As The Clouds Marched Over Glastonbury
This is the first story I've written since my GCSEs, nearly two years ago, so I'm extremely rusty. There are bound to be some mistakes in what is essentially just a draft, in fact, it hasn't been proof read yet, so feedback would be hugely appreciated.
Also, please stick with it to the end, as I feel it improves in many respects toward the last third.
I know it's a tad long and I do intend on reducing it, but I need your comments first!
Many thanks, hope you enjoy : )
As The Clouds Marched Over Glastonbury.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Freddie has been showering for the past two hours in an attempt to free himself from the imperfection that is his body, though no matter how hard he scrubs, water and soap can do nothing to help him.
No, he needs something much stronger, maybe a second chance, he thinks. Start over as someone new: An actor, or a rock star....Someone important. Someone revered by the public. Somebody....Anybody but himself.
Finally stepping out of the shower, Freddie stands examining his reflection in the mirror scrutinizing every aspect of his body, and even further beyond that. He is not a tall boy; neither is he short. He certainly isn't fat, but then again he is not - in his eyes at least - skinny either. His Grandfather had once described him to be 'as thin as a butcher's pencil on a Sunday'. Freddie did not care much for this comment, but it had stuck with him nevertheless.
His face on the other hand, he does care about. With careful precision Freddie begins to smother shaving cream across his cheeks ensuring all spots are left bare, as to avoid cutting them. He starts with the upper lip, but by the time that is done he decides no more. He likes having the rest of the hair there, it helps conceal his acne.
He wraps a warm towel around his 32-inch waist and motions toward the bedroom across the hall, when he hears the front door slam shut - it's undoubtedly his mother. Freddie leaps across the carpet, as to leave no foot prints, and in to his room, gently closing the door behind him. He prays that his presence has gone unnoticed, or at least disregarded. Minutes pass for what seem like an eternity to Freddie, as he lay glued to the floor, motionless and silent; in momentary fear of being exposed.
The sound of footsteps grow heavier as the inevitable loomed. Three knocks pound against the door, each followed by a sharp rasp. Freddie knows this sound all too well - it's his mothers wedding ring scraping against the wood. The wedding ring, he murmurs to himself, she dare still wear four years after my father left her. Pathetic, he thinks.
With no response to her constant knocking Freddie's mother moves on to her own room and switches on the radio. The volume, as always, was ridiculously loud. Aware of this, Freddie begins to get dressed, choosing his preferred ensemble of worn blue jeans with designer-esque holes on either knee - something he had added himself after purchasing the jeans from a charity shop for three pounds. It's not that Freddie is cheap, he simply doesn't see the point in paying brand prices for the exact same thing - and a green-khaki coloured army jacket with a patch sewn on to the chest that read 'The Strokes'.
Waiting impatiently on the street below is Freddie's friend Daniel who, as carelessly as he treats life in general, shouts up to Freddie to 'get his ass outside'.
With his mother still distracted by the radio, Freddie takes the opportunity to sneak downstairs and grab some money from her purse.
He is almost out the door, cash in hand, when a sound from upstairs catches his attention. It was a sound that sent shivers down Freddie's spine, a sound he would rather forget.
Eve's mobile phone chirps a pleasant tune, one met with much anticipation and excitement. She has a text message from her boyfriend!
Eve is a college first year, she has smooth long blonde hair and a soft round face, like that of a squirrel. The boys think it's cute, and she likes that. They also think she has a cute butt. Something she likes very much. She's knows it's her best feature and accents it by wearing tight jeans at every opportunity, though tonight she is lying in bed in her silk nighty surrounded by soft pillows and her beloved stuffed teddies.
She begins typing on her phone at an alarming rate, she is quite skilled at this and wonders if only there were a job that required you to send and receive text messages for other people. Perhaps there is. It would certainly beat waitressing tables, she thinks. Having your ass grabbed by drunk men in their 40s and 50s all night is too creepy.
Crackles boom through the loud speaker as the voice issuing information is obscured beyond clarity. Daniel sits in the middle of the waiting room pondering the lives of the people surrounding him. The woman to his left is probably late twenties, maybe younger. She has long dark hair that flicks out at the ends, a nicely formed nose and large dark eyes to match her all black outfit. Daniel likes this and considers how attractive he finds her. Very, he thinks. Perhaps if she were several years younger he would make a move on her, but in truth, she was way out of his league.
Daniel, in an impish sort of way, is a good looking young man. He is fairly short, slightly overweight and not particularly smart. His saving grace is a pair of deep blue eyes and long gray eyelashes. Females of all ages adore him for that alone.
The voice on the loud speaker broke in again, leaving everyone on the edge of their seats listening intently. One elderly man, sat just in front of Daniel, adjusts his hearing aid in attempt to understand the incoherent noise that filtered through the room. Fortunately for Daniel his hearing was just fine, as he manges to retrieve the name of his doctor from in between the scramble.
Picking up the pace as he hurries from the surgery, Daniel's walk soon becomes a gentle jog and then in no time a flat-out sprint. All he wants is to be back home and in the security of his room. He'd be safe in his room, he could be alone. Daniel passes the Bank, the Post Office, the Irish pub, and finally the Unisex Salon where gay-Josh worked. He stops momentarily to catch his breath; he is exhausted already. Daniel is not unfit, not particularly anyway. It's just that he smokes...A lot.
Looking up, through the window of the salon he notices all the lights are off and the stools upside down - it must have closed for the day. As he starts walking again, Daniel considers how he never feels comfortable around gay-Josh, or any gay person for that matter. Does that make him homophobic, he questions. Maybe, he continues. Certainly not prejudiced though.
Soon Daniel is out of the town centre and inside Sydney Gardens, still some distance from his home. The park is unusually quiet . Aside from occasional bursts of wind weaving through the scattered foliage and the distant groans of rush hour traffic, it is peaceful. He pulls a mobile from his pocket and begins to dial Freddie, praying he answers. The automated response kicks in and Daniel slams the phone shut in frustration. Whatever, he thinks. I know Freddie is home - he's always home.
