Kennedy sat holding a photograph of a happy family. In the photo
there was a young boy that was obviously him as a small child,
beside him was his parents Michael and Fiona. The longer he held
on to the photo the larger it appeared to be. His eyes were drawn
to the smiling faces of his younger self and his parents. He
pulled out a lighter and without so much as blinking he held the
flame under a corner of the photo. In seconds the photo slowly
burst into flames. Kennedy's eyes fell on a bottle of brandy that
was at the end of the table, he picked it up slowly as if he was
considering drinking it he then twisted his face with a look of
disgust and threw the bottle hard against the wall where it
shattered into thousands of pieces.
Kennedy woke up sweating, and looked on his bedside table to find that the photograph of him and his parents was still there. It had not been burned, he realized that he must have been dreaming but why he would dream about such a strange thing was unclear. He must have been at least eighteen years old if not older in that dream, for a brief moment he wondered if he would actually look like that when he was an adult. The dreams of last night were put behind him as he remembered that it was his birthday. He could not have been more excited even though he didn't show it on the outside. As he reached the bottom of his stairs he was met by his mother who was wearing a flowery apron, and stirring what looked like cake mix in the mixing bowl she was holding.
She bent down and kissed Kennedy on the forehead, "Happy Birthday Kennedy."
"Thanks Mum," smiled Kennedy.
"Happy Birthday Ken," said Michael, jabbing Kennedy in the shoulder playfully, "One year closer to being a man."
The doorbell rang and Michael went to answer the door.
"I bet that will be someone who's come to wish you a Happy Birthday, you watch."
Michael returned with a tall, blonde haired young woman who smiled and waved politely.
"Look who's here to see you son, it's my friend Monica."
Kennedy looked unimpressed, "Did she bring me any presents?"
Laughing nervously Michael spoke to Kennedy through gritted teeth, "It's not very polite to ask questions like that son."
"It was a joke!" Kennedy answered defensively.
Monica whispered to Michael, "It's all right. I'll handle this."
Smiling and taking a step back, Michael replied, "Ok Mon."
"I heard it was your birthday today Kenny, so I thought I'd drop by just to say happy birthday and I hope you have the best day possible," smiled Monica, looking somewhat proud of herself.
"Don't call me Kenny please," replied Kennedy, looking irritated, "I don't like it."
Fiona cleared her throat authoritatively.
Turning to face Fiona, Monica smiled, "Fiona I didn't see you there. How are you?"
Fiona replied but did not look Monica in the face, "Well. You?"
Monica laughed lightly, tossing her hair back, "Well you know me, always busy, busy, busy. I feel like I have to be everywhere at once. Everyone seems to want a piece of me.
"I'll bet they do," Fiona said quietly.
"Do you mind if I just use your toilet?" asked Monica softly.
"You know you don't have to ask Mon. Kennedy show Monica where the toilet is please."
Monica and Kennedy left the room, leaving Michael and Fiona alone.
"What is wrong with you Fiona? Michael asked sharply.
Fiona did not answer straight away, she put down the cake mix on the side first then started washing the plates in the sink, and "I just don't like the idea of having evil in my house. Don't pretend that you don't know what I mean, you're not stupid. You know exactly what I'm talking about. You forgot our wedding anniversary and went out drinking with a bunch of brainless lowlifes. You keep finding new and better ways to fuck things up Michael."
Rolling his eyes Michael spoke with a large amount of sarcasm, "Oh how very clever," he said as he sat down and poured himself a glass of brandy, "Did you make that insult up all by yourself or did you hear it on one of your daytime television shows?"
"Do you want a divorce? Are doing all these stupid little things so that I leave you? Well guess what? I made a vow on our wedding day and it might not mean shit to you but it means a lot to me."
Michael scoffed and smiled, "All this anger you have right now, it's not just because I forgot our anniversary. I've known you for a long time Fiona, and I'm smart enough to know when something is bothering you. So tell me what's upsetting you and we'll work it out."
Fiona answered furiously, "That darn woman."
