Following the unexpected death of a close friend, three boys living in care steal their friend’s ashes and set off on an improvised adventure to hunt down his birth mother and let her know how great her son was.
Noah shook his head. “His ashes are on the mantle, they’d never let you—”
“Oh, Noah…Noah, NoNo, Noah. You know what your problem is?” Ewen flicked Noah’s forehead. “No imagination, mate. Thomas ain’t downstairs. He’s over there.” Ewen jabbed his thumb at a wooden box with a sealed lid and a few splinters jutting from the sides. On the front face, the word BISCUITS had been jaggedly carved and a smiley face sat underneath it.
“You put him in the biscuit box…” Noah said, his face a solid rock.
“You put our friend’s ashes in the biscuit box he made three years ago…”
“Yeah. Keep up, Noah. It’s not hard.”
Milo frowned. “So what’s in the urn?”
Ewen shrugged. “Biscuits. Obviously.”
“Obviously!” Noah exclaimed as he threw his hands into the air and began to pace. “You…you can’t just…Ewen, what the fuck?! That’s it. I hate to do it, but I’m telling Ava.” Noah went for the door, but Ewen barred his path.
“Classic NoNo.” Milo shook his head, hands on his hips.
“Easy, sugar bear. You’re scared, I get it, yeah. I do. But just sit down and we’ll have a chat. I’ll explain why we’re doing this.”
“It’s not a fucking game, Ewen! That’s Thomas’ ashes. You’re messing with Thomas’ ashes!”
“I ain’t messing with ‘em, OK?! Ava wouldn’t let us go and if she saw the urn was gone she’d know it were us. Just listen to me.”
“Hear him out, NoNo,” said Milo as he sat on the bed. He lifted Thomas’ biscuit urn into his lap and smiled.
“I’m not NoNo! This is serious, OK! I can’t believe you’re fine with this, Milo!” Noah ran his hands through his hair, eyes fixated on the biscuit box-turn-urn. “Fine! Five minutes and then I’m taking his ashes back…and I’m not sitting down.”
“Fine, don’t sit down.” Ewen sat next to Milo on the bed and crossed his legs. “Get tired feet, whatever.”
“What’s your plan, Ewen.” Noah folded his arms.
“It’s easy, right.” Ewen wet his lips, glancing between Noah and Milo. “We go to Scotland, up to the Isle of Hitler–”
“Harris.” Milo corrected.
“Isle of Hitler, that’s what I said. We find Nichola Shaw, and we give her the biggest middle finger she’s ever seen.”
Noah waited a beat, glancing between Ewen and Milo, before he turned on his heel and reached for the door. “I’m telling Ava.”
“No! Noah, wait. C’mon, mate.” Ewen stood and put his hands on Noah’s shoulders. “How many of us have dreamt of finding the sorry bastards who left us? I know I have. The way I see it, it’s our birthright as throw-aways, our duty as the forgotten to find the fuckers who decided we weren’t good enough and tell them, straight to their faces: fuck you. Fuck you, because look at me! I’m sexy. I’m strong. I’m everything I am today because of me. So fuck you.
“Thomas…he did the hard work, yeah? He found his mum. He was so close to doing what we all deserve to do but life dealt a bad hand and he lost his birthright. So we gotta pick it up for him. We gotta go and do this for Thomas. Because that’s what he deserved. He deserved to look Nichola Shaw in the eye and he deserved to laugh. Let’s go tell her who she missed out on, yeah? Let’s go tell her just how incredible Thomas Townsend was.”
Milo’s toes tingled as he absently hugged Thomas’ biscuit urn and fought back a flood of tears. He could see Noah’s conviction; the doubt washed away, the worry purged. The only things remaining were passion and love.
“For God’s sake, Ewen…” Noah said with a sigh. “You’re too convincing. It’s unhealthy.”
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