TT stares in to the Police Officer's eyes, fixated. He takes one step back and spits at the man's feet. Fuck you pig, TT thinks. Fuck all of you. The Officer throws a fist towards him, but just misses, sending him falling forward and on to the ground. TT just stands and laughs at this pathetic excuse for a male. The Officer, in an attempt to regain some pride, pulls himself up close to him and wraps a hand around his throat.
"We may not have enough evidence to put you away for this, but trust me, sooner, or later, you'll fuck up. Screw-ups like you always do. Now, if you feel like talking anytime soon, don't hesitate to give me a call. You know how much I enjoy your company."
The Officer's grip begins to loosen. TT seeks to draw a breath, when the man plunges a knee into his stomach sending him to the ground. Unable to catch his breath, TT recoils in pain. The blow has left him paralyzed, albeit temporarily.
The Police Officer opens the door of the interrogation room, stepping out triumphantly into the light. TT tries to look up, but finds himself blinded by gleaming luminescence of the Officer's badge.
A swift kick meets TT in the chest before the door crashes shut, leaving him in abject darkness. He coughs violently for a few minutes, unable to control his body's spasm. Blood streaks across the floor, and over TT's hands.
As they walk side by side through the crowded high street, Freddie attempts to engage Daniel in conversation once again. He was being unusually taciturn, lost in thought perhaps, thinks Freddie. Daniel had not said more than a dozen words since they left Freddie's house.
He held an unlit cigarette between two fingers in his right hand, and a crumpled piece of paper in the left. Every time Freddie tries to ask what the problem is, he just waves his hands aimlessly into the air and keeps walking.
They finally stop outside the Devil's Art Tattoo parlour on twelfth street, where Freddie, out of desperation, demands Daniel snap of his melancholic trance. The reaction is, at first, subdued. A faint whisper could be heard seeping from his lips, but certainly not enough for anyone to understand. It was becoming louder and louder until Daniel begins to shout. He throws the cigarette to the floor, and shoves the paper into Freddie's chest proclaiming, with an air of despair, call me spastic.
Still in complete shock, Freddie examines the piece of paper now resting in his hands. It's a prescription for Zarontin, which Daniel explains is for treating seizures.
The doctor had earlier told him that these fits, though not life threatening, could happen at any moment without warning. This of course meant he would now be under constant supervision, and would not be able to drink or drive anymore. The two friends stand in silence for a moment.
Daniel requests they keep this a secret between them, and them only. They shake hands and share a quick embrace before heading inside the shop.
Intimidating was the most appropriate way to describe Devil's Art. Inside, the walls are covered with individual tattoo designs, some that Freddie liked, others he could not fathom where the appeal lied. One struck him as particularly odd. A small baby with the face of a skeleton lay naked with a snake wrapped around it's body and both hands held high in a salute to Satan. One for the mothers, he thinks.
Daniel is by all accounts slightly more open minded about the designs, picking out the Superman logo as a favourite - although he would never tell Freddie that. How cool would it be, he thinks, to have the Spiderman costume tattooed all over your body...Or, black and white stripes! All over! Wow. These thoughts are soon interrupted by a very large - and topless - man. He introduces himself as Sumo and asks whether either of the two boys were actually interested in having a tattoo done. Freddie steps forward with his nerves barely intact, and follows the dangerously obese man into the back room. Daniel could only look on in astonishment. He must have counted at least eight rolls of fat on that body.
The chair was narrow and rigid leaving Freddie with little room to move. It must be on purpose, he thinks, to stop people from thrashing about. Is it really that painful though?
In the room opposite Freddie could see a short lad, maybe fifteen or sixteen with a ten inch needle protruding from his lip. It's just hanging there, balancing on it's own. The boy was wide awake and seemed fairly relaxed. There was also a girl there holding his hand. She must have been about the same age, maybe slightly older. Her face was covered in piercings from ear to ear including nose, lip, eyebrow, labret and he imagined probably the tongue too. Freddie decides the lad is either extremely strong, or extremely high.
Back in his room Sumo - machine in hand - checks one last time to be sure of the decision. Freddie just nods and closes his eyes. The next hour and a half pushes his pain barrier well beyond it's limits, beyond the limits of any sane persons threshold. Seven needles piercing the skin one-hundred-and-twenty times a second, each incision initiating a shock wave throughout his body, and like a ripple on the water it grew in stature the further it traveled.
Freddie feels he's going to pass out, but says nothing as the tattoo is nearly done. He just wants it finished.
Sumo steps back and admires another job well done. All finished, he proclaims. Follow me to the front and we'll settle up.
Slumped on the curb outside, Freddie is exhausted. Daniel is desperate to see how it looks, but Freddie just wants to leave the bandage down. He pulls out the picture he drew instead to calm him down. The word 'FOREVER' in Pricedown font - well known for it's use in the Grand Theft Auto videogame series - covers the page. The letters are all in black and white bar 'EVE' in the middle, which is coloured in red. That's for you babe, thinks Freddie. That's for you.
Propped up against the wall, TT finally manages to relax. For the past few minutes he's been observing a girl just outside his room, sitting down in the hall. She's incredible, he thinks. Something....alluring about her. TT isn't usually taken aback by girls this way. It's usually the other way round. TT liked that girls would ask him out, come on to him. He had a bad boy image that attracted all the right girls. This one in particular though, is most likely not one of those girls.
Sat cross legged with a small black skirt almost reaching her knees, her skin was smooth and tanned, but naturally tanned.
TT could not stand fake tan; it made people look like baked satsumas.
Moving further up the body, a partially unbuttoned shirt concealed her chest, only increasing TT's desire. A backpack hanging from her right shoulder contained a number of books - study material TT concluded. She must still be in school, he utters with a wetting of the already vast appetite. The face: soft prominent lips, shallow cheeks and cherry tipped chin, long, curved eyelashes and caramel eyes deep with unspoken passion. The most interesting feature though, was her nose. TT could not help but feel it is somewhat out of place. It is quite large and angular on a face containing delicate curves and dips. Regardless of this, TT is sure he has witnessed true beauty in it's most innocent of forms. He pulls out his mobile phone and captures the girl on camera, but soon thoughts of ecstasy turn to disbelief as a man greets the girl and they move together toward the exit. This man is not her boyfriend - that TT could handle, after all, there's nothing wrong with a bit of competition. No, this is almost certainly her father. Of all the people in the world he thinks. This could be interesting.
