"We just can't afford to live here anymore, son. Believe me, I would love to stay here but it just isn't possible. Don't be angry, Sonny," pleaded his mum. But it was too late; Sonny was already clambering up the stairs with tears in his eyes. Sonny's mum looked down to the floor and sighed with a feeling of guilt and depression. She felt terrible that she was the person who had to ruin his day.
Meanwhile, Sonny was in his room, face in pillow, crying. He felt terrible. He was only just starting to enjoy school; he had just started to become popular and most importantly of all, his mum had found a long term boyfriend and had gotten engaged. He finally felt stable and happy in life but in a matter of seconds his world had been tipped upside down!
In the car, on the way to Hackney, the car pulled up at some traffic lights. Whilst Sonny gazed relentlessly out of the window his eye was caught by a conker tree. He noticed the way that it had a hard, spiky, cruel exterior but contained a yielding, gentle and attractive centre. Sonny thought about his new life in Hackney and how he could never see the conker emerging from its shell. Despite this he still desperately hoped that it would be nice in Hackney and not be as spiky, cruel and hard as it is perceived to be. He thought longingly of the friends he was leaving behind and wished that all this was just a dream and that soon he would wake up. He was tossed back into reality a few seconds later when the family drove past a road sign labelled Hackney, twenty five miles.
"Nearly there, Claire," said Clarence, Sonny's 'Dad'. "I bet you're exited, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I'm thrilled." replied Claire half heartedly and with a raise of the eyebrows. Sonny's eyes caught his mothers as she turned around to look at him.
"What about you, Sonny, you looking forward to seeing your new home?" asked Clarence.
"No, not really." replied Sonny, rather bluntly, and then fell silent.
"Hey, cheer up lad. It won't be that bad." said Clarence reassuringly, "I'm sure that you'll love it here. We'll make the flat look like home in no time." The car fell silent again and Sonny continued to look out of the window, his head held up by his hand.
As the family pulled up onto the pavement Sonny realised that they must be at their new home. This thought emotionally overwhelmed him and the tears streamed from his eyes. His mum looked over at him and ran around the car to comfort her upset son. As she wrapped her loving arms around him she muttered to him:
"I'm sorry, Sonny, I'm sorry. I have completely ruined your life and I'm sorry. We'll be alright. We'll be fine. I'm so sorry!"
Clarence thought it was best to stay away and let them have their moment together. While he was waiting Clarence heard a call from across the street:
"Mummy's boy, Mummy's boy. Oi, Mummy's boy, wot up wiv you? Ya lost ya cuddly toy? Eh?" shouted the first boy belligerently whilst the other two laughed simultaneously.
"Go away!" snarled Claire.
"Oh, sorry 'ard!" hurled the second child whilst the other two drew out a pair of 'BB' guns and shot Claire three times in the chest. Clarence's anger grew and he let out a huge roar as he sprinted after the three children. Unfortunately to his, Claire's and Sonny's disappointment he lost them after only a few yards! As Clarence walked back to his fiancï¿½e and Sonny, he stared disappointedly at Claire. Sonny continued to frown and then began to walk towards the entrance of the block of flats and then to their new home.
They finally got to the door of the flat and Claire put the key in the door. As the door swung open Sonny began to see inside bit by bit. Once the door was fully open Sonny stood in silence and just stared into the prison like room. The floor was cold, grey concrete, no carpets, the windows were small and didn't look like they could open very far, the walls were painted a dark blue but the paint was chipped and was beginning to crack off of the wall! Sonny felt like he had been hit hard in the chest. He felt as though he couldn't breathe. A sudden image of his old home in Windsor flashed through his head. He couldn't believe that his parents couldn't afford something better than this! He still hadn't entered the room when Clarence looked over at him and noticed the censuring expression on his face.
"Don't worry, Sonny, the removal van will be here soon and we'll have this place looking like home in no time!" said Clarence heartily. Sonny just looked over at him, unimpressed, then continued to observe the beaten up cell which was to become his home.
That night while Sonny lie in bed, he once again began to think of his old world which he missed so dearly. He knew that Hackney was a lot different; the only time that you heard about it was on the news being linked with murders and rapes! They had only been here for a few hours and they had already been shot by BB guns, someone had stolen the dust caps off of Clarence's car and eggs had been pelted at the patio doors of his first floor flat! Sonny knew that he would never fit in around here and that he was going to have to toughen up quickly. He had school in a weeks time and he had to prepare himself, there would be a lot of problems to face and he would have to overcome them. Sonny was tired so he turned over and cried himself to sleep ready for the bumpy road ahead.
The week dragged by slowly and more of the kids around the area had begun to vandalise their property. The balcony wall had been sprayed with the words 'Mummy's Boy', the kids had been shouting abusive words to him and when Sonny's mum was returning home from shopping, the kids jumped out and stole one of the bags from her! Had Sonny just stepped into a war zone? Was he behind enemy lines? Why was everyone treating him so badly? Clarence was getting angry but Sonny thought that he was too frightened to do anything. Whenever Sonny saw him he was always looking out of the windows checking that the kids were well away. Sonny was still feeling low and he became consternated instantly when he realised that he was going to his new school the next day. He swallowed hard and rushed to his bedroom. He spent most of the night wondering what to do and the only solution he could think of was to just accept that he would not be liked and try to stand up to them. Unfortunately, Sonny's plan fell to pieces the next day.
