I’m Back

Finally, I’m being productive again. A few weeks back Kingdom Hearts 3 came out. A game I’ve been waiting nearly fifteen years for. I lost all interest in it about six or seven years ago when all it seemed we were going to get were progressively worse spin offs for handheld consoles. When Kingdom Hearts 3 was finally announced as in production five years ago I was a little excited but also very hesitant. During those five years my patience dwindled to the point where I didn’t think it would come out, I had a similar thought to Final Fantasy XV. When KH3 had a firm release date I wasn’t interested. I knew I would get it, but I wasn’t bothered about playing it straight away, despite how excited people around me were.

Then I saw reviews pop up just before release day. It was supposed to be really good. Then I couldn’t get away from the trailers. It seemed like every youtube video I watched had a KH3 trailer. I caved and bought it, even choosing it over Resident Evil 2, which I was very excited for and still haven’t played. I started the game and I was almost a child again, playing through various Disney movies and seeing the next part to a story I began so long ago I had to watch youtube videos explaining it to me. Over the next week or so I 100%ed the game, doing everything I could. I played it for over 70 hours. So I enjoyed it, it didn’t disappoint me. I wasn’t in love with it the way I was with the first two back in the day.

I have quite a few gripes with KH3, there are way too many cut-scenes, like almost half the game is watching cut-scenes. I want to play not watch. It became boring very fast. It was also way too easy. Apart from against one of the gummi ship bosses, I can’t remember dying. The worlds didn’t exactly fill me wonder. They all felt bland and apart from Andy’s room from the Toy Story world and the Pirates of the Caribbean, I would say they all disappointed me. My biggest issue is you don’t go to Al’s Toy Barn in Toy Box, how was that not the toy store? Thank god, the gameplay made up for it though. It was so much fun to actually play. The combat was incredible. I wasn’t disappointed with the game overall, I’m just glad I wasn’t getting hyped up for it.

Either way that’s what has consumed my life for the last few weeks. Which means I haven’t been writing or reading. But that changed this week. Writing and reading has been strong again. I’ve started Good Omens, which is a good book and nearly finished writing Homecoming. I’m being productive again which feels like a breath of fresh air.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

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Homecoming – Chapter Thirteen (Previously known as Time Heals…)

 

The sun has nearly set, with the fading orange glow being replaced by street lights. The wind rushes through everyone on the street, as people hug themselves and tighten their jackets. The scent of greasy takeaways and car fumes mix together and glide through the air, engulfing me as I walk towards the car. It’s almost like a more contained version of London. No where near as busy. Not a mad rush to get anywhere and everywhere. My footsteps echo along the emptying streets as I reach the car.

It’s starting to get late and people are starting to head home for the night. The comfort of warm radiators waiting for them. I need to find a place to stay. It’s probably going to have to be a hotel in Westmeadow. There isn’t any left in Wexgate, as much as I’ve looked on my phone.

Where’s my car? I’m sure this is the lay-by I parked in, but it’s empty. Where is it? It was here. Outside the betting shop. Come on. No one would have stolen that piece of crap. I pull the keys out of my pocket. Come on, this isn’t funny. Jesus Christ today has been all over the place.

“God damn it,” I shout to myself.

I half-skip, half-jog up to the betting shop and open the door.

“Hey,” I say to the guy behind the counter. “You notice a car outside? I parked up an hour ago, if that?”

“Yeah, the old banger? It went off about ten or so minutes ago.”

“Seriously? That was my car. For god’s sake.”

“You want me to call the police?”

“I can do it on my phone. It isn’t nine-nine-nine for this kind of thing is it?”

“No, it’s. one-oh-one.”

“Thanks, I’m going to call them now. Thanks mate.”

I go back outside and pull up my phone. God damn this day. This place is hell. I really am done with this whole part of the country now. When I’m back in London that’s it. I’m staying there.

I need to call Casey first. It’s her car. Not mine. She can deal with this. I don’t wanna have anything to do with this. Waste of my time.

“Hey,” Casey answers.

“Hey. Bad news. The car, it’s been stolen.”

“Um, what?”

“I left it outside while me and Ryan went to a coffee shop and then it’s not there. The guy inside a shop told me it was taken about ten or so minutes ago. I’m sorry.”

“This is very weird. It’s not your fault. It’s just one of those things, nothing you could have done. I’ll call the police and deal with it, you just stay put. They’re gonna need at least a statement. I’ll call you back if I hear anything.”

