18 - Solitary

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Wake up.

Wake up. Come on sleepy head. I made you breakfast. I stand up and look around the room. Jamie lies sittin' against the wall and Keshaun's all curled up. There's some early light spillin' in through the windows.

Somethin' in me knows they ain't sleepin'. They're all covered with this dust. No, with... Ash. I feel like I should go to them but there's somethin' in the room with us.


I look up at the doorway that leads to the bike store room.

A solid black slab cut in the wall. There's a coldness that I can just about taste and when I look at the edges they seem to blur and dance. Little black spiders crawlin' all over.

I shiver.


Kayla, come on love.

I hesitate. I can't see her, but her voice comes clear and true from in that blackness.

Kayla, its OK love. I'm not mad, if that's what you think.

Her voice is so soft and pure and it's killin' me to stay here and I feel my self take a step forwards.

I know it's been you, I whisper.

She sighs, ever so quietly. There's a scent, somethin' oh too sweet, mixed all up with a darkness. Like the half-rotten flowers in Jamie's folks' place.

Kayla, come. I need you to come meet someone tonight.

Her words are echoes. I could say them out loud, ain't no secret I've played that script so many times since. She speaks harder now, but still with that lightness.

And so, I step forward into the black portal and I fall forwards, watchin' a cloud of dust get swallowed up by the darkness.

There's a sound, a scrapin' and I lift my head. I'm lyin' on my bed, lookin' up at the bunk above me but I know it's empty. The sick light from an old fluorescent tube paints my skin half green and its buzz drills at me.

I sit up, reachin' over to the table, shakin' off shadows.

Kayla, I've got a plan.

She'd told me one morning. Half wired and she of course hadn't slept at all. I rubbed my bleary eyes, stared into hers as big as saucers. And now she sits there and she tells me again.

What you doin' here? I ask.

She ignores me, or maybe she just can't hear no more. She smiles. It will be easy, really quick. He's a friend, well, kinda a friend. He's... let's just say, he's our friend for the purposes of this - transaction, but after that it'll be you and me love, we'll go away. To the sea. Anyway, he set up the deal, he's got protection. We just need to get into the building. And that's why we need you love. There's nothing that can keep you locked out. Ha, you took my heart and stole it away. But oh, love I'm glad you did. I never want it back. It's yours...

She takes a drag on her cigarette, lets the words hang. I look up, mouthin' 'em myself, waitin' for her to say it.

She's gone. And the room is freezin'.

Then the gratin' noise comes and with it, footsteps.

The sound of somethin' being clanged up against my metal confines.

A whistle, mournful and low. A long shadow stretches out in the floor beyond the bars, black finger screepin' their way up and forwards. They twist and turn, knifin' their way into the cell.

I fall and crash against the wall. I look up to the ceilin', the walls with no windows and I shut my eyes as the cold touches my skin.

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