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Silent - Part 6: The Text

Gavin, Early Hours Of Saturday Morning, May 2019

A few minutes has passed since the silent phone call from a number withheld. Now a text has arrived with an attached image, from an unfamiliar number this time.

re Lucy

I don’t want to open it, as I know it’s going to be bad.

Don’t have a choice.  I open the message.  

This is serious, much worse than anything I'd anticipated.

I see an image of myself staring back from the screen, broad and clunky with a black leather jacket and coal-like eyes. Friends always tease me about those eyes, claiming that the colour makes me look like a lunatic – or as a friend (a girl but not a girlfriend) once told me, like a lovable panda bear.

A photo. Taken as I stood outside the coach station in Leeds late on Thursday afternoon, waiting for Lucy to meet me as we’d arranged.  

The text reads: GO BACK TO LONDON AND FORGET ABOUT HER OR SHE DIES AND YOU GET THE BLAME   THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN 30 SECONDS

***
LUCY

The man’s left her to die here. A slow lingering death. But first, she’ll go mad. The man must know that. That must be why he’s gone: to punish her. He's discovered her secret, the secret she'd planned to discuss with Gavin earlier in the park near Maxine's flat.

The silence becomes audible.  Watching, waiting.  

Blackness.  Shadows forming in the dark. Figures in balaclavas, carrying petrol cans.

Insanity, her deepest fear.  

The fire from when she was a little girl.

She shuts her eyes. She can still hear the flames from then. See them. Light glowing: orange, angry, alive.  Smoke, thick smoke, coming in from under the old bedroom door, like a ghost. A figure in a balaclava, watching from the hedges at night.

She opens her eyes. The flames continue coming from inside the old flat in the annexe of Lyme House. They come from the rear living room; an orchestra of fire licking the curtains, destroying them and the wooden beams. Flames creeping through the hallway, towards Mum and Dad’s bedroom.  The smell of burning. And more smoke.

Please, Maxine, phone the police.

The silence mocks her. Maxine can’t hear her thoughts. And Mum and Dad (her natural parents) are dead, so they can’t help her. She’ll die here.  Alone and forgotten, tormented by dreams and memories.

No Maxine. No Mum and Dad.

No adoptive parents. No annoying big sister,  Bossy-Olivia. No uni, no social life.

She’ll never be buried.  

Rot.    

For ever and ever and ever and ever. Here in this dark, underground place with the dripping water in the background and the smell of decay.  

No one will ever know the truth, apart from the man in the baseball cap.

I’ve got to get out of here.

She ignores the pain and tries to kick again, intending to dislodge the wires.  

Cries out in agony, yells.  

Help me!
Lozzamus
Written by Lozzamus
Published
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