Holly Longhorn and Louise Raw
It exploded in screaming and panic and explosive language and a little to late headcounts. Accusations from all angles ad everyone forced to account for their actions. Nobody was to blame but everybody was guilty of being distracted for just a moment too long. Our street was the last place anybody expected anything terrible to happen and yet we were all suspects.
Two boys, five and six.
I had just been given the cold shoulder by some snob, the fella from number twelve I think, I don’t know his name, when I felt someone tugging at my hand. It was Chloe, my youngest daughter.
“Dad, where’s Jason?” she asked.
“I’m not sure. Isn’t he with Mum?”
“No. She said he was with you.”
I took her hand and said, “Come on Chloe, we’ll find the little rascal.” We walked the length and breadth of the street, pushing through crowds near the make-shift bar and the buffet table. By the end of it I was worried. There was no sign of Jason. Then Mrs Pennington came up to me, with a worried frown on her face.
“Have you seen Tommy?” she asked
“No. Jason’s missing too.”
“If that brat of yours has put my boy in danger, you’ll know about it,” George Pennington said, a few steps behind his wife.
“George!” Mrs Pennington exclaimed.
“My Jason’s a good boy. Tommy’s not a bad kid either. Wish I could say the same about you.”
“How dare you?” George Pennington’s face flushed bright red.
“My Sharon thinks you’re a bit dodgy and she’s usually right about people. If you’ve done anything to my son, you’ll more than know about it, you’ll wish you’d never been born.”
“I will not have my name slandered by the likes of you.” His nostrils were flaring and his blue eyes were hard with anger.
“George, please calm down. You’ll make yourself ill. We have to find the boys,” Mrs Pennington said.
“What’s wrong?” Sharon, my wife, said, walking over to us. She was followed by my elder daughters, Courtney and Georgia.
“Jason and Tommy are missing,” I said. Sharon looked stricken.
“We’ll start looking,” Courtney said and walked off with Georgia.
Then that Barbara from next door came up to us, looking all prissy and perfect. She didn’t fool me.
“And where have you been?”
“To get changed, I spilt some wine.”
“Did you see Jason and Tommy on your travels.”
“No, I’m sorry I didn’t.”
“And you expect me to believe that.” Barbara looked shocked.
“I’m sorry Barbara,” Sharon said. “The boys are missing. Colin’s very worried.”
“I wish I had seen the children,” Barbara said. She looked as if she was going to cry.
“You never can tell with people. Where’s that weirdo, Fergus. I bet he had something to do with it.”
“Colin, calm down. This isn’t helping find the boys,” Sharon said.
“Well I think it is.”
I spotted Fergus. He was a skinny wimp, with long greasy hair, probably about fifty.
“Fergus,” I said, going over to him. “What have you done with Jason and Tommy? And I want the truth.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“They boys are missing,” Sharon said. “I’m sorry about Colin. He’s very worried.”
“I don’t know where your brats are. Why should I?”
“Because you’re a weirdo,” I said.
“I can’t be bothered talking to you,” he replied.
I grabbed the arrogant little weirdo by the arm and then I felt a punch like a powder puff land on my jaw. I swung at him and decked him.
“Colin!” Sharon shrieked.
“You’re a disgrace,” George Pennington said, striding over. “I’m going to call the police.”
“Go ahead,” I said.
“I’ve already called them about Tommy and Jason,” Mrs Pennington said.
“Then they can deal with him too when they come,” George Pennington said. “Are you alright Fergus old boy?”
Fergus nodded, scowling and George Pennington helped him to his feet.
“Dad, mum, look,” Chloe said
“What Chloe?” I snapped. She pointed down the street. Courtney was walking up Williams Crescent towards us, Jason holding one hand and Tommy the other. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. I didn’t care what trouble I was in, my boy was safe.
Two boys. Five and six. Found. Every secret in the street was revealed and now there were two options. Allow families to come together in a quiet understanding or fail to be a community again. Once again we were all suspects for unrelated crimes.