This story isn't the final draft and so any feedback and criticism would be greatly appreciated!
The dark gray clouds endlessly covered the midday winter’s sky, as if it were a solemn blanket on a bed; a bed, which was filled with filth and uncontrollable spontaneous crime. The dull lifeless buildings sat boringly, with intimidating height and hideously broad width. They looked like bouncers guarding an unforgivable back alley club of: drugs, prostitution and even more crime. Walking with no real pace or intention, I strolled down the damp discolored disgrace of a path, along one of the town’s roughest streets.
I heard a roar of an upcoming car. Most definitely a modified Peugeot 106 with an over sized exhaust pipe to convey the driver’s popularity on the streets. Personally I thought it looked ridiculous and the only thing he’s showing off would be his face full of acne and cheap illicit golden chains and rings. The old rusting heap zoomed past exhaustedly. I didn’t see the driver’s eyes or middle finger launch up at me but I didn’t need to. It was inevitable.
That’s the dull reality of this place these days. No one is kind and it’s survival of the fittest. I wouldn’t class myself as the strongest but never the less I can still fight. I wasn’t that unpopular either but there are some who have decided to generate a random grudge against me, possibly out of jealousy but I don’t care. Maybe it’s just because I do well at a school, which doesn’t care anyway. I’m sixteen and lucky to be alive really.
I’ve got other things to set my mind at. My bird mostly! She’s a good girl, out of the drugs and crime despite who she hangs around with, and unusually she’s one of the minorities of the youth who still have their virginity intact! She’s strong and doesn’t go down without a fight. We’re both responsible teenagers looking for a decent life, like a minuscule speck of light in an enclosing room of ominous darkness.
Well if we carry on as lovers: that will soon change! I don’t like bragging but actually getting hold of an attractive woman, who doesn’t smoke or get stoned whenever possible, is fairly difficult. I got a job a few months ago because my mum and I are trying hard to get out of this lifeless dump. However it’s coming up to Valentines’ Day and the misses deserves something at least worth a bit of money. After all she has standards and still manages to fit in with the delinquent posers holding at least a few ASBOs against certain troubled areas of the town. Nothing is safe wherever you go, around here, and I could bet you now that every street has a drug dealer hiding in its dirty depths.
The town was oddly quiet today, most of the wasters are probably attending Luke’s funeral. He was a rough lad; beat me up a couple of times with no real intention. I’m glad he’s dead and you may never want to wish that upon anyone but if lived around here then you would. Trust me. I turned into the local arcade with ancient looking useless shops, caused from all of their robberies over the years. The ceiling windows hung eerily with green disgusting… whatever it was, molding itself up the pain.
The dull fake marble flooring just added to the overall effect of dirty lifestyles and crime. If it weren’t for the other qualities, well inequalities, of this place; it would not have fitted in. It’s a shame really but give it a few months and I would be out.
I wanted to get her something nice, not too tacky but not over priced either. However I needed a card with it. It would be like having candles without a flame, if not. There was an old Clinton Cards with a mid-thirties woman chewing gum and reading this week’s heat magazine, behind a chipped wooden counter. Then I realised that I knew her. She was in the flat two numbers along from us. Miss Cropfield was her name but I called her by her first name. It was nice to have as many friends as possible, even if they are adults!
“Alright, Stacy!” I asked kindly. She shot up from her magazine, quite shocked really, and then acknowledged my presence.
“Oh, hi Jake! I didn’t see you come in. You getting something for the Misses?” She replied. She had a kind soothing voice but you could still hear the huskiness behind it from her smoking years.
“Yeah, I don’t know what to give her really but a card was an obvious starter.”
“Give her something that she won’t expect.”
“What like?” I was scanning the birthday cards at this point, but still paying attention.
“Well something special. Something she’ll remember for ever. Oh and make sure it’s wrapped up and given on a meal out.”
“What fish and chips round my flat?”
“I was joking, I’m not that scabby, and she deserves better than that. I know; I’ll look for some sort of necklace. A decent legit one, of course.”
“How will you manage to buy that? You’re only sixteen!”
“I’m committed and a hard worker, I’ll find a way.” I’d found a funny but meaningful card for her. She likes it when I’m funny. I walked to the old counter and passed the card to Stacy.
“You, know, Jake: you’re a good lad. You look after yourself well and not many girls get that kind of love from the lads around here. Your mum works hard and I admire her determination to get you two out of this dump.”
“Thanks, Stacy.” I replied.
“Well I’ll see you later, and good look with the Valentines’ night! And don’t do anything naughty!” We laughed at that as I walked out.