Sarah steps out of the car and makes a b-line for her room. Her father looks on wondering whether he should go talk to her. Usually her mother would handle these situations, but she's away on a business trip at the moment, so what choice does he have. Maybe there's nothing to worry about, he reassures himself. Sarah probably just wants some time to herself, that's understandable.
Sarah, now in the comfort of her own bed, lays down to listen to some music. What a relief, she thinks. Two and a half hours sat in a police station with nothing but my science revision guides for company. Boredom to the greatest of extents, she realises, walking out of the bedroom and across the hall and in to the bathroom.
Feeling the water inside the bath, Sarah disrobes and dips her toe in only to receive a sharp shock - the hot water must be off. She shouts down to her dad to switch on the boiler, but there's no response.
Sarah, now stood naked bar a towel around her waist, begins to cry. She is surrounded by mirrors. Every direction she looks another image is quivering in fear, each more so than the last. The tears begin to flow down her body, etching their way from head to toe, leaving a trail of misery. Sarah notices this, and can only think of it as the blue prints of her pain, outlining the flaws she tries so hard to conceal. She slumps to the floor, curled up in a ball with her dad's razor in hand.
Sarah pads her bra...Sarah is a virgin...Sarah has over a dozen magazines under her bed detailing plastic surgery, covering every aspect of the procedures with numerous example of celebrities who have gone under the knife. Sarah has a part-time job as a waitress - which she hates. Sarah is saving up to have breast implants at the Harris Medical facility in Bristol. Every night before she goes to bed Sarah closes her eyes and dreams of having the surgery. Every morning Sarah wakes up to find she is still flat chested; to find that the dream is still very much just a dream.
Freddie collapses onto his bed, a quick glance at the clock above the window reads 10:45. It's pitch black out, everyone else is asleep, thinks Freddie. Except in this house. The persistent giggling from the room beside is becoming increasingly loud. The walls are paper thin, and like the toilet that never flushes, the fires that never ignite, the cooker that never lights, the window that doesn't close properly, and the door that doesn't shut properly, this shit hole is his home. Only Freddie doesn't call it home. The idea of 'home' was lost the day his parents got divorced.
Turning back and fourth in distress, Freddie slides his headphones on in an attempt to drown out the sounds from next door...
Doctor is coming the nurse thinks sweetly
Turning on the machine and neatly pump air
The body lies bare
Shaved and hairless what onces was screaming
Now lies silent and almost sleeping
The brain must have gone away
There's no use, he conceives. Even at the highest volume his mother can still be heard. The giggles have now turned to groans and screams which pierce through Freddie's mind. This is torture. He closes his eyes in the hope that the world might disappear, only it doesn't.
Almost every night, and most days, for the past three moths Freddie's mother has had men round. She locks herself in her bedroom with them and switches the radio on, presumably he thinks, to cover the sounds of them having sex. Whenever Freddie's in his room studying, or reading, and the door locks and the radio crackles in to action, he is met with a harsh combination of trepidation and loathing, or what some might say reality - she's selling her body for minimum wage, again. Though not her soul. That, he accepts, went a long time ago.
Freddie throws on his blue jeans and khaki jacket and heads for the street outside.
He enjoys walking around the town at midnight - it is peaceful. The abandoned suburbia left him with many thoughts, most of which had no conclusion: Does a sleeping city feel pain? Is it polluted by the scum that roam these streets at day? The junkies, sluts, chavs, salesman, thugs, yobs, pedos, wiggers, townies, whores?
How can creation breathe in such a hostile and degrading environment?
Freddie continues on down the street, observing the seemingly empty houses that lay dormant, waiting for the morning sun to bring them to life.
The silence was still so unreal. The overwhelming sense of aloneness dwarfed by the adjusted perspective on being. He, stood there now, the only person in the world, in existence. It filled Freddie with a great sense of power, but at the same time a complete lack of it. He continued to ponder his insignificance - humanity's insignificance, before a sharp beep echoed down the street, breaking Freddie's concentration. It's his phone - TT's calling him. Why would TT be calling me at twelve AM, Freddie puzzles.
"Hey man, it's TT. How you doin'?"
"Oh, you know, same-"
TT interrupts before Freddie can finish. "Can you meet me, like now?"
Slightly taken aback by the request, Freddie accepts and begins walking towards Preston Park with an intensity to match his curiosity. What could TT want to see me about? He ponders.
Approaching the roundabout by Preston Park, Freddie stops to consider the potential risk involved here. TT and him had been fairly good friends for many years, but never had they mixed outside of college, or school as it used to be. They moved in different circles, followed different paths. TT had become reckless. Pushing to fund his own addiction, starting fights with complete strangers. He was dangerous. And Freddie was meeting him, alone, in the middle of the night.
With that in mind, Freddie decides to take a different route into the park, sneaking in through a large cherry bush west of the main entrance. At first the play area looks empty. This is where TT requested they meet, only Freddie can't see him. He continues to creep along the edge of the park, sticking to the shadows, when a tall dark figure emerges from the south entrance. Freddie can't make out any features, not in this light. But it is TT - the long coat resting on the shoulders of this silhouette is unmistakable. Freddie does not move though. He waits until TT has entered the play area, and is resting upon the dilapidated climbing frame. Then, with one emphatically deep breath, he draws every ounce of courage from his body and marches toward TT's location.
He is greeted with a friendly handshake - though not the normal type - which naturally Freddie ruins. Stupid wigger handshake, thinks Freddie.
"Listen up Fred, this is the deal." Starts TT. He pulls out his phone and presents Freddie with a picture of a young girl.
"Do you know who this is?"
Freddie instantly recognises the girl, but says nothing.
"Look man, I know you know who this is. So how about you make this easy for the both of us, and just tell me."
TT is edging ever closer to Freddie, showing intense frustration and a growing impatience.
"Sarah. Sarah Blancs. She works at the Inn with Eve sometimes, I've only met here once. Why do you want to know?" Freddie immediately regrets asking that question. He doesn't want to know the answer.
TT now relaxed, retracts the phone. "Fuckin' a...here's what i need you to do. Tomorrow night there's a party down at the old newsagents, by the Ash garage, you know the place?"
