Thursday

Full English by @NeilSehmbhy (496 Words)


"That's nasty don't do that – it'll go putrid."

Stupid twat he's saying it wrong. He said 'poo-trid,' bet he doesn't even know what the word means. I pick at the edge of the scab on my puckered raw flesh. It's not really ready but I peel it off anyway. A bubble of yellowy pus streaked with red rises on my hand.

"It was dirty anyway that house. Dad said he wouldn't be surprised if it was full of rats and fleas. Did you see any?"

My Dad's gone, Mum too. They went when I was nine, left me round Grandad's for the night and never came back. I dab at the bubble of pus and it erupts all the way down my arm, like the volcano we watched on the BBC One.

"My dad says you'll have to go into care now."

Jaime Price is only a year younger than me. Snot clings to his nose as he roots about with his finger pushing it so far up he must be tickling his brain. My volcano hands are spewing streams of bloody pus filled liquid everywhere. Do volcano's spout blood?  
Grandad hadn't been out in a while; kept forgetting stuff. But it was okay – I got his pension and did the shopping. We just lived on picnic food, sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls. 

"Dad said that the social should never have let you live with him, said he'd lost it ages ago."

But Grandad wasn't always confused. He just grew old. Really old. But not like a proper old man, you know stinking of pee and cabbage. We were a team see, I did the running about and he took care of me. 

"My Dad says your Grandad'll probably die."

I pick up the discarded scab from the table, it's crust thick, dark red and yellow. Instead of punching him I flick it squarely in Jaime's face. He leaps off the bench running off screaming, crashing into the approaching teacher, and I smile.

When my parents left Grandad sat with me on the nights I cried for my Mum, for my old life. Grandad never wiped my tears away, he said that salt water sterilised wounds. We'd just sit there holding hands until I let it all out. 

The teacher smiles, a big fake smile, as she crouches down next to me. Grandad said he fancied a fry up, like Nan used to make so I popped to the shops whilst he slept. Bacon, sausage, eggs, a proper brekkie, he deserved a surprise. The frying pan wasn't supposed to catch fire. I tried to take it off the stove but it was burning hot, and then my hands hurt so much I couldn't open his door. Thick smoke filled the house and I just sat outside until the firemen came. 

I blink letting the tears fall onto my hands, hoping the salt water will seep through the ruined flesh and sterilise the wounds, inside and out.

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