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(A short story of 2073 words)

The School Run

Crime and Thrillers Literary

by Gareth Hill

I heard the sirens in the night.

I said this to Annabel Grainger’s mum later that morning, as we both stood outside what remained of the primary school. She was looking with dismay across the car park at the smouldering rubble of the old red brick building as I struggled to remember her name. This was a regular problem; I had known and spoken to this woman for as long as our children had attended the school, but rarely were Christian names ever uttered and too many years had now passed to deem it acceptable to ask.

The fire had apparently started around the back of the school, she told me, near the kitchens. Arson was already being suggested.

Why would anyone do such a thing? Annabel Grainger’s mum asked. I said nothing. Annabel was dressed in her school uniform as though she believed classes would carry on despite the disruption of a catastrophic fire.

I went to this school myself, she added. So many of the parents had.

The school was at the heart of the village, behind the shops. Everyone had turned out to see the burnt-out site: the blackened roof that had collapsed into the main hall, smoke drifting up into the white-blue October sky...

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