She hangs up without a good-bye. I start pacing, looking up at the sky. Why is this stuff always happening to me? Finally, things started looking up, I had a plan and now this.

Where am I going to stay tonight? Casey isn’t coming to pick me up. I can’t even get to Westmeadow. I’m not sure about the bus schedule anymore. I imagine it’s changed a little since the last time I was here. I want to scream, just give up and cry. The street is empty now. I just want to fall asleep somewhere. There’s an urge, pulling my hand towards my phone, that’s telling me to just call Ryan. He can give me somewhere to stay for the night, or at least some words of advice. But I don’t want to call him. Not yet. I don’t want to look completely pathetic.

I reach an ATM, just aimlessly meandering down the street, waiting for my phone to ring. Money. I have plenty now. It’s not mine, but it’s for me to use and I’ll consider this an emergency. Get a taxi to Westmeadow, claim it as a business expense. It’s not like Casey is expecting me to pay her back. I’m sure she would understand. It’s cold outside and I have nowhere to go. She hasn’t rang back yet, so I don’t know what to do. I could just get back to Westmeadow and wait for her call there. Get to that hotel, and take the offer of a free room and stay there for the night. By tomorrow, either I’ll have the car back. Or I won’t. Either way I’ll be able to make it back to London and get on with my life.

The story has completely escaped my mind. It’s not important any more. I just want to get back to my normal life. Away from all of this rubbish. I snap back to the real world and realise that I’ve already put my card in the machine. I tap my pin in and take out a hundred pounds. That’ll be enough I’m sure, probably a lot more. I could even tip them. Probably have enough left over for a drink when I get to Westmeadow as well. I deserve one.

The first cold drop of rain hits my face like a steel fist. I shudder and tightly close my eyes. I wish I would just wake up and be back in London. This whole day has been a nightmare. Why would I even agree to this stupidity. Who cares about Casey, she can get her own story. I don’t care about any of this. It means nothing to me, I gave up a long time ago on being a writer, I just need to find the other thing I want to do. It might take a me a little while, but I’ll get there. I’m going to use her money to go back to London, grab my things and leave. That will be the end of it. She won’t know where to find me, I’ll be lost in this country with nothing holding me back. Nothing to remind me of the past. A fresh start where no one knows who I am. I could do and be anything.

The ringing of my phone snaps me back to the world. I jump up a step to a doorway to get to cover. Don’t want to drown yet another phone. It’s Casey.

“Hey,” I answer.

“Hey, Chris. You haven’t left the area, have you?”

“No, why would I do that. I’m going to have to write a statement.”

“Yes, good. They’re going to get a statement from you, and also from the guy running the betting shop. After that, you need to find somewhere to sleep. I’ll come and pick you up tomorrow. I’m sorry about this. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be down there.”

“Don’t be stupid. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I lost your car. You don’t need to pick me up.”

“You didn’t want to go and now there you are, stuck in a different town. It’s not fair. I’ll pick you up tomorrow and I won’t hear another word about it.”

“How long do you think it’ll take the police to get here?”

“I don’t know honestly, it could be a while, it’s not like car thieves rank high on their priority I imagine.”

“Probably not,” I say and then sit down on the step. “It’s alright, I can see the betting shop from here, if they turn up tonight then I’ll see them. I won’t leave until they show.”

“Thanks, I know this is a pain.”

“It’s not a problem, and not your fault so don’t go blaming yourself.”

“It kind of is though, I’m the one who sent you there. How did your meeting with Ryan go?”

The rain starts to slow down, with only the odd drop falling here and there. The sun has completely gone from the sky, leaving the grey sky. Every other street light is on, brightening the street just enough to see. The lights that aren’t on have large posters stuck to them, I’m not close enough to read one but I can guess that it says they were turned off to save money or something to that effect. The wind has slowed as well, although it still scrapes across my face like sharp nails. I can just about see my breath as I breathe out, reminding me of the times I used to pretend I was smoking when I was a little kid in winter.

“Ryan was good,” I finally answer. “It wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be.”

“And do we have a story?”

“I don’t know yet, but it is weird. Did he tell you?”

“Bits and pieces.”

