Tag Archives: fiction

Another Drabble drip

Into the Light

Kirsty flew down the alley behind Mr Khan’s convenience store. There was a doorway down here she could hide in. She’d used it before when the bloody gang with Pansy at the head and the baying bitches behind her, chased her into the dark. She couldn’t face it, the spitting, the hair pulling. She pushed in, leaning against the old door, blinked away tears. Someone had tagged the wall, Stevo.

Steve. Her hero brother, dead in Afghanistan. Steve who never ran from anything, who died saving his mates. She felt him there beside her and stepped out into the light.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff, Shorts and Stuff

The End – a drabble

It was the birds we noticed first. We knew it would happen but when the great flight of geese didn’t return that first Spring it was chilling. The crops failed that summer. Then we had to use the stockpiles. They lasted a long time, more than ten years. Now they’ve gone. The earth is dead, it can’t support the trees and so now even the ancient ones are fading.

We can never say that we didn’t have warning but it was all talk. Not much action and so here we are. Our kind is doomed. The birds never came back.

2 Comments

Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

A Drive in the Mountains – Part 2

The smoke has gone, the wind took it, the last was just small puffs, afterthoughts drifting like helium balloons into the mountains.  I’m shivering now, it’s cold, the wind is searing but it’s more than that.  Great shudders shake through me, my teeth chatter and my knees wobble, jiggling up and down in a comical, ludicrous fashion.  I giggled, a few moments ago it made me giggle, but then I realised that  could be hysteria.  I know that I am sinking into shock.  If I allow it to take hold I will die.  I am not going to die of shock.

I have tried again to lean forward but the ledge is too narrow, as I bend, my behind pushes against the mountain and the centre of gravity shifts and threatens to throw me from the ledge.  I’ve tried to peer over by straining my neck but all I can see is far, far below me the green slopes and tree tops.  There is no way to tell how sheer is the drop under this ledge, it could be that there is nothing, like a gigantic step off the side of the mountain.  It could be that it would be possible to slide on it, maybe, steep yes but like a Black Run, slideable.  I can’t see.

I called out to him, Mario, over and over until again the terror, the hysteria almost overwhelmed me and I had to stop to calm myself.  I want to sit down, I can’t sit down.  I can’t move at all.  Oh God, I’m going to die here.  I’m going to tumble from this ledge, I can’t turn round.

The noise of the car burning has gone, it didn’t last very long, a roar, some pops and cracks and then not much.  I don’t know where the car is but I don’t think that it could be amongst the trees or it would have set fire to them.  Wouldn’t it?

Every few minutes I call out, the shouts echo back at me, the mountains mock me, sending my voice back over and over, fading, weakening.

My phone is in my bag, god knows where that ended up.  My legs hurt, my shoulders are sore, isn’t that a sign of internal bleeding, I’m sure I read that somewhere.  My head is pounding.  What should I do, what can I do.

“Mario, Mario.”

Tears sting my eyes and flood down my face, I catch them on my tongue, they moisten my mouth, I’m very thirsty, isn’t that another sign of bleeding.  I don’t want this.  I don’t want to die here on this ledge.

I could jump, simply let myself go, not really a jump, a step nothing more.  I could step over now and that would be the end.  The thought appalls me; a spurt of urine shames me.  If I could sit down I could think, If I could sit down I could live.

“Mario.”

I wonder what the time is.  It is an age since we left the hotel, just after breakfast and we drove for more than an hour to the mountains.  Then a stop at the little bar for a coffee before the whirling, spiralling, breakneck race that left us here.  How long is it since we crashed, I don’t think I lost consciousness, no, surely that would have seen me tumbling into oblivion.  I think, I wish I had gone down then, I wish it was over.  I wish this was not my decision to take.

