Picture by Nicobobinus: Arnos Grove
Their parents warn them about glue sniffers, and suddenly the park is full of menace. Every sheet of flapping plastic is stirred by a glue-sniffer’s passage, every pigeon storm is a response to a glue sniffer’s approach, every adult-sized footprint behind the bushes, every empty bottle, every stone knocked out of the gap in the viaduct that they mend each weekend.
Bastian looks serious. “And you know what else?” he says. “My dad says Smokey’s gone missing.”
Rebecca’s the only one who’s actually stroked Smokey; Tom hasn’t even seen her, and he peers in every time they walk past the station entrance, just in case.
“You think it was them?” he says, hushed.
On the other side of the viaduct, Gavin isn’t sniffing glue. He tried it, the first time he heard the warnings, but he never understood what it was supposed to do. It didn’t take him long to find something else that was more fun. His brush catches on the crags of the footpath, so he pours the pot onto the ground directly and smears it around with a stick; stands back and tears his marmite sandwich into chunks, scatters it forward. The pigeons descend.