After drinking the brandy in his glass and pouring more into it for himself Michael spoke, "There's nothing wrong with Monica. She's just a work friend."
"If you knew what was good for you, you'd get that cow out of my house," spat Fiona.
"I won't ask her to leave," replied Michael defiantly.
"If you won't get her out of here, do something constructive and go and get me more candles from the shop."
"Fine," Michael said reluctantly.
A few moments later Monica re-entered the kitchen, "I've got to go now Fiona, something has come up. Be sure to tell Michael that I'm sorry I had to shoot off like this and tell him I said goodbye."
"Off course Monica," smiled Fiona, crossing her fingers behind her back.
"Thank you. I'll see you next time."
"If you had half a brain, you'd never come around here again you shameless bimbo," muttered Fiona under her breath.
Fiona began to rub the plates very vigorously as if the food left on them were super glued on.
"Be sure to tell Michael that I'm sorry I had to shoot off like this," mimicked Fiona, scrubbing a dirty plate harder than needed, "Tell him yourself cheap floozy."
Michael returned after ten minutes with the candles, he began looking around for Monica.
"Have you seen Monica?"
"She just left," answered Fiona casually as she scrubbed a plate, she did not look up at Michael.
"You're telling me she just left without waiting to say goodbye to me?" asked Michael in disbelief.
"What did you do to her?" commanded Michael strictly.
"Why are you assuming I did something?" retorted Fiona, "She just said that she had to go."
"Did she say why?"
Shrugging her shoulders Fiona answered, "She probably just had pressing matters to see to," quietly she added, "Probably a manicure appointment."
Michael's phone rang, and he answered it immediately. The telephone conversation only lasted ten seconds.
"I've got to go to work," he said plainly to Fiona, "I won't be back until very late tonight."
"Are you fucking kidding me!?" shouted Fiona.
"Watch your langua -"
"Fuck you! You're just going to go into work when you promised Ken that you'd spend the whole day with him. You told us that you weren't working today, he'll be heartbroken if you go to the office."
Michael left the room without another word just as Kennedy entered the kitchen, "Auntie Monica gone?" he asked his mother.
"Monica is not your auntie!" snapped Fiona, "Who told you to call her that?"
"Dad did. I didn't want to call her that but Dad insisted I call her Auntie Monica."
"That man needs a kick in his -"
Michael did not tell Kennedy that he was going to work instead he crept out of the house while Kennedy was getting dressed to go shopping. At the shop Fiona tried to distract herself so she didn't submit to the rage she was feeling.
"It'll only be you and me this year. Your Dad has gone into work."
"Oh well, I guess there's always next year," said Kennedy trying not to look too disappointed.
"We don't need your father here for you to have a good birthday," said Fiona, placing her arm around Kennedy's shoulders.
"I know, but it's just not going to be the same here without Dad? What can be more important than your son's birthday? He doesn't care about us anymore does he?""
"Of course he does but he's just been very busy lately."
"It's not lately. He always does this."
"It's your birthday lets not get upset. Now come on we have a few more things to get, I'll push the trolley."
"Why can't I push the trolley?"
"You go too fast."
"I'm more than capable of pushing a trolley."
"You always have your head in the clouds"
Fiona's trolley collided with another trolley as she turned to go up another aisle.
Kennedy sniggered, "And you said I push the trolley too fast and have my head in the clouds."
"Be quiet!" snapped Fiona.
"At least I don't cause trolley crashes."
"I said be quiet!" shouted Fiona.
Monica was coming up the opposite side of the aisle, she smiled as she approached Kennedy and Fiona.
"Nice to see you again so soon," she giggled, "Having a good birthday so far Kenny?"
"Sort of," Kennedy did not look amused, "And I still don't like being called Kenny."
"Where's Michael? Has he not come with you?" she asked turning to Fiona.
"You tell me he spends more time at work than he does at home," said Fiona.
"To be honest Fiona, I don't see him much at work anymore."
"Found a younger woman than you has he?" muttered Fiona.
