Chapter 5

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Chapter Five 

The Pawnbrokers 

Leaving the noise of the street and the market behind, Marvin watched as Stella strode towards the road pointed out by the flower seller. 

'Hold up!' he shouted, walking at twice his normal pace. A few hours on a treadmill would have made this jaunt feel a lot easier! 

'Come on. The woman said it was up here somewhere,' she said. 'Dracken Court... Ruislip Lane...' 

'I wish you'd make your mind up!' he said, his breathing now erratic. 'One minute you don't want to know the truth, the next you can't wait to find out. You make my brain ache!' 

Stella stopped walking and waited for him to catch up. 'I can't help it, Marvin. I'm confused. Surely you can understand that,' she said, as his breathing pattern returned to normal. 'You're the only friend I have - you're the only person I know,' she added. 

'So, we're friends?' said Marvin, ignoring the rest of what she'd said. 'I've never had a girl friend, er, I mean a girl who's been my friend...' His face flushed. 

'I know what you mean, Marvin,' said Stella, stroking his arm. 'No need to explain. Let's push on. It can't be much further.' 

But it wasn't long before Marvin was dragging behind again. A friend who was a girl. A tiny smile filtered across his face. Mum would certainly have something to say about that! Then the smile disappeared. What she was doing now...  

'Ah, come on slow coach!' shouted Stella, turning and seeing that Marvin wasn't as close behind as she'd hoped. 'You're supposed to be helping me not hindering!' 

'Okay!' said Marvin, snapping out of his thoughts. 'I'm coming!' He ran to catch up, promising to keep up. 

But once again, Stella pressed on ahead, calling out the street names as before. It was a pace Marvin just couldn't compete with. He struggled on for another five minutes then stopped, hands on hips, heart pounding. Then he coughed. Then he coughed again. What was wrong with him? He knew he was unfit, but this was ridiculous. He gasped, trying to suck in more air to fill his lungs, but coughed and spluttered again instead. Something wasn't quite right. Still coughing, he looked around and realised that the light was thinning, and a thick grey fog had begun to form around them. 

'What the hell's happening here?' Marvin turned and looked back at where he and Stella had just come from, his breathing pattern having returned again to normal. All signs of the market had disappeared and the street behind it was gone too. In their place was a dark cloud of silence, an eerie nothingness... 

'Halders Close...' said Stella, marching on. 

'Er, you might want to look at this...' 

'Scurt Lane...' 

'I said you might want to look at...' 

At last Stella's march came to a halt. 'What's your problem? You want me to find the place, don't you?' she shouted as she turned to look at him. She stopped mid sentence, focusing on the area behind Marvin. 

'W-What's going on? Where's the market? Where's the street?' She clapped a hand to her mouth. 

'It's all been taken over by that... fog,' said Marvin. 'Try looking for Drackens Court or Halders Close.' 

Stella looked around. 'Ruislip Lane?' 

'Gone, Stella. Every road we've passed has disappeared.' He turned. The eerie greyness was creeping towards them. 'I'm really not liking the look that stuff! It's as if... it's alive!' 

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