How long will the sun last, it has moved a small way across the sky, not far, I have no knowledge of these things.  How long does it take to move across the sky.  It must be early afternoon, that’s good, early afternoon is good.  There is the chance that someone will come past; they will surely see the broken fencing, will stop.  Yes early afternoon.  That’s good…

I’m dizzy now, it comes and goes.  A tipping of the world, just a dip and then back again, nauseating, terrifying.  I’m so very cold; I’m shaking and quivering uncontrollably.  It stills now and again for long seconds, just long enough for me to remember how it feels to be normal and then it sweeps through me again. My teeth are chattering.  I can’t feel my feet properly now, they’re numb and the numbness is creeping up my legs.

I don’t think I’m bleeding much anymore.  I have a pain though, a deep, dark pain in my belly.  It’s heavy and dull, not sharp.  Is that good, would a sharp pain be better than this deep ache.

My world spins again.  A great bird flew over a while ago, screeching in the blue sky, it wheeled and turned, it was quite beautiful.  I don’t know what it was, did it see me pinned here on the side of the mountain.  Did it wonder about me?

I can’t stand much longer, my legs need to let me go, my belly is a great stone of pain.  There is nothing more for me, I can’t…

4 Comments

Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

The Legacy

Chapters 1 to the final chapter have been removed for safe keeping. Just in case this ever does make it to publication. The final chapter will be available for another couple of days.

When I started it I didn’t intend it to but it’s grown a life of its own so we’ll see. If anyone is interested in reading just leave a comment and I will send you a pdf of the missing chapters to get ou up to date.

Cheers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 11

Simon picked up his phone and clicked through to the contact list. His finger hovered for a moment and then he gave a shrug and dialled. “Fuzz, are you busy?”

“Hiya Simon. No, I’ve got nuthin’ on. Back at the garden centre tomorra but nuthin’ today. Why, do you fancy a game of pool?”

“No, I just wondered if you wanted to give me a hand with something?”

“Oh right, erm, is it decoratin’? only I ‘ave to say I didn’t really think it were for me.” Simon smiled as he thought of the debacle when he’d asked Fuzz to help him with some of the painting only to have to do it all again when the boy had gone home with a few pounds in his pocket and paint covering most of his clothes and much of his hair.

“No, the decorating’s finished. You should come up and see it, it looks good. No, I’ve got a job and I thought maybe two would be better than one.”

“Cool. So, like an assistant?” Simon sighed, this could be a massive error.

“Well, yes a bit. I’m going to Kirkhall. I’m trying to find a missing woman.”

“Brilliant. Will ya pick me up?”

“Okay. I’ll be with you in ten minutes.”

When he had first met the young lad he had tried to hold him at arm’s length and had been absolutely against asking for his help but then, in the face of danger and confusion Fuzz had been an unlikely hero. He didn’t want an assistant, couldn’t afford one, but maybe two of them covering the town centre would give them more chance of finding Flora. He was making an assumption, believing she was still near home and he had to start somewhere after all.

As he drew to the kerb in front of Fuzz’s gran’s little terraced house the skinny figure made a big show of pressing back against the tiny garden wall. Simon raised his eyebrows. Okay, he knew Fuzz had a very low opinion of his driving skills but felt he was improving, albeit slowly. He didn’t enjoy the car and the busy roads. He would much rather stride out on the hills. Often he would go on his own and spend hours hiking across the tops but lately Fuzz had gone with him a few times and they were comfortable and easy with each other. They were in tune, just moving through the landscape their boots pounding in time and their eyes resting on the endless sky and the surge of grass before the wind.

He pushed open the passenger door. “Yeah, yeah, very funny. Come on get in.”

As Fuzz settled in and fastened his safety belt Simon handed him a print of the picture Carol had provided. “Okay, so this woman has gone missing. We are going to Kirkhall as a start in the hope that she is still there. Quick background is that her boyfriend vanished quite a while ago and she hasn’t been well since then. Now, she’s gone off and her friend thinks she’s gone looking for him. So, to start with we’re going to try and find her and then, maybe we will take it on to the next stage and see if we can find out what happened to him, this bloke – Mark .”

“Maybe he’s just buggered off ‘cos he’s sick of her. But, she looks pretty fit… Shit, Simon, signal will ya, that bloke ‘ad right of way anyway. Bloody ‘ell.”

