By Eli Allison
In a not too distant future, people are split into either Citizens with rights or VOIDs with nothing. Forced to live in the former port, the VOIDs have adapted to the floods; the brutal nature of life outside of society however, is not so easy.
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
No One Escapes
So, you lucky gorgeous pledgers you, today I have a short story for you. Set in my Kingston World, (but a prequel so not in Kingston yet) with my vicious little Onion at the helm. Written just for you and although it will feature on my blog, only my Mum and spammers ever find their way into that dusty corner of dead dreams and back breaking pointlessness. So wrap up warm in the cardigan of exclusivity, the bobble hat of rareness, the scarf of scarcity because except for those two days last weekend; it’s a British summer. You’re probably going to need your thermals metaphorically and literality.
No One Escapes
“I’ve heard that they’ve created an ointment that can make you young forever. Do you think that’s true?”
That’s what she asked me.
Not why I was in her bedroom. Not why my hands were down me knickers. Not a peep about that, just that strange question.
Her hair had been dyed one time too many so she was left with an angry white static. It bobbed as she rattled on about how darling it would be to not worry over trivialities such as getting old. I didn’t break it to her that the magic ointment; ReGen, was only surface deep. You’d looked eighteen but your insides would still putrefy.
She laughed like a camera was pointed at her, mouth wide, head back, eyes barely closed. She purred how, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful, so wonderful’.
Her eyes suddenly snapped open and her tone darkened, “That deviant Melvin paid you to come in here didn’t he? My God…” her arms flying wild. “…Are you even a real cleaner?” Her long finger jabbed at me. “Take your hand out of your pants this instant.”
I did as she said and thought about running but she closed the only door out of the room with a flick of her satin slipper. It locked. A shiver ran down my back and I stepped back, right into the dressing table, all her delicate jars full of potions and perfume rattled together.
She elongated her neck and rolled her shoulders back. “Whatever you’ve stolen, give it to me girl.” She held out her hand. I glanced towards the window, wondering if I’d made a mistake. I calculate the distance, sweat dripped into my eyes.
She grinned, flashing mud red gums. “Sent a girl much bigger the first time, feet like barges. Jumped straight out of that very window, found her twitching in my garden. Neck,” she snapped her fingers. “The one after that pretended to be with a charity, asking for donations.”
She stepped forward, hand still waiting, her fat diamond ring caught the last of the sun and, scattered dots of light all over her orgy of memorabilia. Every wall was covered in film posters, the odd award and head shots. Fuck me the head shots; they were everywhere, her face from every angle. Every possible way to pout.
Licking my lips, trying to control my voice I said, “Melvin didn’t make me do nothing.”
“You think I’d do anything for that prick?” I shouted. “He’s always trying to hump anything that moves, a seventeen year old hanging out with a bunch of kids, perv.”
She flinched, but indicated for me to go. I told her how he’d be bragging with his fat mouth, how he’d nicked something off her, how he was gunna cash in from it. Off his shit on glitter, he told everyone, everyone that this place was a gold mine. Bev was pouring herself all over him wetting her knicks over the idea.” I stopped out of breathe. I’d been talking way to fast.
Crossing her arms she asked, “What did he tell you about me?”
I shifted, kicking at the rug. “Just that he did odd jobs for you, why?”
The air prickled with my question. She unfolded her arms, then folded them again, avoiding my question she barked at me to continue. I told her how I’d followed Bev all the way here in her fake charity gear. Saw the rozzers rock up ten minutes later to drag her off.
Looking her in the eye I lied, “Bev was a good friend. She got done. You know she ain’t ever getting her….”
But she interrupted me, sneering that coming here wasn’t very smart.
“Maybe,” I said while dipping my hand back into my pants, her eyes warned me not to try anything. I slowly pulled out a large embossed gold medal, hanging from a red ribbon, it looked heavier than it was, it swung wild. As soon as she saw it, she squealed for me to give it to her now.
My hand shaking, I held it out. She snatched at it, pulling it hard to her chest, her eyes filling up as she crested it.
“He used Bev cos she was a care kid. If he wanted to rob you he should have had the balls to do it himself. ”
“How did you get this?” She spoke to the medal not me.
“He’s being living in a shed near me. He thinks no one knows,” I rolled my eyes. “I waited till he was out, he hadn’t even hidden it that well. Tucked in one of his trainers. Muppet. As soon as I saw it, I knew this is what he was on about.”
“You’ve gone to a lot of trouble…”
I shrugged. “Not for nothing I hope?”
Pulling out that purr again, “Why not.” She fluttered her eyelashes. “How much do you think is fair?”
Took everything I had not to bolt straight through that fake garden of hers. I could feel her eyes on me; I plastered a smile on my face but couldn’t help shivering when I thought about how her hands had lingered on mine while she handed over the cash. Odd jobs my arse.
Making sure she didn’t follow I walked back to the school, ducking under the gap in the fence and headed for the sports shed. When Melvin saw me his face was flooded with relief.
The words stumbled out of him. “I can’t believe you made it out. Did you get it?”
I indicated we should go inside.
The place was ripe and the heat buzzed; impossible to escape either. Fishing my hand down my pants I unlocked the pouch I had secured to my thigh that morning just for the job. It shuffled down my pant leg and onto the floor with a solid thud. Breathing through my mouth I whispered. “I saw it, but I could hear her coming up the stairs, so I just grabbed everything.” We huddled around it as I opened it up. Out tumbled a handful of rings, a necklace and a napkin with a blurred address bleeding into the white.
He squealed. His fingers trembled as he carefully picked up the napkin working hard not to touch the gaudy rings. He held the grubby thing to his lips and tears started sailing down his cheeks and landing in fat drops onto the floor. His eyes; flat wet disks turned to me. “I knew something was up, she started to watch the boys walk back from Saturday football. She would send me off to make her cocktails. Week after week she’d stare at those boys. One day she made me clean it, the medal. So I took it, and ran. Jenny took care of me out here; it was her idea to go back.” His barley fuzzed up chin started to wobble but he gulped it down to finish. “She was so strong Jenny, you remember how she was.”
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the stash. “She was a fucking beast.”
“Do you remember when she…”
I gathered up the rings interrupting him, “Look Melvin, I don’t want to walk down memory lane; you got what you wanted right?”
A loud gulp and he nodded, about to open his mouth to say something but I glared at him, he sniffed loud and shut up. After a while I finally had to say, “I don’t live off sad looks you know?”
He scrambled, pulling out the weed, his wrists stained with weeks of not washing. He couldn’t make eye contact, shivering. He was the human version of a bag of dead puppies. I sighed, my fingers hovered over the gear, before I said, “We agreed on two bags yeah?”
I saw Melvin’s limp frame slink round town a few times after I gave him the napkin. But then his time ran out and he got bleached, so I guess the address he’d been so desperate for didn’t pan out.
We used to be in the school’s film club together; I suppose that’s how that old hag lured him in. The drab shine of a has-been actor. No one noticed, or if they did they didn’t care he was missing; two years he was trapped in that house with her.
But no one escaped really. Jenny dead, Bev bleached along with Melvin and I got caught with the rings I’d nicked and was transferred to Sunnys and trust me it was not sunny; it was a shit storm.
The End and all that...