“What’s wrong with the sky, Daddy?” asked the little girl in the pink, floral dress, while gazing, wide-eyed, up at the sky.
“Nothing, dear, it’s your imagination” replied her Dad in a vague, not even marginally interested murmur, not taking his eyes of his immensely interesting newspaper.
“But, Daddy, look!” cried the little girl in wonder and horror.
“Yes, dear.” murmured her Dad again. “Why don’t you go and play with Alley.” He suggested in an attempt to cease his daughter’s annoying demands.
She new Alley would care. Alley always cared. Anything she wanted to say, Alley would listen. Any questions, Alley would have the answer, straight away! Mum and Dad weren’t like Alley. Alley was out on the balcony, gazing up at the sky. Annie went out to join her. As always, the extraordinary view awaited Annie. Every time she ventured out, onto the pine balcony, the view of the whole town would be there, ready to amaze her. From Annie’s, large, cliff-top mansion, almost all of Veronica was visible, even if some of it only came into view through binoculars. In the morning, the golden sun would illuminate the pale pink roof tops and cast shadows in the narrow streets and the Square. Those narrow streets would be ablaze with light by midday, the gold rays reflecting off the many birch trees nestled amongst the buildings. In the evenings, the blood-red sunset and on-coming darkness would cast a blue tinge over the landscape, and emphasize the many tiny, yellow specks that were lamps and people’s houses. Such a view was only shared between five families. Five very well-off families.
But this outstanding view was not the focus of Annie’s attention. Her eyes of sapphire were immediately drawn to the sky. The sky of blue, so unique that it was neither deep and dark, nor pale and light, was replaced by a red, so unique that it was neither deep and dark, nor pale and light. The only description for one such blue was ‘sky blue’. The only description, fitting enough for this shade of red was ‘sky red’.
“Alley, what’s wrong with the sky” Annie asked, neither in awe, nor in horror.
“It’s the energy.” She answered in her soft, philosophical voice. “All the negative energy, gathering in the sky, turning it red. You know what it means? All the bad things people have done, everyone’s sins and wrong-doings have given off so much bad energy that it’s had to go into the biggest space on earth. The sky!”
Annie listened in wonder. All worry in her previous expression had vanished and transformed into amazement and curiosity.
Down in the town Square, a small crowd of people was gradually expanding, as more people ventured out into the narrow, cobbled streets. Many of the citizens were muttering to one another, worriedly and hurriedly. Others were just stood and staring upwards, mouths agog. Others were whimpering and cowering in small dribs and drabs, frightened at this new happening. The tension in the streets of Veronica was so thick, the mixture of emotions created an invisible smog that could give most goose bumps!
Amongst those negative emotions that had congregated and lingered over Veronica like a big, red rain cloud was Crewe Timelton. He hovered at the edge of the crowd, gazing up at the sky in awe. Never in his life had he seen anything like this! And the speed at which the colour had changed! He had not looked down for even a minute, but when he looked up again, the soft blue of the sky had gone, replaced by this angry red! But what was most interesting to him was why it had come. Did it know? Did it know what his previous activities were, before he had fled here? Whatever it was. Was it the devil, come to take him away for committing such an act?
He was unaware of how he was backing away from the crowd, until he reached the shadows of the alley way. He leant back against the wall and clutched the black bag to his chest. It seemed to get heavier each day. He took a key from his back pocket and a yellowing piece of paper. Time to go home.
Over the other side of the square was a small boy. In his dirty hand, he had a wallet; not his wallet, but somebody else’s. Uric stared in wonder at the sky, thinking about the person from whom he had taken the wallet. He would probably be racked with panic by now, going mad with searching, having to sweep every nook and cranny before he could pronounce it missing.
It wasn’t his fault, though; he needed the money! His Mother needed it. Otherwise, she had told him, there wouldn’t be any tea. Uric felt a deep groaning from his stomach. Maybe, he could just nick a quick hotdog from the stand. It was only a hotdog. What harm could it do?
Percy cast an annoyed expression at the crowd below. What was so interesting that they could just gather outside his home and disturb his afternoon nap? He hobbled over to his desk which he had bought for a bargain at a car-boot sale. Percy’s reading glasses sat on top of an important- looking piece of paper. He sat in the moth-bitten arm chair next to the desk and shoved his glasses onto his face. He grunted as he reached for the paper and started to read: something about a retirement village, eviction and other, unimportant stuff. Percy grunted again as he screwed it up and threw it across the floor.
