Recently, The Kilkenny Observer welcomed Kilkenny student Keela Ayres as she presented a short story for our readers. As a newspaper, we attempt to cover as much news as possible on various topics. The inclusion of a young writer, such as Keela, with aspirations in that field, is something we are happy to promote. Today, we present part two of ‘There is something about Debbie’ with ‘A match to remember’.
The Kilkenny Observer –supporting new writing in Kilkenny
BY: KEELA AYRES
After the bike shed incident, the week crawled by as the group’s concern grew. Debbie now kept a firm eye on her sleeves, not daring to even raise her hand in class and P.E wasn’t even an option. Every smoke session was clouded in discomfort that even Marky’s jokes couldn’t save. The smile Debbie wore was now an imitation and it was as if the light in her eyes had been snuffed. On Wednesday, Frances (out of all people) attempted to reach out before the slam of a locker door could let her finish. It killed the group not knowing what to do. Their attempts weren’t working and her lips weren’t moving. It wasn’t until James’ hurling match on Friday that would finally reveal the dark truth behind Debbie’s behaviour.
The sun made a surprise appearance that afternoon. Harriet’s ebony ponytail swished from side to side as she made her way over to Marky, who was sitting near the edge of the pitch. He broke into the smile usually saved for her. She broke into her own rosy-cheeked version as she sat. The air became thick with cheer when James landed the first goal. Despite it being the first match of term, their team was already flying it. Frances captured the scene with the school camera before shooting a manic wave over to Harriet and Marky. Snorting in unison, they returned it back. As the crowd swore passionately, Marky scanned the pitch desperately in search of Debbie. Every second weighed heavier as the pair waited. They didn’t care how long she’d be once they knew she was ok. Harriet found herself tuning into the whispers circulating behind her, slowly piecing together who they were about.
“He may hit her but at least she gets the attention she wants. He’s the only one who notices her because no else will.”
“Her eye bags are miles long and it wouldn’t kill her to put a brush through her hair! I can’t understand what her friends see in her.”
“If Debbie Brennan ends up an alcoholic or something, don’t be surprised. She’s heading for trouble that one.”
They pronounced her name with enough scorching sarcasm that Harriet shot up off the bench in fury. The unwelcomed remarks belonged to Aoife, Nollaig and Shannon in their year, infamous for making students and teachers alike miserable. “I’d suggest shutting your mouths before I do it for you!” Harriet spat out. Marky grabbed her hand, pulling her back whispering “Har, please stop!” as the trio looked on in disbelief. The match continued obliviously as Marky tried to stop a furious Harriet exploding.
On the sidelines, Frances aimed her camera ready to find her next shot. Peering through the lens ready to aim, she was terrified with what she found. She followed Debbie in the carpark who was fleeing a speeding car and clutching her now scarlet arm. With shaking limbs, Frances took an expert shot before erupting into a scream. Harriet and Marky looked over in shock, following Frances’ floundering towards the car park. They then realised why and began to hightail it after her. Marky caught James who was sitting on the side and merely blurted out “Debbie”. His stomach dropped, knowing she was in trouble. Ignoring his coach’s hollering, James ran with the group to find Debbie lying crumbled in the dust and her arm forming into a scarlet river. She had been stabbed. But with what?
Harriet embraced Debbie with a teary face while Marky and Frances took her hands, both wide-eyed and white. Questions were flung at her but she could only respond in shaken sobs. James tore down the pathway into school, making a beeline for the office.He began breaking down the window. “WE NEED AN AMBULANCE FOR DEBBIE BRENNAN NOW! SHE’S BLEEDING OUTSIDE! GET ONE NOW!” He collapsed into the arms of Angela, the secretary who rushed out with the phone in her hands. She held his sobbing head while frantically dialling. Outside, Marky had wrapped his jumper around Debbie’s wounds who could only choke out “I’m sorry.”
The ambulance arrived in five minutes. It would take Debbie hours to finally tell her friends everything.
Seventeen year old Keela Ayres is from Kilkenny City and currently attends Presentation Secondary School.