Freddie just nods. Why me, he thinks.
"I want you to come, and i want you to bring Sarah with you. Ok?"
Freddie just continues to nod. What else could he do?
"Now, in return, what can i do for you my lily-livered friend."
Freddie is caught speechless. The only response he can form is a mumbled and phatic, "uh..."
TT wastes no time and gestures a small bag towards him. "Here. Take it. It's on the house."
Freddie looks down at what he can only assume is cocaine. "Um....no thanks. I'm ok." He takes a step back and considers whether he could out run TT.
"Fine. But, if you think of anything just drop me a line." TT casually accepts Freddie's decline and heads for the gate.
"Wait. There is something."
TT certainly wasn't expecting that. Freddie had contrived a plot so ruthless it left him with a new found respect for the straight. Sarah was the key and Freddie's mother was the target. They were to be entertained.
Freddie puts the plan in motion by texting Eve as soon as he leaves the park. He isn't sure if she will still be up at this time, but it made no difference. He turns down Preston Road and begins to pick up the pace. Soon he's running as fast as his legs can carry him, the anticipation is becoming too much. If only tomorrow would come today.
Sarah's father turns out the landing light as he retires for the evening. She wonders whether he noticed the missing razor, but dismisses the thought as quickly as it came. The packet is huge - he wouldn't realise if five were gone, let alone one.
Looking back at the computer screen Sarah loads up a new internet window and begins browsing through her favourites.
First she checks Myspace for any messages or comments. There's two. One appears to be yet another mobile phone ringtone advertisement. Sarah detests ringtones, and even further detests the extent people will go to to try and sell them. The other is from Eve. Sarah and Eve have become quite good friends over the past few months, despite their differences. When Sarah began work at the Tavern Inn, Eve was the first to welcome her into the team and show her the ropes, if you will. Once, in the first week no less, Sarah had stumbled on her way to the kitchen - dirty dishes in hand. Eve just happened to be walking out of the kitchen at the very same moment, and ended up taking the hit. Sarah tried to protest, but Eve just waved her away. For that She remains eternally grateful.
The message asks whether Sarah needs a lift back from work tomorrow, and if she fancies going to a party afterwards. Elated by the surprisingly good news, she responds promptly with a concise, yes please!
The day had begun for Freddie with a groggy rendition of 'What Ever Happened' in the shower, which swiftly moved to the swing seat in the back garden.
The beaming sun and chirping blackbirds set a wonderful mood, the absence of his mother producing the priceless cherry on top. He picks up 'The curious incident of the dog at night time' at page ninety-two, and emits a rare smile. Freddie has a good feeling about today.
Several hours later and Freddie is entering the last chapter - he had become so engrossed in the story that, bar an unavoidable trip to the toilet, he had not moved from the garden chair all day. In fact, Freddie had completely lost track of the time. A quick glance at his watch revealed it to be approaching four o'clock, a second, more purposeful glance propels him into action. He leaps gracefully across the grass like a fleeing gazelle, sliding into his car and slotting the keys into the ignition in one swift motion. He has approximately two minutes before Eve and Sarah finished their shifts. Two minutes to cover a distance that usually took him ten.
Approaching the traffic lights by Tesco - the first of four en route - Freddie opts not to slow down. The amber delays until he is within twenty yards when, to his relief, it finally turns green. This fortune, unfortunately, did not carry over to the next two. With the dashboard clock now reading four minutes past four, and another set of traffic lights remaining, a growing sense of desperation surrounds Freddie. Time is relative, he thinks aloud. Relative to your situation that is. When your stuck knee deep in some incredibly tedious job, and all you want is for it to end, time slows to a perpetual moment. Yet when you need it the most, when you want it the most. It's nowhere to be seen. Time is unequivocally not on your side.
Freddie, foot still pressed strongly against the roof of the pedal, catches sight of the imminent junction. An amber glow is barely visible through the strong sunlight, but it's there. He shifts the gearbox into fourth and inches the accelerator closer to the ground. Though just as Freddie reaches the congested intersection the light switches to red and the cars to the left of him begin to pull out. It's too late for him too stop. He closes his eyes and hurtles along to an onslaught of deafening horns and screeching tyres. And then almost complete silence. Freddie opens his eyes again to a clean stretch of road. He looks back at the junction, there doesn't seem to have been an accident. Turning his attention back to the road in front, Freddie relaxes his body - including his right foot. Sighs soon turn to laughter as the Tavern Inn comes into view. He pulls the car into the parking area and switches off the ignition. What in the hell was i thinking?!
Stepping into the foyer, Freddie tries to catch the attention of the young lady at the front desk, but she seems distant. He does not recognise her, but could see from the name tag pinned to her sickly green blazer that her name is Anne. Freddie edges cautiously toward Anne, being careful not to break the delicate trance she clung so deeply to. It's certainly one way to deal with a job as monotonous as hers, he thinks.
Now only two feet away from her, Freddie notices the most peculiar thing. The novelty Wallace & Gromit clock behind the desk reads twelve past three, as did the far less entertaining analog clock mounted on the wall above them. Exclamation marks began to flood Freddie's mind as he realised all at once what had happened. Last night the clocks were put back an hour for the switch from DST to standard time, only not in his house. This cemented Freddie's theory that his house was indeed an exception to the rest of humanity. More importantly, Freddie realised he is not late to pick up the girls, he is in fact, early. The plan is still on course, and Eve would not be mutilating him after all. He turns and exits the Inn with his head held high and a swagger in his step.
Sat inside the car again, Freddie turns the CD player on and the volume up high. He felt like something upbeat, something like...Iggy Pop. He inserts his compilation disc and presses play. The first track was 'Search and destroy' - one of Freddie's all time favourites. He couldn't help but thrash around in his seat as the bass heavy chorus started up. Freddie was really quite enjoying himself until a head rose in the rear view mirror, sending him into screaming fits. He pauses the CD and turns to the backseat. "What the hell are you doing in my car?"
Sat in front of Freddie looking rather innocent was Daniel, who quite calmly responded. "It's a free country."
"No you're thinking of America - this is England, and this is my car. How long have you been in here?"