“Oh I wouldn’t dare!” I laughed back sarcastically. She sunk back into her magazine and I walked off to the jewelry store. I put the change from the card into my wallet and the card into my hoody fleece pocket. As I walked down the marble flooring, with solemn claps of my feet hitting the floor, all I heard was the hum and beeping of building works in the distance. This old arcade was quite close to the old industrial estate. The council had actually taken an interest in the town by making a new industrial estate; full of new warehouses and up-to date depots of various different items.
I walked over to the jewelry shop and thumbed around inside my wallet to check how much money I had. Fifty pounds, saved up over the last five weeks. Overtime as well! I took it out as one whole wad and held it in suspense, as if waiting for someone to take it from me. A fatal move in this town. I looked down towards my pocket and rammed my wallet in, not realizing that I was blatantly advertising my money to any preying thieves.
Before I even realised my mistake I was knocked to the floor and hit the marble flooring before my brain acknowledged it. I saw a figure run past me as I sucked up the pain and realised that it was a person. He, if he even were a male: I hadn’t had time to check, stormed down the arcade with my money in his hand. This wasn’t the first time I’d been mugged and the thief looked the same age as me from his height. My girlfriend was going to have a good Valentines’ Day and I wasn’t going to let some cheap illiterate druggy steal it from her.
I launched my self up to my feet and rushed towards him. The adrenaline and anger kicked in, causing me to catch up within seconds. We turned out of the arcade and on to a high street full of lifestyle irrelevant shops and random stores selling things that would never sell to the locals. I ran down the rough and uneven path where the blanket of clouds started to let loose the odd drops of rain. This didn’t bother me; I had to get that money back.
For once I saw his whole body: completely black with tracksuit bottoms, trainers and a cheap fleece. He turned around to look at me and I saw that he was wearing a balaclava with two eye holes making him look like a Russian Ultranationalist from Call of Duty 4! He knew that I was catching up and he started to run faster.
So did I.
We ran past a group of mothers with babies in prams, I knew them from around the estate where I lived. The thief rushed past them and one woman tried to hit him with her hand bag. They moved out of the way for me but I had no time to say thanks, I would have to save it for later. I ran past them not realizing how quick I was running.
“You go and get him Jake!” One of the women shouted to me. I didn’t let it get to my head; I hadn’t got my money back yet. He flew across the road at a “T” junction and back onto the path in front of him. I carried on pursuing him but surprisingly a car pulled out in front of me and screeched with a halt. I instinctively put my hand out, onto the car, and launched my body into the air, which flew up and across the bonnet of the vehicle. My feet flew in front of me and my hand lifted off the car’s bonnet.
I landed flat on my feet and didn’t hesitate to carry on running after the boy. He suddenly disappeared into a side ally and I immediately slowed to make the turn too. I rinsed down it only about twenty metres away from him. I could feel my heart pounding against my ribs in fury but I knew that stopping wasn’t an option. The echoes from our feet on the wet floor enclosed us. He ran up to a wall and launched himself up with his feet. He took a grip on the bricks at the top and scrambled up. I couldn’t do that.
However there was a way. A split second instinctive plan: I jumped out onto the right wall and launched my whole body to the left, with my right foot. I landed on the dumpster bin, on the right, and ran a few clanging steps along it. With all my might; I leapt off the edge of the elongated dumpster and flew, for what felt like a minute, aiming for the top of the brick work.
My hands gripped onto the brick and scrapped with burning pain, as I held tighter. I put my feet out to stop my body hitting the wall with shocking force and scrambled up the edge too. My arms screamed as I lifted my whole weight up with my legs helping hopelessly. I heaved over the top and landed on a corrugated iron roof. I could see the thief making a quick get-away and rushed back up. The unsafe clank of my trainers hitting the thin iron made me worry but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. I pushed my body to its limits to get the money and to find out who the mugger was.
I could see endless amounts of cranes, warehouses and containers; all of which looked like an oversize mess of Lego. He suddenly jumped and I wondered what he was doing. I heard a distant smack and a scuttle. He hadn’t taken a big drop. I ran quicker and launched myself off the end of the corrugated field of iron roofing. I then realised that the drop was further than I’d anticipated. I pelted onto the asphalt floor and my hands and feet took the full inferno of the shock.
“Ahhrrr, shit!” I shouted but sucked the pain up. My body screamed at me to stop but I denied it. The gray, black and cracked floor carried on for at least fifty metres; along side the multicolored containers, up to a large warehouse. There was a tall but thin gap where the warehouse’s, hanger like doors, were partially open; as if they were welcoming us by secrecy. He was obviously trying to run there too and had a good chance to escape from me. No, that would be unacceptable.
I saw him disappear frustratingly into the hanger, which mad me run quicker. I finally rushed into the warehouse and saw a couple of scattered boxes and containers lying uselessly around the open metal enclosure of a warehouse. He could be anywhere I thought. I’d failed.
