Creative Writing

“Home in the North”

Content Warning- homophobia, violence, domestic abuse, strong language

FADE IN: EXT. A RESIDENTIAL STREET IN MANCHESTER – LATE AFTERNOON

Jack is walking down the street wearing his scruffy school uniform with a navy backpack hanging off one shoulder. He is paying no attention to where he is walking – he doesn’t need to; he walks it every day. In one hand he holds a very dog-eared copy of ‘The Tempest’ which holds his attention. 

He turns a corner to see Archie waiting (wearing the uniform from the local private school – a stark contrast to Jack’s comprehensive outfit) who is unsurprised at the Tempest. Archie drops to the ground and dramatically quotes in a thick Mancunian accent:

ARCHIE

“I weep at mine unworthiness,that dare not offer

What I desire to give”… 

Jack laughs at him, leans down to him, waves the book in his face and misquotes in a soft Northern Irish accent:

JACK 

“Poor man, my library

Is dukedom large enough.”

Archie gets up off the floor, leans in and kisses Jack 

           ARCHIE

“I would not wish any companion in the world but you.”

Jack laughs and kisses Archie

           JACK 

     Did you get that maths done in the end? 

           ARCHIE 

     Did I fuck! I’ve been hiding away at the back reading angst-y literature, ready for my daily lit test. 

           JACK 

     Hey, I’m not testing you! 

           ARCHIE

     Yes I did do the maths, yes I did finish ‘1984’, yes I did get questioned about what I was reading.

           JACK 

     And? What did you think? 

           ARCHIE 

     Mmm… it’s no ‘Tempest’!

           JACK 

     (chuckles) You flatter me. 

           ARCHIE

     “I am your wife if you will marry me.

You may deny me, but I’ll be your servant 

Whether you will or no.”

Jack laughs and grabs Archie’s hand; they have come to a natural stop at a street corner.

           ARCHIE 

     Same time tomorrow?

           JACK 

     No, I’m straight home tomorrow. 

           ARCHIE 

     So… dinner at yours? 

           JACK 

     Ha! Good luck getting your queer arse through my front door. 

           ARCHIE 

     What is this obsession with my arse! I know it’s beautiful, but… 

He starts mincing about. Jack is laughing but clearly uncomfortable and tries to stop him. 

           JACK 

     Oi Ru Paul, I’ve got to get to work. I’ll see you Friday. 

           ARCHIE 

     Friday it is. 

Archie leans in for a kiss, just as a man comes around the corner. Jack sees the man, dodges Archie’s affection and puts on a bravado of ‘laddish-ness’, heading off towards the corner shop with a parting and performative: 

           JACK 

     Bye mate! 

FADE OUT  

FADE IN: JACK’S HOUSE – EVENING 

Jack walks in the front door, closes it and kicks off his shoes. He walks into the front room to see his mother, Cath, and step-father, Pete, sat on a worn old sofa watching The Chase. A plate of cold beans and sausages sits on a small dining table in the corner of the room. Pete’s voice is deep, gravelly, and he speaks with a Mancunian accent. Cath mirror’s Jack’s soft Northern Irish tones- they are clearly blood related, whereas Pete is clearly not Jack’s father.

           PETE 

     Shoes! 

           JACK 

     Off before they could hit the carpet. 

He sits down to his dinner. 

           CATHY

     Good day, love? 

           PETE

     Shhhh, he’s going for the higher offer! 

           JACK 

     Not bad, got to finish an essay on- 

           PETE 

     Shhhh! 

           CATHY

     Why don’t you finish that upstairs, son? 

Jack picks his plate up and slings his schoolbag over his shoulder. On his way out of the room he kisses his mother on the top of her head and says: 

           JACK 

     Night Ma

He heads upstairs to his tiny bedroom, takes his shirt and tie off and throws them onto his single bed. He gets his old laptop out of his bag and settles down onto the bed, opening up a messaging platform. He logs in and starts messaging Archie: 

PROSPEROJ: Hey, you there? 

AAARCHI: Hey 

AAARCHI: How was work?