Fiona and Kennedy continued shopping then headed to the supermarket checkout.
"You don't like her do you Mum?" asked Kennedy moving items from the trolley onto the conveyor belt.
Fiona paused, "I don't know what you mean."
"Yes you do," grinned Kennedy cheekily.
Despite Michael not being there, Fiona still threw Kennedy a birthday party, there weren't many people invited but Kennedy didn't mind. Kennedy's older cousin Carey was standing in the corner smoking a cigarette and dancing to the beat of the loud stereo music.
"Put that fag out." snapped Fiona, pointing to Carey's cigarette.
Kennedy stood looking at the pile of presents in front of him unable to decide which one to open first.
"Oh for the love of God! Will you open a darn present? Soon you'll have a riot on your hands," said Michael walking into the kitchen.
"Dad, you made it," Kennedy said looking shocked.
"Of course I made it."
"Hi Uncle Mike," said Michael's niece Tawny.
"If it isn't my favourite niece," said Michael hugging Tawny tightly, "How is your mother?"
"I thought you weren't coming home till late," interrupted Fiona before Tawny could answer.
"How could I miss my son's birthday party?"
Fiona crossed her arms, "You tell me."
"I'm here now aren't I?" argued Michael, putting his hand in his jacket and retrieving an envelope which he gave to Kennedy before turning back to Fiona and saying, "I may not be the best father sometimes but I did get him a card."
Kennedy read what was written on his card out loud, "Ta Kennedis hally biathdoy iova Dao."
Authoritatively Fiona said, "Kennedy, That's not funny. Read it properly. If there's one thing I know it's that your father has always had lovely handwriting. That's probably about the only thing nice about him"
"But Mum, That's what it says," pleaded Kennedy, handing the card to Fiona, and sitting down on a chair before adding, "You read it."
Fiona remained quiet as she opened the card and read what was inside before turning to Michael, "Can I speak to you outside for a moment?"
"Sure," replied Michael fearfully.
Kennedy turned to Tawny whilst attempting to follow Michael and Fiona out of the room, "We'll be right back."
Holding Kennedy back with a hand Fiona said, "I meant alone. It's a private conversation."
Fiona left the room and straight away began whispering violently to Michael, holding up the card she asked "What the heck is this?"
"This is a card," Michael answered in a patronizing way, before taking the card from Fiona and saying, "Have you never seen one before?"
Snatching the card back Fiona shouted, "Don't get smart with me! What's this garbage?" she pointed to the writing on the card, "It looks like you wrote this in quite a hurry. Maybe even on your way here in the car."
"I've got something that will make you happy," Michael said pulling out a package.
"A divorce?" asked Fiona.
"No, it's a ring."
"Oh, you're so predictable," Fiona scoffed looking insulted, "No thanks Michael."
"You used to love rings."
"I used to love you too but it's funny how things change isn't it?"
The next day Kennedy got up later than usual; Fiona was already dressed and ready to go to work when Kennedy strolled into the kitchen rubbing his eyes, half awake. He slumped into a chair next to his mother and put his head on the table as if he was going to go straight back to sleep. Fiona quickly made a cup of tea before putting her coat on. Kennedy looked up at the clock on the wall.
"You're going to be late," he said, yawning.
Looking at her watch Fiona replied, "Yes, I had better get going. You do remember the rules for when I'm out don't you?"
Kennedy was now quite awake and had found the energy to get up out of his chair and make himself some toast, "Of course Mum, I find it's hard to forget something when you hear it every day."
Fiona did not believe Kennedy and the look on her face expressed it, "I'm still not convinced you do."
Rolling his eyes Kennedy said, "Fine, test me then."
"I haven't got the time for this nonsense. No friends allowed in the house. Don't answer the door to anyone. If the phone rings leave it and there's something else I'm forgetting -"
"No parties," interrupted Kennedy solemnly, taking a bite out of his toast.
"Especially no parties," emphasized Fiona, looking stern.
"You're the boss," replied Kennedy, saluting his mother.