“Well it’s just that everyone in Westmeadow, they’ve changed a lot. It used to be such a run-down wasteland. Full of backwards thinking people and violence. Now it’s completely different. I noticed it earlier when I passed through. It doesn’t really feel like the same town anymore. It seems newer, and almost fake. If I didn’t recognise some of the people I would have guessed they were all actors. It just didn’t feel right. I noticed, but didn’t think anything of it, but once I spoke to Ryan it started to add up. Something has happened there.”

“So there is a story.”

“I don’t know.”

“Sounds like there is.”

“I said I don’t know, and I meant it. It’s weird, but what am I supposed to say? The town became nice over night and no one noticed. I’ll head back there tomorrow and ask around. Maybe there is something weird going on, maybe there isn’t. I don’t think there’s a story though. What could it possibly be?”

“I don’t know aliens took over everyone who lives there, stole their skin and stay out of the news so they won’t get spotted, and then their single human survivor, or captive, commits suicide and they take him to the neighbouring hospital since they don’t know how to deal with it.”

“Crap.”

“What?”

“I didn’t ask about the suicide. I should have done, but it completely escaped my mind.”

“Seriously? That’s the one lead you had, and you didn’t even ask about it?”

“I completely forgot. I’ll call him tomorrow and ask for details.”

“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. Well done, you could still make it as a reporter with skills like that.”

“Shut up.”

“Don’t you want to hear your praises?”

“When will they get here?”

“It’s been like five minutes, I wouldn’t get your hopes up just yet.”

“I know, but I can dream.”

“Ha. Sure you can. So you actually went back to Westmeadow? How was that? Did you run into anybody you used to know? What about your Dad?”

I sighed. I’d put that at the back of my mind and I’m not quite ready to unlock that door quite yet.

“It was strange. The place looks completely different and yet the same. Fran’s café is still there. I’d forgotten about that place.”

“Nice, anyone you recognised?”

“A couple, an ex and a couple of others just wondering around. Nothing too intense.”

“An ex? And that wasn’t tense? So, who was she. Tell me everything.”

I knew that would distract her, so I wouldn’t have to talk about my Dad for a little while.

“It wasn’t intense as it’s been ten years and we’re not children any more. It wasn’t anything serious just one of those school things. I think we both knew it wasn’t serious back then. Today proved that. She said she could get me a room at the hotel if I was staying in the town.”

“Nice. Sounds like you to sponge a night somewhere.”

“I wasn’t going to do it. I really wasn’t. It’s just that, I couldn’t find a place in Wexgate. All of the hotels are fully booked. And it’s not like price is an issue it’s your money not mine.”

“What a gentleman.”

“What? Expenses are real.”

“You’re on thin ice already, and I think the car took your expenses to the limit. I wasn’t expecting to lose that.”

“Hey, that wasn’t my fault and they could find it.”

“Come on be realistic they’re not going to find it. It’s an old crappy car. It’s probably already on fire in some woods knowing the area you come from.”

“Hey, I never did that.”

“Yeah but it happened didn’t it. You told me you saw cars on fire.”

“Like once.”

“Yeah, once more that I did. Scumbag and your scummy town.”

We laugh and the rain starts again. I can’t believe this weather. The rain drops are few and far between, slowly descending to the ground. The street lights reflect out of the pools that have formed in the pot holes, creating an other-worldly effect. I used to believe there was another world on the other side of mirrors and water.

“God, I hate rain, but I love that smell.”

“It hasn’t stopped raining today. You know they believe the reason we like that smell is because ages ago we needed water to survive and that smell meant water.”

“That’s crap,” I start. “Who is ‘they’ ? and how would they know that?”

“Scientists.”

“No,” I interrupt. “It’s some stupid thing someone shared online and you believe because you believe everything you read, regardless of evidence.”

“Jesus, Chris. Got your head stuck somewhere today?”

“I’m just saying it like it is. Believe what you wanna believe.”

I wish I wasn’t me. Even before saying it, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. I knew it would just cause problems. I don’t even know why I open my mouth. Should really just be used to it now. Causing trouble, always pissing people off. Always having to shout my mouth off even though there isn’t a need. I used to tell myself that it wouldn’t happen again, and then before I know it I’m there. Stuck in another awkward conversation, knowing I’m the reason everyone feels like crap.

“It’s reasons like this, that you don’t have any friends.”

“I know,” I answer. I’d been thinking the same thing.

“At least you still have me, I won’t be running away any time soon.”

“Oh the police are just turning up now. I’ve got to go. I’ll call you once I know what’s sorted.”

