This is the eleventh part of a fiction serial, in 712 words.
They found Paul’s body two days later, after his parents had reported him missing, and a big search had gone on locally. It seems those security patrols did still go around the disused quarry, and they found his shoes and clothes wher he had left them. After that, it didn’t take long for the police divers to discover the body in the water.
I was watching the report on the local news when Uncle Brian got home from work. He was looking flushed, and smiling a lot. I knew what that meant. He stood in front of the screen, blocking my view. “Come on, Daniel. We could go upstairs for a while, then I will get us a curry delivered from that nice Indian place after”. I told him that if he carried on calling me Daniel and not Danny, there would be no chance of me ever going upstairs with him again, and I might just remember all that sexual abuse and tell the police.
That shut him up, and I got the curry anyway. With a naan bread, two poppadoms, and some mango chutney.
There was no indication on the news that anyone was with Paul. The shingle surrounding the quarry didn’t leave footprints, and if anyone had asked the bus driver, he obviously hadn’t remembered. Despite the warnings and random security patrol, there was no CCTV at the quarry either.
For the next to last week of that summer holiday, Uncle Brian had booked a luxury caravan for us, at a holiday park in Lowestoft. He had been promising me a holiday ever since I moved in, and finally came good on that promise. It was quite a well-appointed site, with a social club, shop, playground, and amusements too. The seafront was close by, and both piers were in easy walking distance. The caravan slept six, with a double room at one end, and furniture that converted into beds at the other.
As Brian was quick to tell me, we would only need the double room.
Mind you, he made sure I was entertained, repaying me for ‘afternoon naps’ and early nights in the bedroom with cooked breakfasts, busy mornings at the seafront, and slap-up dinners at various places in the town. People just assmued I was his son, and he never once corrected them. Even the weather played along, and we only had one afternoon of heavy summer rain. I really enjoyed it, and on the way home, genuinely thanked him. That made him keen to offer me something better.
“Maybe next year, we could get a villa in Greece. It’s very hot there they say, but it looks beautiful in the brochures. I will check on a passport for you, I think your old one was just added on your mum’s”. I suggested that the Easter holidays might be cooler, and he smiled in agreement. I was sure he was already convinced that we would live together forever, like a couple.
What a mug.
Back home, Paul’s little gang were all talking about him drowning, and how he had been stupid to go to that quarry and go swimming on his own. They seemed a bit lost without him, and little Georgy suggested to me that I should take over. “After Paul, you’re the biggest and cleverest, so why don’t you tell us what to do?” I told him he could clear off, stay away from me at school, and tell all the others to do the same. I think he was actually crying when I walked away.
At least it confirmed that Paul hadn’t told anyone he was going swimming with me. Nobody had a clue that we had been together.
The good thing about going back to school as a second year was that the first years got all the grief, and we were left more or less to our own devices. I got back into my studies, stayed away from any stupid little gangs, and settled into a regular routine with Brian making a fuss of me. So as not to upset me again, he always remembered to call me Danny, at least when he wasn’t caling me his ‘beautiful golden boy’, or ‘the love of my life’.
Things settled down, as winter approached.