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Sunday 2nd November

It’s Sunday today and Mrs Mellor is back on the list. I’m not sure why she’s the one I’m always concerned about above the others. There’s something to her that reminds me of my grandma I guess. And I feel sorry for her.

Mei has tomorrow off work. Tomorrow is our Trafford Centre Christmas shopping day. Well, afternoon. After work. Good job it’s open late close to Christmas. I know it’s still November. I just want to get it over with before the proper Christmas rush takes over. I hate that. The pushing and shoving and fighting to get the best bargains. And that’s not even on Black Friday. The Black Friday events are an absolute nightmare. Thanks America. Your contributions once again mess up another country’s society. I know that’s harsh, I’m just venting. I like America. They gave us McDonald’s. Now I’m making myself hungry. I could try for one of the meals from work, but I don’t fancy lamb. I’ll just wait for whatever mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar Mei’s mum comes up with today.

Mr Byrne isn’t on today, so that makes my round of fifteen breeze by. Until I get to Mrs Mellor and my stomach sinks.

I walk in and shout as usual and her trolley is there with the towel. I do my usual routine and then stop dead when I look at her. Her eye is healing fine but, as she sits with her arms folded, I see the underside of her right one. It had red lines on it, like pencils, or whiplashes. They looked painful. But that’s not all: her forehead has a small cut where her hair, or wig, reaches her head. She sees my expression and covers her arms with a cushion.

‘It’s not what you think,’ she says defensively.

I’m not sure what to think. It looks like she’s been using her arms to stop something coming down on her, like a stick. I’m almost a hundred percent sure someone has attacked her.

‘You need to tell the police,’ I tell her.

She shakes her head. ‘That’ll make things worse.’

‘Is it those kids again?’ I feel myself almost shouting.

‘Please just leave it,’ she snaps tiredly. ‘I know you mean well, Lee, but please don’t do anything.’

I can feel a mixture of guilt and anger. It’s my fault, there’s no doubt about it. Me interfering has made things worse for her. It’s not just knocking on her door and running away, it’s physical now.

As I leave her house I feel sick. How can I get her out of this mess? If I’m honest I don’t think I can.

As I get into my car and head to Preston I can feel her watching me, making sure I go the right direction.

There’s a phone number I can ring, surely.

Stop it, Lee. Do as she asks.

Deep down a part of me thinks it’s worse than she tells me. If only I’d listened to Agatha and left everything alone. But she’s just such a rancid bitch I had to do the opposite. Plus I have a conscience, something of which she does not. I’d be surprised if Agatha even has a soul. Perhaps she did and she sold it to the devil. I feel a little like that now.

I will sell my soul to the devil to save Mrs Mellor.

Well, that didn’t work.

The thing is, if I don’t do anything then she will continue to be hounded.

I’ve only just realised. Today I Sunday. The kids must have stepped up their efforts and gone after her on a non-school day. That makes me even more mad.

Tomorrow I will go to the school again. I have to do something.

Constable Smith comes to mind.

When I get home I call him before I exit my car. Along the street I can see Jason’s mum staring at me from her front wall where she’s sitting like a beached whale.

Smith answers.

I tell him who I am and he says he remembers me. I explain to him what happened with Mrs Mellor. He tells me that he will get one of his colleagues to look in on her.

‘Please don’t mention me. I don’t want things to get worse for her and I don’t want her to know I’ve gone behind her back.’

He tells me he understands, though I still have a bad feeling about this.

I thank him for his help and we hang up.

God I feel terrible. I just can’t sit idly by while an elderly lady is getting attacked by some little shits from the school.

For the rest of the day I just go with it and get on with my usual routine of seeing Harold and heading home. Very exciting.

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