Phyolum

This was a story I had an idea about a while ago and I just decided to make it. It's quite short and there is a note at the start about the mature content, there may be some errors but they will only be minor, comment feedback if you like or dislike!

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1. This story is not split up into chapters but I don't know how to get the chapter thing off.

Note: This story contains violent acts of abuse, rape and verbal abuse such as swearing. It also contains drugs. I, the writer or author of this story decided to include these scenes to add to the tension and horror. I decided to add the swear words or word as I believe in a situation such as the situation the protagonists faced that is how I felt they would react. I hope no reader is at all offended or disturbed by the happenings in this story. Thank you.

 

Phyolum

By Harvey Burton

 

Spencer lay in his hospital bed, panting wildly, tubes were attached to his body. All different coloured liquids surged through the plastic cylinders. He was having a convulsion, doctors ran over to him, syringes in their hands, I couldn’t bear seeing him like this. Tears welled up in my eyes. The head doctor arrived. He was wearing white disposable plastic gloves and a blue surgeon’s mask, he was a tanned fellow, probably from the hot sun, it is Spain after all. He walked over to me and my husband, Andrew. He looked at some paper in his hand before saying,

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do for your son, the snake bite is unlike any we’ve ever dealt with, there is one drug that may help him but we can’t take that risk.”

“Why not!?” Argued Andrew.

“Because the drug needed, Phyolum, is a newly discovered drug, but because we don’t understand all of its properties it is illegal. I’m sorry.” Replied the doctor.

“What if we get it!?” I suddenly yelled.

“That’d be very risky, you’d have the police on your tail, drug dealers after you and there’s the task of finding the plant used in the making of the drug, all that said do as you wish but I’m afraid if we can’t find a solution to Spencer’s deadly snake bite in the next month or so we will take him off of medication and let him pass. Again, I am sorry.”

“We’ll do whatever it takes!” Cried Andrew.

That night, after leaving the hospital, myself and Andrew searched the internet looking for anything to do with Phyolum, there was one result that seemed reliable, a Wikipedia page. The page was the only source we could go by so we hoped it was reliable. It said Phyolum is found in dry, scrub, desert sort of areas, it is a small plant that sprouts out of the ground, it is light brown with dark brown blobs on it. It is rare. Andrew scrolled down the page and saw links to news articles. He clicked the first link,

‘Man, 36, brutally attacked by thugs after he saw them stealing Phyolum from a protected scrub area in Spain’

The article stated the 36 year-old man was going on a trip to see his favourite animals, mongooses in the wild. He arrived to see a group of men in balaclavas putting a bunch of plants (Phyolum) into a bag, they saw him and immediately attacked.

After reading this, Andrew shut the laptop off, we needed that drug but the doctor was right, this was very risky business. And with Spencer’s life on the line, we had to get Phyolum, and we had to get it fast.

“What the hell are we gonna do Maria!?” Shouted Andrew, he seemed very stressed.

“I don’t know…..maybe we should just try and get the drug, if all fails we let Spencer pass.” I said, as soon as I said it I realised I’d just said to my husband we should let our child die if we can’t get the drug we need.

Andrew stared at me, eyes wide, mouth open, sweat was dripping from his brow, the stress, and heat, was getting to us.

The next morning Andrew woke me up early from an hour long sleep. He immediately said to me,

“Today we are going to get Phyolum, tomorrow we are going to bring it back, we can’t let Spencer die.”

I didn’t reply, I couldn’t, I was too tired, too stressed, too worried.

He grabbed the car keys and his phone, we found the nearest scrub area was quite a lot of miles away.

We were in the car for what seemed like forever, sweat beads rolled down my cheeks, my skin stuck to my clothes, my hair was very damp. It smelt too.

We finally arrived at the scrub area. It was beautiful, dunes of sand rising higher than me, plants swaying with the gentle breeze, tumbleweed rolling through the sand. Mongooses crawled around, eating bugs and playing together.

Andrew and I got out of the car. Andrew had a picture saved of Phyolum on his phone. We walked around for hours looking for Phyolum, there was no sign of it. We decided we should keep walking, to see if it was nearby. Day became night, sun became moon, warm became cool. As we were walking I heard Andrew shout something,

“BOLLOCKS!”