“Sorry, sorry. I wasn’t concentrating. He might just have, as you say, ‘buggered of’ but there’s more to it. So, for a while Fuzz listened in silence as Simon told him the rest.

“So, the police ‘aven’t got a clue then?” Simon shook his head.

“Apparently not. They’ve looked and they insist that they are still looking but Flora is in a bit of a state and doesn’t think they are doing enough.”

“Well, p’raps they’re not. It’s been a while ‘asn’t it.”

“Yes, but fair play they’re probably doing the best they can. They haven’t got much to go on. He just vanished in the night.”

“I don’t know ‘ow you can say that. After the way they treated you.”

“It’s in the past, all that. Okay they made mistakes and I was the one that paid but you know Fuzz, I can’t hold a grudge forever. It screws you up that sort of thinking, I see that now, plus they did sort everything out for Charlie Clegg.”

“Aye, ‘appen they did but then agen that Colin ‘ad been in jail a long time for sommat ‘e ‘adn’t done.”

“Yes, but that was partly his own fault for lying to cover up for himself and his wife and let’s not go through all that again. It’s over.”

“Aye well, as I say, I don’t think I could be so forgivin’. You just missed the turn by the way. You should ‘ave gone left there.”

“Oh shit. That’s your fault, distracting me.”

“No. It’s your fault ‘cos you’re such a crap driver. ‘Ere, turn in ‘ere and then you can go back.”

“Alright, okay – I’ve got this.”

“Yeah, course you ’ave.”

It had started to rain and between watching the sign posts and concentrating on driving in reduced visibility Simon was quiet and Fuzz plugged in his ear buds and sat beside him, legs jiggling up and down and fingers thrumming in time to music that Simon could only hear as an irritating fizz and burble.

By the time they reached the outskirts of the little town he was glad the journey was over.

“Did you bring a rain coat?”

“What?”

“Something waterproof. It’s pissing down”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not – you’ll be soaked. My other anorak is on the back seat. Put that on.”

“No, bloody way. I’m not walking round in that.” As Simon turned and glared at him Fuzz shrugged his shoulders and stuck out his bottom lip.

“Put the sodding jacket on. We’re wasting time and I’m the boss. I bet you don’t talk back to the woman at the garden centre.”

“Well, she doesn’t make me wear naff bloody anoraks does she? Oh, awright. Bloody ‘ell.”

“Thank you. Now, I suggest we start at the centre, all the busier parts and then work our way out from there. If you see her don’t approach her. Just call me on the phone, keep an eye on her and we’ll see how we go. She’s not properly well, she’s worried and confused and Carol said that she has panic attacks so let’s make sure we don’t scare her. I’m parking in the pay and display over there. You go down that road, the one to the station and I’ll go the other way. Do a couple of circuits, try and look in the cafes and shops and keep your eyes open. Right let’s get on with it. Hey, you look good in that coat, almost respectable.”

“Bugger off Simon.”

2 Comments

Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 10

“How long have you been here?” Flora and Cill had finished two huge doorstop bacon sandwiches and were on their second mugs of tea. It had been a long time since Flora had eaten anything like the food her granny used to make and she had loved it. Now, in the muggy warmth of the café with food in her belly and the damp coldness of the early hours dissipating she felt so much better. Almost normal. It could have been any day, except it wasn’t and the woman across the table from her was a little dishevelled, a little grubby and there was a hardness around her eyes that was wrong in someone so young.

“Here?”

“Yes, you know just around? Oh, sod it, how long have you been sleeping rough?” Cill smiled at her.

“A while. Sometimes I stay with a mate but it wasn’t on this weekend so…” She shrugged.

“But isn’t it dangerous.”

“Yeah, it can be. Look, I’m not being funny but I don’t want to talk about me. My life is what it is and it’s what I’m doing right now. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year, even next week but, well, it’s my business.”

“Sorry, yes of course. It’s just that, I couldn’t do it.”

“What.”

“Sleep in the street, have nowhere to go.”