How many times had they tried and failed to get him to leave his home? It wasn’t going to work! He and his wife had lived here for over fifty years! He may be in his late 80s, but that was no reason for him to leave!
“They can’t move us! Can they, Dorothy? They’re not moving us! I’ll have to die before they can get me to leave this house!” Percy spoke to the empty arm chair opposite him.
In the middle of the square, a small group of chattering women stood, gesturing at the sky. One of them had long, blond hair and expensive shoes and seemed to be popular amongst the gossip. Cassandra knew she was popular. Everyone liked her! Who wouldn’t? She was beautiful! She carried with her a small, red bag in which she had makeup, an IPhone, an IPod and a purse with a variety of credit cards- most of which weren’t hers. But nobody knew that. Nobody knew her secret. Her dirty little secret! That was how she could afford her expensive clothes, her expensive makeup, her IPod and IPhone. Of course, maybe the men of whom she had taken the cards from knew, but they couldn’t do anything. They had all died tragically, in car crashes. She was a broken woman, on the outside. Everyone saw her as a woman who had lost previous husbands, but only Cassandra knew how much of a liar she was. And not once did she feel guilty!
When evening came, the crowds dispersed and people went home. The Veronica police had teamed up with teachers and professors from Veronica University and were gathered at the station to try and figure out what was happening with the sky. The Head of police had decided to nip out for a break from working, none-stop for 3 hours. His team had stopped for a bit too and were under the impression that David had gone for a walk. On the contrary! He was heading for the pub.
Once he was sat at the bar it was easy to get lost in ordering beer after beer. Shot after shot. There was no shortage of women and, since he was quite a high ranking in society, no shortage of money! By the time an hour had passed, David was staggering towards the next bar, surrounded by a gaggle of thin, pretty women. In the next bar, he downed beer after beer, shot after shot. So much for drowning in his sorrows! Why not drown in women, alcohol and money instead! When the time came to leave, he staggered home, forgetting about everyone at the station; he was too drunk to remember where he had been 5 minutes ago! Once through his front door, he was met by a very angry woman and the starts of a verbal boxing match. Upstairs, the sounds of doors slamming and shattered glass could be heard muffled, by a small child, huddled in the corner of her bed room.
The evening sky was a deep burgundy and was dotted with tiny, fragile stars that twinkled in the hypnotic light of the moon, which stood out like a huge, white orb against the deep scarlet sky. Most of the narrow, pale-paved alley ways were illuminated by the yellow lights from terraced houses or the old-fashioned lamp posts that lined the narrow streets, creating a soft glow around the square.
Crewe had finally located his former home and he stood before it as if he were being presented with a golden crown. Never before had he found anything that seemed as safe and comforting as this! It was a long time since he had been here, let alone slept in a proper bed! He slipped the key in the lock, savouring the soft click as the door unlocked. Before going in, he traced his fingers over the silver numbers, nailed to the door and then the peep hole and then the ‘B’ beneath this. He remembered thinking that the ‘B’ had always been lonely, away from all the other things pinned to his front door. He remembered making a resolution to take it off and nail it next to the number ‘13’. It had never happened.
Crewe threw open the door and breathed in the musty odour of his home. He stood in his hallway and closed the door behind him. Stepping into the kitchen, he ran his hand over the table. Looking at the thick, grey dust on his hand he grimaced and turned on the tap. At least the water worked! He went into the lounge. Everything was as he had left it. Except for the dust, everything was the same. He opened the curtains and looked out into the garden. Hang on. What was this? Why were there dead birds all over Crewe’s lawn?
He went out to investigate. It took a bit of effort to get the back door open, but he soon unstuck it. As soon as he stepped out into the tiny square of land surrounded by tall, wooden fences, the thick, pungent odour of decay hit his nose like a base ball bat. He recoiled, but kept going until he was stood in the middle of the garden, surrounded by dead birds and millions of flies!
It knew. Whatever it was, it knew!
Uric ran. He ran faster and faster, desperately trying not to stop or to collapse. His breathing was coming out in agonising gasps and he could feel his face getting hot. He could hear the man behind him, every step beating against the pavement, heavily. He knew a man of his size and volume couldn’t carry on forever. He knew from experience. Months trying to outwit the fattest of people, knowing they were easy targets.