I turned around to find he had tripped on a rock. I thought he was just over exaggerating until I saw them, about five mongooses were hissing at him and jumping on his legs. They started clawing and biting. Andrew threw them but they just kept returning. I found a stick a few metres away from where Andrew fell, I used it to whack the mongooses. They still didn’t give up, I realised the only way to get them away was to kill them. I picked up a rock and threw it at them, it hit ones head, killing it. This angered the others. They were enraged, unstoppable it seemed. By this time Andrew had got up and started kicking the mongooses. After about a two hour long struggle we finally caused the mongooses to retreat, two had broken legs, three had been killed.

I examined Andrew for cuts, what I found shocked me. He had a gash around five centimetres on his arm, it was spilling blood, fast.

What was a trip for a plant turned into a fight to survive in an extreme situation. We each checked our pockets, all I had was some money, not much and a piece of tissue. Andrew didn’t have much more, all he had was some used tissue and four mints. We decided to think of all the things we would need to survive.

There were four things we needed at that moment;

• Food

• Water

• Shelter

• Phyolum

The first we had, the three mongooses were a tasty treat over the fire. They tasted lovely, especially after not having eaten for at least 24 hours.

The second, water, we needed water, the only liquid we had had was about 11 hours earlier, in the car. We had finished the water so didn’t take the bottles with us, but now we were far from the car and we needed water, we searched and searched but after a while we decided we’d save our energy and search again tomorrow, we decided to drink the mongooses blood, it didn’t help much.

The third we needed, a lot. We didn’t want an assault from the mongooses or from the drug dealers in the news, we grabbed anything we could find, rocks, branches, leaves, tumbleweed, mud and even some articles of clothing. We built an ugly looking make-do shelter so that was number 3 settled.

The fourth. Phyolum. It seemed we had no chance with this one.

The sky glared at us with its almighty great white eye, we decided to rest.

Early in the morning we were awoken by the screeching of a van.

We took cover away from our shelter so as not to be seen. I saw a group of five men get out of a silver land rover. They were all wearing joggers and balaclavas. Some wore shirts others didn’t. I don’t think Andrew noticed but I saw one of them carried a G17 (glock 17….a gun). Looking closer I noticed three held knives. I was trembling with fear, so much so I wasn’t even scared that the mongooses were nearby. After what seemed like an eternity the drivers drove further away, not gone but far enough. Me and Andrew hurried away. We found a nice area with a little stream next to it, with lush plant life and beautiful animals like an array of bugs and even some fish in the stream. We immediately drunk straight from the water, we didn’t care what was in it we were too thirsty to think twice. Following on from a nice drink Andrew and I caught a few fish. We gutted them and roasted their entrails in the heat of the sun.

They were DELICIOUS. Andrew had remembered that sucking fish eyes give you fluid. I sucked the eyes like a lollipop, then I discarded them in the river. We looked around to assess where we were. We figured out the answer. We were…lost.

At that moment we saw some birds swooping down on the other side of the stream, we watched the walk about, bobbing their heads and waddling like penguins. It brought a smile to my face, the first smile since…before Spencer was bitten by the snake. Thinking of Spencer wiped the grin off my face and brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help but tear up.  

Andrew and I explored, looking for more plants, we found a group of odd looking shrubs. No Phyolum. We searched and searched, minutes became hours, hours became days, days became months.

“It’s no use!” Andrew shouted suddenly.

“What do you mean?” I pondered.

“It’s been over a month…Spencer’s dead.” Came his soft reply.

Silence creeped over us like large dark spider.

Andrew then fell to the floor and started crying. He couldn’t cope, how long until I would be like this?

I kept looking for the drug we needed so badly.

After about a week I saw two lonely plants by a mound of dirt. They fitted the description of Phyolum exactly.

“I’ve got it! Andrew I have Phyolum!”

I was so happy I was crying. Andrew lifted his head and started smiling. We’d done it, we’d actually done it.

At that moment we heard a car screeching, it was the one from earlier.

Within seconds it was parked and there were three men surrounding us with weapons, the one with a G17 had it pointed at Andrew’s head.

It was then Andrew made a fatal mistake.

He grabbed the gunman’s leg and knocked him on the floor, another person had no hesitation as he stabbed Andrew in the back.

Andrew screamed in agony. He started vomiting. I was scared he wouldn’t make it to see our son recover.

The gang grabbed us both and blindfolded us with rags that smelt of sweat. They stuffed us in the car and sped off as fast as a cheetah.

