‘The Button’, Chapter 4, a book by Katherine M Waters

She was at the river again, this time she could see the mermaid, well, it wasn’t actually a mermaid, just a sculpture of one. There was a boy standing next to it but she couldn’t see his face; he had his back to her and was looking out across the water. She could see he was fit, proud even; the way he stood, held himself, like a meerkat head held high looking across the planes. She woke up laughing and thinking of sunshine.

Charlotte’s Aunty Anna said that if you wanted to remember dreams, you had to lie in bed and remember the details as soon as you woke up, otherwise they were gone. Lying there she thought hard, one memory jogged another. She’d never laughed in a dream before, but even as it was happening it struck her as funny that a boy could also be a meerkat; that’s the sub-conscience for you.

Sausages, she needed sausages, with lashings of wholegrain mustard and beetroot on half a french stick, with, erm, apple juice, freshly squeezed apple juice.

The smell of the sausages brought her Mom and Dad into the kitchen, she cooked more and they sat together laughing and reading the papers. “This is what Sundays should be like”, Tony was relaxed, her Mom was relaxed, “Let’s do something today”.

It was the nicest day Charlotte could remember in a long time, sitting in her room later she had an urge to talk about it. She wasn’t allowed a Facebook account but found herself on Piotre Kowaluk’s page, it was, sparce, yes , it was sparce, minimal. a name, no place of birth or education, no hobbies, or friends.

There must be thousands of guys with that name.

“Hi”, shit, she’d done it, on auto pilot, said hi to a total stranger. Heart thumping she cursed herself, knowing she’d gone bright red and waited. Nothing. Thank Christ.

Shut down

School tomorrow.


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