Chapter 9

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There's only one thing going through my mind at the moment. The original plan was to find food and go back home, triumphant that I could feed my family. That's one part done. The boy has a fridge full of food that could last us weeks. Now there's the only obstacle of getting it and returning home.

But the snow is still there.

I didn't make it out alive the first time. The boy said he rescued me from the snow but I have no pure memory of passing out. Maybe that's what the cold does to you. Maybe it wipes your brain clean.

So, that's why when the boy leads me upstairs, I begin to formulate a plan.

"Amelia," he says and his hand is pressed on the small of back, guiding me to the bedroom. It feels weird. "Do you want to shower? Sleep? Bath?"

I wonder why he suggests I take a shower. What? Do I smell? There's the likelihood that I do smell a bit because his head is turned the other way.

"Ok," I say.

He shows me to the bathroom and I lock the door, finally free of him. I don't even know his name but he's invading my mind, stopping me from thinking straight.

The whole time I shower, my mind is on the new plan. After half an hour of thinking, I have it. Tonight, when everything's dark, I'll sneak downstairs, go to the fridge, and grab the food. I bet he has tins and cans too. In that case, I won't take much, only a little.

But then there's the thing about getting out of the house without possibly freezing to death. How did the boy do it? He just saw me, went outside, picked me up and brought me back in? Why wasn't he chattering like a skeleton?

I remind myself that I was in the snow a lot longer than he was. He'd probably stayed for about a minute whereas I'd almost certainly been lying there for at least an hour.

When I come out, the warm cosy towel wrapped around me, there're clean clothes on the bed, waiting to be used. I pick one piece up. It's a shirt that a boy would normally wear because it has a cartoon picture of a football on it.

I sigh but put it on anyway; it's better than nothing. It's too big for me but that makes it even more comfortable.

I put on the jeans and they look fine. There isn't much difference between my old jeans and these ones. They're a bit long but with a few rolls, they come up to my ankle.

I go downstairs and the boy is at the table again, reading and there's a bowl of pasta sat out in front of him. He looks up when I enter.

"All done?" his eyes are skimming over my body. It makes me feel uncomfortable but I feel too shy to tell him to stop. "Are you hungry?" he asks, eyes now flickering to the bowl of food in front of him.

I give a small, shy nod.

When I'm sat down and wolfing down the pasta, I proceed to get a bit of information out of him.

"What's your name?"

He looks up from his book, blinking. "Joshua," he replies.

I have an urge to be nice. "Joshua. That's a nice name."

He doesn't smile. He doesn't say thanks. He just goes back to reading his book, completely oblivious to me sitting opposite him. An urge to be annoying takes over the previous urge. I get up, trying to see what he's reading.

"What book is that?"

He doesn't reply. He's lost in that book, all right.

"T.S Eliot," he murmurs when I open my mouth to ask again. Eventually he knows I heard so he looks up. "Just shhh, ok? I'm reading."

I purse my lips together even though I didn't say anything. I never knew this mysterious boy in front of me could be so interested in famous poetry. He doesn't look like that sort of person.

When I say, "I'm going to bed now" he doesn't reply so I take that as my cue to go up the stairs and into the bedroom. On the bed are some pyjamas, again football-themed. I smile when I put them on because I've learnt that Joshua is some sort of football-addict.

I get into bed and ride the waves of sleep.

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