MurderLines


This is an entry to the sony young movellist of the year competition.
The FAO, the largest funeral organisation of its kind, holds a sinister secret. But after the death of Flynn’s grandmother and the mysterious disappearance of his friend, he witnesses more than he would’ve wished and is now on the verge of unearthing their furtive ways and Liz is coming with him… The dead are waiting.

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2. Chapter one

 

 

Chapter one

How it began

 

He felt intensely cold that night. But that wasn’t only due to the frigid open air whistling through the trees, seemingly freezing every known object in its path and causing his teeth to continuously chatter uncontrollably. Because he felt the coldness surface inside him too. That unbearable mental pain at the centre of his heart which would come upon him whenever he would try too hard to resist the thoughts that would constantly attempt to creep into his mind. And so occupied was he now, completely lost in thoughts of dread, that he was apparently oblivious to the icy air apparent in his surroundings, biting against his tear-stricken cheeks. He’d eventually given into forcing back the tears which brimmed in his glittering irises, allowing them to trail down his cheeks in defeat. He’d been constantly striving to hold them back these previous months, enduring the pain of each day through dry eyes that flashed with hurt. But he couldn’t possibly hold up any longer and he almost voluntarily gave himself up to tears. He’d been around again earlier that day. Just to stand at that hospital bed, just to see the rise and fall of her delicate chest, just to reassure himself before he clumped back over to the door. But at this moment as he wept relentlessly he didn’t need reassurance, only certainty. Under the eerie haze of the full moon and the constant twinkle of the uncountable stars, his eyes glistened once again with fresh tears. But at that point the sound of boots scraping against the sodden grass cut across his thoughts. And at the sight of the slender silhouette being etched across the ground, he instantly recognized who it was. But despite that he didn’t bother to turn his head to acknowledge the teenage girl’s presence. “What brings you here?” With the edginess apparent in his tone it sounded more of a demand than a gently asked question but whether she was aware of that she didn’t show it. And although he seemed rather alienated and reserved at this moment, it didn’t deter her in ambling over towards him. Running her tender hand against the smooth, wooden surface of the park bench before tentatively taking a seat beside him, following his transfixed gaze at the scene before their eyes. “I thought you’d be here.” And at the sight of him she instantly diverted her worrying gaze away, deliberately avoiding his tearful eyes when she replied as though she hadn’t noticed them at all.  Then adding quietly as if he wasn’t yet aware of it, “I’ve been worried about you, you know?” But to her surprise, Flynn seemed rather inhospitable in response to her sympathetic expression and there was something icy apparent in his tone which caused her heart to slightly judder in her chest, “Well, don’t be.”

She couldn’t muster an appropriate answer to that and it caused her to stall unexpectedly, stretching a disturbing silence which had settled between them. And for a moment they were both adrift in their own thoughts, gazing out across the darkened sky and the seemingly endless park that stretched out before them. With every second of the sudden hush that had fallen upon them increasing her uneasiness, she eventually looked around at him, properly for the first time that day. The warmth of her breath released in a thick drift of mist before her eyes as she shivered involuntarily at the bitter night air. She turned her head slightly to enable herself to grasp a firm hold on his wavering gaze. Her hand hesitantly lingering in the air for just a second before slowly reaching out to lightly grip his own, “Flynn, let me help you.” Her innocent irises bore into his uncertainly and as she did so for a fleeting moment she felt as though she was staring intently into the eyes of a stranger. For that was what he’d been to her these previous weeks and she found herself idly wondering whether she honestly knew him at all. And as that doubt surfaced into her dark irises, Flynn immediately shrugged her off, his words edged with firmness, “You don’t understand,” his voice cracked and the tears came freely now, then repeating his response more loudly and intensely as if she just wasn’t getting it, “You don’t understand what I’m going through!”

“Flynn, please…” Her eyes gleamed with hurt as she pleadingly studied his irises, as if she did so long enough she’d somehow decipher the meaning of his sudden anger.

“You can help by staying away from me!” He hadn’t caught on to what he was on the verge of saying until the words uttered harshly out his mouth and  he regretted them instantly but despite that, due to his emotions running high and his thoughts racing, his tightened throat wouldn’t allow his tongue to slip out an apology. Blinking the tears from her eyes, she reluctantly rose from her seat. But only when she began to walk away into the darkness out of sight, did he slump over, burying his face in his trembling palms, and cry.

