The Real Fantasy

Kitty has always dreamed of her fantasies coming true . . .

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5. Burnt Toast

I toss and turn all night, but I obviously manage to get to sleep eventually because the next thing I know my dad is yelling up the stairs for me to get up. My eyes trying to force themselves down from lack of sleep, I pull myself out of bed and start to drag my hairbrush brush through my hair.

And then I remember.

Please let it have been a dream, I silently beg as I shuffle towards my mirror. I turn around and stare at my back’s reflection. For a minute I just look at the brown lines on my back, like if I do this for long enough an explanation might pop into my head.

It seems weird that yesterday I was depressed about Kinetica being discontinued, when clearly I had much worse things to worry about but just didn’t know. I think that I can definitely count on the fact that having a mark in the shape of a butterfly suddenly appear on my back isn’t normal.

I move away from the mirror and start to put on my school uniform. When did I get the butterfly? It must have been fairly recently because at Jade’s sleepover last month, someone dared me to wander round for an hour in my underwear and I don’t think that they would have let the butterfly go unmentioned. Now I think about it I probably wouldn’t have noticed the butterfly – my back isn’t a place I frequently look at – if that boy hadn’t had turned up last night.

Fully dressed, I wander down to the kitchen deep in thought. How did no one notice the butterfly when I was getting changed for P.E.? It seems weird that half the girls in the changing room are prepared to mock you on slight rash on your arm or a clump of spots round your nose, but don’t manage to tell you about a weirdly shaped mark on your back. Then I remember how I’ve been hiding from those types of girls since Emma and her gang of giggly friends decided to make fun of me for wearing a pair of dad’s old socks as all mine were in the wash. I’ve been getting changed right in the corner, mostly talking to my friends with my back to the wall, so maybe that's why no one noticed it.

‘I’ve got some toast in for you,’ says Dad, snapping me out of my daydream.

I sit on the stool opposite him as he passes me a mug of coffee.

‘You had a nightmare last night,’ he remarks.

‘I did.’

‘Do you remember what happened?’

‘No.’ I wish he’d change the subject. ‘Why?’

‘Just that you were shouting some strange things,’ he says, staring at me. ‘“Freak”, “Come back here”.’ He pauses, smiling. ‘"Perv”’.

‘And your point is?’

‘Must have been a weird dream . . .’ he tries to say casually.

‘It was.’

He looks at me triumphantly. ‘You just said that you couldn’t remember what you dreamed about!’

He should be a barrister, my dad, but I know that he’s just trying to annoy me.

‘Erm, Dad, what’s that smell?’

We both turn round simultaneously to see clouds of smoke rising from the toaster, just as the fire alarm kicks in. We leap to our feet and Dad quickly presses the button to make the toast pop out the top.

‘It’s stuck,’ he mutters, grapping a fork and shoving it inside the toaster.

‘Don’t do that!’ I yell at him. ‘You’ll electrocute yourself!’

I throw a wooden spoon at him and he thrusts it in instead.

‘Unplug it,’ I suggest.

‘Which plug is it?’ he says as he pulls each one from its socket. ‘Aghh! The toast has caught fire!’

We spend the next five minutes trying to get the toast out the toaster, doing everything from encouraging it out with the wooden spoon to tipping the toaster upside down and shaking it. Eventually, we manage to get the two slices of toast out and we examine the blackened burnt remains of them.

‘Here you go,’ Dad says, ‘breakfast, Kitty.’

I raise an eyebrow at him, while he goes to put them in the bin.

‘Urgh, it stinks of burnt toast in here,’ Dad says more seriously. ‘Go and open a window, Kitty.’

I go to the sink and push open the window above it. I turn round to see Dad looking at the fire alarm which is still beeping loudly. We then spend another five minutes trying to figure out how to shut it up.

‘At least we know it works,’ Dad mutters dryly when we’ve finally done it. He looks at the clock on the wall and swears at the top of his voice. ‘I should’ve left for work ten minutes ago! Bye, Kitty.’

And he runs out the house.

Shaking my head, I go upstairs to brush my teeth and get my bag, then come back downstairs ready for school. As I pass the kitchen, I remember the open window and think that I’d better shut it or we might get who knows what sneaking into the house while we’re out – and after last night, I don’t want any more intruders. So I go into the kitchen and reach out to shut the window.

‘Having fun, Kitty?’ a familiar voice smirks. It’s the boy from last night – he’s standing in the garden and looking though the window at me.

My hand freezes in midair.

He smiles wickedly at me.

And then he’s gone.

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