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Paying the Price
Author's note: Just something random. =)
The phone rang 6:15 am Saturday on the dot; James shuffled in his bed and reached out to the side table grabbing his phone.
“Hello,” said James coughing a few times.
“James it’s Scott, get down here now it’s urgent!” Scott, his best friend, said desperately.
“What do you think you’re playing at mate, it’s 6 in the morning?” James exclaimed looking at the time.
“Look just listen, get down here now! It’s your granddad…I think he’s in trouble…” James could imagine Scott’s worried eyes and messy black hair; he shook his head and sighed.
Sliding the phone shut James thought, whatever it was he wasn’t going to take the risk, if his granddad was in trouble he wasn’t going to let it pass. As quietly as he could, making sure not to wake his mum, he crept to the bathroom and washed his face waking himself up from the heavy sleep. Staring into the mirror, he thought to himself, he didn’t look that bad for a 15 year old guy, his blue eyes were just like his dads (who was in a place where no one could bring him back from) and his brown hair was just like his mums.
Wiping the thoughts out of his mind he silently, slowly trudged back into his room, changing into a black t-shirt and blue baggy jeans. He made his way downstairs and grabbed a banana and slipped like a ghost out the front door. His ancient bike was just outside the door, shovelling the banana into his mouth he jumped onto it and made his way to Scott’s house which was just a couple of minutes away.
Reaching the top of Scott’s street James could feel something was not at all right. Just seconds from his destination, James then noticed what was wrong. His granddad’s front door was wide open, no life or light could be seen within the house. His heart started hammering against his chest; dropping his bike he ran towards the open door. All he could see in the darkness was mess all over the floor, papers and books were sprawled across the carpet and his granddad’s prized possessions, the boat models, were broken into a million pieces and were scattered around. A thought struck James confused mind if this was the state of his granddad’s belongings what would have happened to him? …
His granddad had been ill ever since his son, Brian, James’s father, had died. He had forgotten everything then and didn’t do anything but sit still watching a specific spot and saying “Brian” over and over again. His son’s death had hit him hard. But it was just recently that his Granddad had started coming back to his old self. Just a couple of days ago James’s granddad had talked to him for the first time about his father and how he, James, had the same eyes as him. Which was the exact same thing as his mum said to him.
His heart had sunk thinking about his dad but he pushed the thought to the back of his mind and started up the stairs as silently as he could. Getting to top he heard slight whispers coming from the first room, his granddad’s bedroom, he couldn’t make out who it was but he knew for definite it wasn’t his granddad. Tip-toeing to the door he put his ear on the surface of the door, close enough to hear slight words of the hushed conversation.
“Look, what do we do wid him, he jus cryin in da corner, why don’t he die already?” a rough but worried voice asked.
“Be patient my boy, ‘es old, he’ll have snuffed it by the time the feds get here and we’ll be long gone all we need to do is…” the second voice stopped and nothing else was heard. James backed away as slowly as he could, trying to slip into the other room, but the door opened and before he could run a tight hand was round his throat. He was gasping for every small breath. Everything was spinning around him. Close to unconsciousness the grip, luckily for James, loosened and a face came into his blurred view, it was a large faced man with a baldhead looking right into James’s face. The man’s eyes only said one thing and that one thing was murder.
“Didn’t mummy ever tell you its rude to listen to other people conversations?” spat the disturbingly large man onto James’s face.
“Get off me,” James gasped trying to run.
“Haha, try it son and you wont get passed the stairs without a bullet in your head!” laughed the bulky man. James was pushed into his Granddad’s room and what he saw in front of him made his blood drain from his face, making him stone cold.
There in front of him was his granddad, laying on the bed his eyes open and searching for help, his whole body limp not moving at all, but still alive, blood was oozing out of his head staining the pearl white pillows. All James could hear was his granddad whimpering, trying to ask for help. He just couldn’t take the sight anymore.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM? JUST GET OFF ME!” James screamed at the top of his voice shoving and pushing the man.
“You cant do anything now sonny, nobody can,” the enormous man holding him snickered. This made James want to fight more so he used all his strength and released himself from the man’s grip and punched him. He fell to the floor covering his stomach and groaning in pain, and that’s when James noticed, the man’s phone had fallen out onto the floor. So as quick as lightning before the other partner could get hold of him, James grabbed it and shoved it away in his front jeans pocket and made a run for it. He was close to the top of the stairs when the other partner came dashing and grabbed hold of James by the arm, trying to restrain him. James tried as hard as he could, punching and thumping the man but he knew himself he was no match for a big guy like him and just gave up. He allowed himself to be dragged back into the room without protest.
James looked at his granddad who was now still, never to move again, tears filled James’s eyes, he felt helpless. Both the men had got hold of James now and were trying to push him to the floor but a faint sound of sirens was heard beyond the windows. The largest of the men walked across to the window and stared out of it.
“Damn we gotta go, leave the kid and run Riley!” he yelled looking backwards and forwards at the window.
“NO WE CANT RAY. He’ll tell someone!” the man named Riley replied tightening his grip round James more and more.
“Will he?” growled the man named as Ray as he came striding across the room, grabbing James and pushing him with all his force against the full length mirror. James fell with a thud and was sprawled across the floor unconscious with shattered mirror pieces scattered on the floor around him. “Now he won’t will he. NOW RUN!” He yelled louder.
