• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

The Acolyte

Me and Coby go back a long way. We’re the same age – not that you’d guess as he’s so much bigger – but I look up to him, you know? He lives with his dad and I live with my mum, so we’ve got that in common… His dad drinks a lot, I think.

Coby’s fun to be with; he has so many ideas, like when we tried all the car doors one evening and found one that was unlocked. We didn’t steal it or anything – though I think Coby wanted to – we just sat in it and pretended to drive. Coby took a pair of sunglasses from the dashboard.

‘They’re not worth anything,’ he said.

He does take things sometimes, but I don’t say much. I think, like us, his family is hard up. He sells stuff to get money.

Last Sunday, Coby said we were going to have the best time yet.

‘This old bird a few doors down died, right? So there’s no one in the house… Get it? Her stuff’ll just get dumped. It’s a waste.’

I got it.

We climbed over a broken wall into her garden. It was a mess. Coby picked up a brick, wrapped it in his hoodie and swung it at the kitchen window. It shattered with such a bang that we ducked and waited silently in the dark. I felt as though a bird had got trapped in my chest, but Coby just licked his finger and rubbed the dirt of his trainers. Nike. I really liked them. He gave me a bunk up and I crawled in, knocking my shin on the tap. Coby followed and lit the way.

‘You got a new phone?’ I whispered.

‘Yeah. An iPhone 8.’


The Acolyte

I followed Coby into the living room. He swiped ornaments off surfaces and rummaged through cupboards.

‘Load of crap.’

He stamped his heel on the glass of a photograph. I couldn’t see what of...


I trotted behind him obediently and followed him into the main bedroom. Brazen, he switched on the light. This old lady didn’t have much. It was bare and old-fashioned. Coby snatched a wooden box from her dressing table and grabbed the necklaces and rings from it. He stuffed them into his pocket. His eyes were glinting. He then stamped on a photo of three children which had been next to the box.

‘What’re you doing?’ I asked.

He pulled a quizzical face, attempting to humiliate me. My nails dug into my palms as I followed him from room to room. He completely ignored me.

At the top of the stairs, he looked across each shoulder one final time, patting his pocket.

An internal fire swept through me. My arms rose, led by my fingertips, followed by flat palms. I was a mechanism.

I pushed. So hard.

Coby tumbled.

He lay still in a halo of blood.

I put back the jewellery. Sentimental.

I kept Coby’s trainers. I sold Coby’s phone.

I’d learned from the best.