Charlie looked back, his eyes locking on his brothers as they car moved away painfully slowly over the gravel driveway of their home, he had climbed as close to the back window as he could and his nose occasionally bumped the dirty glass but he didn’t care; if he could Charlie would have jumped from the car and run home, begging to stay, pledging to be a good boy forever, as long as he could stay but those words had left his mouth before, they had fallen on deaf ears and Charlie, even though he was only 6 years old, knew that those ears would remain deaf to his sentences. Charlie hadn’t cried when his mother ans father had told him what their decision had been,
“you’re going to have to go and spend some time away Charlie” his mother had said in her correct British tone, Charlie had the same tone, he had always liked that he and his mother were so alike; he shared her bright blue eyes and golden blond hair, his skin was pale, soft like hers and decorated with a gentle spatter of freckles on his nose. His brother had been drawn as a complete opposite; he had dark hair and even darker eyes, his skin was not pale like Charlies but always had a slight tan as though the sun forever shone down over him, he looked like their father. When his mother had broken the news to him Charlies brother had been in the room, he had stood off to one side watching silently as silently as Charlie had remained when his mother had said those words and Charlie had remained silent until he had been bundled into the car not even a day later though when he had spoken it was not to cry or protest but simply to bid his brother good bye.
The car journey was long and tedious, tedious only for the fact that Charlie spent the whole time considering what it was exactly that he had done to wind up in the car with his father silent at the wheel, being driven away from his mother and his big brother; his best friend. The more Charlie thought about what had happened in the playground that day the more and more frustrated he grew, his seat belt began to irritate him and the silence in the car grew so loud that it became piercing,
“Daddy!” he yelled over the waves of screaming silence that crashed against his skull, “I didn’t do anything” he added when he felt his fathers eyes reflect upon him through the rear view mirror,
“Listen Charlie darling, this will only be for a little while, me and your mother and your brother too will all come and visit you and then when you come home we can have a party to celebrate” his father's words rang dull and promise-less and Charlie despite his young age knew that he had said them just to appease him. He slumped back in the seat his mind again running through the events that had happened on the playground.
Charlies big brother was only 3 years older than he was but he was taller and broader and when Charlie looked at him he saw a titan. That day in the playground all Charlie had wanted to do was play with his brother, it had seemed like a perfectly simple thing however his teacher Mrs Pierpoint had responded to his request by pairing him with another boy his age a boy that Charlie didn’t want to play with.
“I don’t want to play with you anymore” Charlie forced the words over gritted teeth, his hands stung and pulsed with every heartbeat
“Charlie no!” his brother voice broke through the thrumming in Charlie's head
“Oh dear god” His teacher's voice followed soon after, it was fraught and filled with horror like in the voices of the women in the old horror film he and his brother watched late at night when their parents had gone to bed. Charlie froze, he felt his brother hands close around his and then he felt himself dragged backward,
“Charlie Black what do you think you are doing” His teacher's words were now coloured with shock, Charlie looked up from his bound hands, he dropped the wooden handled skipping rope on the floor and looked at her, she held the other boy who shook with sobs, his cried rang out across the playground and others had gathered to watch,
“I-I was playing, I was only playing” he whined innocently, his brother still held him tightly, he began to cry, though he was not entirely sure why “I-was-only-Playing-Miss” he uttered between sobs,
“My office now” this voice was different, it was strong and laden with authority, “everyone, Miss Pierpoint please call the parents” his head teacher added before leading Charlie and his brother back into the small school building.
Charlie had been told to wait in the small room between the reception and the office, his brother sat beside him silently, tears lingered in his eyes just on the brim of cascading down over his cheeks but they never fell, he held Charlie's hand the whole time that they had to sit there. As their mum and dad arrived and fussed over them, as they sat and waited and watched the silent play unfold before them; the head teacher said something and Charlie's mother had broken down and cried, his father had hugged her and 20 minutes later they had left, neither had looked at him; he remembered wondering what he had done. He let his brother lead him from the room, from the school, he let him fasten his seatbelt and then held his hand the whole way home; no one had talked. That evening his parents had argued, his mother had cried and Charlie had slept in his brother bed and the next morning they had told him he wasn’t going to school, he spent the day playing in his room alone, his mother still couldn’t look at him as she handed him his jam sandwich without the crusts and set his juice down beside him; he had wondered why. Then when Charlie's big brother had returned home from school with a bloody lip his mother had sat him down and told him the news.
Charlie was brought back to the present by a pothole in the country road they travelled down, he studied the interior of the car for a few second before meeting the reflection of his fathers eyes,
“I was only playing with the rope daddy” he said “and then I didn’t want to play anymore, I didn’t want to play with him anymore, I wasn’t going to do anything with the rope, I-I just didn’t want to play anymore” the words were met with silence, a silence that remained for the rest of the long journey. Charlie couldn’t understand why nobody would listen to him, he just didn’t want to play anymore.