This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 771 words.
When Sergeant Carlyle told Kirsty the next morning that no prosecution would go ahead, the girl closed the door in her face. Five munites later, she had looked up the phone numbers for the newspaper and TV news covering her area, and took out her mobile phone. They were both very interested in her story. The newspaper man said he would come round this afternoon with a photographer, and said her mum had to be there. The TV news woman said she would be there in an hour, so they could get the report on the lunchtime news.
Running upstairs to get ready, Kirsty went into her mum’s room and shook her awake. “Get up and get dressed, mum. You’re going to be on telly”.
Just under an hour later, Kirsty was dressed in her school uniform, and wearing no make-up. She had knee socks on, and looked even younger than her fourteen years. Her mum was slumped in an armchair smoking, wearing a sweatshirt and jogging bottoms. When the doorbell went, Kirsty was ready. Moderating her voice to sound as childish as possible, Kirsty went over the fictitious incident in great detail, naming Tom Corcoran, and occasionally wiping her eyes with a tissue. If the reporter could not see any tears, she didn’t care. The girl looked vulnerable. Her mum looked mentally ill, and the house was like a rubbish tip.
It was going to be great TV.
Before she had a chance to watch herself on the news, the newspaper man arrived early, with a woman photographer. He listened to the same tale, and the woman took dozens of photos using a flashgun. He also tried to get her mum to comment, but she remained completely silent.
An hour later, Tom Corcoran answered insistent knocking on his front door, wondering if it was the police again. But all he saw was a flash going off on a camera, a bright light on a video camera, and a large microphone thrust in his face. He closed the door again without answering any questions, then went around the ground floor oh his house closing the curtains.
By four that afternoon, the newspaper man and TV crew had gatecrashed the school, managing to get a comment from Miss Pilbeam outside the main gate. Then they went after Carlyle, who refused to answer any questions. On the six-o-clock news, it was the main story locally, and by the nine pm news, it even featured nationally, albeit less sensationally. Kirsty received so many phone calls that evening, she had to finally switch her phone off. In Tom Corcoran’s house, he stayed in the dark. He had also muted the volume of his mobile, and unplugged the house phone.
Sitting shaking on the sofa, he didn’t even want to know what Sarah was thinking.
Miss Pilbeam had tried ringing Tom so many times, she decided to leave a message on his mobile and tell him to call her. “Tom, you have to contact me. Have you seen the news on television? I think your only option is to resign. There is going to be no hope of your job surviving an internal disciplinary hearing, and at least if you resign, that might put some closure on this”.
Kirsty stayed off school for the next couple of days. She wanted to make it look as if she was too traumatised to go in. On the thrid day, there were no more phone calls, and no reporters near the house. Looking out of the window, she felt a twinge of disappointment. It had been fun while it lasted.
Tom finally listend to Miss Pilbeam’s message, and knew she was giving him the best option. He rang her directly, and tended his resignation. Then he rang his in-laws, hoping to speak to Sarah and explain that it was all a lie. But his mother-in-law answered, and refused to hand her the phone. “Give it up, Tom What you did was vile, and Sarah will never speak to you or see you again”. He decided to drive to their house, and stay outside until his wife agreed to speak to him. Looking out of the curtains, he could not see any journalists hanging around. So he grabbed his car keys and walked quickly over to his car.
Every window was smashed. All four tyres were flat, and someone had painted the word ‘Pedo’ in huge letters along the side with a spray can. Someone else had scratched the word ‘Pervert’ on the tailgate using something metal.
Glancing around to make sure nobody had seen him, he ran back inside the house.