Jason lived on the Old Town Estate. His route home meant crossing Hubert's field and going through the wastes between the canal and the council garages.

Martin trailed. The pathway was deserted but for the two of them. He waited until Jason was behind the garages before calling his name. Jason scowled then grinned. He walked back and asked what Martin was doing here.

Martin dropped his bag and asked Jason why he did not like the shoes. Jason looked down, confusion spreading across his face. Martin kicked him in the stomach and repeated his question. Jason clutched his belly and went down. The next kick caught the bridge of his nose and the next the side of his head. Martin could not recall where the rest had connected.

He did remember the outcry the following day and the graveness of the head teacher’s voice when he had addressed them in a special assembly.

The policeman had been old with grey hair. He had answered all his questions. No, he hadn't seen Jason since they'd all parted at the school gates. No, he hadn't seen anyone follow him. He was sorry.

Martin had taken his shoes off as soon as he got home. He had hidden them in the garage. The next day they were gone. He almost asked his dad about them but changed his mind at the last second.

He got off the bed and looked through the window. If he stretched he could see into Crossley's yard. The old factory interested him. He did not care what had been done there or the people who had worked within its austere walls. He admired its emptiness. Its uselessness. Its death.

Martin lay back down and closed his eyes. He would sleep and perhaps dream of Jason.

Chapter 10

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