 

The uncertainty which had been bubbling inside him these previous months only grew in intensity as the days wore on. And as the reality of the situation and the possibility of his grandmother’s survival bit back at him, it only made things worse. But as a sudden thought occurred to him now, he leaned back against the sturdy surface of the park bench, eyes flashing. He didn’t need to endure each day watching her slow painful death. No, he didn’t need to just stand and stare as she drifted away from him. No, he didn’t need to suffer any longer. He silently rose from his seat, rubbing his watery eyes to allow his vision to focus. Then, before he could catch on to his own actions, on impulse, he began to walk forward into the darkness with only one intention surfaced in his thoughts.

 

As he slowly edged open the usual hospital doors to an ajar position, enabling him to silently slip through, they screeched unexpectedly against the uneven flooring causing the patients seated at the waiting room to jerk around at the sound. And as Flynn caught onto their awareness, he hesitantly walked in as though suddenly unsure whether to enter at all. Which was precisely the case. It being such a late hour he hadn’t really anticipated the possibility of so many people occupying the room. Hadn’t expected it at all. So, releasing a deep breath, he made an attempt to make it look casual. There wasn’t a single nurse currently at the counter which meant they wouldn’t see him slip past into the back corridor and into his grandmother’s room and once he was done he’d leave unnoticed. And they would be completely oblivious to his presence in the building at all. But just as these reassuring thoughts looped across in his mind, he abruptly stiffened in his tracks, his head jerking around, cocking it to one side as if sure the call of his name had been the product of his imagination. Glancing over his shoulder, he noticed her, Sarah, that young junior nurse, breaking into a trot, her daring heels sounding against the flooring as she approached him. “Here to see your grandma I believe,” But due to the fact that he didn’t immediately offer a response, her curious hazel eyes surfaced a look of concern at the sight of his sunken eyes. But before she met his gaze, he diverted it away, nodding wordlessly.

“The round’s over. Your cutting visiting hours just fine,” Then, glancing at her silver watch fastened tightly around her pale wrist, “But it’s a little late for you isn’t?”

That caught him off guard he hadn’t anticipated bumping into a nurse on his late visit, let alone be questioned. So, in a panicked moment of mustering a response, the words uttered out his mouth as if they were tumbling over one another, “Yeah… I mean, no. I just…”

“That’s okay, Flynn, your welcome any time,” but then she held a warning finger up to him as though she was a tutor on the verge of sparing a student a telling off, “But next time remember to come to the desk before you start wondering into the back rooms, yeah?” She was smiling, her eyes glittering.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be sure to.” He was aware of her attention as he turned away into the corridors, briefly hesitating as he reached his grandmothers room, before he walked in.

 

With the curtains temporarily drawn only allowing the briefest flicker of light to seep through the gap were the blinds failed to meet it caused the familiar surroundings of the spacious room to exist in semi-darkness around him.  But with several blinks of his eyelids his gaze grew accustomed to the gloom, but even so he still chose to creep forward at a cautious pace as though sure he would slipup across an unknown object which would be abandoned on the ground. And when he eventually made it across to the hospital bed, he eased himself down onto the mattress and the only sound to be heard for the next moment was the bed creaking under his sudden weight. For a minute he sat there completely motionless, eyeing his grandmother with a sorrowful transfixed gaze. Before the stillness of her open eyelids became too much for him, causing him to look away.  And he began to idly wonder what it would be like. To drop out of the troubles of life for a while. Maybe forever. Just to lie there and be completely oblivious to the world working around you. But to still be alive. To still breathe, eat, drink. To still exist in the world but to be unaware of it. To be unable to live without the aid of machinery.  He almost wished he knew what it was like to live in persistent vegetative state.

He knew what it was like for him. To constantly strive to convince himself that there was an improvement as the days drew on. But there wasn’t. He knew that. And he couldn’t possibly watch her any longer than he had already endured. His hand slowly edged hesitantly towards the machinery at the bedside, he might not know how exactly to do it but he figured letting loose any random wire would be enough. He griped one between his trembling fingers and was on the verge of dragging it out. But he paused, glanced at his grandmother’s face and he knew he couldn’t do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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