"Since about one this morning. My mum kicked me out, so i came to yours, but nobody was answering the door."
"Oh, Sorry. I was out, and my mum...well, i guess she must have been asleep."
The two stared at each other for a minute before continuing.
"Ok, well you can sleep at mine until she lets you back in."
"Cheers dude, i appreciate it."
"You fancy coming to a party tonight as well?"
"I think you know the answer to that. Whose party is it?"
"I have no idea...."
The car pulls up outside Sarah's house and one by one they make their way inside. Sarah heads upstairs whilst the others wait in the living room.
After throwing her uniform to the bottom of the wardrobe she begins debating what clothes to wear to the party. The blue jeans are a must - it's certainly not a night for skirts, or shorts for that matter, she decides. What top to wear was a much harder choice though. She begins a process of elimination, removing all tank tops and t-shirts from the closet, along with all baggy jumpers and buttoned shirts. What's left included a reasonable collection of long-sleeved tops ranging from black and white stripes to pink hearts to plain black.
Plain black seemed a safe choice, it suited her.
She rolls her right sleeve up to elbow length, revealing several small cuts near the wrist. It has to be long sleeved.
Downstairs, Eve sat atop Freddie's lap fiddling with her hair, completely unaware of his mischiefing. He had just finished sending Sarah's address to TT, on his request, via a text message.
Meanwhile, the kitchen cupboards are being raided by a starved Daniel - he hasn't eaten for nearly twenty hours. He returns to the living room with one hand gripping a box of cookies, the other cupping a pile of wafer thin ham, and pockets overflowing with sweets that left his trousers balancing precariously below his waist.
Sarah makes her way downstairs sporting the addition of a white jacket.
They collect their things and head for the car, but Freddie purposefully lags behind. With everyone looking toward the drive, he slips a note through Sarah's letterbox and turns back casually. Piece of cake, he thinks.
The sound of bass induced gangster rap could be heard reverberating throughout the house. What was once a respectable little outlet is now the home of drug dealers and users alike. Freddie does not feel comfortable here at all; he actually wants to leave. Eve and Sarah on the other hand seem quite delighted at the prospect of free alcohol and waste no time in picking up a bottle of WKD each. The two of them, as well as Daniel, have disappeared into the crowd leaving Freddie feeling extremely isolated among seventy or so people. Where have they gone? Where is TT? Who the hell are all these people?!
Walking out through the back door Daniel finds a small group of skaters smoking. He had always enjoyed skateboarding, and had become quite expert at it. Only, Daniel had a tendency to break his board in frustration when tricks didn't come off, and on more than one occasion other people's boards. Luckily none of these skaters knew him, so Daniel proceeded to sit down beside them. They all seem rather friendly, and quickly accept him into the group.
To the right of Daniel a very tall, and fairly well filled boy, with long dark brown hair and a rough layer of facial hair is intricately loading a small five inch pipe with tobacco. This boy - not much older than Daniel - is loosely wearing a large beanie coloured in the Pan-African black/red/yellow/green stripes. He does not look Rastafarian to Daniel, he probably isn't; those hats have become a fashion among junkies and skaters alike. Most of them have no idea of what the colours symbolise, even less are aware of the religious movement it represents. Their knowledge, in truth, rarely surpassed that of the Bob Marley greatest hits CD.
The small tube is now being padded with a finely crumbled, light brown substance - it is almost certainly hash. Daniel has seen this done before, but never has he tried it.
The boy finishes packing the metal pipe and begins to gently maneuver a lighter underneath a small 500ml plastic bottle, most likely a fizzy-drinks container originally. He makes a slight hole a third of the way up the bottle and carefully forces the pipe two thirds of the way inside. The only thing missing is liquid.
Another of the boys, this one quite gaunt in stature, retrieves a cup of water from inside the now frantic house. He begins to delicately pour the contents of the cup into the bottle, without spilling any on the protruding tube.
The first boy, now within inches of the bottle top, curls his lips in anticipation. Daniel could only look on in wonderment, as the metal pipe, now pointing up at a forty five degree angle, is exposed to the lighter's swaying flame. The bottle slowly fills with smoke as the contents of the pipe burns a deep, glowing red. The would-be-Rastafarian boy, lips now resting on the tip of the container, quickly inhales sending the 'cherry' shooting down the tube and into the water below. He wastes no time in collecting the swirling fumes, before handing the bottle over and melting to the ground.
Daniel looks on intrigued as the boy lay motionless and silent. What is going through his mind at this very moment? Is anything going through that boy's mind, is probably the more appropriate question.
The event unfolding before Daniel's eyes fed an immense intrigue growing ever stronger inside him. "Load me one, man."
Sarah and Eve move cautiously through the party, as not to lose each other in the crowd. Several boys have tried to prize Eve away already, but knowing Sarah did not want to be alone in the house, and who could blame her, she continued to resist their approaches.
The air around them has become polluted with the potent stench of cheap vodka and sex hungry testosterone oozing profusely from every horny teenage boy present. They pass through the kitchen, where a young, formerly-innocent girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen, lay extended along the floor whilst a much older boy brutishly caresses her now half-naked body. He must be at least twenty, scowled a disgusted Sarah. Continuing through to the garage they find a group of girls and boys sat together in a circle. Eve and Sarah knew a few of the girls from work, one Sarah knew from school, though they have never really spoken.
The group are playing spin-the-bottle, which struck Sarah as being slightly immature, but she decides to join in regardless. There are four boys and now five girls inside the circle. Each of the four boys caught Sarah as being quite shy and withdrawn - a quality she enjoys. They leave so much untold you are never quite certain what you might discover; much like a bag of Revels, the excitement lay in the surprise.
The boy second in from the right lent forward in anticipation of his turn, grasping the bottle with his left hand and thrusting in a clockwise motion. As the bottle began to spin its concentric circles, time seemed to slow down for Sarah until the suspense became all too much to bare. This boy - this young man - Sarah's and locked the two in a stare of profound intensity. His look adumbrated an infatuation much stronger than anything she had encountered before. The overwhelming sensation transformed to an equally fierce anxiety as the bottle finally ceased its movement. All eyes gaze upon Sarah for the bottle rests at her feet - the inevitability of life should never be underestimated, not in situations like these.
