It figures. The sun is shining; it’s the summer holidays and I’m grounded! Stuart and Kimmy give me big smiles as they walk out with their mom, probably to somewhere nice. She always treats them. The joys of having a working mother I suppose. Sometimes I secretly wish Mummy would start working or finish her books. That way we would have more money. More clothes. More pocket money! Sigh. I’m so bored.
There comes Mrs Baker and her shopping. For a woman who lives alone, she sure does eat a lot. I like her black and white cat that sits by the bedroom window and watches me. We watch each other to see who blinks first. I seldom win, but it’s fun.
“Hi Mrs Baker! Do you need any help with those?”
Hmm, she’s got doughnuts. Yum!
“Oh no, it’s no problem. Mum has grounded me again so I got nothing better to do. Yes please! Uh huh, the sugar sprinkles are my favourite. Thanks Mrs B!”
Munch! Crunch! Delicious. I really like Mrs Baker. She’s a kind lady. I watch her open the front door again to let Candy out. She runs straight to me, her tiny furry legs like dancers feet. Such soft fur and a loud purr. Just like my Sammy. Only my Sammy is ginger.
Uh-oh, here comes Baggly. I hope he doesn’t notice me. Shh Candy, don’t meow. If he sees us hiding on the steps, he’s gonna want to stop and chat. Remember the last time he stopped Candy? A cold shiver runs down my spine and I huddle closer to the wall. His footsteps are coming closer and closer and Candy has run off. Stupid cat. She’s jumped through his window into his apartment. She knows. She saw.
I wish Mummy hadn’t grounded me. Me and my big mouth, telling her that I wanted to go out to the park with the girls. ‘Why do you have to follow those tramps?’ she always says. But I don’t. I’m a good girl. I know what’s right and wrong.
I can feel his shadow over me and it’s not moving. All the other passers by walk fast and don’t stop. I look up to see his crooked smile and cold grey eyes watching me. If I just get up and move, he won’t talk long. Stand up! Stand up so that he doesn’t sit down. No-one can see when he sits down. He’s moving closer and whispering something. That smile freaks me out. I don’t want to be rude. Mummy says I should never be rude to adults, but this guy creeps me out. I don’t know what he wants.
His hands are so cold. I don’t like the clammy feeling of them running across my shoulder. If I scream, maybe Mrs Baker will come out. She’ll think something happened to Candy and he will go away. Why is he standing so close? His breath smells of mint and cigarettes. I can’t move. He’s so close, there’s nowhere to go.
“No I don’t want to see your apartment. I don’t care if you have cats too.” Sigh. When is Mummy coming home to unlock our door? Baggly won’t leave me alone and no-one seems to notice his hands are moving again.
“You leave Candy alone! No, please don’t keep him. Please! Okay…okay I will come with you.”
I sit dow on the cold step; my legs are shaking. I pretend to tie the shoelaces on my North Stars. The laces swim up and down, up and down. My hand is wet when I wipe my eyes. His hand is trailing across my bent shoulders again. I can’t pretend to wait any longer. He’s going to find Candy and hurt her. I know him. His silent stare frightens me. It’s time to go next door to get Candy from him. He promises Candy is safe when she climbs into his apartment. He’s only on the ground floor. I can see if Mummy comes back and leave as soon as I get Candy.
I can hear the traffic and a woman bumps me into the stacked bins next to the stairs. The smell is awful. His long, thin fingers are gripping my arm so tight. No-one sees. Should I scream? They will ask why. He will say he was fetching Candy for me. That’s what good neighbours do for each other. Like Mrs Baker feeding me doughnuts. I can taste the sweetness still. It’s makes me want to throw up.
Five steps. Two. He’s opening his door. I can hear Candy crying inside. He promised not to hurt her! The hallway is so dark. Ouch! I trip on a large object lying on the floor. It smells so bad. Candy runs to me and I give her a big hug. The front door is closing. No! Please no. I’m so afraid.