They both ran out the room taking one last look at the dead old man on the bed and the still body of the boy on the floor. The sirens got louder and they ran. They disappeared into the darkness of the night silently and quietly as they had appeared.
1 day and hours later
His eyes flickered open. Pain seared into James’s back it was as though a million knives were being struck into his body. It took him a few minutes to remember what had happened, looking around his room everything looked the same, but he knew himself…things had changed. James tried sitting up but with every movement he made the throbbing became more painful making him flinch each time he attempted to move.
It took minutes for him to be able to sit up and get off the bed; he went across to his mirror and pulled up his shirt looking at his back. It wasn’t a pretty sight, his skin looked as though it had been beaten with a thousand stones, the bruises were purple and there were a few cuts here and there but nothing seemed to be visually painful. Pulling down his t-shirt he walked out his bedroom trying to stay upright. Walking down the stairs he could hear a bunch of voices, stepping further down he could also hear sobs coming from the kitchen. Going down the rest of the stairs he took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen. There he saw two policemen in black and white uniform and his mum, her eyes red and puffy.
“What are they doing here?” James said looking at the policemen sitting at the kitchen table.
“James how are you? We wanted to talk to you if that’s ok?” One of the policemen said politely.
“What do you mean by ‘how are you’ Huh? What’s the point in doing or saying anything now? Why are you even here? You should have been here earlier yesterday, maybe none of us would have had to be in this situation!” James exclaimed.
“We didn’t know anything about the situation until we got a call from a young teenage boy worried about a break in at Mr Daims, your granddad’s, house. I know whatever happened yesterday must have been very stressful for you but we are here to help. We need you to work with us and help identify those men who killed your granddad and harmed you?” the policeman asked.
“How do you know I’m hurt?” James asked raising an eyebrow.
“Who do you think brought you here?” James’s mother said looking at James. “You could say thank you James, anything else could have happened if they hadn’t come!” She said breaking into another sob.
“Yeh, well thank you, and I’m sorry but I don’t know how any of the men looked, it was dark, all I know is they were big and they killed my granddad an have given me a good amount of bruises!” James huffed.
“James at least try,” his mother urged.
“I bloody am. I’m sorry mum, I was too busy being beaten up to notice what colour eyes the pretty man must have had!” James said through gritted teeth. Both James and his mother stared at each other for a few minutes, the atmosphere turned from uncomfortable to icy, which the policeman noticed.
“Ok, it looks like we should leave you for the time being and let you pull yourself together, we’ll stay in touch, if you do remember anything you know where we are,” the police man forced a smiled and with that they both got up and showed themselves out. Even when they had gone James’s mum was still glaring at him.
“What?” James said shrugging.
“James you could have tried, why do you have to be so hard to figure out?” she said her tone becoming stronger and angry.
“Look mum just forget it I don’t need this, I just saw my granddad fight for every breath yesterday and you expect me to be all woopii about it and work with the police, what are they gonna do? Nothing at all I tell you, so just drop it!” James yelled and walking out the room, shoving his shoes violently on and rushing out the out the front door making his way to Scott’s on foot.
When James reached to Scott’s house he banged at the door, it took Scott just seconds to answer it.
“Jeeeeeez James, you’re ok, come in,” Scott said patting James on the back. James was really glad to see his friend; he shook his head and smiled.
“Hi to you too,” James said walking in and up the stairs to Scott’s room where he found Darren (another friend of theirs) sitting down.
“JAY, wow man! How you doing?” Darren said standing up, “I called your mum to see how you were and man was she in a state, great start to summer holidays huh?”
“You’re telling me, my mum Ha…Yeh well we aint really the best of friends right now,” James said sitting down making sure not to provoke the dormant pain in his back.
“Don’t worry she’ll get over it, my mum does, well she kicks me out first but then begs me to come back, I eventually do cuz I miss my decent food,” Darren laughed. Darren looked older than 16, he was big built and tall, with short spiky dark browny hair. He had green grey eyes that added a touch of softness to his hard looking face. Experience had made Darren more of an aggressive person to those who pushed the limit otherwise he was a great friend to those knew him well.
“Nice to know Darren, anyway Jay…tell us what happened?” Scott said sitting down and grabbing a can of cola.
So James told them the story of the night before every tiny detail, maybe exaggerated a bit more, but it was the whole truth. He hesitated a bit while explaining how his granddad looked, his breathing slowed down and he thought and then carried on. When he finished telling it all he breathed.
“Never gonna forget it, I’m telling you, its all clear in my head” he said shaking his head, his eyes watering slightly.
“Ahh, I’m sorry James honestly,” Darren said.
“So.am.I,” James said slowly, he sat and let his thoughts over take him His Pa had always been close by now that he was gone he felt alone and lost. His Pa was gone and was never coming back, just like his Dad. James felt a tear trickle down his cheek, quickly wiping it away, he sighed and knew he wasn’t going to get over the loss of his Pa. Running his hand across his leg, he felt a rectangular bump in his front jeans pocket. His forehead creasing he took the bump out and there he found the phone, the phone that he had grabbed yesterday while trying to get away.
“What’s that, you got a new phone then?” Scott asked
“No, it’s not mine…” James said staring long and hard at it as though it was about to speak.
“What do you mean?” Darren asked.
“Its his, the guy. The guy who…who killed my granddad…” James answered very slowly taking in the information himself.