The interior of the car smelt of sweat, the gang were yelling in Spanish so fast we couldn’t understand them. I noticed bags of what seemed like cocaine. I knew we were in trouble. All I had to keep me strong was the Phyolum, I clutched onto it desperately, if I let go all hope would be lost.

After about a four hour drive the doors were opened and we were dragged out and thrown to the ground, Andrew was unconscious.

“Hand it over,” said one of the men.

“Hand what over,” I replied, trying to search for a way to escape.

“Hand the Phyolum over. We know you have it and if you don’t hand it over, we’ll put a bullet through yours…and his brains,” Came the man’s reply as he gestured his gun towards Andrew.

I gingerly passed the plants over.

“Now sweet cheeks, tell us your name,”

“Maria,” I whispered almost silently.

“Well Maria, I am sorry to tell you this, but you know too much about us. I’m afraid we can’t let you leave.”

I didn’t answer, I just sat, trying to look brave but dying on the inside.

Andrew had finally woken up. He seemed confused, until he looked around that is. We were in a camp, it didn’t look permanent, meaning these guys were on the run. It had five tents, one for each man. It had a hammock and with another G17 next to it.

“Please let me go,” I whispered.

“What sweet cheeks?” asked the gunman.

“I said, let me go!” I yelled, I spat right in his face, although he was wearing sunglasses and had a bandana around his mouth I could tell he was angry. He kicked me in the ribs.

“Don’t mess with us sweet cheeks, wouldn’t wanna see you get hurt.”

“Please…just let us go, we need to save our son, he’s in hospital dying right now.”

“Awww poor you,” the gunman replied, “tell you what. I’ll let you go if your husband here does some work for us and you do…other stuff for us,” he grinned.

“I’ll do anything, just as long as you let us go,” I said quietly. At this time I’d given up all hope.

Andrew was dragged off the floor and made to carry things from place to place, he was then made to get food and drinks for the gang men. He did all of this with disgust.

After this he was given a beating for not being ‘quick enough’.

It was my turn. I had managed to guess what business the scumbags wanted by this point. One by one they took me into a tent. Andrew watched as the tent shook. He heard noises and he looked on in horror as I came out with little to no clothes. When it came to the last member, the one who called me sweet cheeks, Andrew found it unbearable to watch or listen to.

He was taking much longer and Andrew heard screams to. This scumbag walked out the tent dragging me along the dirt with his lips on mine. It was a disgusting experience. He threw me to the floor and said,

“We should do that again sometime…sweet cheeks.”

I vomited out of pure disgust and hatred for this despicable man.

Andrew didn’t look like the man who was with me at Spencer’s hospital bed. He had lots more cuts and bruises and his skin was much darker and dirtier. I looked at myself. I didn’t even realise I had cuts and bruises all over me. I saw no point in trying to keep on fighting, I was exhausted, I eventually just let myself fall asleep on the rough, dirt floor of the drug dealers’ camp.

I woke up in the middle of nowhere, no drug dealers, no plants, no mongooses, no Andrew.

I was half naked in the middle of nowhere, on my own with no food, no water and no Phyolum. I walked around crying out for Andrew until my lungs could take no more, walking on sharp rocks no longer hurt my feet, no pain could compare with the pain I was feeling at that moment, loneliness, sorrow, worry.

After approximately two hours walking, I finally noticed a silhouette in the distance, I walked closer, it was Andrew. He immediately ran towards me, we welcomed eachother in a warm embrace before continuing to walk.

At that moment we came across a long, beautiful stream. We couldn’t believe our luck. We decided to be cautious as we headed over.

I bathed in the water briefly while Andrew explored. When I got out I was shocked to see a mongoose was there, showing its teeth, hissing. I tried to walk around the mongoose but it kept following me. I threw a rock nearby it as a warning, it lowered its head and started to walk away. I sighed with relief. Until it turned around. It looked longingly at me… as if it wanted me to follow it. I started to walk after it and I was so grateful to see what it had led me to. More Phyolum. Finally we could get to the hospital and save Spencer! I had tears of joy crawling from my eyes. I thanked the mongoose. It seemed to understand what I had said as it looked at me in a strange way. Maybe I was just delusional but who cares. I found Andrew and told him all about it.

