Football practice had run late that Tuesday. George slung his mud-splattered boots over his shoulders and let them dangle, hitting his back as he gripped onto the long laces. Coach Robin had pushed them to the limit today, working them on their dribbling.
They’d played one game today at the end, to try and put their dribbling into game play. Strangely, George had lost today 5-1. He never lost, he was Coach Robin’s favourite and was always in every game. He’s tackling, dribbling, shooting were perfect not to mention every other aspect of the sport. So to lose, this wasn’t ordinary.
To top losing off, his Mum was held up at work and he had to walk home. Dragging his feet along in his worn-trainers, the studs of his boots struck his back in a clumsy rhythm, trying to keep in time with the beats of his walk.
There was a slight drizzle, and a fierce wind that blew the rain in a slanted diagonal. Sticking his head down to avoid the rain slapping his face with its cold fingers, he continued the tiresome trek back home he really didn’t want to ensue.
The shortcut was down Deadman’s Lane, and it wasn’t called Deadman’s Lane for nothing. The spooky tale that circulated the school was that a man went down there on his bike. He flipped over the handlebars, then was ran over by a car. Now he haunts the road, steering car drivers off course and knocking bikes over.
George was never too certain about that story, but he knew the street had no street lamps. So when night crawled along, it was pitch-black and you could only feel your way. Should he take the short cut? Darkness was already setting in, turning the grey sky even murkier.
No. No he shouldn’t.
Sighing, and trying to re-position his hair already highly damp from the harsh rain, he kept walking. What more could he do? Walk. Walk. Walk. Weighed down by his sweaty kit stuffed haphazardly into his white bag, the empty crisp packets and half-drunk energy drink bottles crumpled up amongst the kit and his swinging football boots hitting his back repeatedly.
He looked down at himself, and what he was wearing. Trousers, grey top, stripy socks and muddy trainers. A casual look? Maybe he should have listened to Cassidy about his looks, after all people were so judging. You could go around stark naked and still be judged as much as if you wore the wrong shoes.
Mind you, girls are judged more than boys, he thought. Girls have to keep up with the current trends, worry about brands, spend extra money on make-up, change their look dependant on the season, and be colour-coordinated. What can boys do? Sling on some top, jeans, trainers and boom! Outfit for the day done. Although, boys can be judged just as much as girls.
Judgment is just a vicious cycle of glances, words and hurt. What more can be said?
The pavement George was walking on began to slim, and soon turned into the grassy banks by an old ditch. Ryan, his friend, had one day decided to slide down the slope of the banks and walk along the muddy ditch. He came out, feet caked in dirt and bits of grass, and some un-recognisable substance stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
Ryan said that the CIA had to take his shoes with the substance on to investigate, but George knew his Mum wouldn’t allow him to wear them anymore and had to chuck them away.
Staring down at the long ditch, at the trickle of dirty water that snaked along the bottom, he thought of Ryan wading his way through the thick layer of brown muck. Nice.
As he walked along, he saw something. Something curled up, with human features. A little girl lying dead.