“Your serious right, man you gotta check it you never know you could find out who they were, give it to me I’ll check,” Scott said grabbing the phone and flicking through it. They all sat there as the brightest out of all of them touched the phone as though it was a piece of historic artefact.
“So you’re telling me, this guy dropped his phone which contained a text which said something about an address, where you think they might be at right now? That just stupid why would they do that?” Darren asked looking confused, “Wouldn’t they fight back for it?”
“No Darren I don’t think they knew I had taken the phone…” James said rolling his eyes.
“But what reason would they have to kill an old man, someone may have told them or something I don’t know. Maybe they were being paid and this address is somebody they had to report back to? They must have needed to know where to go back to when they’ve done the job right? That address must have been in this phone there so the guys could have remembered where to go, after everything’s done maybe? Just look at it, why would somebody put their own address in their phone? They obviously would know it by heart, wouldn’t they, and this text was recent as well so it does kind of fit,” Scott said typing the address into the Google Maps his eyes wide and excited.
“Jeez Scott how many films have you been watching?” Darren said. But Scott shut Darren up with a gesture and showed them a picture of the area and its history. It was old factory, which looked as though it hadn’t been used for ages.
“So what do you want to do James? Tell the police or somin’?” Scott asked, after a few minutes of silence.
“We are gonna go there and find out who they are!” James said looking straight at Scott.
“Are you mad? Look at the place, no way James these guys are big. I saw them myself yesterday breaking down the door to you’re granddads house and just walking in, they killed him for no apparent reason what makes you think they wont break you’re legs?” Scott exclaimed his seriousness kicking in. He was always the logical thinker out of the 3. When something didn’t add up he was always against it until it made sense.
“I don’t care I wana find out what’s going on, like you said, why would they kill an old man for?” James said calmly.
“Well I don’t mind coming with you James…I don’t mind some fun,” Darren said smiling.
“What! Are you both MAD? No! Not at all its dangerous, it’s stupid!” Scott yelled his voice shaking, “We’re 16, well one of us,” he said looking at Darren, “what do you expect us to do?”
“Just find out who they are and why they did it,” James said getting feeling confident.
“Just leave it James,” Scott yelled
“Fine me and Darren will go, we’ll be fine without you,” James said standing up shoving the phone back in his pocket.
“No no, James, come on please man,” Scott pleaded but James made no sign of giving up and Scott knew that very well, “…fine I’ll help ok?” Scott said giving in, “But we got to plan and be careful, were only kids not James bonds sidekick!”
“Well, I am James aren’t I ha-ha, that was supposed to be funny,” James said noticing the lack of life in the room except for Darren rubbing his eyes, “Ok…so were gonna do it tomorrow, Scott you do your plan and what ever else and we’ll get ready?”
“TOMORROW…” Scott said his eyes wide open.
“YES SCOTT! Tomorrow I can’t wait any longer,” James answered emphasising on the ‘tomorrow’
“Wow, ok so we better get to work then,” Scott said.
“We’re on,” Darren said coming back to reality. Darren was smart but he didn’t really see the need to use his brain all the time; it was “Dormant” as Scott always said to him.
So all three of the boys sorted out what was needed to be done in preparation, they were awake quiet late making sure they knew what each of them were doing. James called his mum and told her he’d be staying round Scott’s, even though he felt it was unfair leaving her at a time like this, but he felt it had to be done. She wasn’t too happy about it but she said yes. Darren done the same and everything seemed to be in position; now they just had to actually do what they had planned.
James, Scott and Darren were up at 6:00am; they were all tired from the late night but pushed themselves to get ready and pack the things they may need like: torches, penknives, phones, and a map of the area they were targeting which Scott had printed. About 7:00am they were ready and went over the plan again making sure they knew it all by heart.
“I still think it’s stupid that we’re doing this so quick, we can properly sort things out or even ask the police we don’t have to do this ourselves,” Scott said trying as hard as he could to persuade James but he wouldn’t budge, and if James didn’t agree nor would Darren so he had to tag along.
The three youngsters walked out the house; both of Scott’s parents worked early hours, so they didn’t really worry about being caught. They walked to the bus station and waited for the bus they were supposed to take. It took them about half an hour to get to the factory area, the atmosphere seemed dull and quiet, there was no one to be seen and no sound was made, it was as though time had stopped when the factory had stopped working. As the trio walked further and further they could see different cars parked out side the main door of the factory and a few people walking around with their arms crossed, they didn’t look very pleasant.
“Duck down we can’t be seen,” James said dropping down by the bin.
“Ok so we gotta get in without them noticing,” Scott said looking at both Darren and James.
“Umm well, I know this might not help but on my play station game when the assassins going to kill someone he throws a stone one way distracting the bad guys and then runs in…what about that ‘ey?” Darren said smiling like a 4 year old as though he’d just recited his ABC and was waiting for an applause.
“Wow well done Sherlock Holmes! NO.…” Scott said sarcastically but clearly worried. Not listening to the bickering of his fellow friends, James looked up above the bin and saw a small gap between two broken doors going into the side of the factory.
“Follow me,” James said crawling across the dry grass.
“Where?” Scott said squeaking. But James wasn’t listening he was already crawling forward making sure nobody saw them. It took them about 2 minutes to get to the side of the factory and James cautiously slipped in not waiting to hear Scott’s protest.
