I suppose I can't blame my parents for what happened to me, they've always wanted to move to the countryside one day and when the sleepy, idyllic village of Horace Green presented itself, the temptation was too much. I should point out now that most location names have been changed, and ALL charecter names have been changed, to protect identities.
I had lived an easy, city life previously, I was in my first year of GCSE's in a private school in the middle of London, I was popular and was getting along well. I was captain of the rugby team, I opened the batting for the cricket team and I had a large group of friends. My parents were both quite old having me, and the fact that I was an only child meant that I was allowed a sense of freedom that many others my age weren't.
Both my parents had always talked about moving to the countryside when they could, looking forward to the peaceful life after spending decades in the midst of a busy city, fighting hard not to be swept away by the bustle of everyday life in such an active environment. My father worked for a bank and my mother was one of the best estate agents in all of London, selling Penthouse suites to celebrities and recieving a huge commission. When the company she worked for told her that they were branching out into countryside housing, she leapt at the chance and got the promotion to the head of the countryside department. My father had an amicable parting with his bank, taking early retirement and a large pension with him. I had no idea what was happening, till I came home late one Saturday night after visiting the cinema, to find them both sitting and waiting for me. This was strange, as my father was normally watching the news whilst my mother engrossed herself in a book.
Our relationship had always been quite mature, and we treated each other with mutual respect. They always discussed something with me before they went through with it, which is why this came as quite a shock, coming out of the blue. "Now, Jack, you know we've always wanted to move to the countryside..." began my father. "Well something came up in work for me, and the thing is, we've bought a house and we're moving in two weeks" finished my mother. I could feel my face drop, and the first thing I felt was anger, followed by a wave of sadness. "What happened to discussing things as a family?" I ventured. My father wouldn't meet my eye, and my mother remained quiet for a minute. Finally, she spoke, and I could detect tones of guilt in her voice "well Jack, we didn't know when an oppurtunity like this would come around again, and it would've looked bad on me in work if I hadn't taken this promotion" my father chipped in then with "you'll love it, there's loads to do, and you won't be there long anyway, one more year of GCSE's and you're on to college, then you're off to university". I made to talk, but I was shushed and sent to bed, filled with anger and sadness. That was the end of it, as both my parents refused to be drawn into further conversation about the move. The removal of furniture from out stylish flat a week later was a saddenning experience, as my old school things were dug up and put into boxes.
Goodbyes were exchanged in school, and I realised that although I had spent almost every night of the past three years in one of my friends houses, I was only going to miss one of them. Me and Stephen had been best friends since we met, and he was almost like a brother to me. He opened the batting with me for school, and was my vice captain in the rugby team. Whilst I was tall and dark, he was shorter, but stockier and with a head of fair hair always immaculately styled. We knew what the other was going to say as they opened their mouthes, and whilst we had had a few minor arguments, I couldn't remember going a single day without talking to him in some way, whether it was face to face or by text.
Stephen wasn't in school on my final three days, so I rang him on his mobile and asked if he wanted to go out for pizza. There were many fine restaurants in London for us to choose from, but our choice had always been PizzaExpress. I caught the underground and met him there. He knew immediately that something was up, as I only ever wanted to go out for pizza when I had something to say, preferring to stay home and order from Dominoes. As we settled down in our little table, I suddenly realised how hard it was going to be for me. I explained my situation, my voice breaking as I fought back tears. Stephen looked just as sad as I did, and seemed to worry about when he would see me again. "You will be coming back to visit, right?" he enquired. "I suppose so, although I haven't really talked to mum and dad about it, I don't even want to think about it".
We sat in uncomfortable silence for five minutes, before, with a quick smile and a cheeky wink Stephen thought of the positive side " at least this way I get to be captain" we both laughed, and I realised that I should enjoy the time I had left in London. We walked out of PizzaExpress at half past eleven, later than usual but seeing as it was a friday, no problem. We parted ways with a brief hug and as I walked towards the underground I realised that it wasn't going to be so bad after all. I walked down onto the dark, almost deserted station and walked over to the machine to get a ticket.I realised I had lost my OysterCard. "Not that it matters" I muttered darkly to myself "won't need it in a few weeks". I reached into my wallet and pulled out my money, I gave it a quick count and realised i had £40 and some change. I put my notes away and counted enough change for the fare. My ticket printed and I put it in my pocket.