The heavy beating of footsteps behind him began to quieten and eventually, stop. Uric, however, wanting to make sure he had got away, kept running, until he reached a small alcove in between two doors; 13 A and 13 B. He leant against one side of the alcove and sank to the floor, panting, gulping down oxygen.
Once his breathing had settled, uric noticed a horrible smell in the air. It was thick and intoxicating! He decided to go home.
On the way, he felt his pockets for the wallet. He froze, fear rising in his chest. There was no wallet! What had he done with it? Put it in his back pocket of his jeans! But why wasn’t it there now? Where had it gone? He couldn’t go home empty handed! He had to find it! Oh dear!
He ran off into the night in search of the stolen wallet.
Every night, when Percy made dinner, he would make two portions of vegetable soup with one large plate of garlic bread. He would then set the table and sit opposite his wife and tuck in to the soup. Once he had finished, he would wash up, making sure he did it for no longer than 10 minutes each night because it made his hands go wrinkly (He had lost his rubber gloves and couldn’t find them). Then, he would make him and his wife a cup of tea with one sugar in each and sit in front of the telly, watching the discovery channel until 8:30 precisely which is when he and his wife settle down for bed.
You see, Percy was a man of routine. He was a man of high quality. If something was not up to standard, then Percy would deal with it. He would let nothing get in the way of that! Not even eviction notices and retirement homes!
Percy was watching a documentary on whales when he was interrupted by a soft dripping sound coming from the kitchen. It was muffled and rythmatic. He listened for a minute, before going to investigate.
The result from his investigation was that he had a leaky pipe beneath the kitchen sink. Nothing good old duck-tape couldn’t fix! He chuckled at his intelligence.
If only it were that simple. If only he would notice the damp, creeping up his wall and dripping from the ceiling. If only he had noticed the mould on the bread in the bread bin and the sourness of the milk he had put in his tea. If only he had seen out of the corner of his eye, how much post he has received through his letter box when he steps on them, every morning when goes to see if he had post, only to find that he has none.
If only he would realize that he has no wife and that he is a widower. If only he could see the state his life is in and that he can hardly look after himself...
Cassandra was walking home from the bar alone. All her friends had gone home earlier. Oh well, she didn’t need them! She slung her bag over her shoulder and walked on, staring at the pavement.
Just as she turned a corner, something made her stop. There was something on the pavement. Something small and black. She looked down at it and bent down to pick it up. It was a wallet. Inside, she saw a driving license, credit cards and £500 in cash. Including a few coppers! What luck! She felt around the other pockets for anything else and came up with keys. Two keys on one key ring. House keys? Car keys? Well, whoever it was who lost their wallet may be willing to give her a reward for finding it. But alas! It must have been emptied by whoever stole it! There was £500 in there when he’d last had it! Along with credit cards too! Ah well!
Cassandra laughed, silently to herself as she hurried home.
“Annie! Time to come in now! Bed time! Come along, now!” called her father from the lounge. Annie looked round at Alley, who was still sat on the bench, braiding one of Annie’s doll’s hair.
“I’ve got to go in, now. Will you be here tomorrow?” Annie asked, hopefully.
“Of course! I’ll always be here!” Alley smiled back.
“Ok. See you!” Annie said as she turned to open the French doors. Before going in, she took one, long look at the scarlet sky and smiled. Alley had said it was all the bad things people had done that had caused this. Nothing bad was happening now. But Alley was never wrong. Maybe, the sky would be back to normal tomorrow. She’d just have to wait and see.
The morning came and brought with it a bright, red sky dotted with white, fluffy clouds. The sun was hovering just above the horizon when Annie came to see Alley. Alley was sitting on the rail of the balcony, a worried expression on her face.
“What’s wrong?” asked Annie.
“It’s getting worse. I thought people would get worried about the sky and stop doing bad things, but they’ve just carried on!” explained Alley.
“What’s going to happen if they carry on?”
“If it carries on, then eventually, the sun will turn black and die. If the sun dies, then the earth will die too.”
Annie didn’t know what to say. She just looked at Alley, in silence.
Crewe woke to the sound of screams. A high pitched scream that reverberated around the room, creating a strong gauze of sound between him and the rest of Veronica. His eyes snapped wide open and his hands flew to his ears. They were here! They were all around him! They’d found him! NO!