“Is it orite?” Darren asked.
“Yeh, get in…hurry,” James said helping both Darren and Scott in through the gap.
“Ok so what now?” Darren asked.
“There, look there’s a door come let’s check it out,” James said swiftly going towards the door. He put his ear to one side of the door listening for any noises but it seemed clear. He opened it, but what greeted them on the other side definitely made Scott squeal.
“Hello ladies,” said a gold toothed man staring right into their faces along with 5 other men, including Ray and Riley from the night before.
“S-sorry we were just passing by, you know, just p-playing around and that?” Scott stuttered.
“Oh really and p-playing what b-barbies?” Said one of the men behind the gold toothed man mimicking Scott’s stutter.
“Look he said we’re sorry and we’re going ok,” Darren said coming forward.
“Oh and your the feisty one are you? Well lets teach you a lesson on ‘why it’s bad to trespass’ ‘ey?” The gold tooth guy said, “Ray, lock ‘em up, we’ll sort ‘em later, ”He said to Ray behind him.
“Wait Rex, that’s the kid who was round The Daim’s place the other day, it’s him he gave us all the trouble and I bet you he’s got my phone!” Ray said getting awfully excited.
“Really, well more the reason to teach them a lesson ‘ey man,” the man named as Rex said reaching out for James. But before anyone could touch him, Darren jumped forward and punched Rick in his face. Chaos broke out and the men behind Rex started attacking Darren, James couldn’t watch his friend get beaten up because of him, so he lunged forward grabbing anyone he could trying to restrain them from beating his friend up. The pain in his back began to creep back but he took no notice and carried on struggling to stop them from hitting Darren, but he wasn’t making any difference. Scott didn’t know what to do he just stood there letting the men grab hold of him. Darren and James both carried on fighting but there was no point, there were 6 large men around them they had no chance of escaping. It was the end.
“I knew this idea was a bad idea I said NO but nooo nobody listens to me, you wanted to come, you wanted to get into this even though you knew it was impossible, what was the point in even coming here? What did you get out of it? NOTHING! Except for a bunch of bruises?” Scott yelled at the top of his voice but James and Darren both stayed quiet.
Darren was pacing around the small boxed room, James sat on the table and Scott sat in the corner of the room crying after his outburst, each in their own thoughts not knowing what to do. They had been stuck in the same room for 3 hours, it seemed that they were the only life in the whole building no sound or movement could be heard.
“I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE I NEED TO GET OUT,” Darren yelled, banging the door as hard as he could.
“Calm down Darren we’ll work something out,” James said scratching at the table he was sitting on and then as though a light bulb had just switched on inside his head, “I know I have an idea”.
“Well its all we got, so tell us,” Darren said looking at James and to Scott who didn’t look any of them in the eye.
“Ahhhhhhh help me now help, he’s hurting me help!” Scott screamed on the floor as Darren kicked him.
“Leave him Darren, get off him!” James yelled trying to hold Darren back from beating Scott. They heard noises outside the door and James ran behind it grabbing the table leg they had taken apart from the table.
“What’s happening here you stupid girls, having a cat fight are we?” a bulky man came in wearing a cap and leather jacket. “Where’s the…” He didn’t get to finish his sentence; James had smacked the table leg across the man’s head causing him to fall on the floor.
“Is he dead?” Darren asked helping Scott up.
“No I think he’s just unconscious!” Scott said brushing dust off himself. Looking at Darren’s confused face he smiled and said, “And that Darren is a long word for deep sleep, and next time a bit easy, you’re like twice the size of me,” he laughed rubbing his stomach. Darren smiled back and patted him on the head like a dog.
“Yeh, ok lets get crackin’ ‘ey? ” James said checking if anyone was outside the now open door, “Ok we’re clear, lets just get going,” The three crept out the room and followed the corridors they remembered walking through when being dragged to the boxed room.
“OI WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING…GET ‘EM THEY’RE ON THE RUN, GET ‘EM,” someone from behind them started yelling. James and the boys broke into a run as fast as their legs could carry them. They heard a large thud but didn’t look back because the footsteps were pounding closer behind them, James and Darren carried on running and that’s when they noticed.
“SCOTT!” James and Darren shouted, looking back.
“You Daim get back in now or I swear he wont be the only loved one of yours I’ll rip apart,” snarled Riley pointing his gun to Scott’s head and staring right at James.
“Leave him alone, we’ll go from here without saying anything, we won’t tell anyone about this,” Darren asked trying to keep his cool but fire was blazing in his eyes.
“James p-p-lease help m-me, please,” Scott pleaded, tears falling from his eyes.
“Leave him alone,” James asked making sure not show any sign of weakness.
“I said get in back in the room then I’ll think about it!” Riley spat, his gloved hand tightening round the gun. But James wasn’t going to listen he walked towards Scott and the man not caring that the gun was no pointing at him.
“Leave him alone,” James said not asking but ordering now.
“Yeh right,” Riley laughed and with that James ran towards Riley but he was too quick, his gun was back at Scott’s head and BAAM. Scott’s body fell to the floor, still and never to move again.
“NOOOOO!” screamed Darren and James at the same time. Darren just stood there, speechless; his best friend had just been shot dead in front of him. But he snapped out of these thought and said to himself he had to act or it wouldn’t only be Scott dead in front of him.
