The Breaking Of Liam Glass By Charlie Harris
Published: By Marble City Publishing ~ 29 June 2017
Article: By Kelly
Charles Harris is an international award-winning writer-director and a highly-respected script consultant, writing and directing for cinema, television and theatre. He is also a best-selling non-fiction author with titles including A Complete Screenwriting Course, Police Slang, and Jaws in Space. Several of his short stories have been published, with two shortlisted for awards.
Charles has a black belt in Aikido and teaches police, security personnel and the public, self-defence against street violence, including knife attacks.
Exclusive Excerpt ~ Sneak Peak
How long? Ho-o-ow lo-o-o-o-ong can it take you, Liam? How long, Lia-a-a-a-am? I’m going out of my mind. Out. Of. My. Mind. How long, Liam-baby?
He’d been gone an hour already and his homework book on the kitchen table not even touched, and sometimes Katrina wished she had a man around, but not that man, not that man for sure, and the pizza man had been and gone and would have accepted the debit card himself. She hadn’t known. She went out and leant over the parapet, looked up and down in both directions.
Going out of my mind.
The cashpoint was right there – she could almost see it. But there was no-one below on Gordon Road under the street lights, just two Bengali teenagers, one tall, one short, kicking something small and dark on the ground. One more time she took her phone from her handbag.
‘Yo!’ His voice answered bright as ever and she said ‘Liam’ just in case, but of course it went on, ‘Leave that message, bro!’ Like he was black or something. He always refused to change it. She said, ‘Liam, Liam-baby, this is Mum again. Waiting. Like, the pizza came and went back, and where the fuck are you.’
Katrina went back to the walkway. The Bengali teenagers were jumping in and out of the shadows now, hoods up, larking about, and she called out, ‘Hey!’ One of them looked at her and then they both ran off. The street was silent without them.
She thought about strangling Liam when he got back, good kid and all. He was mush-brain, except when it came to kicking a ball. Not the brightest shop sign in the High Street.
Liam-baby, where are you? She looked up and down and then stopped in her open doorway and thought of phoning his friends. She’d start with Shay and Zen, she decided, though they’d just had a fight with him about football. But she didn’t want to be a stupid mother, making a fuss about nothing. He’d be back in two minutes and asking for his dinner and getting on Facebook. But there was no-one and she felt a chill coming off the walkway. This was mad. She’d rented a DVD of Avatar to watch, and she had to iron her blouse for the morning and this wasn’t even doing any of it.
She went inside to grab her denim jacket and car keys to go look for him, and then she stopped. Perhaps she should wait in case he came back.
Her stomach felt sour with fear, but she drove to the cashpoint by the bank anyway and he wasn’t there. She looked around for those two Paki teenagers too – there was something about them, but they’d disappeared.
So she sat in the car and phoned Liam’s mates, all she could think of, Shay and Zen and Kyle that she was sure was into drugs, and Chardonnay who got him to dye his hair purple for a month. When she didn’t have the numbers for his friends she phoned their parents, even Mo Patterson, who was a pig and made sarky comments about people who worked in Tesco. But they all said no, shit, no, fuck, no, Shay, Zen, Kyle, Chardonnay, Mo, they hadn’t seen Liam at all. Not on a school night. They’d talked to him on Facebook – but that was well over an hour ago.
She came home and when she opened the door she called his name in case he’d come back, but the flat was silent and dark. So she lit a Lambert and Butler and turned on the light in his bedroom, which felt weird, too bright. And she sat at his computer, with all his clothes on the floor and his smell, sticky and male. She felt ill. She posted a message on his Facebook page, for what that was worth, and even tried some girl called Jules who he’d been messaging, but didn’t get a reply. Then she thought of phoning 999, but again she didn’t want to make a fuss.
She phoned 999.
‘I know this is like stupid,’ she said, ‘but have you arrested a kid called Liam Glass?’
The woman on the 999 asked why she was calling. Katrina said, ‘I don’t know where my son is.’
The other woman asked how old he was and when she last saw him, and said, ‘Most come back in the next twenty-four hours – two hours isn’t long at all, Mrs Glass, not for a kid of fourteen, they get up to all kinds of things.’
‘I’m sorry,’ Katrina said. ‘I didn’t know who else to call.’
‘You should phone the local hospitals. It’s worth it. For peace of mind.’
‘You think he’s in hospital?’ Katrina could hardly breathe. The phone, the woman’s voice, Liam’s clothes on the floor, his unmade bed, it wasn’t real. It was like she was in EastEnders.
‘He’s probably fine. But for peace of mind.’
So Katrina went onto Google and wrote down the numbers of the local hospitals and there were six. She didn’t want to do this but forced herself to be brave and started with the one that was closest. Her heart was in her mouth, just like in the stories in the magazines. She tried to breathe slower the way the writers always told you in articles about stress. She asked each operator if there was a Liam Glass, fourteen, and each operator told her they didn’t have anyone called Liam Glass. She double-checked they’d heard his name right, and they all said they didn’t have any fourteen-year-old kids at all, not tonight. And each time she asked if they were sure, and they were sure. Some were friendly, some not.
Then she ran out of hospitals and she didn’t usually like taking Valium, but she took one all the same
Thank you to Charles Harris and Marble City for being on my blog today.
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