Annie was sitting inside, having lunch when it started to rain. The first sound of drops on the roof and Annie was at the window. She liked the rain! They didn’t get much rain in Veronica! But there was something different about this rain- it wasn’t like the usual rain.
Annie couldn’t quite put her finger on it, so she asked Alley.
“Alley, what’s wrong with the rain?”
Alley looked at Annie “It’s turned red. The rain has turned to blood.” She explained, calmly. “And I know why.”
Uric awoke in his makeshift bed of cardboard boxes, turned over and gasped in pain. He had received such a beating last night! The worst in weeks! He was almost sure his ribs were cracked in several places! When he went to bed, his nose and gums had been bleeding. Only once before had he been subjected to the dreaded torture by being jabbing in the gums with a fork. He still had scars. And now...
He would have to do better tonight. Tonight, he would not only steal, but kill!
David woke on the sofa, a can of beer still in hand. His daughter was curled up in the arm chair. When she saw him stir, her expression turned fearful and she ran from the room.
She reminded him so much of Jimmy. Oh how he missed him! Jimmy had been his life! He had been why he did his job as a policeman. Jimmy had idolised him, aspired to be like him, had wanted to be just like him when he was older! And all that ended when the bomb went off at the pub. It should have been Jessica who died. Not Jimmy!
Instead of going to work, David went to Jimmy’s grave, bottle of beer in hand. There he sat, for hours, letting the red rain soak his hair and clothes. His phone rang several times, followed by the voices of his colleagues leaving messages. They went through one ear and out the other.
Crewe woke from a fitful sleep filled with dreams of dead birds and severed heads. He went to the bathroom to splash water on his sweaty forehead. He looked up to see the reflection of the heavy black bag in the mirror. It lay there, motionless, haunting him. Crewe tore his eyes from the bag back to his face. Momentarily, absolute horror filled him as his face was no longer his face, but the pale face of a woman with black, cold eyes and rotting flesh! Blinking, he realised that it was only a hallucination.
He needed to dispose of that bag. It was the only thing Crewe could do to stop the nightmares, the whispers, the screams and the hallucinations. At all costs!
If Cassandra had known it would be raining she would have brought an umbrella! Especially as the rain seemed thicker and more viscous than usual. It was only when she looked at her hands and her bare arms that the terrifying truth was presented to her. Her skin was stained by ugly patches of deep red liquid. At first, she thought it was a trick of the light, but realization hit her like a tonne of bricks. It was blood...
Or so she thought. She hoped, with all her heart that it wasn’t.
It wasn’t the thick, red rain that scared Uric, as he jogged down the narrow back streets. It was the event that was to take place tonight. His immediate destination and the object that was waiting for him only made it worse. Nevertheless, he hurried along, eager to get this over with and to go home tonight. He couldn’t wait to see the happy looks on his parent’s faces when he dropped the contents of the person’s wallet into their laps.
Oh yes, he wasn’t in for a beating tonight! No way!
Percy ambled out into his hallway. Nope! No post today! He hobbled back into his lounge and eased himself back down into his armchair.
“You all right Dorothy? Thirsty?” he asked his wife. She didn’t answer. She must be tired. They did stay up 10 minutes later to see the end of a documentary about World War II!
Percy gazed around his apartment, admiring his life, when his eyes fell upon an object that sent cold shivers through his veins. It lay atop the mantel piece and had done so for years now. The dust was a thick coat around its shiny surface- Percy daren’t touch it; it wasn’t clear to him why it scared him so much. All he knew was that it was connected to something bad that had happened.
Something he couldn’t quite remember.
Crewe clutched the black bag in his hands- he dare not let go, else his secret may escape him. He stumbled through the streets, letting the rain soak his clothes and hair, avoiding eye contact and ignoring anyone that was polite enough to greet him.
Ha had tried to burn it, but he hadn’t had the guts. He just, couldn’t do it! It was too hard...
But he couldn’t keep it! Absolutely not! No, he would hide it somewhere- somewhere where no one would find it! Somewhere where no one went, somewhere lonely and isolated. Yes! The graveyard!