“I’m gonna kill you!” James cried as he ran for Riley but Darren had already grabbed James’s arm and tugged at him to run, he didn’t want to loose another friend.
“Come on then,” Riley laughed
“James leave it, we can’t do anything now, please just come!” Darren urged. James tried running but Darren’s grip was too hard, so he had to listen. Standing still James took one last look at Scott’s lifeless body, and ran down the corridor towards the open exit with Darren right by his side.
“YEH YOU KEEP RUNNING JAMES DAIM, YOU KEEP RUNNING, JUST LIKE YOUR DAD DID, SOON YOU’LL BE WITH BOTH YOUR GRANDAD AND DAD!” Riley said, loud enough for James to hear, “Run after them you doughnuts,” he said to the appearing men behind him, but James and Darren were already across the factory field and had disappeared into the darkness.
Half an hour later at Darren’s house…
Back at Darren’s house, Darren cried and James just sat there, they were taking in everything that had just happened. Their best friend Scott had been killed in front of them. For nothing. James had found out nothing else except for the fact that the same people, who had killed Scott and his Granddad, had killed his father and they were now after him.
“What are we gonna do now James?” Darren said through silent controlled sobs.
“I don’t know Darren, but one thing I am certain about is that they’ve killed my Dad, they’ve killed my Granddad and they’ve killed my best friend, and now they’re gonna pay the price”…
7:30 pm the sky was pinkish and orange, the sun was setting, and James stood in front of his front door. Taking several deeps breaths he turned the key in the lock and opened the door.
“James, James is that you?” James’s mum’s worried voice sounded from the kitchen.
“Yeh, it’s me,” James grunted taking his shoes off.
“You’re back early, I thought you’d be staying a bit longer?” his mum said, coming into the hallway and looking straight at his face, “Why are you so dirty, and is that a bruise on your face. What have you been up to James?” She said her eyebrows rising.
“Nothing mum, Darren and me were just chillin’ in the park, that’s it, we were just mucking about, I’ll clean up,” James said starting for the stairs.
“What about Scott? Weren’t you staying down his?” His mum asked her confusion clear on her face. James closed his eyes; the sound of Scott’s name made his heart sink.
“Yeh, we were, he wasn’t feeling well, so…he went home and…we came home early,” James said looking at his dirty socks, trying to avoid eye contact with his mum.
“Ok…well, hurry up and get changed then, I’ve made dinner,” She said not saying anything more.
James ran up the stairs the second his mum was back in the kitchen. Running into his room he shut his bedroom door, sat in front of it and just cried. He hadn’t cried much when his granddad had died because it had all happened too quick to take in, or at all when Scott had been shot in front him, all he had felt was anger but, now, when it had all dawned on him, that he had been there on both occasions, and wasn’t able to do anything to prevent them from happening; his tears just felt continuously, silently.
Earlier on when they had got to Darren’s house they had both just sat there, watching the news, not saying a word to each other. They had already thought about what their excuse was, for some reason the two boys didn’t feel the need to tell anyone about what had really happened, it was something that was only for them to know about and only for to sort out. When it had got late, saying silent goodbyes, James left.
All James wanted was to see Scott, and tell him he was sorry, sorry for not listening to him, sorry for not waiting, sorry for thinking they could do all this by themselves. But he knew it was impossible.
Now sitting in his room, James looked at the bruises on his arms and sighed. Getting up he turned around and took a look at his back in the mirror.
“Wow,” he said. The bruises had now turned to a dark shade of purple and were getting more painful. Taking his shirt off and throwing it into the basket, he opened his bedroom door making sure his mum wasn’t around, and ran to the bathroom. Turning on the shower he undressed and slid in.
The water ran over his tense arms down his body and over his cuts, the warms water caused a small amount of pain but he didn’t flinch, he didn’t do anything but stand there under the power of the water thudding upon him, deafening him.
After the shower he walked down the stairs into the kitchen.
“You took your time Hun,” James’s mum said, placing a large piece of lasagne in front of him.
“Thanks,” he said looking at the plate in front of him. Sitting down next to him with her own slice, James’s mum stroked his face.
“You’re strong James. Just like you’re Dad,” she smiled her eyes shining.
“Thanks mum,” he smiled poking the lasagne, not knowing what to say, “I wish I knew him better,” he said picking at a carrot.
“I know, things have been hard on you, I’m sorry for what I said earlier, having a go at you, your granddad was good to me, it’s just not fair the way he went,” she said quiet tears rolling down her face.
“I know mum, I know,” James said reaching an arm out to his mum, hugging her, “I love you mum,” he sniffed keeping his tears in.
“I love you too James,” she said through silent tears.
The morning sun hit James’s face, blinking a few times; he opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. Closing his eyes again he could hear faint sounds of his mum’s small footsteps tapping downstairs. It gave him a sort of reassurance that his mum was there, she was safe, at least someone was.
But then all that comfort was wiped away by one word…Scott.
“Arghh Scott man, I’m sorry, I’m sorry man, I swear, I’m sorry man,” he whispered his hands over his face, “I swear I’m gonna get ‘em, I promise!” Opening his eyes he got off the bed and stretched his arms, walking across the room he stood in front of his punching bag and started punching it as hard as her could. Minutes had passed and already he had sweat pouring down his face mixed with salty tears. Blood was pounding in his ears until James’s mum walked into the room.
“James, James…it’s Scott, he’s…he’s been found…dead!” she cried through heavy tears.