“So, what are you going doing? You said you don’t want to go back until you found out what happened to him, that bloke of yours. So, what are you going to do? To be honest I reckon the best thing for you to do is just get yourself back to that house, your friend and just carry on.”

“No, no I can’t. I want to have my life back. I want to return to work but I can’t not until I know what happened to him. It’s wrong just going back to how things were before, I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

“Why? Why not just accept he’s probably dead?” She shrugged now and ran a finger through a tiny thread of tomato sauce left on her plate and then licked it clean. “Just go back, tell yourself he’s dead, grieve and then carry on. Live.”

Flora had no answer, the comment had been harsh but sounded so simple, so logical. The bald statement had confused her, her mind refused to process it and she felt the quiver start, way down in her stomach. “No, not right now. I need to feel as though I did something at least.”

“You didn’t even love him anymore.”

“No, no that’s true but I did care, I do care. It’s not right that he should just be forgotten, brushed to one side.”

“So then, where do you start?”

“Perhaps, yes perhaps I should start by going back to before it happened. Just try and find out what was going on with him. We were hardly talking, spending less and less time together. Maybe that would be a start. Maybe that’s why I came here, to his office. Do you think?”

“Whatever.”

“I know it’s not your concern Cill and thanks. I was a mess when I first saw you, you’ve helped me.” The sudden smile was as unexpected as the sun bursting through a rain cloud and transformed the sullen, cynical looking face into the young girl’s that it should have been.

“Yeah well, I got a breakfast out of it.” But there was a different lift to her shoulders and a sparkle in her eyes. “Are you going to his office then, is that your plan?”

“I think so, yes.”

“Well, if you like I’ll look after your bag, wait for you in the square. You’d look a bit odd carting all that stuff with you.”

“Thank you. That would be excellent. Thank you.”  There it was again, the brightening.

They went back. The day was in full swing by this time and travellers heading for the station rampaged down the pathways. A couple of people were walking dogs, there were prams and people speaking into mobile phones. Flora had been out in the months since Mark  disappeared but never alone and never into the full swing of a busy town centre. She moved closer to Cill, she wanted to cling to the girl’s arm but knew she shouldn’t and felt the ground swirl a little beneath her feet, the buildings tipped. She gasped. “You okay?” Cill had turned to look at her.

“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just that I have these – things, sort of panic attacks. I’ll be fine.” As she spoke she felt the sweat break out on her forehead.

“You really shouldn’t be here, doing this. You need to go back.” There was real concern in the young girl’s eyes now and she put a hand under Flora’s elbow and ushered her toward the bench where the old man had spent the night.

“Oh God, you’re right. I know you’re right. I’m such a bloody failure, I’m a mess. I didn’t used to be like this you know. I had a good job, in a solicitor’s office, I had responsibilities and staff under me. Shit look at me now?”

“Well, after all you’ve been through though…”

“Yeah right, but look at you. You must have had some problems; nobody ends up on the streets unless they’ve had stuff go wrong and you’re together. You’re okay.”

“Am I – well, maybe. What the hell are you going to do though?”

“I’m going to leave my bag with you. I’m going into his office and see his closest mates and ask them about him. Ask them about how he was, in the weeks before.”

“But surely you’ve done that already?” Flora shook her head violently.

“No, I wasn’t allowed to at first and then by the time the police decided I hadn’t done anything they’d all gone. They didn’t answer my calls, they didn’t come round. Well, I was at my mum’s but anyway they didn’t. The only person who stood by me was Carol. She never wavered.”

“So, you’ve left her to worry about you. That’s not fair is it?”

“No, no I didn’t I left her a note.”

“Huh…”

“I’ll call her later. I will. You’re right I shouldn’t let her worry. Just give me a minute to catch my breath and then I’m going over there. To the office.”

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 8

The town came to life, bus tyres swished on wet tarmac. Lights shone from the windows of offices and shops. The sky streaked with pink and pigeons gathered around the bases of the waste bins. It was time to move but Flora didn’t know what to do. She had run in despair from the house, from the suitcase full of his things and now it felt silly, illogical. She should just go back. As the thought pushed its way to the front of her mind she was swept by a wave of depression.

