by Sarah O’Donoghue
It wasn’t meant to happen. It was sort of an accident that turned into a terrible nightmare. A boy the same age as me is dead and for me and my mates, well our lives have changed forever. We hardly knew the boy who died. We had nothing against him. It all just sort of happened.
It was a Friday night in September. The pub wouldn’t let us in because we were under-age and anyway we didn’t have the money. What can you do with no money? Nearly nothing. The new, fancy sports centre was no good. We’d no money and no posh kit. Anyway we weren’t into swimming and games with rules where you had to plan and get a team. We weren’t into planning much at all.
It was more ‘think it up as you go along’ with us. We wanted to do something cool, something fun, but something that didn’t need money. We needed to swagger about a bit. We wanted to show off a bit, to feel like we were important. We didn’t mind scaring folks a bit but we weren’t really into violence.
I had agreed to meet my mates Chas and Eggie on the corner between my street and North Street. Dressed in my best jeans and jacket and with my hair gelled up into a spike, I took my knife from its hiding place and left the flat. Nearly everyone carries a knife round here. I wasn’t going to use it, but I did.
We swaggered three abreast down the pavement with no plan, no idea what we were going to do or where we would end up. We turned a corner and there, coming towards us were three boys we knew just a bit and thought we disliked quite a lot. No one would step into the road. No one would give way. No one wanted to lose face. There was pushing and shouting. Then there was punching and kicking. We were suddenly all so angry, out of control angry. Soon it was a vicious fight and we were all staggering around on the pavement. We were laying into each other, punching and kicking, screaming and shouting. Someone shouted “get him” and I pulled my knife and lunged at the boy who was punching me. Blood spurted. All the others ran.
Then there were just the two of us. I stood for a second, watching in horror as blood poured from the boy I had knifed. What had I done? What could I do now? I dropped the bloody knife and ran after my mates. All the shouting and screaming brought neighbours out from the flats round about. Someone called for the police and an ambulance. I heard the sirens going as they arrived. We all did. How had it happened?
“Dead on arrival,” the hospital said. It didn’t take long for the police to find us. A police cell is a terrifying place but I know that worse is to come. I am shivering with cold and fright. I am a criminal now. They told me it is no excuse to say I didn’t mean to do it. I killed a boy I hardly knew. I can’t go back to before it happened. I wish I could.
(c) Sarah O’Donoghue