The day went pass in a total blur for James, there was masses of crying, Darren came round his house, then the police, then the visit to Scott’s house, comforting Scott’s mum, Kate, and saying their “sorry” to his dad. Then there was more questioning from the police, and then the final conclusion; Suicide.
“But how, why?” Kate shrieked, “He was happy, he had everything, he was my little baby!”
“He was found in a ditch, seemed to have shot himself, his own finger prints were found on the gun, no one else’s. It looks like he may have fell into the ditch after shooting himself. Quiet a nasty fall he had, I’m very sorry,” the policeman said.
“No wait, that’s not rig…” Darren started but James nudged him signalling him to stop.
“I’m afraid we may have to leave it at that, as there’s no sign of a murder case,” the policeman said. After a few sobs from Kate the policeman sighed, “I shall stay in touch,” with that he left leaving everyone in the room quiet and in their own thoughts.
Later that evening at James’s house
“What now Jay?” Darren asked “they think he’s killed himself, like wtf he wouldn’t, no, I mean he didn’t!” he said rubbing his face in sadness.
“I don’t know yet, but I have a feeling we’ll come up with something, I’ve promised myself, and Scott, everything will be sorted!” James said
“How? how can we just act as though he killed him self, when he didn’t?” Darren cried swinging his arms about, “He did my head in, but was my brother, well like it weren’t he? Lookin’ around and seeing what these people think of him, saying he’s a chicken, some disturbed guy, it’s just pissin’ me off!” Darren squeezed his eyes restraining the tears from falling. But failing.
“We just have to, us telling could mess things up!” James said shaking his head.
“How messed up do you want things to get Jay!?” Darren said keeping his anger under control, “Our bloody best friend was shot and the feds bloody think he bloody killed him self!” he yelled putting his head in his hands.
“I know I know, Darren we just gotta calm down, please…if we don’t hear from Riley’s lot in this next week, then we’ll go straight to the police tell them everything, I promise,” James pleaded Darren.
“Yeh right, and what’s that gonna do? Its gonna be too late! They might not even believe us! They might think we’re flippin’ crazy! I feel mucked up right now. I need a fag” Darren exclaimed fumbling into his pocket.
“come on you said you wouldn’t do that crap anymore” Look we have proof, the phone, the rats were so hyped about us being down their area that they didn’t bother taking the phone!” James said.
“Ha stop doin’ that crap, Jay that was before all this crap happed,” he said taking a puff at his now lighted cigarette. “I just cant be bothered, tomorrows Scott’s funeral. I want him to rest in peace, who cares about everything else,” Darren said shaking his head.
“Hmm, well be ok Darren, we will,” James smiled trying not only to reassure Darren but himself too.
“Sure we have,” Darren smiled back blowing some smoke out, closing his eyes not only to everything around him but his dark thoughts too.
4 days later: Saturday
3 days after Scott’s funeral it was James’s birthday. Walking down the high street he fiddled with his drawstring JD bag, taking out a couple of notes. For his 16th birthday, his mum had given James more money then usual to spend on whatever he wanted, but he wasn’t in the mood so he decided he would put it all into his savings account, the full £150. A few minutes in the bank and James was out, he walked down towards McDonalds for his all time favourite; chicken nuggets.
Halfway down the busy street James felt as though he was being watched, and James being James, he didn’t like the feeling of someone watching him, which was weird as he wasn’t so bad looking. Looking around, he saw two men sitting on a bench; both smartly but casually dressed, sitting not far from them was a woman, attempting to feed her small toddler ice cream. Nothing out of the ordinary, he thought.
Walking onwards a pretty looking girl caught his eye. She stopped and smiled at him and then James recognised her; Amy from his primary school, he hadn’t seen her for ages. They used to be close friends, along with Scott and Darren but before going to high school she had moved away to a different area. Gradually they had grown apart until they hardly ever saw each other. For James it was hard letting her go, his feelings for Amy then had become more then just friends. Even after 5 years James felt something flutter inside him, telling him that he still hadn’t gotten over that primary school crush.
“Hey JAY oh my God it’s you…” she squealed, her eyes and hair were brown, the same as it had been when he had last seen her all those years ago, her skin was tanned and James couldn’t believe how different and good she looked. “OH my God yeh… Happy birthday!” she said pulling him and hugging him tight.
“Yo…Amy...Thanks!” James smiled, holding onto her tight.
“I’m fine Jay. I heard about Scott and you’re Pa, I’m so sorry, really,” She said, letting go.
“Yeh I know, sucks…” he sighed, his smile fading.
“You’ve changed so much, not the annoying dude I knew when I was 10, barely recognised you,” she said tilting her head, “looking good Jay,” she smiled, showing off her perfect teeth.
“Why thank you, lookin’ amazing yourself,” James said his heart beating madly, “So um, you wanna go for something to eat, my treat, we could catch up, and I could do with a laugh?” he said ruffling his hair.
“Why not ‘ey!” She smiled, placing her hand into his.
“It’s bin ages, I’ve missed you Jay, even though you were the most annoying guy I knew, but still I gotta say the sweetest,” she said, “We had good times, Me, You, Darren and…Scott.” She smiled sipping her milkshake.
“I know, wicked times ‘ey,” James laughed playing with the straw in his cola.
“I gotta say Jay, your looking really buff, must have a nice chick now too ey?” she said playing with her bracelets.
