Today is Writing Friday, and I have been working on my work-in-progress supernatural short story Bedouin Boy.
A week or so ago I shared a few excerpts from the story. I had some work to do on the ending, and have been away in Queensland visiting family which has delayed this process. Today I can finally share the rest of the story, which I will be posting page by page. Enjoy!
Copyright © Kate Kelsen 2020. All Rights Reserved.
The keys jingled in the Landlord’s hand as he unlocked the door, pushing it open. Omid and Jasem followed him inside.
‘These apartments are furnished. I only give a six-month lease to start off. After that, if everything goes well, you can sign a twelve-month lease.’
He pushed open a wooden divider wall to reveal a small kitchenette, and watched Jasem as he stood at the kitchen sink and turned on the tap.
‘Your neighbor in no.2- Mrs. Martin- she’s a nice lady. She looks after the kids in the building. Keeps an eye on them after school while their parents are at work.’
When Jasem caught him staring, the landlord quickly turned and moved toward the door, leaving the keys on the kitchen bench.
‘Have a good stay.’
‘Thanks,’ said Omid, who was standing in the middle of the living room.
Jasem began to explore the apartment, looking into the first bedroom, and then the other. It felt so strange to have so much space to move around in. He reached for the light switch, flicking it on and off, on and off.
Looking down at the living room floor, he could see cigarette burns in the carpet. The walls were moldy, but at least they were solid.
Standing outside the school building, Omid held a small paper bag out to Jasem.
‘Here’s your lunch,’ he said. ‘Okay? You ready?’
‘I think so,’ said Jasem.
Jasem found his classroom, and followed the other students inside, sitting down at an empty desk.
‘Hi, everyone,’ said the teacher, from where she stood in front of her own desk. Her name was Mrs. Finch. ‘We have a new student joining us today. His name is Ja…Ja…Jason…Ja-sem. Jasem has just moved here all the way from Israel. Where are you, Jasem?’
Jasem tentatively raised his right hand, glancing around at the students who had all turned to look at him.
‘Hello there, Jasem.’ Mrs. Finch noticed that Jasem was wearing his baseball cap, and she smiled with compassion, and spoke with gentle understanding. ‘Oh, sweetheart, would you remove your hat, please?’
‘I’m okay,’ Josef stammered.
‘Well, Jasem, one of the rules in this classroom is that you must remove your hat.’
She maintained her chirpy tone as she explained the rule. Feeling the pressure of the room upon him, Jasem reached up and slowly removed the cap from his head. Eyes widened as curiosity turned to shock at the sight of the scars that had twisted and contorted his skin. Unlike the woman at the office and the landlord, they didn’t try to hide their shock at the sight of the scar that dominated the entire right side of his head and face. Jasem felt himself shrinking down into his seat.
‘Now, I have a letter here that I’m going to pass around now. I want you all to take a copy and give it to your parents. It is about the Halloween parade, which will be happening on Friday October 31st after lunch.’
Jasem carried his lunch bag through the cafeteria, scanning the tables in search of a seat.
‘Hey!’ It was Reggie, the boy Jasem had been sitting next to in class. ‘Hey, sit down.’
Jasem placed his lunch bag down on the table and pulled out the chair, taking a seat.
‘Your name’s Jason, isn’t it?’
‘So you’re new,’ Reggie enquired. ‘You just moved here from Africa, right?’
‘Israel,’ Jasem corrected.
‘So have you ever even been to a real school before?’
‘Not like this.’
‘Cool,’ Reggie grinned. ‘So, what are you going to dress up as for the Halloween parade?’
‘I don’t know.’
Reggie gasped, his eyes wide with inspiration.
‘You could be Freddy Krueger!’
‘Or Two-Face from Batman!’
Jasem said nothing, looking down at his lunch. Reggie paused thoughtfully.
‘You could go as a ghost. That’s pretty easy.’
‘What do they look like?’
‘They go around in white sheets and carry chains.’
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another excerpt tomorrow!