Crewe made for the graveyard, which was across town. He paid no one any attention on the way, just kept his head down and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Crewe soon found himself staring up at the wrought-iron gates that marked the entrance to the graveyard. They were hard to open and heavy, but Crewe handled it. He made for the back of the graveyard, where it was over-grown with weeds and bushes. It was where most of the older graves were. On his way, he passed a man who was sat, cross-legged in front of a small, black grave. He was crying and was surrounded by beer cans. The man turned his head towards Crewe.
Where had he seen this guy before? He looked so familiar! A look of recognition passed over the man’s face too, but did not linger.
Crewe carried on towards his hiding place.
David recognised the man who had passed him. Oh yes, he knew him all too well, but he didn’t wish to remember what he had done. He didn’t want anything to do with that bastard! Not even to fight him.
But he’d get his revenge. Soon. But not now. That guy was the cause of all his troubles, yet he had escaped his fate! He had run. And that was the one thing David could never do.
And he found a strange curiosity for what was in the black bag Crewe seemed attached to. He was obviously hiding it and seemed as though he had good reason to. Maybe it was something David could use against him!
Yes, he had no choice-he would have to look in that bag!
Uric held the gun in his hand. It felt...right! As though his hand was always meant for a gun. He didn’t know whether this scared him or excited him. The cool metal against his flesh sent electricity through his veins.
He knew who his target was. He wasn’t just going to waste bullets on some average family. Oh no! He was aiming high!
Uric went to the window and gazed up at the cliff top, where the 5 mansions stood, majestically above the rest of Veronica.
“W-what do you mean?” Annie’s voice quivered with fear at Alley’s accusation.
“I mean, you know you’ve done bad stuff! You should make amends before the world dies! Do you actually want the world to die? No! Then, tell someone what you saw, or the world will die a slow and horrible death!” Alley yelled at Annie.
“Saw what?” sobbed Annie, cowering beneath Alley’s iron glare.
“I know you saw the man kill his girlfriend! And then you saw him cause an explosion! And you told no one! That guy is free, thanks to you! Do you know how many people you hurt?” bellowed Alley, grabbing Annie’s arm.
“Th-that hurts!” cried Annie.
“Good! Now you know how it feels!”
Annie’s eyes gazed beyond Alley, who wasn’t letting go, and fell upon a boy. He was about Annie’s height and about the same age as her and Alley. He was very strangely dressed; he wore shorts and a T-shirt, but they were all dirty and burnt-looking. He was bear-foot. “Who’s that?” whispered Annie.
Alley let go of Annie’s arm and turned to the boy. She turned back to Annie with a smile on her face. “Annie, I’d like you to meet Jimmy.”
David watched Crewe leave the cemetery. Once the heavy gates closed behind him, David stood, dropping a half-empty beer can to the floor. He looked up and let the red rain soak his face for a minute before setting off in the direction Crewe had been headed. It didn’t take him long to find the bag- Crewe was unbelievably bad at hiding things. He pulled it out from under a bush and grasped the zip. David hesitated and then opened the bag.
Absolute shock isn’t extreme enough to describe his reaction.
He knew now. All the pieces fit: the explosion, the girl, Jimmy.
David slung the bag over his shoulder and headed off to Crewe’s house.
Eventually, the rain stopped and the pink clouds gradually turned to scarlet as the sun set behind them. Uric stood in the shadows, outside one of the 5 mansions. He set the alarm on his watch and settled himself beneath a tree. There he sat, waiting.
While he waited, he remembered. He remembered the days when he used to have a proper family. When his real Dad was still with them and so was Alley. He had loved his sister more than anything. They had played together, gone to school together; they had been almost inseparable! But then there was the explosion. The terrible explosion that had killed his Dad and his sister. And now his life was like this! Living in a shack, making a living from stealing, not being able to do anything because they had nothing! No money, no friends! Nothing!
Except for Jimmy, but he was dead. Apparently. He was just a thing, an image in his mind of someone he had known.
But the things that Jimmy says seem to make sense! He had told Uric that he knew who could help him. He knew who knows who caused the explosion and he would lead Uric there!
But Uric wasn’t here for answers. Uric was here for blood.
David stood outside 13 B, irritated. He had been knocking, vigorously, for the past 10 minutes and Crewe hadn’t answered! David pummelled at the door one last time before he finally answered.
As soon as the door was open, David burst in, greeting Crewe with a punch in the jaw. Crewe yelled in pain and threw his hands up in front of his face, backing away. David closed the door and dragged Crewe into the lounge, throwing the bag down into Crewe’s lap.