Now all we had to do was find the cars. But first we needed to rest for a while. We were more exhausted than ever before. I was so glad I’d found the drug but I became more and more worried when I realised Spencer was most likely dead. The doctor had taken him off of his machine and he had passed in the night. The reality of this dawned on me as I tried to sleep. After thinking this, sleep was not an option. I got up, went over to Andrew and shook him until his eyes were wide awake. It was early in the morning when I did this. The moon had only just said its goodbyes and the sun was rising high in the sky like the Torre Caja Madrid (the tallest building in Spain).

After walking for what seemed like months I finally spotted a group of large black squares, as we neared these squares my eyes gathered more detail and we could make out they were cars. We ran over as fast as we could, no rock or spiky plant cutting my feet could slow me down. We found the car. Our car. But there was one problem. The gang members had stolen the keys after beating Andrew. I grabbed the nearest rock and threw it threw the back window. We climbed through the back of the car into the front seats. Andrew hotwired the car so that he could drive it, he told me he learnt how to do it in collage but I was still unsure about it. We didn’t care about the splintered window, we just had to get to the hospital, we had to save Spencer.

Andrew grabbed the steering wheel and drove away as fast as possible. Nothing would slow us down. Nothing.

We were about twenty minutes away from the hospital when we heard them. Sirens. Police sirens. They were on our tail. We had to lose them. Andrew swerved round and took another route. The police followed. Andrew and I had no clue as to how they would’ve known we had Phyolum, but they did. Andrew did a 360 degree turn and sped in the opposite direction to the police vehicles. They started speeding up, bringing out their guns, they had stun guns, tasers and G17s. Andrew and I knew that it was over, but neither of us wanted to admit it.

“When I shout ‘go’ you jump out of the car, got it?” Andrew blurted out.

“What about you!?” I cried.

“I’ll do the same, but make sure you are the one with the Phyolum.”

“Why?”

“Because as soon as we get out I will run on foot and give you time to run into the hospital and give the doctor the Phyolum.” Came the shocking reply.

“But…”

“No buts. Just remember no matter what happens, I will always love you,”

“I love you to,” I said softly. We kissed. I thought it’d be the last token of our love I’d ever receive.

I heard the police telling us to surrender. I watched Andrew, he was sweating, a lot. He was waiting for the right moment. He was driving straight towards a tree.

“Go!” Came the voice of Andrew.

I opened the car door and dived out the side. It was found out later I had broken bones in the process. Andrew had to unbuckle then open the door and get out. He was just about too late. He got every part of his body out except his foot. He tugged it and eventually pulled out, snapping the bone in the process. There was no way he could run away on foot.

“Go,” he whispered, “save our son.”

“I will,” I said, tears in my eyes, “I promise.”

I ran to the hospital, but before I went in I turned to see Andrew being cornered by the fuzz.

I ran in, I fought to breathe as I skidded into the ward where they had been holding Spencer. I burst into tears when I saw him there, still in his bed. I screamed for the doctor, when he arrived I immediately handed him the Phyolum. He called for a nurse to get me some clothes and to patch up my cuts before calling someone else in. He handed the Phyolum over to them, soon after they jogged out of the room to a part of the hospital I’d never been in.

“Four months,” the doctor said. I was confused, clearly he could see that on my face. He continued,

“Four months we postponed the passing of your son. You were gone for four months and three days.”

I started to cry again,

“Thank you so much for keeping him alive, you don’t understand what this means to me.” I said, a smile rising on my face.

“Where’s your husband?” asked the doctor.

Quietly I replied, “I’d rather not say,”

I was trying to fight my tears and emotions.

The doctor cleared his throat in a cough before getting on with his work. A few minutes later I was given a hospital gown to cover my underwear.

I don’t remember what happened between that time and the time I saw Spencer waking up. It was all just tears and worries.

When Spencer awoke I embraced him in a soft hug so as not to hurt him. After another month of recovery Spencer was allowed to leave hospital. But the first thing he said shattered my heart to pieces.

“Where’s daddy?” He asked.

I swallowed my sadness before saying,

“Daddy isn’t here right now, he’s in a place with other daddies, being asked questions,”

“When will he come home?”

“I don’t know honey, I don’t know.”

I’m still asking myself that question, it’s been a year since Andrew was arrested. Every time I think of him I have to fight my tears.  Andrew says he’ll be let out soon, but I know he won’t come out for a matter of years. A few changes have happened since then; firstly Spencer has fully recovered his deadly snake bite, secondly I bought a new family car and finally, I gained a new favourite animal. The mongoose.

                                                                 

~

By Harvey Burton.

 

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