The moment Fiona was about to leave the home telephone rang.
Quickly Kennedy sat up looking alert, "I'll get it," he said, jumping off of his chair and running toward the kitchen door at phenomenal speed, "It's probably for me."
Raising her hand like a traffic warden Fiona commanded, "Stop! Stay there, I'll get it."
Fiona answered the phone and returned to the kitchen looking frustrated.
"I'm guessing that was the gas company," Kennedy said, not looking at his mother.
"Electric," corrected Fiona, before saying furiously "Your father should be the one getting the phone calls. Is he here? No, of course he's not, He never is. I can't cope by myself."
"Mum calm down," begged Kennedy.
"Sorry for shouting," replied Fiona, giving Kennedy a hug, before picking up her car keys and then putting them down again, "I'd better get going."
Fiona walked out of the room without another word.
Holding up the car keys Kennedy called, "Mum, you forgot the car keys."
Shaking her head in reply Fiona said, "I don't need them. I'm going to walk. I ... I need the exercise."
"You can't walk to work, it's too far," Kennedy assured his mother.
"No it's fine I've got a lot to think about."
"But Mum, You're already late. What if your boss has a go at you?"
"Then he'll have to find himself a new secretary won't he? I'm tired of his shit anyway. Oh, and one more thing, remember -"
Rolling his eyes and sighing Kennedy finished off his mother's sentence, "I know, no parties."
A few minutes after Fiona had left Kennedy ran into the living room and got the house phone. He began to dial in numbers; he tapped his foot impatiently waiting for someone to answer his call.
"Pick up, Come one, Pick up," he demanded irritably.
After waiting what seemed like hours Kennedy was speaking to his friend on the phone.
"Max party at my place," Kennedy grinned broadly, "It's gonna be a good one."
Within a couple of hours music was booming out loudly from Kennedy's stereo as more and more teenagers filled the house. On the floor bodies were sprawled out surrounded by alcohol bottles and cans. The kitchen was smoky and cramped, and the faces of the various partygoers were barely recognisable. The unmistakable sound of an air horn filled the smoky air. Through,
the noise of the music, came the sound of whooping as Max stumbled into the kitchen wearing only his boxer shorts, a Viking helmet and a pair of old cowboy boots. Kennedy seized Max by the shoulders and pulled him close.
Staring down at Max's bare legs Kennedy demanded, "Get some clothes on now, you're embarrassing yourself."
"No I'm not," Max said burping; he then expelled gas laughing wildly as he did.
Pointing to the Viking helmet whilst trying to conceal his laughter Kennedy asked, "What's with the hat?"
"Oh I'm not wearing one," laughed Max.
Max burped yet again, this time louder than before, he then breathed on Kennedy's face.
Covering his nose Kennedy begged, "Stop! Please just stop," gagging as he spoke, "And where the hell did you get that stuff from?"
"It's a party, things don't have to make sense," giggled Max.
One of Kennedy's younger friends Virgil leant on a small table, which collapsed and sent him tumbling to the floor.
Clambering back to his feet unceremoniously complained, "Kennedy, Your table hurt me."
Kennedy punched Virgil right on the nose making Virgil once again end up flat on his back on the floor, "Fuck you Virgil," spat Kennedy massaging his knuckle, "Saying my table hurt you, you're lucky I didn't hit you harder."
Max tapped Kennedy on the shoulder, "Can you introduce me to that cute girl over there?"
"Where?" shouted Kennedy, his patience growing thinner by the second.
Pointing to the corner of the room Max said, "She's pretty, do you think she would want to go out with me?"
Before Kennedy could answer his attention was captured by a rather tall and bulky teenager called Ronan who was tapping him on the shoulder.
"Oi! Are you Denny?" asked Ronan impolitely.
"No, I'm Kennedy."
"I broke something and I want you to fix it."
Kennedy was angered by this, "Why me? You broke it."
"Listen Denny -"
Kennedy angrily interrupted, "Kennedy!"