“Okay, good luck. Speak soon. Bye.”

I hang up the phone and my hand drops to my lap. There’s no one coming I just don’t want to talk right now. It’s stopped trying to rain. The clouds have covered the sky, leaving no room for the moon to peak through. I can’t even see a single star. Not that I would be able to with all these lights. There isn’t a soul about. A car doesn’t drive past. The world is still and quiet. I shift on the step I’m sitting on and wait in silence.

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Time Heals… – Chapter Twelve

Ryan directs me towards a little place, only a couple of streets away, called Moonlight Whispers. A small cosy coffee place, that doesn’t care about the lack of customers. Purple seems to be the main colour of choice. The window and door frames are a dark purple, the over hanging sign is brighter shade and inside, all the tables and chairs are covered in purple cloths and upholstery. It’s mostly a darker shade, so not that unappealing or in your face. There are low hanging dim lights that make the place feel smaller than it actually is. Six circular tables are dotted about the place, each with four chairs. All but two of the tables are occupied. A couple in idle chit-chat, a suited man on a laptop, two teenagers with their phones out not looking up and two elderly people sipping and smiling. The walls are lined with photos of the moon, hanging over the sea or a city landscape.

The counter curls around making a semi-circle that juts out of the far wall. There’s two young people working behind it, one wiping down the sides and another stocking up the various treats. Behind them is a wall of cups, coffee bean bags and various syrups. Machines fill every available space on the counter and the back wall.

We make our way through the maze of chairs and stop at the counter. The girl, who was filling up the treats, looks up at us and smiles.

“Ryan, so nice to see you again. It’s been a while.”

“Hi, Kate, it has been a while. Needed a coffee that’s been brewed right again. Spent too long drinking just the hospital rubbish.”

“And who is your friend?”

“This is Chris, we used to go to school together, back in the day. He’s back in town for a little while and we’re just catching up. Thought I would bring him to the best coffee shop in the county.”

“Thanks, what am I getting you then?”

“Just a black coffee for me, please,” I ask.

“The usual as well, please,” Ryan adds and then turns to me. “You don’t want a snack or anything?”

“No thanks.”

“I’m buying.”

“I’m good.”

Kate waits for our little diversion to end and then waves towards the card machine. Ryan slaps his card on it and waits for the beep. The machine chirps and Ryan slides his card back in his wallet. Kate moves to the back wall and grabs two cups, clanking them together as she does.

Machines start whirling and churning and soon enough we’re sitting at one of the empty tables. The chair groans under my weight and cries with every movement. The creaks echo around us, swirling between us as we both pull our chairs closer and finally sit still.

“So, please, tell me your story,” I ask.

“I know it sounds stupid, but it’s the whole town. Just hear me out before you judge me,” He pauses so I nod and then he continues. “A couple of years back people started acting strangely. I moved out when I started working here, got a flat close to the hospital and I used to go back every weekend. See the parents and a couple of friends. Things like that. And then one week, they just stopped complaining.”

“What?” I laughed and almost got up and left. “This was a waste of my time.”

“No listen. Don’t jump the gun. I mean it. You know when you go and see any member of your family or close friends and it’s mostly complaining. About work, other people, aches and pains. You know how it is?”

“Of course,” I nod.

“Well they didn’t do that. Just one week. Mum had no gossip about anyone. Dad wasn’t complaining about work. He always has something to rant about, but it was different. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Then I went to the pub will Michael and Kristie and they weren’t complaining either. They also bitched about co-workers at least, but nothing. I was on the bus back home when I realised. It was weird. Then the next week, the same. No complaints.”

“So?”

“Just listen. You’d know if something was off with people you see all the time. I went back every week for a few months and they were completely different. No moaning, always positive about everything. Then they started praising the people they used to bitch about. When your dad got remarried, he invited my parents and they actually went.”

“What? Seriously?” That would be weird to imagine.

“Yeah, exactly. They blamed him for everything, but they still got dressed up and appeared at his wedding. Everyone in the town did. Your dad wasn’t liked. I’m sorry, but he wasn’t.”

“I know that, he was my Dad. There’s a reason I left town.”

“Yeah, right. Well they all became best friends with him. No one had a bad thing to say about him. And when I started moaning about him, they just reversed it and started supporting him. Saying that he wasn’t that bad, or he was misunderstood. That’s he suffered but he was a good man.”

