The Never Town

Alexis has a scholarship and can't wait to leave her suffocating town for bigger prospects.

Heather, Alexis' best friend, can't help thinking that things just aren't that easy.

Dual POV.

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1. Part One

Alexis

“I’m telling you, there’s something weird about this town.” I urge. Heather shakes her head.
“Just because you think you’re too good for it.” She says back.

I sigh in disbelief. Heather still hasn’t gotten over my scholarship. A place in the best grammar school in England, why would I turn it down?
“I’m going to miss you, you know.” I say. It’s painfully true, Heather is my best friend. This is going to be my last summer with her.
“I know…” she trails off and looks down at her feet dangling over the river. “I think you’re right though.”

“About what?” I reply.
“Duh, the odd atmosphere around this place?” Heather says, her voice slow as if I would struggle to understand. I bump her shoulder with mine. She smiles, but it fades all too quickly.

Looking at me, she continues. “The town is almost robotic. Everyone does the same thing, you never seem to hear any complaining. And anyone that kicks up a fuss… seems to disappear.” A gust of wind curls around my shoulders, causing me to shiver. A prickling sensation spreads down my bare arms, and Goosebumps rise from my skin. I look around the riverbank behind us. It’s summer, I’m not supposed to be cold. But hey, this is England we’re talking about.

“Oh my god. Is that what happened to Lisa’s brother?” I say in sudden realisation.
“Must’ve been.” Heather answers in a low voice. “I think he was just coming out of college, and he wanted to leave the town to find better jobs.”
“Maybe he was kidnapped.” I jest, but my joking tone falls flat, as the possible truth washes over us.
“Maybe he was…” Heather murmurs.

My heartrate picks up, pulse strumming obnoxiously in my neck, chest, wrists. “Come on…” I say in a panicked whisper. “It can’t be true. I was joking! A reference to Hot Fuzz, right? Remember that film? Simon Pegg and Nick Frost…?”

“That was just a stupid film.” Heather snaps. “I’m talking real kidnapping. Real crimes. Real… murder.”  

I choke on my own saliva. “Murder?!” I splutter. “You can’t just- not so freely!”
“For goodness sake, Alexis!” Heather chides me. “If you’re going to a top notch grammar school, you’re going to need to grow up and stop being so naïve!”

I bristle. “There’s a difference between being naïve and being paranoid!”
“I think you don’t want to believe it because you think it’s true and it’s just too horrible to think about!” She gabbles. I stop. A curious silence settles as I go over the possibility in my head.

It would make sense. It’s terrible, oh god, it’s awful. But it would explain the mysterious disappearing’s. I guess they, whoever ‘they’ are, want to keep the town a single community. No one enters. No one leaves. Slowly, oh so slowly, my brain catches up. I should be ashamed for such slow thinking.

“I’m leaving to go to a new school.” I manage to get out. Heather goes unnaturally still.
“Oh, Alexis.” She whispers, her face pale as milk and her eyes wide as saucers.

Her tone rattles me, and I stand, take a few steps away from the riverbank. “No, Heather stop. Stop looking at me like that!” I realise that I’m crying, and I wipe my eyes frantically. I’m in a state, but my brain can’t stop whirring.

“This town won’t suffocate me!” I yell at her. “I’m going to leave, just you wait and see!” I stumble back again, my legs unwilling to support me. I fall into something hard and unyielding. Spinning round, my eyes meet the overalls of the town gardener. He looks down at me, his face smudged with dirt from his work in the park. Resting his hand on my shoulder, he pushes me lightly towards the path leading away from the river.
“It’s getting late. Better get home.” He growls.

I nod, hands shaking, and take the first trembling steps home. “Alexis, wait!” I hear Heather call for me, scrambling up from the riverbank, but the gardener says something else and I hear nothing more.

Home. I’ll go home, and prepare to leave. Because I am leaving.

I am.

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