Jessica’s Wall

Jessie sat on the school wall, she knew she would get into trouble but so far none of the teachers had noticed her. As an extra sign of rebellion she was banging her heels repeatedly into the wall, knowing it would scuff her shoes badly.

She didn’t care – she was annoyed with her mother but couldn’t remember why.

She sighed, ah, there was Gabrielle, but she was annoyed with her too. She’d been soooo…. odd the last few… was it weeks? Ignoring Jessie or crying all the time. Jessie was hurt after all they where supposed to be best friends. She couldn’t think what had got into the girl.

She waved at Gabby as they all lined up in pairs, same as every morning but Gabby just stared wide-eyed at her, face pale, too pale. Then to Jessie’s annoyance the other girl looked away from her.

Gabby must be in a sulk, well Jessie could sulk better. She stormed back to the wall, startled that no teacher had stopped her. It was strange she could have sworn that the bricks had been red but now they where grey. She prodded the crumbling cement between the bricks but to her frustration couldn’t make it crumble further.

She sat there moodily watching as the other kids wandered past. Gabby turned her head and stared stony faced at Jessica, so she stuck her tongue out. The other girl squeaked and looked away almost tripping in her eagerness to get away.

Surprised that still no teacher had said anything to her, she got off the wall and followed the last couple of kids through the gate.

Strange they must have repainted the gate, it too was not the bright blue she remembered but a dark charcoal grey instead.

Then they where at the classroom, they where top school now, next year they’d all move to the Junior school instead and be big kids. Great! She thought, Sally the girl in front of her had just dropped the door on her like she didn’t exist but then she was always doing that type of thing. Jessie was just relieved that she must be a lot better at dodging these days as the door hadn’t hit her for ages now.

Grrr! Gabby had put her bag on her seat, what was going on with that girl? It wasn’t like they’d had an argument or anything.

‘Gabby, move your bag please,’ Gabby looked at her, her round face once again looked frightened, what was up?

‘Go away.’

‘Gabby what’s wrong?’ She could see the other girl was on the verge of tears.

She’d had enough of this so she grabbed the bag and put it on the floor, a whimper escaped Gabby. Jessie gave her friend a sidelong look, Gabby looked scared, she wondered why.

‘Gabby, is everything ok?’ The teacher asked.

‘Gabby we’re in trouble now! What is wrong with you?’ but the other girl was resolutely ignoring her.

‘I’m ok Miss,’ she said softly.

‘Well I know things have been very hard for you the last few weeks but it will get better, if you need to see the nurse or you get too upset just let me know.’ Jessie looked at the teacher’s concerned smile, what was going on?

The class settled to writing and drawing about what they had done at the weekend.

‘Hey, Miss, Miss,’ Jessie called, ‘You haven’t given me any paper!’ But the teacher just kept writing on the board.

‘Miss?’ She asked again. Puzzled she got up from her seat even though she didn’t have permission. ‘Miss?’ she said pulling at the teacher’s cardigan. Wow Miss was wearing black; this was strange, as she always wore bright colours. The teacher looked round uneasily but somehow failed to see her.

‘Hey Miss, I’m here!’ What was going on? She looked around to see Gabby staring at her in horror. She shrugged her shoulders and went back to her seat. Perhaps Gabby would share.

‘Wow, that was odd.’ She said to the other girl, ‘What’s going on? It’s like none of the teachers can see me,’ she laughed but stopped at the look on the other girls face.

‘Don’t… Don’t you remember?’ Jessie’s breath caught, as she heard for the millionth time the squeal, the scream, the crunch and the tinkle of broken glass.

She wrinkled her forehead, ‘I… I remember something but not very clearly,’ she whispered scared in spite of herself.

‘Jessie you shouldn’t be doing this, you’re not here, you’re not real, go away. You shouldn’t be here!’ Gabby’s big eyes filled with tears.

‘What are you talking about?’

‘Miss, Miss,’ came Sally’s annoyingly enthusiastic voice; Jessie knew that they where about to be dobbed in, she sighed it was always the same.

‘Gabby’s talking to herself again,’ came the too sweet tone.

‘Huh, shows what you know,’ said Jessie, silly girl was she blind?

The teacher came over, ‘Gabby?’ she asked gently. ‘Gabby are you talking to Jessie?’ Gabby nodded. The class was silent. ‘Ok I think you should go to the nurses office, don’t you?’ Gabby nodded again.

