chapter 2 - surprise road trip

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Chapter 2

14 years later – Earth

  “What do you mean?” I blurted, my voice cracking in panic as I shrieked into the speaker of my phone.

“Mick’s throwing a wobbler!” returned my sister’s voice, quivering through the phone line like a rattled bag of sea shells, “Please… I dunno what to do!”

“Hang fire I’m on my way!” I shouted, slamming the phone into its cradle and grabbing my jacket from across the back of the couch. I rifled across the shelves, knocking the various knick knacks and plant pots from their rightful places as I searched frantically for my car keys. My search was rewarded fairly quickly and I quitted my flat with the velocity of one who had just robbed it. Three flights of stairs later and I burst from the apartment building, spilling onto the street in a daze and diving toward my car. It took less than ten minutes for me to arrive at my intended destination and, being presented with no parking spaces, I left my vehicle in the middle of the road. My destination was that of a small cul-de-sac, the third house of which offered upon its garden wall a scrawny ginger haired child.

“Titch!” I shouted to the child, who looked up sharply. My presence evoked an instant reaction and she launched from her seat and into my arms.

“Loony!” she wailed, clinging to my torso and gripping me with all four limbs like a juvenile chimp.

“Hey,” I soothed, wrapping my arms around her in response, “What’s going on?”

“I dunno,” she choked, “Mick came home from the pub last night and…”

“He went to the pub?” I interrupted, unimpressed, “Who was looking after you?”

“No one, but…”

“So he left you alone?” I gasped, “Why didn’t you ring me?”

Titch released her grip and hopped down to the ground, folding her arms crossly.

“Will you just listen!” she snapped, impatiently tapping her foot against the concrete, “Mick came home last night, white as a sheet and gibbering about something he’d seen. He’s not been right since.”

I would have enquired further as to what she meant when the answer presented itself before she had a chance to reply. The front door to the house burst open, spewing its remaining inhabitant into full view. Mick careered madly down the garden path, wheeling a huge brown suitcase in his wake.

“Loony!” he called, more in shock than in greeting, “What took you so long? Come on we have to go!”

“Go where?” I protested, my hands locking hard against the garden gate to prevent his exit.

“Anywhere!” he cried, “But we need to go now!”

He pried my hands from the gate handle and swung it open, barging through and making a bee line for my car. He perched himself in the driver’s seat and motioned with flexing fingers his need for the keys. I turned to my sister in hope of some explanation though was met only with an exhausted shake of her head.

“He’s been like this all night,” she sighed. I wrinkled my nose in question, though for lack of a better option I guided her toward the car and ushered her inside. I traipsed irately to the front passenger seat and slotted myself inside, slamming the door shut with blatant impertinence.

“Seat belts,” instructed Mick, reversing the car violently and exploding from the confines of the cul-de-sac and onto the main road. The gentle clink of buckles answered his request and he chuckled despite himself.

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