“Nah…” James said smiling and raising his eyebrows.
“Really?” She said looking quickly at him “Why?” she asked, trying not to sound so interested.
“You tell me?” James said. “Do you have a man?”
“Well no…” She said blushing.
“Why?” James asked his smile getting wider.
“Well I, um well, I did…but it just didn’t feel right …he was a right git, well I’ve had 2 guys and both didn’t know the meaning of respect!” She said playing with her hair, her voice quiet low.
“Hmm…” James said, and then it clicked…NOW just do it man! Something said inside his head, “Ames…”
“Yes…” Amy said finishing her cola and looking straight his face.
“There something I gotta say, and I guess I should be saying it now before I start regretting I didn’t later on,” James started, “ You know I…”
“Wait Jay, do you know those guys behind you?” Amy said, raising her eyebrows.
“Who?” he said, looking round James found the same two men who had been sitting on the bench earlier on, “ No…why?”
“They’ve been following us since we started walking together…freaks!” Amy said shaking her head.
“Hmm…”James said, thinking of the first possibility; Riley.
“Hello...” Amy said waving her hand in front of James’s face.
“Yooo…sorry colas getting to my brain…” He said shaking his head and laughing.
“Yeh right, James and a brain…as if you’ve got something up there!” she laughed.
“As a matter of fact Ames I do!” James laughed throwing a chip at her.
“So what did you wanna say?” She said eating a chip.
“Well umm, I well Ames the last 3 years, yeh…” James started, but a phone started buzzing. They both looked down at the pink vibrating phone on the table.
“Oh sorry, it’s my mum, im gonna have to take it, I was supposed to be home 15 minutes ago gosh!” she said getting up and shaking her head.
After the phone call, Amy’s Mum wanted her home, so they quickly finished their food and drinks and walked to the bus stop.
“We gotta see each other again Ames, I had fun,” James smiled.
“Totally, maybe then you’ll have the guts to say what you’ve been wanting to say for ages ey!” she laughed.
“What?” James choked on his gum, “I well I emm…” he said gulping.
“See you soon James!” Amy laughed slipping her number into his hand.
“Yeh…” James said, “See you soon…” looking down at the number he smiled, “Defiantly”
He watched her as she got up onto the red bus and as it disappeared into the London jam-packed traffic, James sighed, after so long he felt as though things were normal. Leaning against the bus shelter, he looked around, and that’s when he noticed. The two men that were in McDonalds and on the bench were looking straight at him. Who the hell are they, too smart for Riley’s lot, wait that’s not them at all, they’ve got badges but maybe it is, nah I cant take the chance could be the police, he thought.
Slowly backing away, James started walking in the opposite direction towards Darren’s house. He could hear the footsteps of the men behind him, getting closer and closer. As his pace quickened the footsteps sounded heavier and louder, soon James was running, and so were the two men.
Skidding into an alleyway, James hid behind a bin breathing heavily, WTF, he thought. Putting his head in his hands he ruffled the sweat out of his hair and rubbed his head.
Just when he thought that he had lost the two, he heard a crunch on the gravel in front of him. The second he looked up he felt a sharp blow on his head making him fall sidewards and loose all consciousness.
Lying on his side James could hear a few voices, talking between each other, quietly. He didn’t open his eyes but just stayed in the same straight sleeping position, smelling the strong smell of antiseptic lingering around him, he breathed out. His back was turned to the people who were now starting to talk louder.
“How hard did you hit him? It’s been a day and a half he should be awake by now, all he’s done is stir in his sleep!” a woman’s voice said, whom he didn’t recognise.
“It was just a punch Sam, a normal light one, honestly,” said a man’s voice he didn’t recognise either.
“You’re normal punches Rick, have gravely injured many, this is a 16 year old kid we’re talking about, you could’ve been a bit more easier on the Daim’s kid!” the woman named as Sam said angrily.
With his eyes closed James rolled onto his back, his body felt heavy and limp, he couldn’t feel his legs or his arms, everything felt numb. Slowly he opened his eyes the bright light above him, blinding him making him blink frantically.
“Wait, I think sleeping beauties awake,” said Rick as he looked at James. James looked back at Rick, blinking a few times. With his pale blue eyes, blond shiny hair and white teeth gleaming on show, Rick seemed quiet friend and young. Maybe 19 or 20 James thought. “Orite James, or should I say Jay, isn’t that what your friends call you?”
“Who the hell are you?” James asked, gruffly sitting up. The room was spinning around him. “Why am I here, what the hell, man I cant see properly!” he slurred slumping back down.
“That we can’t tell you right now until later on, but I’m Sam and that is Rick,” Sam said waving towards Rick. “You can thank him for the pain you must be feeling right now,”
“Wait I know you, your the one that was following me along with that other guy, while I was at town, you… you followed me, bloody smacked me and now am here!” James said getting back up and frowning.
“Hey I had to, you were running like mad…weren’t my fault,” Rick shrugged.
“Look I don’t see why I’m here, I haven’t done anything wrong, can I just go please, my mums all on her own, she’ll be worried sick,” James said looking at the needle poked into his skin. “What’s this?”
“Rick, go and tell Craig he’s awake, he’ll want to know…Now,” Sam said ignoring James.
“Orite orite I’m goin’, see you later Jay boy,” Rick smiled and winked as he walked out the white doors.
