Posse by Kate Welshman

Book: Posse by Kate Welshman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Welshman
the door.
    â€˜We’re under surveillance,’ says Deborah. ‘Do you want to be on the phone to the police when she checks on us again in thirty seconds?’
    â€˜Well, no …’
    â€˜And what would you say, anyway?’
    Patricia raises her eyebrows and rolls her eyes. We don’t say anything for a few minutes before Deborah raises the question we’re all turning over in our minds.
    â€˜What exactly happened to her, Amy? Did he rape her?’
    â€˜I don’t know. That’s the first thing I thought when I saw her.’
    â€˜What did she tell you?’
    â€˜Not much. She was really upset, bawling her eyes out. And then she just wanted to go to bed.’
    â€˜Did he actually, you know, force her to do anything?’
    â€˜I don’t know.’
    â€˜He didn’t force you, did he?’
    â€˜No. Well, he tried it on. But when I wanted to go, he let me.’
    â€˜Was he rough with you?’
    â€˜Um, I don’t know. I guess not.’
    â€˜Have you told the teachers everything about you and Bevan?’
    â€˜I’ve told Miss Howell. I told her because I got the feeling that they didn’t believe Clare. I wanted them to know … what kind of guy he is.’
    â€˜But he didn’t push you into anything. I mean, you didn’t think he was a rapist.’
    â€˜I wanted to show that he’s not above messing around with schoolgirls – that’s all.’
    Deborah is so wise for her years she scares me. She can pinpoint all the contradictions that have been bothering me but that I couldn’t put my finger on. Coming from a teacher, these questions would have offended me, but I know Deb’s only trying to look at things intelligently, not catch me out. And I respect her opinion. In fact, I can’t think of anyone’s opinion I respect more.
    â€˜You were right to tell the truth,’ she says. ‘And brave. It’s usually the thing people least want to hear.’
    â€˜It’s the last thing Clare wanted to hear last night.’
    â€˜Well, crowing about it was a bit of a crappy thing to do, but you can’t blame yourself for what happened afterward.’
    â€˜I blame myself ,’ says Patricia. ‘I should have followed her when she took off last night. I knew she was going to go off and hurt herself.’
    â€˜It wasn’t your fault either,’ says Deb, ‘but I agree that she was intending to hurt herself. Or find someone else to hurt her. I think she wanted to punish Amy and attract attention, so she went to Bevan’s hut and threw herself at him. Then it went too far. That’s what I think happened. But there is another possibility.’
    â€˜What? That he jumped on her the moment she walked into his room?’ I say.
    â€˜No. I think what might have happened is that he turned her down and she went completely off the deep end.’
    Patricia leaps immediately to Clare’s defence.
    â€˜Are you saying she’s lying about this? That she made it up? That’s just sick. I can’t believe you’re even suggesting it.’
    â€˜I’m not saying she’s lying, not at all. I don’t know what she’s saying. But it’s not, “Oh, he did nothing to me at all”, is it? Whatever it is, it’s being taken seriously. I mean, anyone who knows anything about it has been sent home or locked down. It has to be some serious stuff .’
    â€˜Sproule’s gone into damage control,’ I say.
    â€˜That’s exactly what it is!’ says Patricia. ‘Damage control. We should call The Sydney Morning Herald and expose her!’
    â€˜Again, what would you tell them?’ asks Deb.
    â€˜That Mrs Sproule’s trying to cover things up.’
    â€˜Well, there’s no doubt about that,’ says Deb. ‘But if we don’t know what she’s trying to cover up, it’s not much of a story, is it? I do agree that this

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