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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3. Chapter two

 

Chapter two

The bleached skyline had been apparent for over a week now and it was as though the sky itself was a blank canvas just waiting to be coloured over. But that afternoon the thick clouds momentarily parted, briefly revealing a flash of magnificent blue and with it a faint shine of a sun which had been concealed for what seemed like an age.  Flynn, however, seemed to miss the entire scene, one which he had been longing for ever since the arctic temperatures outside had eased and the snow no longer visible. He had come in last night at a rather late hour than can usually be expected from a boy his age and although he’d attempted to arrive at his home quietly, so as not to stir his mother, he was sure she had been aware of him entering and Flynn could only blame the recognizable shriek of the front door for that. She would ask him where he’d been at the breakfast table as she always did. Or rather the lunch table as the clock was almost on the verge of striking twelve when his eyes began to eventually flicker. Feeling tiresome, he slowly edged himself onto his elbows, his unsteady gaze finally beginning to focus following the blink of his eyelids. He faltered over to the bathroom and then emerged with his teeth brushed and his hair combed in that typical stylishly unkempt way, minutes later. He swung open his bedroom door, brushing his palms against the rough texture of his dark jeans as he entered the hallway, but he paused as a sudden recollection of the events of the previous night surfaced in his thoughts as his mind focused. What had possessed him with such murderous intentions was far beyond him but the mere thought now sent an icy shiver down his spine. When he’d been at his grandmothers side, on the threshold of pulling out the connection of the machinery, for a moment the reality on what he was doing flashed before his eyes and he found himself bursting out the room and back out onto the midnight streets, horrified on what he’d been on the verge of doing. Shaking his head as if to completely clear his thoughts he swiftly began to descend the staircase, fastening the open top of his shirt as he did so.  And when he eventually made his way over to the kitchen, he stopped at the doorway, leaning against its frame. He intently watched his mother as she bustled around in the kitchen busying herself with ripping a bin liner she’d extracted from the open draw, seemingly oblivious to his attention. But as she briefly turned his way, he noticed the glimmer in her red-rimmed irises and at the sight of that it immediately concerned him. It wasn’t only Flynn that had been terribly hurt these past months, she had been too. But often he overlooked that as his mum seemed to always suppress her emotions so finely it was as though they didn’t exist in her at all. But they did. And only one glance at her sorrowful expression at this moment was needed to justify that. “Morning,” he said eventually, clearly unable to keep his presence from her any longer. The suddenness of his tone seemed to startle her because it caused her to jolt around in surprise almost resulting the china plate she’d been about to place into the dishwasher to drop from her grasp and tumble onto the floor. “Afternoon,” She corrected him with a widening smile when she regained her composure and once again displayed that impassive expression. He wandered in, looking around at the breakfast table as he registered the instantly recognizable smell of bacon wafting through the entire kitchen and into the hallway.

“What’s cooking?” he asked, making his way over and seating himself in a wooden chair. Although it was pretty obvious he’d said it anyway, wanting to be sure.

“Bacon and eggs,” That fake smile again to obscure the look of hurt in her eyes as she carried his breakfast plate over, “Thought we’d have a treat this morning.”

Treat. Since the realisation that meat production was farmed on too intensely it was revealed that the figures of farming animals had decreased rather significantly and this of course raised issues on introducing new breeding programs to once again raise numbers. But this came at a cost and meat consisting of pigs and cows was now only vaguely available even in the biggest supermarket chains.

And this being the result people became willing to dish out more cash for even less. And for any business meat production would prove to be a big add to its lines, providing they could somehow get their hands on some. His mum joined him at the wooden table, taking the seat opposite and cradling a cup of coffee in her hands while he ate ravenously. Then, as a silence drifted across the room his mum said rather suddenly, “Where you with Liz last night?”

He’d been expecting the inevitable questioning about where he’d been and now it had come. “Why?”

“She seemed rather upset when she passed by,” She began to eye him quizzically when he hesitated.

“Yeah, I did bump into her.”

His mother looked away, gaze wandering towards the window and the open view beyond, before returning to meet his eyes, her hand edging across the surface of the table before laying it upon his own, squeezing gently, “Flynn, why do you hurt her so much?”

He shook his head at her as if she just wasn’t getting it, “I don’t mean to, mum, lately it’s just…”

His voice trailed away at that point as he caught on to where his response was leading and this morning he just didn’t want to go there.

