Heartache High - By Jon Jacks

Chapter 1

Wow, what a dream!

I’d just dreamt that, at last, Iain Sinclair had finally started to take an interest me!

One of those dreams you could almost have sworn was real!

But no; unfortunately, it wasn’t real after all.

Because here I am, waking up in bed.


Back to reality.

The reality where Iain doesn’t even know I exist.

Unless, that is, I get in his way in the school corridor.

Or make a fool of myself right in front of him. Dropping my bag and spilling its contents all across the floor,

He must think I’m the dumbest girl he’s ever come across.

But I can’t help it; not when I’m around him.

All my coordination goes out of the window – suddenly, I’m the gawkiest, most inept girl in school.

Stumbling over my feet.

Stumbling over my words

Like I’m tongue tied with the thickest rope anyone could manage to find.

I’m not like that normally; honest.

Normally, I’m okay.

Like any regular girl.

Yeah, that’s the problem I suppose.

Like any regular girl.

Not like the pretty, popular girls that hang around Iain like he’s got them all on strings and they’ll dance to any tune he’ll play.

Yeah, he plays the guitar too.

No chance; I’ve got no chance of getting off with Iain Sinclair.


Before I get around to opening my eyes, I go for a lazy stretching of my arms and legs, preparing my body for the rigors of the day ahead.

Yeah, that’s my morning exercise regime, see?

Hey, if it works for a cat. Why not me?

How many unfit cats do you see?

(Come to think of it, don’t answer that; next door’s cat looks like it overdoses on Katomeat every hour of the day.)

Trouble is, my strenuous workout is running in to problems; mum must have made the bed like she’s aiming on joining the navy, the quilt tucked in amazingly tight into the bed’s sides.

What’s she gone and done that for?

My legs and arms only get so far before they’re wedged tightly between quilt and mattress.

It feels like the bed’s only half size.

I finally get around to opening my eyes to see just what the heck is going on.


It’s not a quilt; it’s sheets and a scraggy old whatever those things are called that the Amish like making out of bits of old material.

And the bed really is half the size, going by what I’m used to.

Has someone played a joke on me?

Moved my bed out, and somehow slipped me into this one without even waking me?

Still groggily half asleep, I look around my room.

This is my room?

No, it’s not my room!

I jerk upright into a sitting position, giving my dozy head a shake. Thinking, Hey, am I still dreaming?

The bed’s small and simple, like it’s just enough to stop you falling out provided you only move as much as an Egyptian mummy.

The room’s hardly better; tiny, and with only the most basic things.

Small bedside locker. Closet hardly much bigger. Couple of armchairs, long past their best.

Tiny window. Curtains little better than dishcloths.

Bared light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

Painted walls.

Paint left over from camouflaging a few army trucks.

Yeah, that’s it; it’s like an army barracks.

Either that, or it’s the world’s worst hotel.


Chapter 2

I can’t remember coming here.

I can’t think how I could have got here.

Where is here anyway?

I’ll phone mum and – my mobile’s not by my bedside, where I’d usually put it.

I glance around the room again, looking for where it might be.

The clothes I was wearing yesterday have been carelessly thrown over a simple wooden chair placed against the wall.

(Yeah, that would be me who did that!)

I skip out of bed, realising for the first time that I’m wearing a long, plain-white nightdress, like I’m some sort of patient in a–

Please tell me this isn’t an asylum!

Please tell me I haven’t been committed, mum and dad finally despairing of my endless moping over Iain-bloody-Sinclair!

Where’s that phone?

My bag isn’t underneath my clothes, where I was expecting it to be.

I search through my jean pockets.

Nope, not there either.


Thing is, they take things like that off you in an asylum, don’t they?

Sharp things too.

Oh come on! I wasn’t that crazy!

What am I thinking here?

Well, I’m thinking I’m in a weird place and I can’t remember how I ended up here!

I search through my clothes again, a little more frantically this time.

Yep, still no phone.

There’s no landline phone by the bed, or on the wall either.

If this is a hotel, I hope we’re not paying much for the rooms.

I open and peer out of the door.

It’s a corridor, long and thin with lots of doors similar to this