Ronan looked irritated, "I don't care what your stupid name is shorty, if you don't fix it; I'll tell your mum that you're having a party here."
Ronan led Kennedy down the hallway and into the living room.
Pointing to a pile of shattered glass on the floor Ronan said, "There it is, now get cleaning, chop chop. I haven't got all day."
For one moment Kennedy did not speak, he stood staring wide-eyed at the broken glass, "H ... ho ... how did this happen?" he stuttered softly still in shock.
"Me and some of the fellas were play fighting and I kind of bumped into a shelf and the glass fell off and smashed. But that's not my problem it's yours." Ronan answered.
In disbelief Kennedy asked, "You were play fighting?"
"You were play fighting in a house?"
"You were play fighting in a house? And then you broke something?"
"Are you stupid or something?"
Bellowing, Kennedy turned to Ronan, "You were play fighting in a house? And then you break something and then to top it all off you expect me to clean it up? You made the mess, you do it and take some goddamn responsibility you cretin. You honestly think I'm going to pay to get it replaced?"
"Obviously I'm not picking that up."
"Are you out of your damn mind? I'm not doing it!"
Ronan smiled in a satisfied way, "It's your house, your party and you should sort out anything that gets damaged."
"Newsflash! You broke it not me."
Looking at his fingernails and yawning Ronan replied, looking uninterested, "What are you telling me for?"
"I'm telling you because it was your fault."
"You expect me to pay for some dirty, old cup?" Ronan said advancing on Kennedy, "Well think again because it's not going to happen."
"Don't you have a shred of decency?"
"Let's say I don't have any decency, what are you going to do about it?" said Ronan clenching his fist.
"You really wanna know?" asked Kennedy standing up straight and looking Ronan in the eyes.
"Yeah I do."
Kennedy answered simply, "I'm going to knock you the fuck out."
Ronan contorted his face in anger and lunged at Kennedy who side stepped causing Ronan to collide with the opposite wall. After hitting the wall with considerable force but still somehow unhurt Ronan span around at which point Kennedy swung a hard fist at him. There was a crunch as his hand connected with the side of Ronan's face but the punch did not knock him off his feet but it did send him back a few steps. Once again Ronan's face twisted and contorted, he walked towards Kennedy but before he got there Kennedy through a series of fast punches, first a left hand: that hit Ronan squarely on his jaw, then a right hand: that hit him in the mouth busting his lip slightly, then a right hand that connected with his rather large nose, then another right hand: which grazed his eyelid, but still Ronan remained standing looking not as much hurt as surprised. Kennedy kicked Ronan hard in the stomach and when Ronan doubled over in pain, Kennedy grabbed Ronan's head and held it down as he delivered a well-placed powerful knee strike that hit perfectly on Ronan's already injured nose. Ronan's legs gave way and he fell to the floor defeated.
Panting heavily Kennedy shouted, "That's it get out! This party is over."
"Says who?" shouted Ronan, clutching his swollen nose and trying to get back to his feet.
"I've told you once," Kennedy raised his fist and looked at Ronan, "Don't make me tell you again."
Kennedy heard a loud crash coming from the kitchen.
"When I get back you're all going home," he assured.
As he reached the kitchen door, his way was obstructed by a group of people gathered around in a circle with Max at the centre.
"Yippee! I'm the King of England," declared Max dancing around before climbing onto a table.
"Max! Get down now!" demanded Kennedy impatiently, through gritted teeth.
"You shall carry me," said Max theatrically, pointing to Kennedy.
"Not going to happen," assured Kennedy, "Max get down off of the table now! Get down before I pull you down."
A girl near Max called Jennifer looked scared as she looked on at Max, "What's wrong with Max?" she asked Kennedy.
"Haven't you figured it out yet?" he said casually and not taking his eyes off of Max.
Jennifer shook her head, "I have no idea."
"He's drunk, and I'm pretty sure he's taken drugs that are not for medicinal purposes. The thing about Max is when he's drunk he causes no harm to anyone."