PROSPEROJ: Not too bad, kinda dragged at the end

AAARCHI: Another day in paradise 

PROSPEROJ: I’m sorry about earlier

AAARCHI: I get it 

PROSPEROJ: I’ve got a free period tomorrow after lunch

AAARCHI: Oh?;) 

AAARCHI: Meet me behind the Morrisons again? 

PROSPEROJ: It’s a date

AAARCHI: I can’t wait. 

AAARCHI: Gotta go to bed now 

AAARCHI: Can’t wait to see you tomorrow… no interruptions

PROSPEROJ: Sleep tight x 

AAARCHI: Sweet dreams xxx

Jack closes the laptop and starts getting ready for bed. The TV noises from downstairs stop, and one set of footsteps are heard coming up the stairs. The house is quiet for a moment, and Jack heads out to the bathroom, closes the door and starts prepping his toothbrush. Heavy, thudding footsteps are heard coming up the stairs and Jack locks the bathroom door. A fist hits the door, making it visibly move. 

           PETE

     Who’s Archie, Jack?

Jack moves as far away from the door as possible, clearly afraid. His step-father is clearly angry.

           PETE

     Name ringin’ any bells? Jack? JACK? Fuck’s sake, Jack! 

The hall goes quiet, and Jack leans forward towards the door, looking through a crack. Pete can be seen storming into Jack’s bedroom. Jack throws open the bathroom door and runs after him, trying to get past Pete and to his laptop.

           PETE

     Oh, now he comes out! 

Cathy has come out of the second bedroom to see what the fuss is. 

           CATHY 

     What’s going on? Pete? 

           PETE

     Why don’t you ask this little faggot? 

           CATHY 

     Pete! 

           PETE

     Didn’t think you’d raised a little queer kid eh Cath? 

Pete opens Jack’s laptop- the messenger tab is still open. Jack tries to grab it. 

           JACK 

     Stop it, stop it! 

           PETE

     Shouldn’t leave your tabs open! I don’t want to see all your gay messages. Who’s Archie, Jack? Is he your boyfriend? Hey? 

         JACK 

     Get off my stuff! 

Jack makes another move for the laptop and Pete’s deflective hit pushes him to the floor. There is a slit in Jack’s eyebrow that starts bleeding. Pete looms over Jack as he scrabbles to get away. 

PETE

Forgot that I pay for your internet eh? That I pay for the cloud? I can see everything you do, little gay boy. Forgot to search on private mode eh? Getting all out and proud now? Well, it’s not something you’re gonna be proud of in this house.  You should’ve stayed in Northern Ireland with your piece of shit father.  

Jack’s scrabbling has led him to the top of the stairs. He starts stumbling down and Cathy moves to help him. Pete stops her. 

           PETE

     No Cathy, let him run. We don’t want him here. 

           CATHY 

     Jack, I- 

Jack has stopped himself falling and is starting to stand up. 

           JACK

     No, mum, he’s right. I should never have fucking come. Everything was fine in Banbridge. Even with my “piece of shit father”. 

           CATHY 

     Jack, don’t say that! We had to move! 

           JACK 

     No mum – YOU had to move. I’m going back to Northern Ireland – back home!

Jack storms past them into his bedroom and starts throwing essentials into a bag. 

           CATHY 

     Jack! I- 

           PETE

     No Cathy, let the boy go. We’re not having a faggot living off us anymore. He’s right: he doesn’t belong here. 

           CATHY 

     Stop it Pete – Jack, honey, stay! 

           JACK

     Pete’s right mum. I don’t belong here. 

He storms down the stairs, wiping the blood off his brow as he goes. He opens the front door and steps outside. 

           JACK 

     And you’re right, Pete. I am gay. I’m a fucking faggot and I’m so fed up of hiding – from you or from anyone! I hate you. But you know what? I love Archie. And I’m not letting you fuck anything else up for me! 

Jack slams the door behind him, and for a moment everything is still. 

FADE OUT

15/12/2020

About Author

Charlie King



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