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* He reappeared in the bathroom of my flat. I went through in the bright morning and found him washing his face in the sink. I swore in fright and he looked up, trailing black water from his chin. ‘Can you give me a minute?’ ‘What’re you doing here?’ I asked, clutching my towel. ‘What does it look like?’ ‘Did you follow me home, from the church?’ He flicked the water from his cheeks. ‘Don’t flatter yourself mate.’ I asked for some time to shower and dress and he agreed, but insisted on lingering while I ate my breakfast. ‘Small place this,’ he muttered. ‘Kind of pokey eh? Not exactly palatial.’ He kept on like that until I lost my temper. ‘If it’s so pokey then why are you hanging around?’ My spoon clanged in the bowl. ‘Oh,’ he exclaimed. ‘Now it all comes out. Why’d you come knocking on my door if you didn’t want to hear what I’ve got to say?’ I tried to think back to the day before, driving up to Highmarsh, with the box of ingredients on the passenger seat and the list in my pocket. I’d been excited, but what had I been looking for? ‘Just thought it’d be interesting.’ ‘He just thought it’d be interesting. Ladies and gentlemen, he just thought it’d be interesting.’ Before I left for work I asked him to be gone by that evening. ‘This is the childrens’ home all over again,’ he said, turning on the dishwasher with his mind. * After a week or so the boy grew bored of tormenting me at home and started turning up at the office too. For the first few days it was just grubby handprints on the photocopier and smears of black bogey on my monitor. Then he manifested. I bundled him into a stationery cupboard. I didn’t know if the others would be able to see him, but I couldn’t take the risk. He made it smell damp in there, like the woods. ‘You can’t just show up like this,’ I hissed. ‘You’ll get me sacked.’ He folded his arms, huffing, looking truly young for the first time. ‘What am I supposed to do all day?’ ‘I don’t know. What did you do, before?’ 6

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The Inkwell - Issue X  

The Inkwell - Issue X  

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