“Yeah, he suffered, but he wasn’t a good man before that either. Excuses.”

“you understand what I’m trying to tell you though? The whole town changed, it used to be a horrible run-down hell hole, but people started cleaning it up and then crime stopped. The place is now almost invisible to the outside world. I haven’t read one news story in years about anything that’s happened there, no crime, nothing. It doesn’t add up.”

“No, it doesn’t. You might be onto something there. I don’t really know what could be going on, but something is not adding up. I don’t think I will be going home tonight.”

A wave of excitement rolls through my body, I almost want to dance. There is a story here, I can feel it. I was completely wrong earlier.

We finish our drinks and I offer Ryan a lift home, he refuses and says it is only a short walk. I thank him and take his phone number, so I can contact him if I find anything. I promise I won’t publish unless he had read the entire article.

I leave the coffee shop, with a new lease on life. It is as if the sun is shining down on me and everything was going to go my way. A new story about a strange town, exposing their dirty secret. I can feel it in every inch of me, there is something big here.

To be continued…

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2019

Hi,

I want to start by saying a big thank you to everyone who follows me, I recently hit 400 followers which feels great. Thank you.

It’s been a while since an update post, and the beginning of a new year seems like an opportune time for another one. Writing is going steady at the moment. Time Heals… is at 48000 words and nearing its conclusion. I’m also thinking of changing the name to Homecoming, which I think fits the story a lot better. I’ve already started plotting 2 more stories, although I don’t know which one I will focus on first. Both are more fantasy based than Time Heals…/Homecoming which is a lot more grounded than anything I’ve written before.

I’ve recently finished watching Star Trek Voyager for the first time. I’m slowly making my way through all, soon to be, 32 seasons of Star Trek. As much as I like The Original Series and The Next Generation, and I did think Voyager was weaker than both, I found myself more attached to Voyager’s characters. I was disappointed by the final episode. There are a lot of questions I needed answers too. I found out that there is a series of novels that carry on the story and hold the answers I seek. I started reading them this week, and while I’m enjoying it and it does answer them. I do find the voices of the characters are slightly muddled. It’s enjoyable though, which is the main thing.

Since I finished Voyager I’ve also set out to catch up on some shows I got left behind on. First was Fargo. I watched the whole of season 3 in 2 days. Not as strong as the first 2 seasons but still really good stuff. Glad I’ve finally watched it. Preacher Season 3 comes next.

Most of the movies I’ve seen recently have been disappointing. Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, The Grinch and Bumblebee. None of them bad, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Spider-man: Into The Spider-Verse was very good though.

My plan is to keep on uploading chapters every Friday. I’m really bad at sticking to schedules, so we shall see.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

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Time Heals… – Chapter Eleven

The inside of the hospital is almost exactly how I remember it. Pale lighting, grey colours everywhere with a little bit of white mixed in. Beeping and noises that keep away the silence but aren’t overwhelming. There’s a middle-aged man sitting behind the reception counter typing away on a computer that is begging to be updated. A couple of people are moving around beyond a doorway behind the counter. He notices me walking towards him and gives me a smile.

“Hello sir, how can I help you today.”

“I’m supposed to be meeting someone here, Ryan Campbell?”

“Oh yes, he said you would be coming by today. He should be here any minute. He said eight.”

“Yes.”

“Just take a seat and he’ll be here, he told me he would meet you here.”

“Thank you.”

I walk over to an empty bench and sit down, instinctively take out my phone and ignore the world around me.

A few minutes pass and then I notice a shadow looming over me. I look up and meet a familiar face.

“I don’t believe it,” I start. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

I half smile, half wince at the sight of him.

“You’ve changed quite a bit. Cut your hair short. Suits you.”

“Thanks,” I say with half a heart.

My whole-body tenses up, expecting him to hit me. To yell at me, or something along those lines.

“So, life treating you well since you left town? I read your article and it seems like you’re doing pretty well.”

“Not bad I suppose, but nothing special.”

“I don’t think everyone would agree with you about that. That article, man, it was eye opening. That’s why I wanted to meet with you.”

“Right,” I say, and then pause. “I don’t really know how I can help.”

“Can we get out of here? I know a cafe, we can get a coffee. I’ll pay. And I’ll tell you everything that I know. I’m sure you will change your mind once you’ve heard what I have to say.”

“Sure, that’s why I’m here.”

