Something is wrong with Abigail
Something was very wrong with Abigail.
Alex knew it, she wasn’t fooling him. Mrs Parry-Jones’ happy little tabby kitten disappeared all on its own did it? The ginger hairs on Abigail’s pillow came from Jemima’s cat?
And the new puppy from next door, all waggy-tailed and adorable, threw itself onto the train tracks?
Alex had seen Abigail’s face when the puppy had muddied her new white frock with his dirty paws. It was an expression terrifyingly out of place on a six year old - one of cold, calm fury. No tantrums here, no. Her expression weighed all things in the balance, calculated and promised a slow, exacting revenge.
He shook his head to clear the imprinted image of crimson blood, rainbow viscera and soft white fur, all torn and grimy in ghastly smears over the tracks. The mass of fleshy matter that had once been a puppy. The little guy had never stood a chance.
He tried telling Mam, but a swish of those blonde curls, a flutter of those baby-blues and all suspicion was wiped clean away.
“But Mam, I saw her with Tom Cat the day Mrs Parry Jones put the posters up. And Jemima doesn’t even have a cat.”
Mam was distracted, slicing cheese for their sandwiches. Mornings were the only time Alex could be sure he could speak to Mam alone. Abigail was still safely in bed. He’d checked. Twice.
“Alex, what do you think your sister actually did to the cat? Isn’t it more likely that he just wandered off somewhere?”
He could still nod and accept it and walk away from this. He didn’t have to fight this battle.
Then he remembered the splatters of puppy, the distant screams of other tortured neighbourhood pets as he’d lain, half wakeful, half dreaming alone in the room he shared with his sister.
“Please mam, I don’t know what she does to them, but I know she knows something about what happened to Patch. I found his collar and lead in her wardrobe…”
For the first time, Mam put down the knife and looked at Alex. Really looked at him, like she was listening to what he was saying. Her eyes were kind, concerned, he opened his mouth to say more when the door swung open and Mam’s eyes flicked instantly up, away from Alex, away from the horrible stories she didn’t want to hear and over to the kitchen doorway.
Neatly dressed in her tiny school uniform, blonde curls clipped prettily back, Abigail had even contrived to step into the puddle of sunlight streaming through the window. A perfect angel. Alex watched Mam’s concern drain away. Watched as all thought of him slipped from her mind as she went to her youngest child.
“Delicious cheese for your sandwiches today Abi - how’s that?” Mam gestured at the pile of neatly prepared sandwiches.
“I don’t like cheese Mammy. Can I have ham instead, please?”
“Course you can. Alex, you don’t mind having the cheese do you?”
He did. He hated cheese, but he shook his head and looked at the ground. The was battle lost.
But not before he had seen Abigail’s face over his mother’s shoulder. Her cold, blank expression was brushed with the faintest hint of a sadistic smile as she looked him straight in the eyes.