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Tom could hear Dad dashing around in a panic downstairs. It was the same every day. The frantic search for his keys. His phone. His wallet.
Any minute now Mum would be rolling her eyes, telling him that if he put things away this wouldn’t happen. Dad would splutter in response, finding his belongings at the last minute and charge out of the door – only to reappear moments later to retrieve his forgotten lunch.
Tom swung his legs out of bed and stretched. He hadn’t slept at all well, his dreams disjointed and surreal. Giant eyes blinking at him wherever he turned. Weird.
Still, the sound of his brother and sister arguing told him that he was back in the real world. Shrill, petulant voices, indignantly blaming the other for smashing a glass, or spilling the cereal or whatever they’d done this time.
Tom pulled on his school uniform, absently wondering where he’d left his red and white striped tie, and traipsed downstairs. A full-blown row was raging across the kitchen table.
“Archie’s laughing at me.”
“It’s probably ‘cos you smell!”
Scratching his mop of curly brown hair, Tom shuffled into the kitchen, only for everything to go quiet.
He frowned, taking in the shocked expressions on his family’s faces.
“Mum?” he asked, his skin crawling beneath his shirt, “what’s up?”
“Who the hell are you?” Tom’s Mum snapped, “and what are you doing in our home?”
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