“You son-of-a-bitch! You sick, twisted bastard!” David yelled. “Not only have you killed a person, but kept a keepsake! Why? Why, haven’t you killed enough people already! First with the bomb in the pub and now this!”
“It...it’s not recent.” mumbled Crewe, spitting blood from his mouth.
“Well, when, then, who was she?” demanded David.
Crewe paused “Just before the bomb...you don’t understand! She was cheating on me, she was lying to me!” cried Crewe.
David was silent for a minute, just staring in disbelief. “Is this what all this is about? The bomb, your girlfriend? All because she cheated on you!” he whispered.
“It wasn’t just any old affair. Ever since we’d started going out, she’d been a lesbian. She’d just lied to me, lead me on. She’d been having this affair ever since we’d been going out! Do you know how much that hurts? I got angry! She was in the pub with Cassandra, her girlfriend and I called her. I’d put a bomb in the pub and once she was outside, I set it off. Then I killed her.”
“Do you know my son was in there? Do you know how much it hurts when someone you love is dead?” David’s voice quivered and broke.
“Why do you think I’ve been running all these years!” yelled Crewe, tears streaming down his face. “I couldn’t forgive myself for the misery I’d caused, not to mention Lucy! Oh, beautiful Lucy! I loved her so much! I just couldn’t let her go. That’s why I kept it.” he gestured to the bag.
David looked at the bag and then at Crewe.
“I...I have nightmares. Every night, I wake up and hear her screams.” whispered Crewe. “I see dead birds, everywhere...and severed heads.”
David bent down to the bag, grimacing and took another look at its contents. The head sat there, the girls eyes still open, her flesh shrunken and rotted. She was nothing but a grey ball of rot and flies. It was hard to believe she’d once been a girl at all!
Percy listened to the thunder at his front door. There were voices too. How dare they? Teenagers these days! They think they can play practical jokes on the unsuspecting! They think they can pick on the elderly! Well, they would be wrong! He wasn’t going to play along!
He sat in his chair, trying to drown out the racket with the Discovery Chanel. Filthy little brats!
And then there was an almighty crash! Percy jumped and, for a moment, he thought he’d had a heart attack. Before he could even yell out, he was surrounded. There were people, dressed in bright colours-fluorescent jackets and green uniforms! They had his arms, he couldn’t fight back! He tried to call out, but he was being jerked about too much. Percy struggled, trying to keep these scary creatures off him.
“Dorothy! Run, Dorothy! Go! Don’t let them get you!” he screamed to the empty arm chair.
No matter how hard Percy struggled, the paramedics managed to hold him down. They somehow managed to get him on the stretcher before he hurt himself or anyone else.
The last thing Percy saw outside the world of dreams was the small, silver object that had haunted him for so long! Before he passed out, in his last moments of consciousness, the memory flew back at his. Within a few seconds, he had experienced the memory, the fears, the regrets, and the anger. Everything.
His beautiful wife was dead. And it was Percy that had killed her! Such an unjust death! Such a horrible, inhuman thing to do to someone in the heat of the moment!
Percy’s life wouldn’t be the same.
But it was this same thing he had told himself straight after he had committed the murder! He had just forgotten. Old-age had gotten the better of him!
How could he forget a thing like that? Percy didn’t deserve even the deepest of apologies!
Uric climbed up the drain pipe and slipped through the open window. He cocked the gun and pointed it at the sleeping girl.
Annie awoke and stared at Uric. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“What do you know about Alley and the explosion?” Uric asked, flatly. He might as well get answers. After all, he would kill her anyway.
Annie gasped and got out of bed. She stood, facing Uric and looked him in the eyes. “Do you know Alley, too?” she hadn’t seemed to have noticed the gun in Uric’s hand.
“She was my sister! She died in an explosion. Jimmy says you know who did it. Tell me!” Uric’s voice rose slightly. He brandished the gun at Annie, who had taken a step towards him.
Annie’s eyes fell on the gun. Fear crept up her spine and her voice became shaky. “I...I know who did it...I saw him...” Annie suddenly became overcome with uncontrollable sobs, the memory too much to bare.
“Tell me!” yelled Uric.
“I...I don’t know his name!”sobbed Annie.
Jimmy and Alley appeared behind Uric and watched Annie with determined expressions.