The girl beside her had rooted in her bag, taken out a packet of breakfast bars. She held one towards Flora. Her first reaction was to refuse. This girl obviously had very little and surely it was wrong to take from her. It was a friendly gesture though and right now friendship was a treasure she couldn’t turn away from. “Thanks.” She tore back the paper and as her teeth sank into the sweet, fruity bar she realised how hungry she was. “Do you know anywhere to get breakfast?” The girl raised her eyebrows.

“Breakfast?”

“I thought, maybe if you have nothing else planned you’d like to have something to eat.”

“I can’t afford breakfast.” There was no hidden subtext it was a simple statement, fact, bare and bald.

“I wondered if you’d let me treat you?”

“Why, why the hell would you do that?” The girl was shaking her head; she was suspicious and Flora understood.

“Well, you listened to me. You were kind. I promise you there is nothing odd happening.” She felt her insides sink, she didn’t want to be on her own, not right now. “I just thought it would be nice to spend a bit more time together. Look, I’m sorry I don’t want to pressure you but – to be honest I’m feeling really wobbly right now.  I suppose I should just go back home, but the thought of giving up, accepting that I’ll always have this empty hole as part of my life, well quite frankly it fills me with dread. I want to be strong. I’ve struggled with this so much and still it isn’t over. I want to try and find out what happened but I don’t know how and I – oh I don’t know, I just thought if I could talk about it more it might help me to sort things out in my mind. It’s okay if you don’t want to. It’s fine. I’m sorry.”

“No, go on then, why not? I understand, least maybe I do. We all have stuff that follows us around and I respect that you want to make things right. It’s a long time since I had a bacon butty to be honest and I’d love one. There’s a little caf’ Just down the road. It’s nothing special but it’ll be warm and you get a big mug of tea.”

Flora reached across and touched the other girl on the arm. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me, you’re buying breakfast.” And with that she stood and slid her arms through the straps on her bag.

“What can I call you? I’d just like something to call you?”

“I’m Cill.”

As they walked through the square she noticed the others had already gone. The only evidence of their night-time residence was a few torn bags under the seat where the old man had been. A couple of community police officers strolled through the space, one of them nodded at Cill as they passed.

They were walking in a different direction to most of the other pedestrians. Away from the shops and offices, jigging and dodging through the crowd. When she saw a face she recognised it took her breath away. One of his colleagues, someone she hadn’t seen for nearly a year. She stepped across the footpath and pretended to stare into the window of a small greeting card shop. Cill, walked on for a few more paces and then stopped and turned her head. She retraced her steps and stood beside her, she touched her arm.

“Someone you know?” Flora nodded. Cill linked her arm and walked on the outside of the pavement, “I reckon he’s gone now, or she, whatever. Come on we’re nearly there.” She turned into a narrow road, the crowd thinned and the smell of hot grease and coffee drew them on.

2 Comments

Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

The magic name changing WIP

Okay – Trevor, became Kevin and he has now become Mark. – Bear with. I’m a writer.

Chapter 7

Carol stood beside the little table in the hall, tears had tracked down her cheeks, dripped from the end of her chin and darkened the front of her pyjama top. In her hand the little notebook that they used for telephone messages and shopping lists quivered. She took in a deep breath and turned away.

She had feared that this might happen. Even though her friend had seemed stronger, seemed to be recovering, the darkness was still there as a shadow in the back of her eyes.

She went through to the dining room and booted up her laptop. She began to enter words into the address bar. She hadn’t told Flora what she had done, in the past, how she had thought she might help. It had never come to anything and she didn’t know whether the address would still be in the list.

Yes, there it was. An investigator locally. She had laughed on first seeing it. Why would a private detective set up in Ramstone? It was silly, but maybe it wasn’t really. This Simon Fulton may have his base in Ramstone but he could be everywhere, he was anywhere it was reasonable for him to travel to. She lifted the receiver.

“Simon Fulton.”

