A month later, Abby and Mila were best friends. They played at our place often, but Abby had never been at their house. And I still didn't know why.
One Saturday morning, Abby came into my room. 'Lola, I'm so bored. Do you want to do something with me?'
And I got an idea. 'I could set you off at Mila's place if you want to..'
'Sure!' She said.
And ten minutes later, we were on our way. I had GPS on my phone, so it wasn't that hard to find.
But when we arrived, I started doubting my GPS quality.
'Are you sure this is it?' Abby asked.
We were standing in a small street. Everywhere around us were cigarettes, cans of beer, and the houses looked like they were about to collapse every moment. But this had to be the right house in the right street. Number 702.
I walked up to the door, and could see it was completely dark inside. I rang the bell, but it didn't work.
Abby grabbed my hand. 'I'm scared. Mila doesn't live here, I'm sure of that.'
'You know what?' I said. 'I will bring you home, and then i'll take another look on my own.' Even though I wasn't that tough, I was too curious about what was going on here.
I brought Abby back home, and I went to the house again.
It looked like the whole quarter was abandoned. I went up to number 702, and tried pushed the door. It was just open.
I went inside, and heard the floor under me creak. There was no furniture or anything, and I was sure that this was the wrong address.
But then I heard something. First I thought it was nothing, but then I heard a little girl's voice singing. I wasn't sure where it was coming from.
'Mila?' I said. No reaction.
But the singing stopped. So I tried it again, a little louder. 'Miilaa? Is it you?'
Then I heard a voice coming from the basement. 'P-please, don't hit me!'
It sounded as if she was crying.
'I don't want to hit you! It's me, Lola! Abby's sister!' And I slowly walked down the stairs.
It was quite dark, and dirty. All I saw was a closet and a shadow in the corner of the squared basement.
'Lola?' She stood up and turned around. 'What are you doing here?'
'I..I..' I was stunned by this situation. 'Do..Do you and Calum live here? With your parents?'
She came closer. 'No, just me and Calum.'
They lived here by themselves? Do they even have food? But.. Calum wasn't much older than me.. Doesn't he go to school?
'Where is Calum?' I asked.
She shrugged her shoulders. 'He said he was going outside.'
I patted her on the head. 'I'll go search for him, okay? Just wait right here, it'll be fine.' And I left the basement.
My mind was full of thoughts. How did they end up here? Where are their parents?
I went outside, and saw Calum standing behind a tree. He was smoking a cigarette.
'Uh..Calum?' I didn't know what to say.
He turned around. 'Lola? What the hell are you doing here?! Have you been inside?'
I nodded slowly.
'Well, at least you know why I didn't want you to come here.'
I had no idea what to say. 'Mila told me you were living there without your parents. Is that true..?'
For a moment he didn't say anything. He just stared at me, as if he was thinking.
But then he blinked again and looked away. 'You know what? I think I should just tell you the whole story. If you promise not to tell anybody. Not your parents, not Mila's school... no one. Understood?'
We sat down in the grass and Calum started talking.
'So, I used to live with my parents. They were both happy.. But when I was about... nine years old, my mom got pregnant by accident. My dad wanted her to have an abortion, only she didn't want to. Right before Mila was born, he left us. My mom got a new relationship, with this guy named Will. He was a fucking asshole. I can't remember everything, but I know he used to abuse my mom. She went crazy and started drinking...' He took a deep breath. 'And eventually she died, because of an overdose.' He closed his eyes and I could see the pain that was deep inside him. I saw a tear streaming down his face. 'And we were left with our terrible stepfather. God, I hated him. And I still do. He acted as if he was our father, made decision that I was old enough for to make myself. He was drunk often or didn't come home for a couple of days. So when I was fifteen, I decided to run away, and take Mila with me. We didn't have any money, so we just live in this abandoned house for almost two years I guess.'
I was practically flabbergasted. I had no reaction; I just kept staring at the ground. 'Why.. Why do you want to tell me this? Have you told anyone else?'
'I don't know. I guess your the only one I trust. I'm always afraid that people will call child protection. And I would lose Mila. But for some reason you're different.'
There was still something I wanted to know. 'But.. Do you even go to high school? Anything?'
He shook his head. 'No. But I used to go.' He gasped. 'I turned my life into a mess. And I don't want the same to happen to Mila. That's why I signed her up for school. I want her to have a future, to have a goal in her life.'
I was so sorry for him. I wished I could've changed it. But I couldn't.
'Do you have any friends? From high school? Or from this quarter?' I didn't know what else to ask.
'No, I don't. I was an outsider in high school. And there is no one living here, besides us. So that's no option.' He had a somber expression on his face. 'I wish I had some, though. Just.. a buddy, to rely on. But no one wants to be friends with a dickhead like me.'
'You're not a dickhead! Don't say those things about yourself. I don't know you that well, but I think you're a really cool guy. Maybe we could get to know each other better, and become friends.' I wasn't even saying that just to comfort him; I actually liked him.
He smiled shyly. 'Y-you want to be friends with me? I'd love to, I think you're great, but I don't want you to get in danger..'
'No, I'm sure! Let's hang out sometimes, get to know each other..'
'No. There are people out there, dangerous people. I don't want you to get involved, or hurt. Sorry.' And he walked back to his house.
Dangerous people? What does that mean?