I solemnly walked into the middle of the warehouse floor, surrounded by boxes and poles. With both hands on my hips I sighed into the air above; seeing little spores dancing in the solid beam of sunlight. The first of that I’d seen for a while. I just couldn’t believe that I’d lost him and my girlfriend’s valentine’s gift.
Then out of the corner of my eye; the biggest mistake the thief could have done. He swung full throttle towards me with his fist. He might have been fast but he would be no match for me. I quickly leant backwards as his fist just missed my nose by centimetres. I grabbed hold of it and brought my right leg sweeping towards both of his. My leg and arm moved in opposite directions causing the thief to come plummeting down to the ground. He tried to get straight back up but I pushed out with a powerful front kick into his blocking arm.
He must have tensed and recovered because the next thing I knew; I was falling backwards onto the floor from a sneak snap kick to the side of my shins. It just made me angrier. I was about to get back up and he did the same as I did to him: he struck out and all I could see coming towards me was a black sole. I instinctively raised my hands and painfully grabbed and withstood his foot. I launched it to the side and I caused him to loose balance. I jumped up and struck, with every ounce of strength I had left, and planted a square fist flat onto his cheek.
“Oww…” He wined as he flew backwards. I thought I recognised the voice but that was irrelevant. He landed with a crack into some crates and I kicked him in the stomach. He doubled in on himself. He was down.
I leant towards him to remove the balaclava and suddenly he struck out with his fist. It was a trick. I caught me by surprise and before I could look up I felt an enormous thump into the side of my ribs. I lifted of the ground and landed hard with no air in my stomach. I gasped to retain my strength but he was up and ready to strike the large metal poll onto me again. It came rushing down but without thinking I immediately dodged to the side by rolling over. I stuck my hand out to stop it sweeping at me. I held it and before he could do anything I kicked out and smacked it out of his hands.
I scrambled up but he was ready to fight back. He just didn’t give up. Why couldn’t he leave me or give up? It was only fifty pounds. I launched the poll at him but he blocked it with his arm. He struck with his fist but I swept it away with the pole. I heard a crack. He launched his other hand it I didn’t have time to block it. Right in the eye but I collected myself and concentrated on the thief. He punched again and again but I’d had enough.
I roared out as I pushed him back. He stumbled but I swung the hardest I had done yet, with the poll. It made a crushing impact to the side of his skull. He made no sound as he hit the floor with a lifeless flop. He didn’t even twitch. I couldn’t have. No, this can’t happen.
I threw the pole to the side and checked his pulse. No beat. A stone cold feeling hit the bottom of my stomach and stayed there shocked and worried. I slowly inched forward and grabbed the top of the balaclava. I ripped it off and then gasped as I fell back with shock. Tears nearly rolled into my eyes with fear and sadness. This can not happen. “No…” I whispered to myself staring at the pale skinned, open eyed and lifeless body. Now it all made sense.
It was my girlfriend’s brother.
I sat there at home after having a long cold shower. With tea in my hand and the TV on I sat there lifelessly, just like my victim. I couldn’t get over it. I told my mum and she just fell into tears and went out for a walk. We had to get out of here, and it had to be quick. I finally took my mind off the situation and watched the TV. It was the local BBC news. It came on and then a thump of guilt hit my heart as the first news report struck me:
“Today in the old industrial estate a body has been found. The police were called after members of the community heard shouting and crashing about. The police believe that the victim was involved in yet another brutal attack in the town. Certain previous evidence has aroused suspicion that the victim may have been involved with drug dealers. A possible failure to meet their demands may have caused the victim’s fate. However the search will carry on and forensics have found numerous fingerprints from an unknown source. On other news…”
I still felt the guilt but a large lump of it diminished. We need to get out of here. My girlfriend and I were over for sure, it was about surviving the next few weeks. Then I nearly had a heart attack when I felt the vibrating tone of my phone awakening in my pocket. It was a text. I lifted it out and it was from an unknown caller. Suspicion temporarily took over the guilt as I opened the message with a click. It read:
Pretty impressive mate, we saw it all! Now thanks to you we’re in the pig’s firing range. He owed us a LOT of money and he knew where the stash of drugs was too. Then you smoked him. Well in mate, you owe us a lot. I think your life should cover the cost. Oh and by the way your mum is looking nice with a knife to her throat! Sleep tight!
Tears of fear and anger rushed down my face. I dropped the phone and grabbed my coat instantly. I rushed back to the kitchen and took out a knife from the knife block. A million thoughts and plans rushed through my head. Not one of them made an easy way out. Getting a death threat is one thing but getting people who I love involved is another. They were going to pay the price if they did anything to my mum.
Then we’ll see who’s sleeping tight…