I follow him out of the building, not wanting to be alone with him. Silently wishing that someone would stop him, that some emergency crept up and we had to delay our meeting. The outside welcomes us, the evening sun feels warm on my face, as the soothing breeze slightly rustles the trees. I can’t believe how mental the weather has been today. It’s all over the place. Wouldn’t believe how cold it was earlier.

A crow chirps in a tree high up above us and breaks the silence.

“How long have you been a doctor?” I asked.

“I’m not a doctor, just a nurse. That’s where the real work is anyway. We have to look after the patients all day. Not just turn up and be heroes for a minute.”

He laughs, letting me know he’s only joking. I’m sure he’s used to people assuming he’s a doctor or that he at least wants to be one.

“Ah, sorry,” I offer.

“No worries, man. I get it all the time and it doesn’t bother me. Honestly. It’s just one of those things. I never wanted to be a doctor. Never wanted to be a nurse either, things just happened like this. I would have to think about it to tell you how. I feel like I just ended up here. Had to get out of the town, you know.”

“Yeah. I think I know a little about that.”

We reach my car and Ryan walks around to the passenger side. As I unlock the door, he joins his hands together, interlocking each finger and places them on top of the car, as if he was about to start praying.

“I’m not that bad of a driver, I promise.”

He chuckles. “I don’t think you are, I just wanted to speak quickly before we get in the car.”

“What about?” I stiffen.

“You know, man. I can see it on your face. You’ve got some guts coming down here,” He says with a welcoming smile. “I don’t think I could have done it if the roles were reversed. I respect that. And I just wanted you to know, that I don’t blame you for what happened. It wasn’t your fault. It may have felt like it at the time, and for that I apologise. But I know it wasn’t your fault. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and you weren’t to blame.”

“Please don’t do that. Don’t apologise. I know I played my part. I’ve had just as much time to think about it. I didn’t need to tell my dad, I could have let it go and no one would have found out.”

“Someone would have though, that’s my point. Anyone could have let that slip. If you didn’t then someone else would have found out and told people. Hell, it could have even been me.”

He steps backwards away from the car and towards the wall behind him, the whole time looking me in the eye. When he reaches the wall, he leans back on it and lowers his hands.

“It could have been me, man. I could have been the one who let it slip. I would have done if I’d known. I can’t deny that. That town wasn’t a nice place back then. Backwards thinking nut jobs. He wasn’t ever going to survive that.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I think I do. You do too. Remember how brutal it was. Everyone turned against him, not just the kids. The adults as well. The teachers knew he was having a hard time and they did nothing to help, they turned a blind eye because they felt the same. The whole town was just full of backwards thinking low-lives. Even our family turned a blind eye to it. They knew what he was going through, and while they didn’t make it worse, they didn’t help him. I think they almost thought he deserved it. I think they were ashamed.”

“Don’t say stuff like that. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

“It was, and you can’t tell me otherwise. I was a child at the time, sure, but I was there. I remember the way they looked at him. Dad came home from work and he was worked up. He was pacing up and down the living room, as Tim was glued to his seat, in the centre of the sofa. I was sitting on the stairs, watching through the banister beams. Dad started shouting, telling him it was a phase and he would grow out of it. He told him not to embarrass himself and that people wouldn’t forget things like this easily. Mum was crying, she said it was because nothing has changed, and her boy was still her boy, and Dad was scaring her. But I don’t think I believe that, I think deep down she was just as disappointed as Dad was. She just knew how to hide it better.”

“Ryan, I don’t think it was completely like that. I’m sure they were shocked but deep down they cared.”

“I don’t think they do. The last time I went to their house they’d taken down all of the pictures of him, and when I asked why they just bounced to another subject. It’s like they want to just delete him from history. Even our joint school photo was folded in half.”

“People grieve in different ways.”

“Will you listen to me, this isn’t grief. It’s been over ten years and they never used to hide away like this. We moved on, we had too, and then it’s like they forgot.”

“Is this the story you had for me?”

“It’s not all of it, but it’s part of it, yes.”

“I don’t think this is a story. I’m sorry. But there really isn’t anything to go on here.”

“Don’t shush me. I’m telling you there is more than what meets the eye here. There is something going on in that town that is dangerous, and you need to get the word out before it spreads.”

“Get in the car,” I tell him.

If I’m going to have to listen to his insane nonsense, I can at least be drinking coffee.

 

To be continued…

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