Lizzy won’t leave me alone, follows me as if I’m a sick puppy. Constantly trying to look after me. I want to be left alone for a second. The moment I left the bedroom she was there. Trying to make me something to eat. Something to drink. Trying to pry herself into my evening however she can. I understand why she would want to. She’s just looking after me. She’s seen the video.
“Is there anything I can get you?” She asks for the hundredth time.
“No, honestly I’m good. I’m just getting some toast and then I’m going back to bed. Just enjoy your evening.”
“I can make that for you.”
“I’m capable to make toast. Thank you.”
“Yeah, but you’ve had a bad day. At least let me make you a drink. Hot chocolate?”
“If that will make you leave me alone.”
“See not so difficult. Oh, looks like we have no milk. I can make it with water?”
“Just leave it.”
“I’ll go to the shop. Don’t move a muscle.”
“Seriously, Lizzy. That’s enough now. Just stop it. I’m fine honestly. I know you want to look after me, but honestly I’m fine. There is nothing wrong with me.”
“You can’t be alright, no normal person would be. Not after what you’ve lived through today.”
“Well I am, honestly. Just let me go back to my room and get some sleep. I’ll be alright in the morning.”
“If you need anything just call me. I’ll come running.”
“I know you will.”
I went back to my room, and sat on my bed. One hand to eat the toast, the other to load the video on my phone again. I sit there and watch it a few more times. I’ve turned the volume down so Lizzy can’t hear it, but it’s loud enough for me to hear the gasps and screams. I’ve studied each of their faces. Every little detail.
After watching it, I don’t know how many times, I scroll down and look at the messages. I place the empty plate on the bed and stare at the first comment. No profile picture, but named Jules and Louis. The comment reads, “You deserve whats coming”. I can’t believe it. It’s got the most likes and comments. Who is it? Why would someone write that. Most of the replies agree that we deserve to be punished. A few defend us, especially after Lydia, and a couple even comment on the lack of apostrophe in what’s. The internet is typical. Someone is trying to scare us, and instead of manning up, they just hide behind their username. I hate it. I have to tell Louis. Maybe he’s already seen it. I just need to speak to someone and he’s the only one who will understand. I close the app and pull up the contacts. I press Louis and put the phone to my ear as it rings. I wait, whispering come on under my breath. Nothing. Straight to voicemail. I try again, and nothing. Again. Nothing. What’s going on. Louis is never that far away from his phone. I’ll leave it five minutes, and if he doesn’t answer, then I’ll go round. It’s just down the street.
He didn’t answer. The cold street welcomes me like an old friend, wrapping it’s frozen fingers around me and dragging me outside without question. I didn’t tell Lizzy I was going out. She was in her room, and that’s where she will stay. This would probably worry her and she would want to come as well. I decided it was best for her to stay at home. Even in my coat it’s cold. Colder than it was earlier. I almost regret not getting gloves, even though it’s only just down the street.
His house looks empty. None of the lights are shining through the windows. Maybe he’s gone out with the rest of his house mates. They were out drinking today. Maybe he caught up, not wanting to be alone tonight. He would still answer his phone though. I hurry down the path to the front door and knock on the door. It opens without any pressure. That’s weird. The latch is on. I take it off and walk in.
“Louis? You home? Your door was open,” I shout.
Nothing. I shut the door behind me and walk into the hallway. There is a living room to the left and stairs in front of me. I walk to the doorway and peer inside. No one there. Maybe he’s in his room. There are no lights on in the house, the landing is near enough in complete darkness. The floorboards creak with each hesitant step.
Nothing. I hover outside his room, not wanting to go in. I just feel something bad is going to happen. It’s not just what happened today, but Lydia last week as well. No one knows who did it. Who killed her. Or why? I put one hand on the door and slowly push it open. The room is empty. I pull out my phone and call him one time. Leaning slightly on the door frame, looking at his scattered room. Rubbish and clothes all over the floor, and the distinct scent of sweat. It starts ringing, and then a ring tone echoes from somewhere else in the house. I turn around. It’s behind me. Is this not Louis’s room? He doesn’t answer the phone either way, and it ends up going to voicemail. I walk towards the room the ringing was coming from. The door’s shut. I already have one hand out when I reach it. My phone tightly gripped in my other one. Pushing the door open reveals another empty room. An unmade bed, more clothes. A few books. Nothing out of the ordinary. I ring Louis again.
It’s definitely in this room. I kick a pair of jeans out of the way, and there’s the phone. Where is he. It’s not like him to leave his phone anywhere. A creak echoes behind me, freezing me in place. A cold ripple moves across me, before I dare turn around. Then the door swings shut. Louis has jumped out from behind the door and shut it.
“Did you see him?” he whispers.
“There’s someone in the house. I’m sure of it.”
“I didn’t see anyone. Did you call the police.”
“No, I wanted to make sure. It could just be someone being an idiot, I’ve been hiding in the wardrobe. I couldn’t get out to get the phone. I was wishing you would just leave. How did you get in?”
