Hater

Hater by David Moody

Book: Hater by David Moody Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Moody
bearable. After everything I'd seen and heard over the weekend I'd expected to have to fight my way into work through crowds of people battling with each other on the streets. Apart from a few broken windows and some other slight damage everything looked and felt disappointingly normal. The city centre was quiet for a Monday and the office was too.
    I'm glad to be home. I can see the apartment block at the end of the road now. As usual there are lights on in the diagonally opposite corners of the building - our flat and the other occupied flat upstairs. As I get closer I can see shadows moving around behind our curtains. The kids are running around in the living room. No doubt they'll have been playing up all evening and I'll get it in the neck from Liz again.
    We shouldn't be living in a place like this I think as I walk up the overgrown pathway to the door. I know I'm a lazy sod and I should work harder but it's not easy. I do my best, it's just that it doesn't seem to be enough. I need a kick up the backside from time to time. But if every day could be like today, I decide as I pull open the creaking front door, then maybe things might work out. Today it actually felt like the effort I'd put in had been worthwhile. I didn't have any screaming members of the public to deal with and I even managed to have a laugh with Tina Murray. Today, for once, I didn't feel as if I was pulling in the opposite direction to everyone else. The plans that Lizzie and I have been making for years to move to a bigger house, change the car and generally improve our standard of living seem a little more realistic and possible than they did when I left the flat this morning. Still a long way off, mind, but possible.
    I shuffle though the gloom of the lobby and open the door to the flat. I step inside and the warmth of our home makes me realise just how cold it is outside tonight.
    'I'm back,' I shout as I take off my coat and shoes. It's unusually quiet in here. I can hear the TV and the children but I can't hear Liz. She's usually yelling at one of them. I can't remember the last time I came home and it was this quiet.
    Edward appears in the hallway in front of me. He's grinning from ear to ear.
    'Okay, Ed?'
    He nods his head.
    'Had half a day off today,' he beams, looking pleased with himself.
    'Why, what's the matter with you?'
    'Nothing. School was shut.'
    'Why?' I ask again as I walk further into the flat, looking for Liz. I can't see her in any of the bedrooms.
    'Because of Jack Foster,' Ed explains. I'm confused.
    'Who's Jack Foster?'
    'He's in Year Six. You should have seen him, Dad, it was brilliant!'
    I've reached the kitchen door. I can see Lizzie in there sitting at the table, drinking a cup of coffee and staring into space.
    'You okay?' I ask. She looks up, surprised.
    'Didn't know you were back,' she says quietly, shaking herself out of her trance. She gets up, walks over to me and hugs me. This sudden display of affection is out of character.
    'What's that for?' I whisper, my mouth pressed close to her ear. 'You all right?'
    She nods then pushes herself away and goes to fetch my dinner from the oven.
    'I'm fine,' she sighs. 'Had a bad day, that's all.'
    'Ed was telling me that the school was closed. Something to do with Jack Foster?'
    She puts my food down on the table and sits in a chair opposite to the place she's laid for me. I start to eat and watch as she massages her temples. She looks tired and upset. I'm assuming that whatever happened at school today is what's bothering her.
    'So what happened?' I ask. She doesn't want to answer. 'Talk to me, Liz…'
    She clears her throat and finishes her coffee. When she finally starts to speak her voice is quiet and full of emotion.
    'Do you know Jack Foster?'
    I shake my head. I've heard the name before but I can't place the face.
    'You know Ben Paris? Short lad with black hair?'
    I'm sure I know who Ben is.
    'His dad's the hairdresser?'
    'That's the one. Jack Foster is his best friend.

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