“Oh, hello. I thought I’d get your reception.” She glanced at her watch. Oh, God, I’m sorry it’s too early, I didn’t realise it was only seven.”

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. Who am I speaking to?”

“My name is Carol, Carol Price. I need your help.”

“Okay.”

“My friend has disappeared. She’s run away. We live together and all I have is a note from her. It tells me not to look for her and that she’ll come back when she’s sorted everything out.”

“Right. So, she’s just gone away for a while. I don’t see how I can help to be honest. I don’t really do searches for missing people, at least I haven’t up to now. But, seems to me that she’s just gone off to do something and when it’s done she’ll be back. I don’t see why you need me. Maybe you should just give her space, let her handle her business. Is she your girlfriend?” At his end Simon was standing in front of the window, rubbing at the sleep in his eyes and sipping his morning coffee. He had known there had always been a risk that he would be asked to search for missing partners, and indeed he had fielded several just such calls, even some for runaway children. He didn’t want the task with the associated heartbreak and betrayal that might accompany it. There were many other organisations much better equipped than he was. He didn’t want to be rude and as he was about to read out the number of the Salvation Army that he had stuck on his notice board for just these calls he heard the woman at the other end begin to sob.

“Please don’t be upset Carol. How long has she been missing?”

“She must have gone sometime during the night.”

“Well, you know, maybe she’ll be back very soon.”

“No, no you don’t understand. It’s dangerous, she could put herself in great danger. She’s not my girlfriend no, but I love her. Please, I need to find her quickly. I know you’re thinking I’m over reacting, that’s why I can’t go to the police, but you don’t know what’s happened. She’s fragile, just starting to get better, at least I thought she was. For a while now she’s been dealing with stuff and there’s Mark ?”

“Mark ?”

“Yes, he was her boyfriend. He vanished. They thought she’d killed him. Of course, she didn’t, but she always thought nobody believed her. Well, they didn’t not for a while and now she says she’s got to try and find him.  Please help me Mr Fulton.”

She sounded so desperate, frantic, he didn’t have the heart to turn her down. “Look, why don’t you come and see me? Are you local, where are you calling from?”

“Near Bradford, I can come there. I know Ramstone, a bit anyway. Where are you?”

“My office is in Stonebridge Road, off Bradford Road.”

“I’ll find it, I’ll use my Satnav. Do I need an appointment?” Simon smiled to himself, he had no other jobs, had nothing since the work he’d done for Charlie Clegg.

“I can fit you in this morning. Just come along when you’re ready. I’m in the office all morning as it happens.”

“Oh that’s brilliant. Thank you so much. I’ll come straight away. Thank you.”

As he clicked off the phone and swigged back the last of his coffee his forehead wrinkled in thought. This woman wasn’t even really missing was she, she had simply gone away for a while. He realised then that he hadn’t even asked for the girl’s name. He peered out into the grey morning. Gloria was away in Salford, looking at flats in a new development, he had no work, nothing planned. It would be good to pretend for a while that he was what his business card and website said he was. He would reassure this woman and maybe sometime in the future she would remember and tell someone who truly needed him that he was one of the good guys.

He went down to the office, it was tidy as always. There was no reason for it to be anything else, he pulled out a legal pad and wrote her name at the top of the page. He’d make it look as though he knew what he was doing. It was good practice at least and when all was said and done, she had called him so for this morning at least, he had a client.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 5

There was no plan, just a need to make it all right again. Flora wanted her life back, fully. No matter what she’d been told about moving on, putting it behind her and all that tosh she knew with certainty that unless she found what had happened to him he would haunt her and own her forever.

The police denied scaling down the search for him, they said that they were still treating his disappearance as suspicious and so the case wouldn’t be closed. But she didn’t believe it. She had seen films, read books, the trail was cold and there were no new avenues opening up. They had, put his file back in the drawer. For a while she had called until in the end they asked her to stop. ‘we’ll be in touch if there is anything new. You don’t need to worry about it’. How could she not worry, it wasn’t their lives. They weren’t the ones who woke in the night listening for the sound of his breathing, they didn’t spend every trip to the shops peering into windows, scanning passing faces. She was convinced that they had moved on to newer things that they still had a chance of solving. She didn’t blame them, but it wasn’t going to work for her.