“Well, what did he look like?” demanded Uric. He was vaguely aware of a slight ache in his arms. But he was too angry, too occupied to notice it. He was sweating slightly, a thick trickle running down his cheek.
“I...black hair...please! Please don’t hurt me!” begged Annie.
“I won’t, if you tell me what he looked like!” shouted Uric. He was about to yell abuse, when he heard voices beyond Annie’s room. There was a deep muffled voice and then the creaking of floor boards. Uric backed away to the window when Annie’s parents burst through the door. Uric held the gun up and watched as their faces turned to a look of horror. Annie’s Mum reached for Annie and her Dad came rushing forwards. Uric was still backing away, when his foot hit something hard and the next thing he knew, he was falling into empty space. There was a gunshot, but it was far away and Uric suddenly had no control over his body. Another gunshot. Silence.
A heavy thump, a crack and then black...
Annie looked down at Uric’s body from her window and then she gazed down at her parents. She knew they were dead. She knew there was nothing she could do. Nothing she wanted to do. She just sat, sobbing.
“Annie.” whispered Alley. “I’m sorry. We had to do it. We’re sorry.”
Her words were cold and Annie hated her. All Annie could do now was hate.
David looked down at the knife in his hand. He gazed at the blood on his clothes and hands. He looked up at the bloody mess. What had he done? He’d done exactly what Crewe had done. He’d become overcome with grief and anger and wanted revenge. He may have taken one sick killer off the streets, but he’d just created one more. At least Jimmy had been avenged.
He took one look at Crewe’s head, the body that lay in an ocean of blood and intestines and he sickened.
He wondered outside. It was raining again. He liked the rain. He watched as the light spray created a red mist. Leaning against the wall, David gazed out into the distance.
It may have only been for a second, but he could have sworn he saw two figures-a girl and a boy- walking off into the rain.
Yes, Jimmy was avenged.
3 days later...
Josie hated it when Kevin drove. She hated shotgun, but he insisted he drive for an hour or so. Boy, would she be glad when that hour was over! She despised his silly, little rules, such as ‘Driver gets to pick the music’ and ‘Shotgun has to map-read’. And, most of all, she absolutely loathed Metallica!
It was because of this that she loved him so much.
So Josie made do with gazing out of the window at the clear, blue sky, when she was suddenly aware of the car slowing down.
“Hey, you may not trust my map-reading skills, but this is the right way, I’m telling you!” she turned to Kevin, who was staring, wide-eyed out of the front wind-screen. She followed his gaze to a line of bright, red police tape stretched across the road, beyond of which was a throng of black-clad policemen and several white tents, surrounded by a dozen white, police cars.
Kevin got out of the car and Josie followed, keeping close behind him as they approached the road-block.
“Hey, what’s going on, can’t we pass this way?” Kevin asked a nearby policeman.
“No, sorry, the whole town’s off-limits. You’ll have to follow the diversion.” He answered.
“What’s happened?” Josie blurted. She couldn’t help herself. Gossip to her was what a cigarette was to a smoker.
The policeman turned to her with a solemn expression. “I’m afraid most of the town’s gone mad. About 80% of the population think that the sky has turned red and the victims that aren’t running wild seem to be reliving some horrible past memory. Some guy killed his girlfriend 3 years back and, whatever this is has brought that memory back to life. It’s resulted in several deaths. The portion of the town’s population that hasn’t been infected has been evacuated and we’re still trying to treat this...this...whatever it is.”
“Oh, oh well, I hope everything goes according to plan!” Josie smiled at the policeman, who returned her grin. Her and Kevin made their way back to the car.
The diversion wasn’t a long one, but took the best part of half an hour and Josie was beginning to feel very frustrated. Kevin put it down to tiredness, but she just kept getting crabbier by the minute. Just the sound of his voice was enough the send sparks of anger shooting up her spine.
In the end, they stopped at a youth hostel and got a room for the night. Kevin was asleep when Josie went to the window. She stood there, gazing up at the sky.
Kevin stirred. “Hey, Josie, come back to bed.” He mumbled.
“You have to come and see this!” she whispered.
“What, what is it?” he asked, slightly annoyed, but getting out of bed all the same. “I see nothing.”
“No! Look, at the sky!” Josie pointed.
“It’s turned red!”
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 09.05.2011
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