This story is for 14+ year olds, and definitely not for people who don't like swearing.
“Oi, Rosie, what’ve you been up to now?” Billy McKenna shouted as the policewoman pushed me towards the squad car. I shrugged at him. It was none of his goddamn business.
PC Smithwell put her hand on the top of my head to make sure I didn’t smash it on the top of the door. It was just as well, I hadn’t slept in days and I wasn’t concentrating properly so her hand took a bashing. “I’m sorry, innit,” I muttered.
“Don’t worry, just get in the car; let’s get it over with shall we?” she said.
I saw the net curtains twitching all the way up the road. Probably the most excitement that shitty little street had seen in a long time. I couldn’t wait to get away from all the nosy, gossiping neighbours.
They didn’t put the lights and sirens on as we drove away. I was gutted – that was the bit I’d been looking forward to. As they pulled into the station car park, Officer Smithwell glanced back at me.
“What?” I asked, without thinking. I could do without being the centre of attention; people looking at me like that make me nervous.
“Nearly there,” she said. “Just wait a sec while we park.”
I rolled my eyes. As if I’d try and make a jump for it while they were still driving.
“Can I have a smoke?” I asked.
PC Smithwell looked shocked. “I don’t think so,” she said.
“I’ve been nicking my Dad’s for years,” I replied. “Please. I’m craving it; I’m proper hooked.”
“Okay, just one,” she said. I figured she wasn’t all bad then, even if she was Old Bill.
I took the cigarette out of the box she offered me, and as she held a light, I inhaled my first nicotine of the morning. “God, that feels better,” I said as I exhaled. “Bloody grateful, I have to say.”
PC Smithwell smiled at me for the first time. I don’t know why she was so fucking up-tight; it was alright for her with her fancy uniform and her neat hair. I was the one sitting in the back of the car.
“Come on then Rosie, let’s get you processed,” she said once I’d finished my smoke.
Processed. What the hell was that meant to mean? I shrugged.
Smithwell got out of the car and came to open the door for me. I had tried myself but they had the child lock switched on. Bloody cheek. She took my arm as we walked towards the door and as it swooshed open I smelt the weirdest mixture of cleaning fluid and stale urine. The piss was coming from an old tramp in the corner, I think. It certainly wasn’t from me.
“We’ve got a room booked,” Smithwell told a man behind a desk. All I could see at the time was a sign saying, “bullet proof glass” on the screen. The man must’ve pressed something as another door beeped and then opened. Smithwell took me into a small corridor.
“Right, Rosie. We’re in here,” she said, opening a door to Interview Room 1.
I walked in; saw a table in the middle of a bunch of chairs, and a plate with biscuits on it. My stomach gave a massive rumble and I picked up a biscuit and shoved it into my mouth whole, before thinking about asking.
“I’m starvin’” I said. “I haven’t eaten for a couple of days.”
“You’ve been busy haven’t you,” PC Smithwell said. Busy alright.
“Do you want a drink?” she asked me and I flinched involuntarily. “I mean, juice, tea, coffee,” she said.
“Orange juice would be ace,” I said. I gulped it down in one go when she’d poured me some. It was quality stuff, not like that cheap shit we had at home. When we used to have stuff like juice.
“Okay there’s someone here to see you now,” Smithwell said. “You’d be well advised to answer their questions as best you can.”
I mumbled. I hate questions. They always cause trouble.
The door opened and a tall man walked into the room. He looked smart and happy, he smiled as he looked at me, said, “Hello, I’m Brendan Masters,” and held out his hand.
I rubbed my palm on my jeans before taking his hand. He looked proper clean and smart, I didn’t feel right shaking his hand in my state.
I noticed Brendan glance at PC Smithwell and for a fraction of a second his face looked different, kind of puzzled and questioning. No idea what that was about. He opened a notepad.
“Right Rosie, what’s your date of birth,” he began.
I told him and he wrote it down.
“Okay you don’t have to answer anything you want to, just tell me to stop if you feel uncomfortable,” he said.
“What happened to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the fucking truth?” I asked.
“Oh, sweetheart, you’ve not been arrested,” PC Smithwell said.
“But Dad said it was my fault,” I said.
I couldn’t understand what the hell was going on. Dad was yelling at them when they came for me but no-one had bothered to tell me anything.
“We’ve brought you here to get you somewhere safe, Rosie,” Brendan said gently. “We’ll find somewhere for you to stay while we find out what’s happening with your Dad.”
“You mean… you mean, I don’t have to go back there?” I asked. “Thank god for that, I was wondering what he would do to me when I went home.”
We talked a bit more and then there was a knock on the door.
“This is Mr and Mrs Cordon, they’re going to have you to stay for a while,” Brendan said.
I looked at the people, they looked smart and friendly.
“How old are you, Rosie?” Mr Cordon asked.
“I’m nearly thirteen,” I replied.
I saw them look at each other and Mrs Cordon looked like she was going to cry.
It was only when we left the council offices that we walked past a mirror. My right eye was swollen, black and purple.
Thank fuck I don’t have to go back to stay with Dad again.