty Alice, I need to ask you something. Feel free to say no if you want, it won’t hurt my feelings…honest.”
“What is it, darling?”
“Next Thursday’s a kinda special day…well for me anyways. It marks two years since I Mum and Dad adopted me. They want to take me and my brothers and even Bossy Boots Melinda out to MacDonald’s for dinner and a movie of my choice.”
“Yes, well I sort of want to do something before we go to MacDonald’s-I wanna light a candle in church for my other Mum-the one in Heaven.”
“That’s very sweet of you,”
“I’m meant to be over it by now, but the truth is I still miss her. I still dream of her and wake up really sad knowing that I’ll never see her again, unless I die and manage to bluff my way into heaven.”
“Grief doesn’t always stop just because you reach the stage of acceptance. Sometimes it lingers in our hearts. Don’t feel guilty about remembering her.”
“Well anyways, I know you’re not real religious but I sort of told everyone I wanted to light the candle on my own and I wondered if-um-nah, don’t worry. You probably wouldn’t.”
“You want me for moral support when you light the candle?”
“If you don’t mind,”
“Of course not darling,”
Jamie turned left at the intersection of Kupe Drive and continued along Victoria Street with his hands snug in the side pockets of his hoodie. Almost 20 minutes had lapsed and there was still no sign of Deacon. Though concerned for his brother, his mind kept drifting to the waning relationship with his stepmother. Deep down he knew she loved him, but he could not help but feel like an unwanted houseguest. He feared it was only a matter of time before he would be seeking out a new forever home.
Victoria Street was wide stretching with ample grassed areas for Koromaru to go his business. With the insistence of having two siblings walking the same dog, duties had become divvied, with one sibling doing the walking and the other tended to what they called the “Chocolate Logs”; aka picking up the dog poo. Jamie alternated the tasks as much as possible, but every now and then he punished Deacon and Harvey with extra pickup days, if they misbehaved during the dog-walks. There were a number of potential hazards along the way, including the crossing of railway tracks, so his responsibilities also extended to family members of the two legged kind.
Jamie’s attention was abruptly engaged by a familiar page from behind. He ceased walking, cursed inwardly then turned. He grimaced at the sight of his most loathsome of bullies and three of his co-orts walking toward him. It was Patrick and Jasper, the two dutiful goons that had thrown him into the prickles. The third, he could not recall ever seeing around the school yard. The absence of protection caused his heart to chill. His urge to flee was strong, but he doubted he would get far.
“What-diya want?” said Jamie.
“Hi Monkey boy, where ya going?” said Sebastian coming to a halt.
“Is that right? So, ya ready to tell me the name of the asshole that narced on me?”
“Sorry, but that’s still a no-can-do.”
Jamie as Sebastian grabbed the front of his hoodie and ran him backwards against an adjunct wooden fence. He struggled to focus through his tears but could only make out vague shapes and colours of the hostile bullies.
“The truth Monkey boy! Who was it?”
“I don’t know,” replied Jamie. “Please leave me alone.”
“Harvey told us that you know who did it.”
“He wouldn’t say anything like that.”
“Well someone is lying here; me, you or Harvey. I’m sure you don’t want to make the mistake of accusing me and if it wasn’t you then I’m going to have to kick Harvey’s ass…now one last time, who told Mrs Burgess I broke her window?”
“Okay…okay, you win. Don’t hurt Harvey, I’ll tell you what you want to know,”
“Spit it out Monkey Boy, and for the right price and favours no one will ever know who told us.”
“It was me; I couldn’t let you get away with it. She’s my neighbour and our family friend.”
“Well, you’re going to have to be taught a lesson then. Wait for us in Sparks Park, on Monday at three forty five. Give you a bit of time to decide if you really want to be a bruised hero. If you don’t show we’ll come looking for you and if we don’t find you we’ll get you the next day, or day after. We both go to the same school every day. You can’t avoid us forever.”
“I’ll be there…I’m sorry Sebastian.”
“You’ll be a lot sorrier by four o’clock.”
Sebastian’s clenched fist connected sharply, almost knocking Jamie off his feet.
A slamming door sounded followed by a tirade of harsh words, but he was too distressed to hear exactly what was being said. The bullies departed with haste and he now saw a bluish clad figure approach him.
“You okay son?” said a sympathetic yet authoritative voice.
“I think so,” he replied Jamie, wiping his eyes with the back of his trembling right-hand and vaguely focusing on the large stocky man that towered over him.
“Thank you for coming to my rescue, sir.”
“Sir? Now that’s a word you don’t hear much these days from the younger generation. Your parents did a fine job raising you.”
“They told me always to respect my elders.”
“Good for them. So what did those savage little hobgoblins want?”
“You look a bit dazed boy; I can run you down to outpatients if you like.”
“No thank you sir, I’ll be fine.”
“If they threaten you again you come tell me. Just look out for that green van and you’ll find me near-by. The name’s Pedro, like the fisherman.”
”It’s an old song your Grandparents might remember.”
“I’ll ask around, Pedro. I’m…um…Haden. Look, I’d better be going. I’m meant to be looking for my brothers. They’re around here somewhere.”
“Okay, good luck Um-Haden. Remember, green comer van; ask for Pedro.”
“As in the Fisherman,”
“Yeah right,” muttered Jamie under his breath, as he watched Pedro return to the green van that he had not noticed idling up until now. “As if I’m stupid enough to walk into that sort of trap.”
-To be continued-