Chapter 7

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I keep waking up and then falling asleep again. I'm like the torch. On. Off. On off. Light. Dark. Light dark. I'm blinking like Morse code, trying to send the world a message in my sleep.

On one of the times I wake up, I think I see a figure by the door. It's an outline and I can't make things out very clearly, because my pupils are still too big. When I look back, the figure is gone.

The final time I wake up that day is when the morning light is streaming through the window. It illuminates the room, revealing an old oak desk to the side, a lightly-coloured curtain draping the window, several David Bowie posters pinned to the wall and finally my rucksack dumped on the floor. The thought of my precious belongings makes me rise from the bed and dive for it, turning it inside out.

Everything has gone, even the dead torch. The bag's empty apart from a pack of mints I took for the sake of it. The box rattles feebly in my hands now.

"You awake?"

I jump when I hear it, whipping round to face the owner of the voice. There he is, the same boy as yesterday. He's wearing a crisp checked shirt today with casual jeans and, again, his face is expressionless.

"What are you doing?" he asks, motioning to the bag in my hands.

I press myself up against the wall until I can go no further. It makes me feel so trapped.

"Nothing," I reply hurriedly.

His eyes squint but he doesn't say anything.

I think that gives me a bit of courage. "Where's my stuff?" I demand, playing with the straps. "Where did you put my stuff?"

His face is still unreadable. "Don't worry. It's safe."

It's safe. Of course it's not safe. He's probably burned it or buried it by now. What about the gun? That's my most prized possession. He must have at least saved that, right?

"Give it back," I say, staring into his deep eyes. "Please. I want it back."

Finally, I break him out of the habit of being so expressionless. He gives me an annoyed eye roll.

"Fine. Wait here."

* * *

When I've spent a few minutes investigating the room for anything suspicious, the boy comes in again. In both hands are a collection things. My things. A few blankets that are neatly folded, three bottles of frozen water, my bus pass that shouldn't really be in there (that's probably how he knows my name) and finally the dead torch. But there's only one thing that's missing.

"What have you done with my gun?" I ask and it comes it so strangely on the word 'gun', as though my brain can't process I actually own one of those horrendous weapons.

His eyebrows rise upwards. "What gun?"

The panic is flooding into my stomach now. Not only am I in a house with a boy I don't know, but I'm with one who lies.

"You know what I'm talking about," I spit out coldly. My hands are shaking. "You've got it, haven't you? You've stolen it."

His brows are still raised. "Honestly, I have no idea what you're talking about."

Before I can utter a single word more, he drops the remaining belongings into my lap and stalks out of the room.

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