No Marshmallows, Just Term Papers
A Place Called Here
(There's No Place Like Here) (2006)
A novel by
Jenny-May Butler, the little girl who lived across the road from me, went missing when I was a child.
The Gardaí launched an investigation, which led to a lengthy public search for her. For months every night the story was on the news, every day it was on the front pages of the papers, everywhere it was discussed in every conversation. The entire country pitched in to help; it was the biggest search for a missing person I, at ten years of age, had ever seen, and it seemed to affect everyone. Jenny-May Butler was a blond-haired blue-eyed beauty whose smiling face was beamed from the TV screen into the living rooms of every home around the country, causing eyes to fill with tears and parents to hug their children that extra bit tighter before they sent them off to bed. She was in everyone’s dreams and everyone’s prayers. She too was ten years old and in my class at school. I used to stare at the pretty photograph of her on the news every day and listen to them speak about her as though she were an angel. From the way they described her, you never would have known that she threw stones at Fiona Brady during recess when the teacher wasn’t looking, or that she called me a frizzy-haired cow in front of Stephen Spencer just so he would fancy her instead of me. No, for those few months she had become the perfect being and I didn’t think it fair to ruin that. After a while even I forgot about all the bad things she’d done because she wasn’t just Jenny-May anymore: she was Jenny-May Butler, the sweet missing girl whose nice family cried on the nine o’clock news every night. She was never found, not her body, not a trace; it was as though she had disappeared into thin air. No suspicious characters had been seen lurking around, no CCTV was available to show her last movements. There were no witnesses, no suspects; the Gardaí questioned everyone possible. The street became...
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