Rachel’s house was small. It was the last house at the end of the street. A typical square building with a triangle on top. When Rachel’s dad died years ago, Jilly used the money she got from the insurance company to pay for the house in full. It was just the two of them now, but at least they didn’t need to worry about money anymore.
Jack had come over after school like he usually did. Their friendship was understated. They didn’t play together like the other kids, but it didn’t matter. Reading, watching old tv and slowly talking in the garden was enough.
‘Funny how Miss Prichard looks at you’, Rachel said. ‘I think it is to see if she’s saying the right things to the rest of us. She knows that if you don’t get it then we won’t’.
Jack learnt things quickly. He’d always liked school because it came naturally. The school part anyway. ‘I’m not sure, it’s like she watches everyone’ Jack muttered, trying to brush off the backhanded complements.
‘It’s time to go’ shouted Neil, who was in the other room with Jilly. Neil had been at Jillys house before Jack arrived after school. Jilly and Neil had become friends since Rachel’s dad died.
The door slammed behind them as they left. Rachel watched them both leave from the upstairs window. But as she turned around she spotted the work Miss Prichard had left Jack for tomorrow. Without thinking, Rachel stuffed Jacks work in a bag and raced out to catch up.
When she got to Jack’s house, the back door was slightly ajar. She used the back door to get in most of the time – but it was usually locked. She knocked, but no one answered so Rachel strode in and up the stairs to Jacks room at the top of the house.
It took Rachel a moment to understand what was going on when she got to the top. A muffled voice that sounded like Jacks was moaning into a pillow as a hard hollow sound repeatedly cracked down on what sounded like skin. Rachel froze but not on purpose. She’d never heard a sound like that before – her gut told her what it might be.
‘Jack?’, Rachel called his name from the landing – setting herself to rush in. But the sound stopped and then the door slowly opened and Jack came out. ‘Ah I left it, damn, sorry’ said Jack. Despite his bloodshot eyes, jacks voice was settled. ‘Are you ok’? Said Rachel ‘I thought I heard …’ every thing is fine thank you and thanks for bringing this over’. ‘Ok’ said Rachel.
On the way back Rachel struggled to understand it all. But about half way home, she decided she needed to go back to Jacks house to find out. She also decided she needed to go when Jack wasn’t home. Something wasn’t right and if Jack wouldn’t tell her – she’d have to find out herself.