“It’s about gran, isn’t it?” Then, blinking away the tears from her eyes, she continued, “Don’t ever lose hope on her, alright?” His mother really was crying now and it surprised him, the tears streaking freely down her cheeks; it was almost as though she was aware of what he’d been on the verge of doing last night or as though she was striving to convince herself from her own words.

“Mum…” He made to enclose his arms around her, but she brushed him away, raising her palms to rub her eyes as though to erase all trace of tears. Then, she abruptly rose from her seat, walking over to the kitchen counter, and gripping the ends of the stainless steel sink with tightening fingers as though she was trying to suppress the emotion of pure frustration.

“I don’t want you going over there today, you hear?”  Her words were said rather suddenly and it took him a moment to register that she’d directed it to him despite the fact that he was the only other one in the room. He looked at her questioningly as though he hadn’t quite caught on, and his mother, perhaps seeing his confusion, repeated herself but if anything more intensely, “I don’ want you going to visit her today.”

He began to protest but she cut him short, “I’m going myself, you understand that?”

That surprised him, in the several months that his grandmother had succumbed into a coma his mother had always refused to visit, insisting Flynn to check up on his grandmother. But there was that tone of firmness in her voice now and he couldn’t bring himself to question her, so he nodded wordlessly, gazing out across the side window to avoid her eyes.

 

***

He drummed the tips of his fingers impatiently against the apparent cool touch of the steering wheel, leaning back against the car seat and allowing his foot to slip off the gas pedal, he narrowed his eyes at the road crossers that strolled past before him at that unhurried gait, willing them to increase their pace so he’d be able to be on his way. Then, as one frail old woman continued in her slow sluggish progress, the end of her ancient walking cane sounding against the concrete, seemingly taking her a complete age to cross one side of the road to the other, Flynn was unable to sit and watch her any longer. So, signing he diverted his gaze away, sparing his companion a brief side-long look. Eyeing her awkward, and extremely ridiculous, dyed violet hair which matched the same colour tone as her purple top which bared a slogan in striking pink italics. He tried not to smile, sharply biting his bottom lip to stop himself from bursting out in laughter. Any other day he would’ve let her in on his opinion, that she looked utterly hilarious, but stating that to her now would be just about the worst thing to do. How he managed to talk Liz into accompanying him on a trip to the shopping malls in the city was beyond him. But he’d insisted they needed to talk, well he did anyway. And apology for his bust up at her last night would’ve been the ideal place to start. He’d begun to apologise several times already but hadn’t once quite completed the word and the meaning was lost. Besides, she seemed to be ignoring him anyway.  But she did understand why he had snapped at her. She had to. She always did. Lately, more than ever. Because if she didn’t she wouldn’t have bothered to come with him at all. With these thoughts looping in his mind, it gave him the confidence to eventually speak. “Liz, I’m sorry.”

His words were said very sincerely, well at least he hoped, but Liz didn’t even look around. And for a moment he became convinced that she wouldn’t acknowledge his presence in the car, beside her, at all. But she did, her eyes transfixed at the window screen as the traffic light before them pulsed a soft amber glow before going on green, “ ’Bout what?”

“Give me some slack, will you? You know what I’m on about.” Then, again, “Liz I’m sorry. Lately everything just seems to be getting on top of me, you know…”

He looked as though he was on the verge of continuing but Liz cut across that usual sympathy surfacing in her hazel irises, “Flynn, it’s alright.” He smiled at that; the tension which he had begun to settle between them instantly broke. Her eyes flickered around to him, then altering the subject, “So, where we going?”

“Alan’s.”

She groaned sarcastically, “Oh, please no,” then continuing, “The guys a thief.” She deliberately leaned heavily on the final word to emphasize her point, but in response Flynn shook his head.

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, you wouldn’t know, would you? Considering that you turn a blind eye whenever he nicks from the markets.”

“Liz, the guys homeless, “ he briefly glanced around at her not wanting to keep his eyes averted for long as they sped across the road, “Now, tell me what would be the first thing you’d do in his position?”

And at her response he cocked his head as though sure he’d misheard, “Murder someone.”

“Why’d the heck would you wanna do that?”

“Well, duh. Sentenced to prison for the rest of my life. Cosy beds, satellite TV and you even get pocket money every week. Sure beats sleeping in the subway.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” He laughed, but then he suddenly slowed the vehicle as they were on the verge of passing the hospital, his gaze flickering around. Liz seemed to catch on to his point of interest, following his eyes, then asking quietly, “You going over there today?”

He shook his head, as he made out the sight of two men transporting a covered corpse into the back of a van, he shuddered, instantly turning away to obscure the scene from view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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