Sarah's eyes slowly begin their ascent, paying careful attention to the slender figure approaching her position. Full, curving lips sat delicately poised between high, defined cheekbones, with long strands of dark hair resting upon soft, glowing skin. His chocolate eyes, flowing deep with endless warmth, engage Sarah's as their lips embrace renders her free of inhibitions. She becomes so immersed in the kiss, she hardly notices a small object passing through to her mouth. The longer the kiss lasts, the more Sarah's desire grows, only now the boy is withdrawing and whatever had entered her mouth is now resting at the bottom of her stomach.
Sarah feels panic quickly filling her thoughts. What was it? Did he mean for it to happen?
Everyone else in the circle were smiling and laughing together, especially Eve who found the event to be quite hysterical. Sarah fashions a smile as to not seem strange, but she couldn't shake the feeling something terrible has happened. She really just wants to go home. Get away from this filthy house and its equally lewd inhabitants.
Daniel is now onto his third shotty - that's what the skaters call this wonderful invention. He coughed his lungs to despair on the first attempt, but by the second he had made significant progress. There's really nothing to it, he thinks.
Benji - the boy sporting the Rastafarian beanie - and Daniel have really connected this evening, they are on the same wave length. Each have hit two shotties tonight, but Benji promises the third will be something else all together. Whilst he prepares the bottle, Daniel, in a yearning manner, gazes longingly at the night sky and the stars that decorate it with their illuminating glow. He longed to witness the collapse of a dying star and the formation of a nebula.
Daniel was never very good at science, though he did spend one, unsuccessful year in the second tier. He found astronomy to be fascinating, especially the sheer scale involved.
Engrossed in thoughts of supergiants and supernovas, Daniel does not notice Benji's attempts to pass on the completed shotty bottle.
A sharp whistle snaps him back to reality.
Daniel takes the plastic bottle underneath his mouth and readys himself with slow, deep breaths. As the smoke begins to fill the bottle, Daniel sucks up what he can and releases it without inhaling. This way when the hash reaches the water, there will be minimal tobacco in the way - this was his mistake with the first bottle.
The tip of the pipe begins to burn a blood red - this is all the incentive Daniel needs to pop the cherry. A fierce gulp and the fumes shoot up the container and down into Daniel's chest where the smoke floods his lungs. The bottle drops to the ground, spilling the contaminated water over the concrete patio. Daniel also falls to the ground and begins stretching his hands into the air, itching the particles passing through his skin. Thousands of chemicals infiltrate his brain leaving him in a state of complete tranquility and serenity.
However, this new found peace did not last long. Daniel felt a throbbing in his stomach causing him to convulse, and sending the skaters into laughing fits. Vomit spewed from Daniel's mouth as he lay shaking violently back and fourth. The skaters remain in hysterics though, with one branding Daniel a lightweight.
His body now lay completely still.
Sarah has barely moved for several minutes now, as she lay sprawled across the garage floor. She observes the boy, whose kiss remained cemented in her memory, speaking one syllable at a time - much to her amusement.
The world around her has now slowed to a deadening dull, pushing her eyelids further, and further down. Her breathing has weakened to such an extent she cannot move. She feels so tired.
The boy has remained with her all night, waiting for the inevitable. He watches her finally drift off into a deep sleep and, after signaling to the others, lifts her upon his back and heads upstairs, ensuring as few people as possible notice. Once inside the bedroom he places her on top of the single bed, before apologising in earnest. This is a very beautiful, and impassioned girl. An uncorrupt girl, until now. But he had a debt to pay, and this was the deal he made. The boy creeps out of the room, leaving the door partially open, before turning into a nearby party goer. Only it isn't. TT stands towering over the boy with a wry smile across his face.
"We're even now, right. This was the deal." squeaked the dwarfed boy.
"Sure. This was the deal." TT's smile almost manifests into a laugh, but he keeps his cool to stare out the petrified kid. He taps him on the shoulder and slides into the room, locking the door behind him.
Freddie sits with his back against the wall, beer in hand, despondent. He releases an extended sigh before turning to the now half-empty keg beside him and topping up his glass. He has looked throughout the house, yet cannot not find Daniel, Eve, or Sarah anywhere. Even TT would do. Instead Freddie finds himself drinking alone at a party - the absolute pinnacle of sad.
He gradually pulls himself up, clinging to the wall for support, and staggers with a hobbling gait toward the door, only to stumble back to the floor in dismay.
Two guys nearby, noticing his feeble attempts to walk, lift Freddie up onto their shoulders and carry him up the stairs. The first bedroom door is locked, but the second appears slightly ajar. They push it open and usher Freddie inside, closing the door behind them.
In almost complete darkness, Freddie slumps onto his side exhausted. His blood feels thin, his body lethargic. Though he is not completely unaware of his surroundings. A sound creeps into Freddie's conscious requesting a reaction that is not forthcoming. Without really knowing why, he releases a crippled "Hello?" into the immediate abyss. A startled cry is the response as a blinding light pierces Freddie's vision. Blurred shapes were all he can make out, but the voice he most certainly recognises, and it seems the voice also recognises him. As the image retains its focus, Freddie is left clutching his gaping mouth in shock. Stood before him, lazily wrapped in a white bed sheet, is Eve. Her mouth moving at an incredible speed, hands waving around gesturing something, only he can't hear her.
The room has become muted.
Freddie takes one glance at the bare body of his girlfriend's lover, before rising to his feet and calmy sliding out the door. It takes every ounce of concentration left in him to make it down the stairs - he has his pride to consider now.
Once inside the kitchen Freddie lays out six shots - of what he has no idea - on a wooden table and downs them in quick succession.
Strips of white light filter through the metallic blinds opposite Sarah, projecting a grid of flickering bars across the wall and over her face. The bright light illuminating her sealed eyelids a glowing red, prompt a shuffle to the bottom of the bed.
She lifts her head to look around the obscenely filthy room, searching for Eve, but she is alone, and naked. Her clothes lay scattered about; draped over a chair, crumpled against the door, hanging from the grotesque green and gold light fixture
Where is she? Or, perhaps more importantly, how has she got here? She almost wants to know what has happened, but the emptiness of everything left her too frightened to consider. She rubs her forehead reflexively, pained by the confusion that clouded her memory.