"Thank goodness," said Jennifer wiping her forehead and giving a sigh of relief.
"You'd think that's a good thing wouldn't you? But really he's more of a hazard to himself. I don't know if you'd really consider that a good thing."
Max had gotten down off of the table and was now running around the kitchen opening draws and cupboards whistling as he went.
"Where is my monkey? I demand to know where you've hidden my monkey," shouted Max opening yet another cupboard door.
"He's talking about the dang monkey again," Kennedy said, sighing heavily.
"Oswald, come back ... I've got bananas," Max said, climbing onto the table falling off onto the solid floor, "Oh Oswald, guess who's got some bananas?"
"I knew that'd happen but I don't ever help him when he falls, because he wouldn't learn his lesson if I did."
Max lay face down, motionless on the floor, Jennifer poked him in the back and his leg twitched once and then he was still again. Unbeknown to Kennedy, Fiona had returned home and no one had noticed this yet. She was standing in the doorway with her arms crossed watching the events unfold.
"What am I gonna do?" asked Kennedy hopelessly, still looking at Max.
"I have an idea," replied Fiona.
Kennedy didn't realise his mother was the one talking to him, "And what idea would that be?" he asked still watching Max.
Spinning Kennedy around to face her Fiona shouted, "Start by getting these hooligans out of my flippin' house!"
"If I don't, are you really going to hit me in front of all these people?" Kennedy asked.
Whispering to Kennedy, Jennifer advised him quietly, "I don't think you should be testing her patience. She seems pretty mad."
"Come on mum hit me, I know you want to," dared Kennedy.
Fiona did not move she remained still, as rigid as a tree.
Looking at Jennifer satisfied he said, "You see? She can't hit m -"
Kennedy did not get to finish his sentence as he was struck in the side of the face, the impact of the blow knocked him over.
He looked up at his mother with shock in his eyes, whilst he rubbed his cheek, "You ... You hit me! You actually hit me."
Max walked up to Fiona just as Kennedy was getting back to his feet.
"I didn't take your bloody rabbit. It's my bunny rabbit. So shove off and get your own," Max said drunkenly to Fiona, pushing her a little.
"Please get him out of here," Kennedy begged Jennifer.
Jennifer took Max by the hand and tried to pull him along.
"Get off Santa Clause it's my ice cream. You're not getting any. You know you don't like raspberry ripple anyway, " Max said as Jennifer struggled to move him.
Kennedy took Max's other arm and tried to pull him but it was no use as he would not budge. Jennifer and Kennedy let go of Max's arms after realizing he wouldn't be moving anywhere until he wanted to.
"Oswald, put that orange back you only eat bananas," Max said shaking his head, and muttering to himself, "Silly monkey."
"Go home Max," Kennedy said, enunciating every word slowly hoping Max would understand.
"The floor is made of lava," replied Max looking down at his feet, "But my feet are still cold."
Kennedy shook his head in frustration before picking up and empty bottle of beer and hitting Max on the head with it, he didn't hit Max hard but it was just enough force to smash the bottle. Max hit the floor.
"That's assault," gasped Jennifer.
"Call it what you want he was pissing me off."
Ronan came up behind Kennedy and bit him hard without warning. Kennedy squealed as blood dripped out of his arm and into Ronan's mouth. Ronan's mouth was locked onto his victim's arm tightly and it seemed that he was not going to withdraw from his bite any time soon. Kennedy began punching Ronan in the face viciously but it took many of his hardest punches and several people pulling Ronan away at the same time to get him to relinquish his hold.