They had met through a mutual friend, dated a few times, and fallen into being a couple. There had been no flash of lightning, no sudden and overwhelming desire. It had grown slowly into a comfortable relationship and after a while they were Flora and Kevin, an entity. They had moved in together after six months and for a while it had worked. In hindsight she could see that it was laziness that had kept them together so long rather than passion and desire. They both worked hard, long hours but their lifestyles were compatible. She thought he was good looking, slender, with short brown hair and hazel eyes. Just her type, surely. They enjoyed each other’s company for the first year of the eventual three. They had sex which satisfied them. That was it, mediocre, lack lustre and dull. Marching along the dark street she allowed the truth free reign and acknowledged the mistakes.

But, everyone made mistakes it wasn’t supposed to ruin lives.

By the time he disappeared they had reached a stage where they were eating silent, boring meals together, staring at the television from separate chairs. They were two worn out with busy jobs and bogged with boredom to want to go anywhere in the evening and they dragged themselves to bed early, turning from each other in the darkness with not enough passion left in their relationship to spark a need for sex.

Weekends they would make more effort and it was easier when there were other people around, other voices, different laughter but so often once they were alone again the niggling and sniping would start. It didn’t often lead to full blown rows because neither of them had the energy or interest but now and then, if they’d drunk more than usual or the conversation had opened the rift a little wider then it escalated, as it had on the last night. After the earlier confrontations, they had made up with tearful, re-assertive sex and told themselves that it was how everyone was, pressures of modern life. But, for weeks before he vanished she had known that the arguments were too frequent and she was happier more often away from him, than with him. It was over and they were simply trudging towards the inevitable fork in the road.

The last night, she knew they had argued – again. They had both been drinking, it had surprised her though when she woke with the desperate hangover because she didn’t remember being so very drunk. She had woken in their shared bed, not the fold down bed in the guest room that she had been using for a couple of weeks with the excuse that his snoring kept her awake and it was a busy time at work. Tears of panic started to her eyes when she thought of it. She knew it would never leave her, no matter where life took her the images of that morning were seared into the deepest parts of her brain, she was branded with them. The smell of blood, the feel of it and the terrible dread and panic. Friends they had been with had said they hadn’t seemed particularly effected by alcohol. It had been a Sunday, work the next day, and so it had just been a few drinks, some food and from the bits she could remember friendly banter. On the way home he had accused her of flirting, she had always been able to remember that, it had spiralled out of control quickly and she knew that they had stood in the kitchen hurling insults, but after that there was nothing until the next morning and wakening into a nightmare.

She reached the junction, one way lead into town, the other out to the park on the hill. There were few cars about and no pedestrians. She glanced at her watch. Two thirty. The park would be deserted for hours yet. She turned right and walked down the slight incline. She would go to the centre. She still didn’t know what she was doing, how to make a start but from the bus station she could see his office. It had been a while since she had visited town on her own and each time she had taken a route that avoided the square and the building where he’d worked and today, she couldn’t understand why. There was no reason to be afraid of him, of his history. He hadn’t tried to harm her; he was the one who had disappeared. The way she had been treated afterwards had skewed her thinking, made him into part of the problem and he wasn’t, how could he be, he wasn’t even there. He’d had no hand in the accusations, the badgering and the suspicions. He was innocent of it all.

It only took fifteen minutes and she was outside the bus and train station. It was quiet but not deserted. She sat on a damp bench and glanced around. There were a couple of people stretched out on the other seats, they had bags, they may be stranded travellers, rough sleepers or drunks. She had no way of knowing. One of them could be Kevin.

Could one of them be Kevin?

3 Comments

Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 3

They poured another glass of red wine, pushed back the coffee table to make a space in the middle of the lounge floor and Carol carried it through.