Sarah collects the pieces of clothing spread out across the room, dressing herself calmly and correctly, as her throbbing head fills with rash contemplation.
Out the door and down the stairs lay dozens of unconscious bodies occupying all manner of positions from the middle of the staircase, to the collapsed radiator shelf, and even to an elongated shoe rack perched precariously against the front door. If she is to leave, she will need another exit.
Creeping in between the still docile victims of a night of heavy drinking and drugs, Sarah locates a back door hanging loose from its hinges. Through the door yet more bodies colour the otherwise sterile garden, none though are that of Eve - where had she gone? Sarah prayed desperately no harm had come to her, or anyone else at this party for that matter. That included herself.
She finally arrives at the top of her street, having dragged and shuffled the majority of the trip home. Her body ached as if sorely wounded, and perhaps it is. She knew what had happened last night - it didn't require memory to work it out. If only she had stuck with Eve all night, like planned.
Approaching her house, Sarah notices shattered glass littered all over the garden and drive way, especially the drive way. Her dad's car is not here, so presumably nor is he. Had some terrible event befallen her father and their home during the night?
God, why me.
Sarah slumps onto her steps head in hands and begins to cry.
Forget Glastonbury and its filth. All the trash that occupy its streets; the cold, heartless thugs that would rather see beauty crippled and bleeding in a gutter.
Does their righteous demeanor allow them freedom to judge and dictate how the people of this town live? It would certainly seem so. Police aren't worried about it. Christ, the bulk of the force is made up of these thugs. That's how our civilised society works: The intellectuals and creatively gifted among us carry on learning, the hard working and honest members of society pursue careers, whilst the yobs are given guns and badges of authority with license to roam.
Sarah rushes into her house and begins packing. She decides only essentials, as she won't be able to carry anything more than that.
Now at the door, Sarah drops her things and heads to the living room where she takes one of the family photos from the wall and slips it into her bag. The picture was taken on their last holiday in Paris. It was probably the only time all three of them were together and happy for more than a few hours. The image filled Sarah with the hope she needed, and had done for several months now.
Arriving outside the station, Sarah stops by a cash machine to withdraw some money. She had taken her dad's debit card before leaving the house - there was no choice, she needs the money. After two failed PIN attempts she withdrew the maximum amount of cash the machine would allow, and headed inside.
The old man behind the ticket counter is very friendly and jokes that a pretty young girl like herself should have a boy buying the ticket for her. His voice has a slight rasp, not uncommon with people of his age. He passes Sarah her ticket through the glass screen with a noticeable tremble to his hand. She felt a degree of pity for the man, who, in this short period of time, has come across as being quite the gentleman - if only all men were like him, she thinks.
Sat on a bench outside waiting for her train to come in, which was expected any minute, she notices a weak and decrepit homeless man curled up by the main building. The loneliness and desperation of his situation spoke volumes for her position. How can she feel hard done by, with all her friends and family and the wonderful home she's quite casually taken for granted all these years.
Sarah walks over to the man and passes him what remained of the two hundred pounds she just withdrew. She and the man share a brief smile, before returning to their business.
A train chugs into the station, halting right by Sarah and her bench and releasing a belated burst of air throughout each of its seven carriages. As the driver steps out Sarah catches his attention to ask whether this train is the Nine-thirty-five to Bristol, a gentle nod is his reply.
Once on the train she rests at the nearest table, throwing herself back in relief. The events of the last twenty four hours has left her drained of all strength. The train journey might allow for some much needed rest.
Just as Sarah begins to drift off the pulse of the trains engine starting up keep her alert. At that moment it really hit her. She is leaving home, and not just her house, but the entire town. Tears well in her eyes, as, framed photo in hand, she tries to keep the overwhelming emotion at bay. There is no turning back now.
The distant beeping of machinery and synchronized clicking of heels echoed through Freddie's mind, awakening his senses for a fleeting glimpse of his surroundings. He is neither asleep, nor awake. The state of limbo clung to him, pushing him further into the shrouded haze. Nothing seems to really be anything.
His subconscious, however, remains clear and active. Wherever he is, whatever is happening, stops now.
The daze began to dilute and Freddie could just make out a white room, everything a clean, clear, pearl white. Were his brain functioning on a normal level, he may have taken the time to dismiss the idea that this is heaven, only the initial thought failed to even materialize.
There are people in the room with him, they are old. All of them, very old. And his feet, they sat perked upright free of any sock or blanket. He, as quickly as currently capable, reached under the sheets to find, with great relief, that he is still fully dressed. Bar his feet, of course. He could not fathom why that is such an important detail, but it is. Why would someone take just his shoes and socks off?
During this moment of consideration, Freddie neglected to notice the two women standing to his left. After a tap on the leg - and a petrified glance from Freddie in response - the lady on the right introduces herself as the senior nurse for the ward. All at once, memories flood through Freddie's mind at an alarming rate, causing a noticeable decline in cognitive function, represented with a more than adequate groan.
"After the shots...I...ended up here at the hospital. Someone walked down a hill with me."
The woman standing next to the nurse, hands clenching a handkerchief under her furrowed chin, is Freddie's mother. His eyes, though, lay fixed on the senior nurse waiting for a response. He has not even acknowledged his mothers presence yet.
"A young man carried you in, along with a girl who claimed to be your partner. You were conscious at the time."
"I can't remember much. It's there, but, in patches." Freddie removes the strap attached tightly to his left forearm, and switches to an upright position.
"Where are my socks, and shoes for that matter? And what time is it?"
The nurse obligingly retrieves Freddie's shoes and socks from underneath a nearby gurney and hands them to him.
"The time is Eight-thirty"
Freddie had finished dressing his feet and now stood - an imposing presence on the much shorter females - with the intention of leaving the hospital.
"Can i leave, or are there tests to be done?"
"No, just head to the front desk and sign out. And you're free to go."
Freddie thanks the nurse, and moves briskly toward the exit, leaving his mother trailing.
Outside the hospital entrance he took no more than three steps from the sliding doors before a cloud of toxic fume engulfed his body. To Freddie's horror a group of smokers were standing no more than fifteen feet from the hospital, puffing away, poisoning themselves and those around them with its filthy, vile odor.
