The Real Fantasy

Kitty has always dreamed of her fantasies coming true . . .

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8. Panic

My body has frozen. I can’t move a single muscle. All I can do is lean my back against the wall for support. My heart is pounding so hard that I think it might shoot straight out of my chest. It can’t be me he was talking about. It must be a different Kitty Lewis. It must be. They’re still talking – Nolan and Turlough – in harsh voices soaked with hatred, but I’m not listening to a word of it. Something inside me tells me that I should get the hell out of here.

I set off at a run. The shopping bags clatter noisily at my legs, but I don’t care. I don’t even acknowledge the strange looks I’m getting from passing pedestrians. Familiar houses loom out in front of me. I get home in record time and collapse through the door. The shopping makes a disconcerting crunching noise when I dump it on the table.

I run upstairs to my room and grab a handful of DVDs from the shelf. Then, seeing it still lying on my bed, check my phone. Two message. One’s from dad:

R u ok??

And the other is from Kelly:

Shud i wear my blue flowery dress and leggings or skinny jeans and a tshirt 4 suzies party??? Plz help!!!!!!!

I throw my phone down onto my bed again. What a stupid thing to worry about! She doesn’t have a weird mark in the shape of a butterfly on her back. She doesn’t have at least two freaky guys on her tail. I mean, ‘Observers’, ‘Scavenger’? What the hell is that about? I must be going insane!

I go downstairs, DVDs in hand. The second I’m in the living room, I slot the first disc I can get at into the machine. The Kinetica theme tune starts playing and I automatically start singing along.

I don’t know what it is about the TV show, but whenever I’m feeling down it always cheers me up. Today is no exception. There’s still a shaky feeling inside me, yet on the surface I’m a happy bubble of laughter. It’s even not a particularly good episode. Series three, volume two, episode four. Yep, I know that, even after just blindly grabbing any old disc. That’s how addicted I am.

It takes the whole length of one episode to realise how ridiculous I must look. The next one is just starting when I burst out laughing at the situation. I’m in the house on my own, with the door and windows locked, the lights turned off, watching a TV show I should have grown out of years ago and more scared than I’ve ever been in my life. I stop giggling quickly when I remember why I’m doing this. Because underneath I’m afraid. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or how to stop it. ‘By tomorrow night, you will have brought Kitty Lewis to the Scavenger building’ – that’s what he said. There’s something seriously freaky going on here.

If I was in Kinetica – or any other TV show, film or book for that matter – I’d be coming up with some sort of master plan to hide or defend myself from them. And even if it did go wrong, through some combination of skill and luck, I’d manage to get out of it without a hair out of place. But this is real life. I’m a real person. I have flaws and weaknesses and no special attraction to luck. All my life, I’ve been dreaming that something would happen to me. Something exciting. Something extraordinary. But now it’s really happening, I feel terrified.

I curl myself up into a ball, trying to get back into the electrifying – if slightly farfetched – land of Kinetica. Darkness slowly obliterates the sunlight, as I continue to watch episode after episode. It reminds me about when mum died. When I shut myself up in this very room, watching these same DVDs.

I still dream about her sometimes – mum. It’s like I’ve transported to my seven year old self. Before she got ill. Before she died. Dad’s sometimes in them as well, but mostly it’s just me and mum. Nothing remarkable happens. We just talk or she takes me to all the places I used to love when I was younger – like the park or the sweetshop two streets away.

Just yesterday – was it really yesterday – I got so worked up about Kinetica being discontinued and about the slight chance of Jaden missing his bus. It all seems so stupid now. I look out the window and think, what the hell is going to happen tomorrow?

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