After having spent the afternoon at the yearly fair, mother and I ran into Tom and some of his friends. They were hanging out behind Rich's Coffee Place. I wonder what they were doing there. I wanted to stay and talk a little. Maybe that was the ideal moment to introduce Tom to mother. However, as she spotted the group, her pace quickened and her grip on my arm tightened.

"That's them, hurry on, she hissed into my ear."

"Yes mother, I answered in some confusion."

Once we were around the nearest bend, we slowed down.

"Mother, you're shaking."

"Those rogues. Hanging about the place. Frightening the life out of me, they did! It was them. I'm sure it was. It was them that set the rubbish on fire last week. In the middle of the night they did it. Just sneaked into the yard and lit a fire in the rubbish bin. Then they rode their bikes around it. That's what woke me up. And then it was so bright, so bright, I was scared the house was on fire. Can you imagine how scared I was? Can you imagine?!"

"Why didn't you tell me mother? Why didn't you go and tell the police?"

"You were away that night. Staying at Sarah's. The whole yard was alight with blazing fire. I was so frightened. I thought the dry leaves would catch fire and carry it to the bushes and gums and over to the house. Thought I'd burn alive. I couldn't leave the house. They were waiting outside. On their bikes. I heard them. They were laughing."

"Mother, you ought to have told me. We should inform the police. Now."

"It was them!"

"Them? Tom and his friends?"

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure. Once I've seen a face I'd recognize it everywhere. Especially when it belongs to someone trying to set my house on fire."

"Of course, mother."

We walked on in silence.

"I've seen you look at him. "


"I've seen you look at him!"


"How long have you been seeing each other?"

"For about a month now."

"Are you pregnant?"

"Of course not!"

A satisfied grunt was all I got in response from her this time.

"You will break up with him."

"Yes mother."

We walked on in silence.

This was a finger exercise for a creative writing class. It is ficticious. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.
- Siobhan