How can they stand there, of all places, and do that, of all things?
Freddie is overcome with sadness; it does not matter whether these people are medical staff, or patients. Each is equally bitter in its irony.
On the car journey home Freddie's mother tries to engage him conversation several times, but his eyes - and mind - remain fixated on the passing scenery outside. He is completely lost in thought, what is waiting for him when he arrives home? Will Eve be there, and if so, what on earth is he going to say? What about Daniel and Sarah, where did they go? And what of TT, is the plan still on? Freddie closes his eyes and dismisses all interrogation, allowing a calm to reside among his thoughts. All in good time.
Freddie's mother pulls into the drive stricken with a fierce mixture of fear and anger.
"What the hell have you done now?! Huh?" Snapping intensely, though to no avail. Freddie is too busy ensuring his expression remains blank and emotionless.
A male police Officer is approaching the car with real purpose. The slightly overweight man carried himself quite well despite the obvious weight deficiency. His thick arms clung to the belt below his bulging waist concealing its shift from left to right with every step.
As his knuckle taps several times against the drivers window, Freddie's mother jumps up from her seat in shock. The Officer gestures for the window to be rolled down with a swirling hand, which is duly initiated. Freddie can only look on in triumph as the policeman introduces himself as Officer Blancs, before requesting a search of the house.
Inside the house Freddie's mother constantly inquires as to the nature of the Officers visit, but he remains professionally assertive in his work. They have so far searched three of the four bedroom upstairs, with only hers left.
In the garden below, Freddie seats himself in the swing seat in preparation for what he hopes will be quite the spectacle. Officer Blancs and his mother could be seen moving back and fourth across the window of her bedroom. Waiting impatiently, the moment finally arrives. They had not appeared in the window for a few minutes, but he can clearly hear shouting from inside, which is growing louder. The Officer reappears holding a handcuffed mother thrashing violently in every direction bar that of the police car at the edge of the drive. She is screaming every curse known to the English Language at Freddie, but he barely notices. He is enjoying this too much to care.
As she is thrown into the back of the car, Freddie breathes a sigh of relief. The prospect of never having to see her again is like Christmas, easter and his birthday all rolled into one. Only better.
The static of the police radio crackles into life as it and Officer Blancs exchange a set of numbers. He goes on to inform the station that he has made an arrest in connection with the cocaine ring and that he has discovered a stash of potentially three to four hundred grams.
Turning back to Freddie's mother the Officer begins:
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to be speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense." The Officer closed the car door and motioned towards Freddie, who quickly resorted to an expression of disbelief.
"You ok son?"
"Yeah, sure, I guess. I..I just can't believe it. What has she done?"
"You sure you want to know?"
Freddie maintained his childish stance with a gentle nod.
"I'm taking her in on a charge of possession and intent to distribute large quantities of powder cocaine. But, that may be only the tip of the iceberg I'm afraid."
The Officer lent with a sympathetic tilt of the head.
Freddie isn't sure if he could contain his excitement any longer.
"How long could she be in jail for?"
"Well, that's a long way off son, do you have somewhere you can go tonight?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine."
"I'm sorry to have to do this to you kid."
"Hey, don't worry about it, it's your job right. You're just doing the right thing."
"That's what I try to tell myself."
The two almost share a brief smile, but its inappropriateness is too strong for either to ignore.
Officer Blancs turns and walks back to his car. The engine spluttered and wheezed as the car reversed up the road, with Freddie's mother inside.
Freddie closes his eyes and releases a burst of pure joy into the air. Everything has worked out, the plan has actually worked.
TT and several other high profile pushers in the town had come under increased police pressure over the past few months, a few being thrown away for whatever the cops could pin on them. The pigs wanted to know who the main supplier was, who was the kingpin among these lowlifes, instigating all the deals. They had to be getting it from somewhere.
Their plan was to climb the ladder one scumbag at a time, until they reached someone really worth putting away.
When striking a nothing deal with Freddie, TT saw his opportunity to save his skin, along with that of all his partners and friends. Together they each contributed a portion of their stash to TT who, with the key from Freddie, stashed the cocaine bricks inside the house whilst nobody was home.
Freddie had left a note at Sarah's house addressed to her father, Officer Blancs - as TT had recently discovered - from anonymous, detailing the whereabouts of a top dealer.
The morning of the arrest, one of the high profile pushers 'confessed' to the authorities a very similar set of details. No doubt the other pushers, including TT, would be called in for questioning sooner or later, and they knew exactly what they were going to say.
Freddie basked in the warm glow of the sun, appreciating how glorious todays weather was. Could things get any better than this? Not a chance, he thinks.
Enthralled with the euphoria of his mother's arrest, Freddie has failed to notice the distant, but nonetheless loud, beats of some awful trance music blaring from his house. His mother has obviously left her radio on, again. Even when she's not her she manages to annoy me, he reflected.
The song, to the relief of Freddie, finally draws to a close, only for the local news to come on. He tries to ignore the meaningless, incessant banter, but this particular story demands his attention:
"-and Mrs.Peacock devastated. It is believed Daniel, thought to have consumed large quantities of an undisclosed substance prior to death, choked on his own vomit after suffering from a severe seizure. The death has been officially classed as accidental, though the police are looking further into it-"
Freddie is stunned. Disturbed to his very soul, pain sweeping throughout his veins.
The highest highs are always followed by the lowest lows. If life teaches you anything, it's that, he thinks.
Reaching into his pocket, Freddie pulls out a small plastic bag. Moments later his back lay flat against the flowing green grass, his eyes staring contently at the passing sky.
A comfort descends upon him. He feels liberated.
His newly formed, all seeing eye gazes upon a chorus of clouds that march in unison across the ocean blue expanse. Their purpose surpassed only by that of their eternal freedom. How he wishes he could join them; become a cloud. To slip in and out of forms, to travel across the planet quenching the thirst of its land as he went.
These thoughts hurriedly scatter as the direction of time splits before him, the control of space seems to simply decay around him. His consciousness becomes perfectly lucid. For a moment, everything existed as one perfect entity for his body, now as tangible as the air itself, flowed into the aether.