‘Why’s she got to do that?’ asked Jessie but no one answered her. Confused and angry she sat in morose silence until break time, but it was no fun without Gabby. Everyone else was ignoring her.

Gabby came back after break but wouldn’t even look at her, so the girls sat in a miserable silence until lunchtime.

They cued up outside the canteen, singing the normal, ‘Why Are We Waiting’ and ‘Soggy Chips’ at the tops of their voices. Jessie had almost forgiven Gabby when Sally came up.

‘My mum says you’ve had a mental breakdown and that means you’re mental,’ she smiled at them, with one huge tooth and one gaping whole where the other had not yet grown.

‘Push off,’ said Jessie; she’d noticed how pale her friend had become.

‘They say you keep talking to her, she’s dead Gabby, so you cant be and that’s why your mental. Mental and weird!’ She laughed and turned away but Jessie knew it was just to rally the other kids to some cruel song.

She turned to her friend, ‘Who’s dead Gabby?’

Gabby didn’t look at her, ‘Don’t you know?’ she asked quietly. Again those sounds echoed in her head, screaming, crying, broken glass so pretty as it caught the light from the street lamps. She shook her head.

‘No, who?’

But Gabby didn’t answer; she was too busy using her lunch box as a shield as rubbers and crayons pummelled down on them. Jessie wondered briefly how she hadn’t felt the attack before.

The afternoon passed in the same strange, strained silence between the two girls. Jessie spent it tracing patterns on the desk with her finger and watching the spiders in the corner, they need a new alphabet chart she thought, this ones all faded, she missed the bright reds and blues. On the way out of the gate she tried to start another conversation but Gabby just put her hands over her ears, ‘I can’t hear your, your not real, go… go away please!’ Perhaps Gabby was mad.

She had run to her parents, Jessie looked for hers but they weren’t there. This upset her but then she remembered that she was angry with her mother and decided she didn’t care. Yes she was angry at her mother but she still could not remember why. This worried her slightly. Perhaps Gabby’s parents where going to take her home, that happened sometimes, she sighed and ran up to them too.

‘Hello Mr and Mrs Teesan!’ she said enthusiastically but they just stared right through her. She was starting to get really annoyed with this.

‘Mr and Mrs Teesan?’ Came the teachers voice from behind her. Gabby’s parents jumped like frightened rabbits.

‘Yes?’ said Gabby’s father.

‘Erm…’ she began hesitantly, ‘well Gabby’s been talking to Jessie again I’m afraid.’ Gabby’s dad closed his eyes, Jessie was completely bewildered.

‘Gabby honey this has got to stop ok?’ he said. He looked so pale to Jessie like the colour had been drained from his face.

‘She wont go away,’ sobbed Gabby, Jessie was now very hurt why wasn’t Gabby supposed to talk to her? What had she done wrong?

‘You know that’s not true though don’t you Gabby?’ he asked sounding slightly panicked and his eyes kept flickering to his wife.

‘Honey,’ said Mrs Teesan, ‘We’ll go and see Jonathan at the hospital, how about that? That would help wouldn’t it?’ her voice was too cheerful. Jessie looked at them all, tears pouring down her cheeks. This wasn’t right.

‘Jonathan?’ she asked quietly confused, ‘baby squdge! Why’s he in hospital?’ her baby brother – something was wrong, very wrong. She ran to Gabby, ‘Why’s he in hospital?’ Gabby looked at her. Hadn’t her eyes been green not blue? Not that cold steel blue?

‘Because he was the only survivor,’ the girl burst into more tears.

The world seemed to fade into a cacophony of sound and light, so confusing to Jessie. Sirens and tears. The light so pretty on the broken crystals of scattered glass.

‘No!!! No… no… no…’ She screamed and closed her eyes, when she opened them again she was still outside the school gates but everybody else was gone. She wanted to cry.

Sad but not sure why she went back to the wall and scrambled up into her customary position. ‘Mummy,’ she whimpered, she felt so cold and alone. She looked at the world, hadn’t there once been colour?

‘Jessie?’ came a soft voice, she looked up.

‘Mummy!’ They hugged and her mother kissed her forehead.

‘Do you remember now?’ she asked. Jessie nodded; her mother smiled then gently lifted her from the wall.

Posted: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 @ 10:50 am
Categories: Short Stories.
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