Furthermoor – Extract Tour Day Three

Part Two – The Monday Before

Chapter Two – Cary, continued… 

Cary watched cheerfully while Shaun closed in. Shaun moved with his usual slow swagger. His eyes were locked firmly on his prey. 

“You alright?” asked Cary.  

Shaun drew up to him at full height. He stepped closer, so that his toes were almost touching Cary’s, and looked down from above, leering smugly, waiting for Cary to cringe or back into the wall.  

But Cary didn’t move. He just met Shaun’s gaze, his smile unwavering. “You’re a bit close, bud. Mind stepping back? My nose is like, this close to your armpit, and I’m guessing you’re out of deodorant.” 

Bren couldn’t believe his ears. A smatter of nervous giggles rippled through the corridor, only to be silenced when Shaun looked around to see who was laughing. The group took a collective step back. Bren pressed himself against the wall.  

Cary seemed puzzled, but only for a moment. He peered up again, straight into Shaun’s face. “Oh right. I get it.” His eyes narrowed and his smile was back. “You’re  
the alpha male around here, right? And this is you  
banging your chest, reminding everyone who’s boss. Is that right?” 

Shaun’s pale cheeks reddened and he drew back, just a little. He scratched the black stubble of his hair, then glanced fiercely about to find an audience still hovering. 

After pressing his knuckles into his palm, he cocked his head at Cary, then reached out and flicked his fringe. “What’s this rubbish in your hair? You trying to turn yourself into a ginge?” 

“It’s red,” replied Cary. “There’s a difference. What’s your problem? You don’t like it?” 

 Shaun shook his head, his sneer returning. “It looks stupid.” 

“You honestly think I give the slightest about what you think of my hair? Don’t flatter yourself, bud.” 

Gasps and whispers. Bren watched the other students. They were as gripped as he was.  

Shaun’s nostrils flared. He stepped close again, looming over Cary. But again, Cary refused to give an inch. 

“You’d better watch that mouth,” rumbled Shaun. “Big words for a little man. Shouldn’t you be cooking noodles with your mum and dad at a takeaway or something?” 

Cary screwed up his face. “Great. Racism. Didn’t take long, did it?” He sighed and shook his head. “Is that all you’ve got? Stereotypes older than my nan?”   

Shaun was breathing heavily. His eyes – usually a cold, bright blue – were dark and thin.  

“FYI, my parents don’t run a takeaway,” Cary went on. “My mum’s an engineer and my dad does photography. Not that there’s anything wrong with working in a takeaway. You want me to assume some stuff about you?” He looked Shaun up and down, then stood on his toes to sniff the air by Shaun’s chin.  

Cary screwed up his face as Shaun pulled away. “Alright then. Going by your breath, I’m guessing you haven’t seen a toothbrush in years.” He wafted a hand. “Honest, bud – you could knock out a pony.” 

He must have clocked Shaun’s clenching fists. “And that’s next, is it? You’re gonna get physical, cos you’ve got nothing left up here?” He tapped his own forehead.  

You little—” 

“I’m hungry.” Cary was already brushing past him. “Got better things to do. See you around, yeah?” 

Caught off guard, Shaun blinked and turned to see Cary heading for the cafeteria. The crowd began to scatter and follow, tittering in low tones while being careful not to glance in Shaun’s direction. 

Bren had been preoccupied picking his jaw up from the floor. He began to move away but the delay cost him. He’d only managed a few steps along the corridor when Shaun called for him. 

Hey. Ginger nut.” 

Bren froze. 

“Come here.”  

You can read mine and Helen’s reviews on Furthermoor, which published tomorrow (3rd March 2022), and find more extracts through checking out the other stops on the blog tour. Check out the banner below for details.

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