Elsie’s Orders

I’ve gone down to the newsagent’s for the Mail on Sunday. Elsie’s orders.

Same face on every front page. I recognise the boy. Knocked on the door the other night, soaked through. Shivering. Begging to be let in. I shut the door in his face. Elsie’s orders.

‘You’ll find yourself with a knife to your throat if you open the door to the likes of him,’ Elsie said.

I fling the paper at her.

‘We should have given the lad shelter. He’d be alive. I’m calling the coppers.’

‘Don’t,’ Elsie says. ‘We know nothing.’

But I won’t obey another order.