That night Kennedy tossed and turned on his doorstep, his mother had locked him out of the house, how long she would remain mad was unclear but he knew it was serious as Fiona had never struck him before. He doubted that his relationship with his mother would ever be the same again after that day, no matter how bad the arguments had gotten Fiona had never resorted to violence. Kennedy sat in the rain grasping his arm, it was not covered by a bandage or a plaster. He began to feel strange as if he was poisoned, he wondered if it was the alcohol finally taking effect. He supposed that his adrenaline rush had outmatched his alcohol intake, and he had only noticed now that his body had settled down. He thought maybe he was hallucinating, as things began to look blurry. He stared at the dustbin and it changed colour red, green, blue, back to green. The bin was changing colours rapidly, this could not be true, at this point he was sure that something was wrong. Alcohol had never had this effect on him before, he felt as though he were on some powerful drug. He shook his head and blinked frequently hoping this would make things return to normal and appear as they usually did but when he opened his eyes again all he could see was red. His eyes started to drip blood, he felt an unfamiliar stinging sensation in his mouth, as if it had been numbed following an injection, he rubbed his gum with his tongue but he couldn't feel a thing. His gums started to vibrate violently, and the pain was tremendous, he couldn't quite understand why it would hurt like this. He gripped his gums to stop them from shaking anymore but it was no use, a new experience came, it was the feeling that something was trying to drill itself through his gum from the inside out, he could feel his teeth being pushed out of there places. There was a loud crack which made him grab his mouth in agony as tears filled his bleeding eyes. He fell onto his side and passed out from the pain he was in.
He woke up to find himself in the middle of field, in front of him was a spirit that floated inches off of the ground with its head down.
"This is not a dream," spoke the spirit calmly, it's voice sounded like wind.
Kennedy scoffed, "Yeah it is. I was just on my doorstep."
The spirit remained expressionless and spoke softly, "I shall give you three chances to change your mind."
"My mind is made up already. This isn't real and neither are you," Kennedy shouted defiantly.
"One," said the spirit, raising a finger.
"Do your worst," demanded Kennedy.
Suddenly the spirit disappeared. A look of satisfaction appeared on Kennedy's face, until the sky became instantly black. Rain began to fall from the sky softly and slowly at first but within a few seconds it hammered down hard and fast. The spirit appeared right in front of Kennedy who fell backwards onto the floor in surprise. The spirit started to look distorted and blurry as it transformed into a large bird, the biggest bird by far that Kennedy had ever seen, it must have been at least twenty feet tall. It to beat its wings, with every flap there was a loud rumble of thunder, as though the very god's were clapping. Kennedy prepared to fight but it did not attack, instead it gave an ear-shattering screech then laid an egg. The egg pulsed and throbbed for a few moments then cracked down the centre, and smoke began to escape from it. A creature emerged from it: it had the body that resembled a wolfs except that it was made entirely out of smoke. It had three heads: The head of a tiger, the head of a lion, and in the centre was Kennedy's head, it did not look like his real head as it had very sharp jagged teeth and red slits instead of pupils. On the creatures back were wings that spanned so far that Kennedy had to turn his head completely one way to see the end of each one. The abomination stalked toward Kennedy who could do nothing but stay rooted to the spot in fear. The thunderbird screeched loudly, and the creature halted immediately. The creature's three heads directed their attention to the Thunderbird. Kennedy was shocked, the creature and the giant bird were communicating between themselves. As the thunderbird screeched again the creature bowed its head and moved away from Kennedy. The thunderbird began to shrink rapidly until it resembled the spirit again.
"Now do you believe?" it asked.
Kennedy shook his head, trying to wake himself up convinced that he must somehow still be in a dream. The spirit clicked it's fingers and the creature bounded towards Kennedy roaring loudly as it charged forward at a remarkable speed.
Throwing his hands in front of his face Kennedy shrieks, "Alright I'm sure! I'm convinced!"
The spirit did not break eye contact with Kennedy. It raised its hand, and the creature froze on the spot, and stopped roaring.
The grass on which Kennedy stood began to become hard and rough, he closed his eyes for a few seconds hoping that when he opened them he'd be awake but when he did open them he was standing in front of a dark hallway.
"Enter," said the spirit pointing at the entrance which was nothing more than a hole.
"What's in there?" Kennedy said crossing his arms.
"Your future," the spirit spoke slowly, "Not all of the images you see will be yours, they may be meant for someone else."
"How can I tell what's mine and what's not?" shouted Kennedy.
