11 The Bullies
On the way home from school, a gang of bullies pick on Catherine & Jack.
It was not long before he heard some shouting, and wondering what it was all about looked back before she could stop him. Recognising a gang of older lads from school, he realised they were probably the very ones Catherine meant.
“It’s that weird kid an’ look who’s with him. What a pair!” he heard one loudly say, and felt his face burn red.
“Hey, come here!” shouted one of the gang.
“Ignore them,” Catherine advised.
She took Jack’s arm and he allowed himself to be pulled away. They got no more than five meters before they heard the older boys roar.
“They’re chasing us!”
She grabbed his hand. “Run!”
As they ran, Jack looked around in despair. They were in the middle of the park, there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. They were heading straight for the hill where Dan vanished. It loomed closer with each step, rising like a mountain. The next thing Jack knew he went sprawling, almost pulling Catherine with him.
Briefly, Jack wondered if he tripped by accident or deliberately; anything to avoid the hill. He didn’t dwell in it. Having almost knocked himself senseless, it was all he could do not to black out. She helped him to his feet as the gang closed in.
“Go on!” he rasped. It’s me they want!”
Catherine was not going anywhere. Bravely she stood by Jack as the bullies descended. He felt such a coward. If anything happened to her, he would never forgive himself.
from Chapter 6 Yesterday upon the Stair