9     Jack and the tramp 

When Jack sees the tramp in school, he fears being kidnapped like Dan & freaks out 

Sick of being afraid, Jack confronts the tramp

Jack Hughes - schoolboy: hero

Jack froze at his bedroom door, convinced the tramp was on the other side. It felt like a lifetime but in reality, only seconds had passed since he heard the letterbox. When the letterbox went again, it was like a green light. Flinging open the door, he charged into the landing, down the stairs and straight through the hall into the kitchen. The backdoor was locked, but he bolted it anyway.

Picking up his school bag, Jack pulled out his mobile. Now he had the phone, he was unsure what to do. Who should he ring: Mum; the police? What could he say? Someone’s playing tricks with the front door. Oh right, they would send a cop car round for that!

He stuck his head into the hall to see if the tramp was at the door. Because the front door had glass panels, he could see there was no one on the other side, so he went to the kitchen window to check if he was in the back garden.

Thinking the tramp had got fed up and was back on old Gibson’s wall, Jack crept down the hall to the front door. Getting a fingernail under each side of the letterbox, he pulled it up to look out. Staring back were the tramp’s black, dead eyes.

Screaming, Jack fell back; letting the letterbox slam shut. He lay on the carpet, shaking as the flap slowly opened. Feeling his mobile in his pocket was all the courage he needed. He would call the police!

His brother went missing a week ago. They would be round like a shot. Of course, they would!

Holding up his mobile to show the tramp peering through the letterbox, he cried out, “I’m going to phone the police I am! They’re going to lock you up and throw away the key.”

The letterbox slammed shut. Jack heard the man scramble down the path. Dashing to the front door, he jerked it open to see the tramp running out of the gate. Starting after him, waving his mobile, Jack shouted at the top of his voice, “Leave me alone or I’ll put the law on you!”

from Chapter 6    Yesterday upon the Stair

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Jack and Catherine

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Thomas the Rhymer