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                                       Black
and
White

                                           ©
2011
Helen
Ying








Chapter
1


There
was
something
about
the
situation
that
just
made
me
want
to
collapse
into
a
hysterical,

wailing
heap.
A
funny
sound
escaped
my
tightly
clenched
lips
–
something
halfway
between
a
laugh

and
a
shriek
of
frustration
–
as
I
struggled
to
remain
straight‐faced
and
sombre,
a
difficult
feat
in
the

present
circumstances.
A
few
faces
turned
towards
me,
annoyance
scrawled
across
them.
I
quickly

forced
out
a
composed
look,
twitching
my
mouth
into
an
apologetic
almost‐smile.
The
faces
turned

back
to
the
front.


Mr
and
Mrs
Forrester
got
up
to
make
a
speech.
I
watched
them,
the
corner
of
my
mouth
twisting

into
a
wry
smile.
Leanne
had
been
virtually
a
stranger
to
them
in
the
last
three
years
of
her
life.

What
could
they
possibly
say
about
her?


“Our
daughter
Leanne
was
a
beautiful
girl.
She
was
clever,
talented...
the
apple
of
our
eye.”
A
typical

graveside
admission.
Things
like
this
never
meant
anything.



“Leanne
was
so
bright
and
cheerful.
She
brightened
up
our
lives...”
At
this
point,
Mrs
Forrester
just

couldn’t
go
on.
Her
husband
took
over
for
her.


“And
now
she’s
gone.”
All
I
could
think
was,
‘No
shit,
Sherlock’.

It
didn’t
take
a
genius
to
work
that

out.
She’d
died
on
Tuesday.
Today
was
Sunday.
She’d
been
dead
almost
a
whole
week
and
this
was

all
he
could
come
up
with?


Mr
Forrester
wasn’t
done
yet.
“She’ll
definitely
go
to
heaven,
God
bless
her
soul,
but
I
can’t
say
the

same
for
the
people
who
brought
this
untimely
death
down
on
her.
They
sit
here
today
among
our

congregation,
they
have
the
temerity
to
turn
up
and
pretend
to
mourn
her
death.
Their
hearts
are
as

black
as
their
skin,
they
have
no
pride...”


I
tensed.
I
hadn’t
anticipated
this
at
all.
I
never
thought
he
would
dare,
at
his
daughter’s
funeral,
to

accuse
us
of
killing
her.


The
boys
simply
looked
at
each
other
wearily.
They
weren’t
going
to
stand
up
for
us,
I
realised.
They

were
just
going
to
let
it
go.



I
stood
up.



A
hush
fell
over
the
people.
I
was
trembling
with
rage.
How
could
he
just
stand
there
and
blatantly

lie
in
front
of
so
many
people?



“You
never
even
knew
her.
How
can
you
just
make
assumptions
like
this?”

His
eyes
widened
with
fury.
I,
a
black
teenager,
still
just
a
girl,
was
challenging
him.
Challenging
him

and
his
white
authority.


“I
beg
your
pardon,
young
lady.
I
knew
my
daughter
perfectly
well.
It
was
you
and
those
boys
who

turned
her
against
us
three
years
ago.
You
killed
her
when
she
tried
to
leave
your
gang.”


“She
never
wanted
to
leave
us!
You
tried
to
make
her
leave
us;
she
was
run
over
on
the
road
in
front

of
your
house
when
she
tried
to
run
from
you!”


“Get
out
of
here,
you
little
bitch!”
Mrs
Forrester
had
found
her
voice
again.
“You
and
all
those
black

boys
over
there
next
to
the
wall!
We
don’t
want
anything
to
do
with
you!
You’ve
already
done

enough
damage!”


You’ve
already
killed
Leanne.


The
unspoken
message
rippled
through
the
church.
Men
got
up
to
throw
us
out.
The
women

cowered
away
from
Jackson
and
the
boys
as
though
they
were
going
to
pull
out
a
knife
and
start

stabbing
people
at
any
second.
We
were
frogmarched
ungraciously
out,
dumped
in
the
foyer
to

listen
to
the
rest
of
the
speeches
if
we
liked
as
long
as
we
stayed
away
from
the
rest
of
Leanne’s

family
and
her
white
so‐called
friends.


I
glanced
at
the
boys,
sitting
with
their
backs
to
the
wall.
Every
now
and
then,
one
of
them
would

give
a
frustrated
sigh
and
run
a
hand
through
his
hair
or
bury
his
face
into
his
hands.
Be
strong,
I

wanted
to
tell
them.
Be
as
strong
as
you’ve
always
been.
Jackson
caught
my
eye
and
gave
me
a
weak

sort
of
smile,
then
turned
away.



“...ashes
to
ashes...dust
to
dust...”
I
grimaced
at
the
words.
It
was
almost
as
though
I
could
see

Leanne
catching
fire
then
crumbling
into
dust.

I
swallowed
hard,
forcing
myself
to
breathe
slowly.
In

and
out.
In
and
out.
In
and...
I
choked
as
I
imagined
Leanne’s
ashes
floating
through
the
air
and
into

everyone’s
lungs.



                                              *


*


*


*


*


Home
was
a
welcome
relief.
The
house
was
still,
enveloping
me
in
a
solid
cocoon
of
silence.
I
went

up
to
my
room,
looking
at
the
soft
toys
on
my
shelves.
So
many
of
them
triggered
memories
of

Leanne.
She’d
gone
overseas
every
holiday
with
her
family,
and
spent
all
her
time
buying
presents.
A

soft
toy
for
every
holiday
we’d
been
friends.



There
were
eleven
sitting
on
my
shelves.
The
last
empty
space
would
be
empty
forever.


I
cried.



				
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