“Look lady…” James started looking at Sam, angrily putting his hand through his brown hair.
“My names Sam if you cant say that then you can say Mam, if you cant say that then you can say Miss, if you can’t even say that then don’t bother saying anything, until you can talk politely!” she snapped.
“Ok, ok Sam,” he emphasised on the ‘Sam’, “Why am I here? I haven’t done anything wrong for you guys to beat me up and shove me here!”
“I know you haven’t done anything wrong, but you have done something. You were just curious weren’t you James?” Sam said folding her arms. She looked like she was in her mid 30’s, with light brown hair with odd strands of grey in it, she was pretty but it years of stress showed on her face.
“What you on about?” James stopped still and looked at Sam. “Look I don’t need to be here I…I gotta go am feelin’ flippin’ suffocated here!” James exclaimed ripping the injection out his skin, whimpering as it slid out.
“You know what I’m talking about James. Who killed you Granddad? Why? For what reason did he suffer? Watching a loved one dieing and not knowing the reason why they were killed can drive anybody to do anything!” She said, “Isn’t that right James?”
“I…I…look please can…” James stuttered but Sam wasn’t having any of it.
“Answer my question please James, we won’t tell anyone, we’re not the police, you won’t get in trouble!” She said her eyes staring at him, James squirmed, he didn’t like where this was going.
“Then why do I feel like I’m being interrogated?” He said making a face.
“Answer my question!” She said.
“Yes you’re right.” James admitted slapping his hands on the bed, “But what has it got to do with anything, it was just a thought wasn’t it!” he said shrugging.
“No it wasn’t, James, Wasn’t it you on 18th July who went to the disused factory to find out who were those killers, Riley and Ray? You went along with your 2 friends?” She asked, a few minutes passed and James breathed in and out slowly: it dawned on him; she knows he thought.
“Yes…” he said rubbing his arm consciously.
“Instead of finding out anything useful you and you’re friend Darren suffered another loss, loss of you friend; Scott Davis?” she said.
“How do you know?” James asked looking shocked, “We didn’t tell anyone!”
“I know everything James Daim, you’re born here in London, grown up in London, you’re soon to go college, your mothers name is Grace Daim, your granddad was killed 16th July by a gang, and your dad was killed by the same people…it was just your birthday a few days ago, you met your old friend Amy after a very long time, 3 years? Pretty girl I see,” she said, nodding her head.
“Who are you?” James asked his eyes wide open, “you freak!” he added disbelief clear on his face.
“I think you should just get dressed and I’ll take you to somebody who I think will make much more sense to you!” she smiled pointing at his clothes on the chair opposite his bed.
“I still don’t know why im here?” James said as her walked down the corridor following Sam her heels tapping on this floor.
“Like I said, when you meet Craig everything will make sense,” Sam said stopping at a door, “He’ll be waiting inside, just walk in, and I’m telling you now: he doesn’t, like he says, take “crap” from anybody, so just be careful,” she said a small smile on her face
He opened his mouth again and then closed it, “Ok,” James grunted and opened the door. No point in saying anything he thought shaking his head. Walking into a small-boxed room he found a man sitting at a small rectangle table, he didn’t look like the mean type but not even the type of man who’d take ----- from anyone, so James thought about leaving out the drama. James looked at the man carefully, trying to recognise him, but he didn’t seem to remember him from anywhere. The guy had a big structure but not too overbuilt, his eyes were grey but seemed tired and his hair was darkly coloured, still he didn’t ring a bell.
“How are you feeling James?” the man said, “I’m Craig, Craig Sheck, have a seat,” he said waving to the seat opposite him, not even letting James breath an answer.
“Hi… does everyone know my name here?” James asked taking the seat, “I honestly don’t know why I’m here? And it’s seriously starting to take the…” looking at Craig’s face James coughed “…the P word,”
“Well, I don’t think everybody, and I don’t expect you to know everything, but I’ll enlighten you and tell you why” he said, “What do you know about you’re Dad? Brian Daim?” He asked.
“My dad, well, my mum told me…he died in a car accident just few days before I was born, she said he had had a hard life?” James said shrugging, “I don’t know much, mum doesn’t say much about him…”
“Hmm, well your father did have a hard life, harder then some, but he put himself in that position, but was willing to do anything to move out of it, and when I say anything I mean anything,” Craig said.
“What do you mean?” James asked frowning, “How do you know my dad?”
“Your Dad, what do you know of his past?” Craig said leaning forward
“Well umm, I know he dropped out of school when he was 14, got involved with wrong people, but like I said my mum doesn’t talk much about him,” James said shaking his head and putting his hand through his wet hair.
“Your dad James, did leave school at 14, he did get involved with the wrong type of people, he did ruin his life, his future by just carrying out a few simple jobs, like selling a few class A drugs, nicking money from here and there, things that added up slowly till when he was 18 nothing could stop the trouble that was ahead of him. Each time he tried to run away from it all someone would claw him back; blackmail him saying that they would ruin his families life if he didn’t carry out the one job. The police were after him too, but they never seem to catch him out, as him and your mum were always moving places. But I guess it had all got to him and he tried… tried killing himself by jumping in front of my car all those years ago,” Craig drank some water and looked at James.
“And?” James asked “Then?”
“That James is where it all started,” Craig sighed
“What started?” James asked confused tilting his head sidewards.