I turned, and realised I had been careless. The sight of anything over £10 in cash was like a magnet, and it attracted the worst kind of people. Like sharks to blood, the criminals of London had descended on me as soon as I pulled my wallet out, I was standing there surrounded by seven men, dressed in dark hoodies and scruffy jeans. I looked around for help, but saw the platform was deserted. The shadows seemed to dance and expand, as these thugs advanced on me with slow, rhythmical steps. The one at the front lifted his hood up, to show a thin, cruel face topped off with shaggy, greasy black hair. His nose was skinny, but had obviously been broken before as it's bridge veered off to the left at a steep angle. He had a thin mouth, and he smiled menacingly to reveal a set of yellowed, chipped teeth. I felt genuine fear, and looked around frantically for an exit.
"There's no getting out of this one, posh boy" he sneered. The rest of his gang laughed at this, and closed around me in a tight semi circle. I looked up into a sea of rough faces, and realised I had to get out of there fast. I desperately dived my hand into my pocket, searching for my wallet. I pulled it out and thrust it in his direction "here take it" I said, ashamed at how my voice broke with fear. He snatched it and emptied it's contents into his hand, which he then put into his jacket pocket. "That's only the start, you little shit" he made a grab for me, and got both hands on the front of my hoodie. I felt myself move automatically, pushing his arms outwards and shoving him in his chest. He barely took a step backwards, and found the incident highly amusing. He reached into the inside of his jacket, and slowly pulled out a kitchen knife.
"We're gonna' teach you some respect, aren't we boys?" him and his crew exchenged some throaty laughs, seemingly enjoying the experience. I knew it was all or nothing, there was no way they were going to let me walk free after I had disrespected their leader. I scanned the gang and searched in vain for a weak link before realising they were all fully grown men, and though two were shorter than me, the rest stood at least two inches over my 6 foot 2 frame. I looked at the two shorter men, realising my best chance of escape probably lay with them. One was black, stocky, and holding a small club. I frantically looked over to the other man, and saw he was a skinny and wiry, with a grinning face. I ran at him, and dropped my shoulder into his stomach area. He fell out of the way with a cry, and I stumbled over his body.
As I ran over him, one thought ran through my mind "I'm free!". Suddenly, as I ran, my left foot gave way and I tumbled. I looked up and saw the steps just a few metres away, rough hands grabbed my ankles, and I felt tears well up in my eyes as they pulled me back. I was pulled to my feet and spun around to face my captors. Their leader and the man I had run through stood in front of me, and laughed manically. "I was going to let you off with a little cut, but I think that's too good for you, agree Dan?" the man I had run through stepped forward again, establishing himself as Dan. "I've got a good idea, we ain't played chicken for a while, have we lads?"
The gang seemed to come alive at this prospect, and started laughing with a fierce intent, one laughing so hard the spit flew from his mouth and landed on my face. I desperately craned my head around, searching for some help on the platform. I saw some feet make their way down the steps, leading to a pretty middle aged woman. Her eyes widened when she saw what was happening and she turned and ran back up the steps as fast as her high heels allowed her.
Dan noticed this, and told the rest of them that they better get on with it, sharpish. I was man handled over to the edge of the platform. The leader grabbed my ears, and turned my head to face his. "Now, we're gonna do something to ya' that's kind of a trademark innit, we're gonna wait for your train, and when it comes in nice and fast, we're gonna hold your 'ed in front of it. If you're lucky you'll get away with just a broken nose, although some have lost teeth" his eyes glinted with the bloodthirsty prospect at hand.
I felt the blood drain from my face, and to my intense embarrassment I felt the warmth of urine spreading across my thighs. I got dragged over to the edge of the platform, and no matter how much I kicked and wriggled, firm hands held me in place. I was turned to face where the train was coming from. Tears of fear and anger ran down my face, and I stopped wriggling and accepted my fate. A bright light filled the tunnel as the train tore towards the platform, the noise was unbearable, I saw the light turn and then shine straight into my eyes, barely ten metres away..