It hadn’t benefitted from sitting in the corner of the damp garage and the handle came away as she had lifted it. She wrapped her arms as far around it as she could manage and, resting it against her front she staggered back into the house. “It’s huge is this. Why on earth did you buy one this size? You could never check it in on a flight, the weight of the case on its own would take you into excess baggage land.”

“Oh I know. Actually, it was never really used as a suitcase. Kevin had it in his flat at Uni, he used it for storage because it fit under his bed. It was a cheap one bought specifically for that and we just carried on.”

“Is it locked?”

“No. The locks have never worked as far as I know and it didn’t matter.” Carol stood aside, her hands on her hips, looking down at the big, old brown case.

“So do you want me to do it, or are you going to?”

Flora moved nearer, “Here, I’ll do it” on her knees she bent forward and with her thumbs, clicked open the small metal fasteners. She took a deep breath and then grasped the edges of the lid and with a flourish she threw it backwards.

For a moment, she was quiet looking down and then she stood, stiffly, her eyes fixed on the suitcase. She shook her head and then backed away into the corner of the room. She crouched in the corner and began to whimper.

“What! What! Christ, what’s the matter?” Carol ran to her friend and enfolded her, “Ssssh, sssh. It’s okay, it’s okay. Flo, I’ve got you. It’s all okay. I’ll take it away. Don’t cry I’ll just take it away. I told you not to didn’t I? I told you not to.” Flora was shaking her head now, tears soaking the front of Carol’s jumper. Her whole body was trembling and her streaming eyes were wide with distress. “Hush, come on now, come on. Just breathe. It’s all okay.” Carol had held her often in the throes of the panic attacks that were so much a part of life for the first weeks after Kevin had vanished. She had thought that was over and now here was Flora, gulping for breath, shaking and sobbing, her fingers digging painfully into Carols arm.

“I can’t, I just can’t.” From where they were, crouching in the corner Carol turned and peered across at the case. From what she could see there was nothing to explain this reaction. She had expected it to be difficult but this total, over the top panic had her nonplussed.

“It’s okay love. It’s just his clothes, some of his stuff. It’s okay, there’s nothing to be frightened off, it’s just stuff.”

“It’s his stuff, God Carol it’s all his stuff. Look, his football medals, the trophy from that daft golf tournament he went to. It’s his life, not just his stuff?”

“I know, I know.” As she rubbed at her back Carol urged her up from the floor. Look come on, get on the settee, have a drink of your wine. Breathe, just breathe. Calm down now Flo. Just calm down.”. She reached out with her foot, slid it underneath the lid and flipped it back over the top, hiding the contents of the case.

Flora took a big gulp of the wine and struggled to gain control.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry Carol. It was just such a shock. I’m okay. I am, I’m okay now. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be silly, don’t apologise. It was forced to be difficult.”

“No, no you don’t understand. I wanted him to go, do you see? I wanted us to split up. That row was just the last. There’d been so many and I wanted him to. But, not like that, I just wanted him gone, but not like that.”

“Of course not. I know, I know. Look, you just need to get rid of it, but it’s okay we’ll do it together and then you can forget all about it.”

“No, no I can’t. I won’t ever be able to, I’ll never be free of him. If he’d gone. Like I told him that night. I told him to get lost, sometimes I can remember bits of that row and I know I said that to him. ‘Get lost you loser.’ I said that to him. But I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean any of it to happen the way it did.”

“Well, of course not. Look we knew, Waleed and me, we knew things were bad between you but I know you would never have wished him any harm. Don’t go back there again, back into the darkness. You’ve fought so hard to move on. Don’t go back.”

“I was so angry. I just threw his stuff in. I didn’t fold it. I didn’t wrap it up properly. I didn’t do any of that, I just stuffed it all in.”

“It doesn’t matter, look it’s all going on the tip, so it’s not important. Listen to me, listen. Even if he did come back, and let’s be honest if he was going to it would have happened by now. Wherever he’s gone he’s not going to need this stuff. It’s rubbish, it’s finished.”

“I don’t feel as though it’s ever going to be finished though. I was feeling so strong, so happy here and now it’s all come back.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Serials