“The door was open, on the latch. That’s probably what you heard, the door moving in the wind. There is no one here.”
“Did you shut the door?”
“No, probably should have done, but you know how it is? I was scared. Thought a clown or something was in here.”
“This isn’t a horror film.”
“You were the one who thought someone was in the house, hiding in a wardrobe for half an hour.”
“You can’t prove it, and I was only doing it test you. Because I’m not a scaredy cat.”
“Really? Come on lets close that door, before you become one.”
I lead the way back through the door and towards the stairs. As I reach the top of the stairs, I freeze in place. The door is shut. I can see it from here. I didn’t close it. I’m sure of it.
“What’s up?” Louis asks.
“The door. It’s shut. I didn’t shut it.”
There’s a clatter from downstairs. Sounds like plates smashing on the floor.
“I know you’re here,” a voice says. “No use hiding. I’m coming to get you, it isn’t going to be quick. It isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to hurt. You’re going to pay for what you did to my boy.”
Neither of us can move. We’re both frozen in place. Louis just behind me. We can’t move. The floorboards will squeak too much. He’s going to find us. My legs start shaking, sweat forming all over.
“Back to the room,” Louis whispers. “Now.”
I follow, both of us creeping along the landing. He knows where to stand, probably gotten used to having to be quiet at night. He leads me back to the room and shuts the door behind us.
“Under the bed,” he says. “And for God’s sake turn your phone to silent. I’m going to call the police.”
I nod, not knowing what to do. Slowly I lower myself to the floor and crawl under the bed, while Louis bunches up a load of clothes so I’m hidden. I can smell the sweat, fags and booze. My heart beat echoes in my mind.
“Hi, yeah, I need the police right now. There is someone in my house. Yeah it’s 124 Cranstin Road. Yes, please send them quickly. He’s here. I think we’re safe for now. We’re hidden in the bedroom, I haven’t heard him come upstairs yet. Thank you. I don’t know. I’m not sure about weapons. I didn’t see him, just heard him.”
Louis carries on whispering, I wonder where he is. It sounds like he’s all around the room, shouldn’t he be back in the wardrobe.
“There’s two of us. Jules is under the bed. I thought it best to hide her. I’m just hoping he goes away. I haven’t heard him in a while. Maybe he thinks we’re not here. Yes I think he’s here to hurt us. He was smashing plates downstairs.” More silence. “Two minutes. That’s great.”
I pull out my phone to check the time twenty three to nine exactly. We can do this. We can survive.
“Wait a second, I think he’s coming up the stairs now. I’m going to go quiet.”
I hear some slight shuffling, and then a load crack.
“I love that sound,” someone shouts. “I’ve just thrown my knife into a door, if you were wondering. I’m going to search that room, and then let my knife choose again. You may be lucky this time Louis, but you won’t be forever.”
How does he know his name. Is he the one from the video. The one in the comments. Is that how he knows us. Is this the boys dad? No it can’t be. It just can’t be. It was an accident. An accident. I can’t believe this. I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident.
“I’m coming to get you.”
Less than a minute.
“Not that one, maybe this one. Oh hello. I can’t believe you would just wait here like that for me.”
“Now come on, I don’t know what you’re doing here, but just calm down.”
“I’m calm. Just like you were when you killed him?”
“Killed who? That boy earlier? He isn’t dead.”
“It’s all the same to you, though isn’t it. He’s in hospital right now, when he should be at home.”
“Please, just put the knife down.”
“I’m afraid I can’t. This is how it has to end.”
“Please, just calm down.”
“I told you, I am calm. Does that hurt.”
Muffled screams echo in my ears. I want to crawl out and help, but I can’t do anything.
“You don’t need to do this.”
“You would say that, lie still and this will be quick.”
A sudden weight is shoved onto the bed, and then another on top of it. God. He’s climbing on top of him.
“We didn’t mean anything. It was an accident. Please, I swear.”
“That isn’t good enough right now, I’m afraid. Where is the woman? At her house? I’ve been there. There was no one there. Where is she? Here?”
“No I haven’t seen her.”
“Sure you haven’t. She’s under the bed? No. In the wardrobe? She’s in here. You don’t need to tell me, I’ll find her. Just let me do this first.”
The weight on the bed shifts, as it’s franticly squeaks, trying to escape. I can’t do anything.
“It’s over now. Jules. Where are you? Come out to play.”
What do I do? What do I do? It’s been two minutes. Where are they? What’s going on? Why is this happening. I can’t stop crying. Why is this happening.
“You under the bed then? If you’re not in the wardrobe, then that’s where you are. I’ll give you five seconds to get out, and I’ll make it quick. Five, four, three, two. No? Really? I’m going to enjoy this, probably a little too much. One.”
I have blood on my hands. I’m covered in it from head to toe. Is this justice? Was it worth it? I found them both. The internet is a wondrous thing. People are so willing to talk. But was it really worth it. They’re not here anymore. They will never be coming back. It was worth it. Of course it was worth it. They nearly killed my boy. They deserved everything. The sirens are ringing in the street. They’re a welcome relief.