Darrel Hannigan's life was all black and white, a bore. But when the girl his heart has been waiting for comes along she starts tossing sparks of colour over his life. Now, he will never be the same again. This girl is Lily-Anne and she is the girl of this ordinary boy's dreams.


5. hell

I didn't get much, well, any sleep last night. That one word playing on my mind has become an infection.'Boyfriend' what did she mean by that? Of course she meant her 'lover' or to be fancy her 'significant other' but since when was that me? 


I mean, I haven't seen her in an awfully long time. Three weeks I think. Being away from her kills me. It hurts more than a screwdriver digging through my chest would. Yesterday was the first time I spoke to her in those three weeks- she was in Hawaii. Exotic, right? 


Anyway, it's back to school tomorrow and quite frankly, I'm not up for it. All the people, having to be friendly to every single one of them, small talk with teachers, it is a massive waste of time. Unfortunately, it's the law to go to school. And I thought torture was illegal... Lilly-Anne doesn't go to my school and my friends are all assholes, to be polite. So this should be great fun! Maybe I just won't tell them about my 'girlfriend'... Oh God, what if she isn't my girlfriend? Real smooth man, of course she is seeing as you are her boyfriend and all... But what if it doesn't work like that? What if I am her boyfriend but she is not my girlfriend? Oh just calm down will you, Darrel! 


It's only half ten, what seventeen year old boy is awake at half ten? Well, no sane one, that's for sure. I can't lie here on my back all day, debating whether I have a girlfriend or not, only saddos do such things. So maybe I should. I know, I will get up and I will not smile like The Joker all day and I will babysit for the parents. Okay, so maybe not the second one but I will definitely be able to do the rest. 


My mother didn't tell me where she was going. However, I do know that my dad will be at a pub all day, 'The Hat and Cane' or something. (Who names these places?) Taking part in a snooker tournament of some kind. One thing I am certain of is I will be stuck with little Eddie all day. I'll just take him to the park and get hit on by all of the young mums, the satisfaction of saying 'sorry I'm taken' is a sensation I have never felt before. It's strangly exciting to think that I will be the one saying that. What if I'm not taking and I'm lying to all of these young women? Seriously, what is wrong with you, man? 


I don't see how little people, like my brother, can sit for hours on end on spinny little round-about things without throwing up. I feel nauseous just watching one of them. They have stomachs of steel, now Imagine that. How cool would that be? You would never be sick, you could never get, It would never get punctured so you would not digest yourself from the Inside out. 'Eddie- the boy with steel insides' that is what they will call him. He will be the hero of the town.


My thoughts are rudely interrupted by the screech of tyres on a slippery road and a roaring bang. I see a flood of people fleeing the park and running in the direction of the sound. I scoop Eddie up in my flimsy arms, who Is babbling on about who knows what, and half jog- half walk to keep up with the crowd. I see bright flames, which seem to burn Edward's eyes as he buries his head in my arm. I don't know why but there Is an alarm in the back of my head, telling me to do something. I force my way to the front of the crowd, sort of wading through. I see two cars and three burnt people standing around them. A woman is frantic, something about her little girl in the very expensive looking car. The siren in my head increases speed and I start panicking, as I often do. I start to become filled with an adrenaline, pumping around my body. 

That little girl will burn in there. Why is nobody doing anything? Is anyone listening to this poor woman? If no one else will do something maybe I should. What if I fail? What if we both go up in flames with the car? Where will I put Edward? These are all the thoughts that are banging around my skull. I push Edward into the panicking woman's arms, not thinking. I cover my mouth and nose with my forearm and use the elbow of my free arm to smash the window of the car. The girl is crying, saying something to me 'It's hot. It's really hot in here, help me, please!' Her voice is surprisingly soft for a girl in her situation but that seems to have a bigger impact on me and there are tears filling my eyes, dazing my vision. 

'listen to me. Listen carefully okay? You must do exactly what I tell you to, can you do that for me?' My voice quivering.

Her lip Is trembling as If she Is going to let out a wail but she holds it in and nods. This girl is brilliant.

'You are a very brave young girl, you know.' 

She just gives me a smile, and I return it.

I tell her to undo her seatbelt and without hesitation she does. I reach through the smashed window and take off child-lock. Everything is muffled and the fumes of fury are hurting my head and I can see that the girl's eyelids are dropping. Shaking, I try to force the door open. I yank it open, almost pulling it off. I never knew I was that strong. That is not what I should be thinking about in this situation. 

'Hey!' I say, my voice shaking. And there is no reply. I repeat myself two or three times before she opens her eyes and looks at me. I sigh, quite loudly, with relief. My heart is whacking my chest and It hurts like hell but I have to Ignore it. 'Reach your arm out, as far as you can for me please.' 

She looks so frightened, and it pains me, but she does what I say. Angels should not be placed in hell but this is what it looks like. This pure, innocent girl, dropped in violent, lashing flames. It's wrong. I grab her arm and notice her foot is stuck. Hell's flames are slowely beconing successful at engulfing this vehicle. I reach my other arm over her and I carefully pull her leg free before lifting her up and out of the car. She Is a heap in my arms, clinging onto my jacket and sobbing into me. I can feel tears soaking through my jacket and I fight back my own. Her face, arms and legs are grazed with burns, but it Isn't too bad. I can feel my heart slowing down and the pain in my chest is becoming manageable. 


The girl, which I have just learnt goes by the name carolyn, peaks up from my hoodie and wraps her arms around my neck. Her embrace Is tight but it feels soft. Her mother runs over to me and hugs us both, taking her daughter off of my hands. I check if Edward is still around to see he is also in the mother's arms, sucking his thumb. Still babbling on as if nothing has happened. I laugh and take him back and he gurgles at me. 


Someone grabs me from behind and clutches my waist. At first I panic but I realise it's Lily-Anne and I smile. When I'm facing her she kisses my forehead and telld me I am her and the whole town's hero. I'm too shy for this title but I didn't think about the attention I will recieve when placed in the impulse of danger.

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