MY FOSTER mother was in her bedroom with a friend of hers. They heard my drawn out howl from across the house. 60-year-old Hazel and her friend went up the corridor as fast as they could.
They freaked out. There I was, leaning back on my bedroom door with blood trickling down my arm.
She grabbed my arm as I screamed again. But the screams changed to laughter. Confused, Hazel stared at me and then realised I wasn’t hurt.
“Fake blood,” I laughed again. My best friend Joel held the tub of fake blood he brought over. His mum – Hazel’s friend – glared at us both.
“Don’t ever do that again!” Hazel yelled at me. It was cruel, horrible, and almost gave her a heart attack, she said.
“Have you ever read the boy who cried wolf?” she said.
My friend Joel had brought over the fake blood. I don’t know why. He was always a straight, sensible boy, the school captain in primary. But then again, his character was beginning to change. And mine…well, he introduced to me the idea of tricks.
The toy stores were full of pranks, tricks, mischief. Fake lotto tickets, fish oil flavoured lollypops, blood capsules, vampire fangs, electric buzzers. So many items I was tempted to buy over Pokemon cards.
My foster mother had never been worried about real drama – my starvation attempts, my talks of suicide, my refusal to swallow my meds, my running away. Nothing freaked her out more than the fake blood, and while I didn’t dare use it again, the idea of practical jokes could surprise, alarm, keep everyone off guard in a way that would make me laugh.