The Piper 15

In Bloom…

Read After Burnout

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“You alone?” said the voice stepping out of an alleyway that ran between two iron-shuttered shops.

Again, Podrall felt the crackle of fear running along his spine. Had Flowers been reading his thoughts? He hoped not. Even though he had not been thinking anything remotely seditious, he was still aware that any thoughts were dangerous. Not for the first time, Flowers had sprung out of nowhere just at the moment when the thought of him had entered Podrall’s mind.

“I said, are you alone?”

“Yeah. There’s nobody with me,” and saying this he was aware how alone he was. “I’m on my own.”

“Good, come with me.”

As usual, Podrall didn’t question. Apart from the stronger boy’s temper, he was incapable of standing against his suggestions and had never found a way to do so. It had quickly dawned on him that it was dangerous to stand against his leader. Flowers had…

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