"Oi, Mummy's boy!" As Sonny looked up his heart sank and his eyes widened. It was the same kid, along with his two mates, who shot his mum with the BB gun.
"Yes?" replied Sonny as politely as possible.
"What you doin' 'ere?" snapped the first kid.
"I go to this school now." Sonny replied charily.
"Yeah I nowe dat, it's just dat we own dis part o da playground, mate!" retorted the first kid.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know. Please forgive me." pleaded Sonny.
"Oh, please forgive me," said the second kid, mockingly, "Scared are you Mummy's boy?" Sonny breathed in heavily and took a step backwards. The third kid look nervously at the first kid and Sonny caught a glance from him as the gang begirded him.
"Where ya goin' Mummy's boy? You ai
n't gettin away from us! We're gonna make you pay for thinkin you can jus walk away from us when we're talkin to ya! Get im Joe!" The second kid, apparently named Joe, grabbed Sonny around the waist and then thrusted both of his arms behind his back. While Joe had hold of Sonny, the first kid gave him a few jabs to the ribs. Sonny's legs gave way in pain but Joe continued to hold him up so that the attacker could continue to castigate him. After a few minutes Sonny's lip was bleeding and the only support he had was coming from the boy behind him holding him up whilst the bully continued his attack.
"Hey, guys, that enough now! He's already gonna collapse! Just leave him now, you've 'urt I'm enough! Sam, get off of him!"
Sonny felt heartened by this but his vision was beginning to blur and he knew that soon he was going to pass out, he had to do something.
"Oh shut up, Zack! He deserves all dis!" replied Sam, apparently humoured by Zack's outburst.
Suddenly, Joe fell to the ground with a thump. Sonny looked behind him and glanced up at Zack who was standing over Joe with a worried expression on his face. He realised that he had to take this opportunity to get away so he leapt to his feet and sprinted towards the toilets. As he ran he heard:
"You wait, bitch, we'll av you!" The rest of Sonny's lunch hour was spent sitting on a hard, black toilet seat sweating with fear and using a tissue to clear up his bleeding nose and patch up a cut which had opened up on his forehead. Whilst he was there he thought about Zack. Why did he help him? There was no need to do that, what's going to happen to him? Sonny was in to much pain to think about the answers and so he sat there in the cubicle, in silence until the end of lunch.
Sonny managed to avoid the gang for the rest of the school day but as he walked home that evening he froze when he heard a call from behind him:
"Alrite Mummy's boy?" called Sam. "Did ya fink dat you were gonna get away from us today? We followed you outta school jus to finish you off." At this Sam pulled out a blade. Sonny's eyes widened but his expression remained stern. Sonny ran for it but only to be pounced on by Joe and held down whilst Sam approached. Sonny was panicking and was beginning to think that this was the end. Just as this thought emerged, a shining, glimmer of hope floated around the corner. Sonny looked up and caught another glance into the intense, furious eyes of Zack.
He looked dreadful! One eye was black and he had a huge gash across his left cheek. It was obvious what had happened to Zack but Sonny was definitely glad to see him now. Zack took one deep breath and then sprinted towards Sam. As Zack reached him he leapt at his right hand and grabbed hold of it. Sam stumbled and fell onto his knees as his hand was prised open by Sonny's helper. Sam eventually lost grip of the blade and Joe let go of Sonny as Zack walked forebodingly towards the bullies. Joe and Sam looked and each other and then decided to run for it.
Once both the bullies had gone Zack helped Sonny to his feet.
"Cheers." Said Sonny
"Ah, it nuttin. Dey do dat ta every new kid. If ya stand up to em or beat em when they start on ya they respect ya! It's kind of a test. Stupid if ya ask me." replied Zack, looking over his shoulder as he spoke.
"Well why did you help me out then?" asked Sonny. "How come you didn't join in with them?"
"Them two av bin doin dat for agez now an it getz a bit borin after a wile. I started feelin sorry for the kidz az well." Said Zack "Sum ov dem were coughin up blood every now an den! I realised dat dey were bein too physical an fought dat I shood do summat bout it." As he spoke he gazed into the sky every now and then as if he was reflecting and looking back on old times.
The pair of them spoke for a good half hour and Zack decided to walk home with Sonny. When they got near to Sonny's flat, Sonny thanked Zack for everything and told him that he would see him the next day. They exchanged respectful nods and turned their backs to one another and headed in opposite directions.
When Sonny got in he smiled for the first time in weeks. His insides were warmed at the sight of his mum and Clarence sitting, cuddled up on the sofa watching T.V together and all their chattels put up around the flat. The 'cell' looked a lot better now and that night he slept through the whole night without a tear! Sonny finally felt good to be alive!