Hurricane Gold

Hurricane Gold by Charlie Higson Read Free Book Online

Book: Hurricane Gold by Charlie Higson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charlie Higson
and ignorant. They’re not interested in fashion and books and movie stars. Go away and play with JJ. I don’t play any more. I’m too old for all this. My dolls bore me. You bore me.’
    She said this in such a snooty manner that James was momentarily lost for words. This girl was acting like his superior, even though she was the same age as him, probably a little younger. She was wearing so much make-up it was impossible to tell. She looked like she might have been quite pretty without it all, with her big dark eyes and her wide mouth.
    ‘Listen,’ said James, keeping his cool. ‘I’m going to be here for a while. So we need to find some way to get along with each other.’
    Precious ignored him. As if he had suddenly ceased to exist. She looked right through him at JJ.
    ‘What are you doing with that doll?’ she said. ‘Bring it here.’
    ‘Leg’s broken,’ said JJ holding it up and shaking it.
    Precious took the doll off him and inspected it. It had a painted, china face, real hair in yellow ringlets and an expensive-looking silk dress.
    ‘I used to love this doll,’ she said. ‘I’m too grown-up for it now, of course.’
    She jumped up and took it over to the window, where she made it dance along the ledge.
    ‘Oh, look at me,’ she sang in a mocking, lisping, put-on childish voice. ‘I am the prettiest doll in all the world. See my pretty dress and see how well I dance. Oh, but my poor leg is broken… Oh no… I have slipped.’
    So saying, Precious tossed the doll out of the window and, laughing, watched it fall to the paving stones below.
    ‘Oh, the poor thing. I think she is killed.’ She suddenly stopped laughing and turned from the window to the Mexican girl, who was still tidying the room.
    ‘Dolores, my doll has fallen out of the window. Go and fetch her for me.’
    Dolores nodded quickly and left the room, her face worried and pinched.
    ‘They do everything I say,’ said Precious, walking past James and returning to her place at the mirror. JJ, meanwhile, was running noisily around the room messing up everything that Dolores had tidied.
    ‘Is that necessary?’ said James.
    ‘You are a guest here,’ said Precious. ‘You don’t tell us what to do.’
    ‘I’m going,’ said James and he headed for the door.
    ‘Wait,’ said Precious, a note of softness in her voice.
    James stopped.
    ‘I’m sorry.’
    James turned to the girl. She had a sad, slightly anxious expression on her face. She looked different, younger.
    ‘I am not used to having other children here,’ she said quietly. ‘There’s only JJ and me. It’s sometimes very lonely. I guess we can get a little crazy. Mother is never here.’
    ‘It’s OK,’ said James. ‘There’s no reason why we can’t be friends.’
    ‘Yes,’ said Precious and her whole face lit up with a sweet smile. She walked over holding out her arms, and clasped James’s hand briefly.
    ‘Come on. I’ll make it up to you,’ she said. ‘Let’s play with JJ.’
    James shrugged. He couldn’t remember the last time he had played with anyone.
    ‘What do you want to play, JJ?’ said Precious excitedly.
    ‘Blind man’s bluff,’ said JJ.
    ‘Good choice,’ said Precious, running to a dressing-up box. ‘First we’ll make you blind, James.’ She whipped out a scarf and tied it around James’s head. Then the two children spun him around, singing a childish rhyme. Finally they stopped.
    ‘Now what?’ said James, wobbling giddily on his feet.
    ‘Now this,’ said Precious and she pushed him hard. He stumbled backwards and tripped over something, landing painfully on his backside. He tore the blindfold off and saw JJ kneeling on the floor, helpless with laughter.
    At last James lost his cool. He was flushed with anger. It was not that the trick had hurt him. It was the pettiness of it. It was such a silly, pathetic thing to do, and yet these two children thought it the funniest thing in the world.
    James got up. ‘You’re a spoilt little

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