A boy who was targeted because he was different
Benji hated his life. He had walked in his brother’s shadow for more years than he cared to remember. Sebastian was the strong one, the tall, handsome one. The brother who got all the great genes. He landed none. He resented him and nobody ever took any notice of him because the spotlight was always on Seb. The cool dude. The guy who got all the pretty girls. The guy who could pick up any instrument and get a tune out of it.
Benji spent most of his time in his room. It was better that way. Then he didn’t have to interact with anybody and that suited him best. When Mum called up the stairs to say dinner was ready he knew that if he didn’t go down she would bring it up for him on a tray and he would eat it when he was ready. Dad was always working so he couldn’t care less whether Benji bothered to eat or not. To say they were a dysfunctional family was an understatement but the trouble was that individually they were all so engrossed in their own lives that they didn’t notice what the others were doing. No one cared about anybody but themselves. Except for Benji. He cared about all sorts of things. He cared about the planet and global warming. The extinction of some species of animals or birds. He thought it was sad when something became extinct, like the Dodo. It meant that it was gone forever. He liked the look of the Dodo and imagined what it would have been like to come face to face with the three feet tall birds on the island of Mauritius. He daydreamed a lot.
When Seb landed a place at Edinburgh University it came as no surprise. He would study medicine and probably end up becoming an eminent doctor or surgeon, depending on which direction he chose to take. Benji had no inclination whatsoever to be cooped up inside. He hated school and couldn’t wait to leave. If he could he would have walked out aged twelve, but the law states that you must remain in education until the age of sixteen. And he swore that on his sixteenth birthday, he would get up, put on his jeans and a tee shirt, and go and explore the world. He would go backpacking. He wasn’t going to waste one more day being told what to do, where to go and what he could and couldn’t do. He was a free spirit. He only had four years, three weeks and two days to wait. Then he would be as free as a butterfly to flit away in any direction he…