“So it’s agreed then.” The twelve men let out a long sigh of what was a assumedly relief. It had been a long day. Havik Morozov couldn’t help but smile a little as he reached for his dark grey trench coat- after years of grovelling to ministers and the likes for others peoples mistakes, he was finally getting somewhere in this godforsaken world. Albeit in a sinister way. He momentarily turned to face the ornately decorated room in which he had spent the last four hours, contemplating what he had just agreed to and the responsibilities it had left him with. He decided it was best not to think about it until he had had a good nights sleep, or at least a few pints.
By the time he made it out side, the other eleven men had already gone their separate ways, back to their cosy homes and padded lives. It was raining heavily, each individual drop bouncing back up a few inches towards the heavens that they had spilled out of before racing to join a million others rushing along the edges of the tarmac road before funnelling through the teeth of hungry drains. Pulling his coat closer around him, Havik began struggling against the enraged wind, taking the quickest route to his favourite pub, ‘The Sovereign’.
The Sovereign was a large black and white tudor building with a small strip of greenery running along the forefront and a warm orange glow omitted from behind each window. A low but friendly hum of conversation greeted him as he closed the ageing door on the last tatters of his conscience which had managed to cling to his coat tails and was threatening to claw its way up his spine and slip quietly back into the darker recesses of his mind.
He ordered a lager shandy. No point in dwelling on what could no longer changed. And he was fine with that.
Really, He was.
“Something’s coming.” I don’t know what made me say it, but as the boiling, dark purple clouds began to stalk closer to the cowering landscape I stood on, an unsettling silence seemed to settle over the town. No bird song. No cars revving. No screaming children in the park. Nothing. I frowned, blindly pulling my hair back out of my eyes as a gust of wind swept through the long grass of the field that stood before me. I suppressed a shiver as the sun was slowly blotted out from sight by the still advancing darkness. But there was something else. There was a static in the air, a heavy tension like the silence before a blood-curdling scream in a horror movie. I wrinkled my nose as a drop of water splashed me right between the eyes and quickly wiped it off with the sleeve of my hoodie. I hate the countryside.
“Murphy?” I called into the silence. Where the hell is that dog now? I thought he must have toddled off on his own again.
Most dogs, when they are puppies, are disobedient. Murphy however, took this to a whole new level- you can shout him and shout him until your heart is content but ninety nine percent of the time, he would continue what he was doing (most usually sleeping) until you actually came and dragged him to where he was meant to be. Once more, mum doted on him- ever since she was a little girl she had wanted a chocolate Labrador but only in the last few weeks did she finally have one. “MURPHY! TREAT!” I bellowed. Murphy’s little head bobbed up instantly from the tall grass in a field on the opposite side of the road, his giant tongue lolling and his big brown eyes wild. At least someone was having fun. “You heard that all right then.” I muttered.
I trudged across the road to retrieve the little scrap of life from what was more than likely private property, stepping over the tiny hedge and running over to him. I reached down and grabbed his collar, clipping his lead back on and scooping him up- the last thing I needed was for him to dig his heels in and refuse to walk as he usually did. Sighing, I started back in the direction of my house, Murphy wriggling to get out of my grasp and back to his new play spot. As I stepped back over the little hedge, one of Murphy’s disproportionately massive paws caught in my short black hair, making it stick out untidily on that side and biffing me slightly. “Ow,” I said scowling at him “There’s no need to get violent.”
Murphy cocked his head to one side and snuffed. I rolled my eyes and turned my attention back to walking and flattening my hair back down. I wasn’t a vein person but I wasn’t going to walk around looking like an idiot.
When I finally did get back home, Murphy was on the verge of explosion from the excitement of making sure the rest of the ‘pack’ (mum and the TV) were okay, almost wrenching my arm off as he hurled himself down the little lane and into our driveway.
I only got halfway through opening the door before he impatiently pushed past me and wriggled his way into the kitchen, making a beeline for mum in the living room. Realising he still had his lead on, I attempted to call him back. “Murphy? Murph- oh what is the point?” I said, exasperated by the hopelessness of trying to train him.
I strode into the living room and stepped on the small dogs lead to stop him from escaping, then, I bent down and unclipped it for the last time that night. Mum was stroking his head as he sat by her lap but she didn’t look down at him- her eyes were fixed to the television screen.
I threw Murphy’s lead unceremoniously into the small dog’s bed and collapsed down onto the sofa. Murphy lolloped over to me and scrambled onto my lap – he had far too much skin for his body and it made him look quite funny. “What do you want?” I asked him, petting him anyway.
I turned to look at my mother with mock offence. She did not return the favour and continued looking at the TV screen as if she was actually getting an intelligent conversation from it. “Did you hear that Murphy?” I pretended to gasp with the same mock horror, “she shushed me!”
“SHHHH!!” she repeated.
“What? What is it that you are finding so very interesting that I have to shut up for?” My words were dripping with the sarcasm mum said I had been born with as she glowered at me. “Maybe if you paid attention to what was actually on the telly instead of being sarcastic Rachel, you would find out.” She snapped
I gave her the look the comment deserved. Man it was easy to push her buttons. It was at times like this I wished I lived with dad and my half sister Evee. I gritted my teeth to prevent myself from further insulting her- we did not have a particularly sparkling relationship at the best of times and usually I would have relished the opportunity to irritate her, but I decided that I couldn’t be bothered and reluctantly turned my attention to the television screen.
The rioting had spread. The television screen was ablaze with images of youth crammed streets, fluorescent police men lined up with plastic shields and smashed in shop windows, the dislodged shards of glass littering the pavements. Against the swirling masses of dark hoodies and blue jeans, beer bottles and flame-lit debris, the police force didn’t seem very forceful.
The picture flickered back to a brightly lit studio and I turned away, heading upstairs to my room for an early night. It was the first day of the summer holidays tomorrow so there was no real need for it but I was tired and reasoned that I had six whole weeks for staying up late now, and I had to be up early tomorrow to get ready to go to dads for a few weeks.
I drew the curtains and took my last glimpse of the day before I shut it out completely, changing into some pyjamas and collapsing into the darkness of my bed, my room joining what felt like the rest of the world in silence.