The spirit vanished.
Kennedy took a deep breath and entered, immediately he heard growling that sounded so close that it made his hair's stand on end, "You will never have her," echoed one angry voice. Kennedy looked behind him but he could not see a thing, the hallway was completely dark, he could not tell how far the hallway was as there was no light, only darkness. An image appeared out of thin air in front of Kennedy, it was a painting of a hairy beast, with sharp teeth standing at the top of a staircase with its eyes glowing in the darkness. All around him Kennedy could hear sobbing, it sounded like a child but he couldn't be sure whether it was a boy or a girl, the very sound haunted him and made him feel uneasy. He kept walking forward not knowing what to expect to see next, a bright light suddenly appeared on the floor in front of him, it was a few feet away, within a second the light flashed and this time there was something for the light to shine on besides the floor, It was a man lying face down in a pool of his own blood. Kennedy reached out to touch the man but the light went out and he could not see whether the man was still lying on the ground or not, "I'll call her Felicia," echoed a woman's voice that could not be located. "I hoped she was different," shouted a male's voice. Kennedy closed his eyes, while screaming, as thousands of strange images, voices and sounds flashed before his eyes and filled his ears.
"How much further," panted Chrystal as she reached the top of the hill.
"Not much further I reckon," replied Mike, passing Chrystal at a determined pace.
"I didn't think it would take this long. I'm having a rest," sighed Chrystal as she sat down on the spot and looked up at the darkening sky, "I don't know why I even agreed to come with you. I hate camping. I hate the outdoors. I hate -"
"You hate anything that requires more effort than using a TV remote!" snapped Mike, "We would be there already if it wasn't for you stopping every 10 meters to complain about something. The whole point of this trip was to get closer to nature; I figured the fresh air would be good for you. It's a camping trip that means open spaces and yes, that means you have to walk further than you usually do, I know the furthest you usually walk is to the fridge from the sofa but for god's sake, suck it up and get a move on before I leave you here all alone. Then who will you complain to about your feet hurting?"
"Poppy and Dolph."
"What?" replied Mike sharply, the vein in his forehead pulsating.
"The dogs, where are they? They were here a minute ago but I can't see them. Did you see where they went?" asked Chrystal, looking around frantically.
"No and to be perfectly honest, at this moment in time I really don't care. You care more about those dogs than you do me," replied Mike turning his back to Chrystal and folding his arms.
Chrystal could not deny that this last fact was right, the very thought of losing her beloved canines distressed her more than Mike understood. She did have a fondness for her chocolate Labradors that greatly exceeded her feelings for Mike. Chrystal began to sob quietly if for nothing other than gaining Mike's attention. Crying was a tactic Chrystal often utilised when she couldn't have her way or things were not as she wanted. Usually as a result of her prolonged and often very violent tantrums, Mike was made to carry out Chrystal's wishes however ridiculous the task was. Failure to please his wife would reward Mike with nothing except extended periods of time listening to Chrystal's speeches about her dissatisfaction. To avoid hearing about his so-called shortcomings Mike always fulfilled whatever duty his wife commanded him to do, whether it be taking the dogs for a walk, cooking Chrystal's favorite meal or something much more irritating like cleaning every inch of the house with a toothbrush so small it'd be suitable for an infant. This was the first occasion when Mike refused to acknowledge her cries, he simply remained rigid, looking in the opposite direction and although he wasn't showing it externally, Mike was also indeed concerned about the dogs even if it was only a small bit of concern. At any other time he would merely have shrugged at their sudden disappearance as they often ran ahead of Mike and Chrystal, but usually they returned after a few minutes bearing gifts in their mouths in the form of a wooden stick or two.
Very abruptly Chrystal's weeping came to an end. For a second the echo of her last sob seemed to float on the air before ceasing completely. There was total silence, a silence so uncomfortable that Mike momentarily forgot that he was purposely ignoring his wife. He span around only to find his wife was gone, and in her place were two leather collars soaked in a thick, greasy liquid. For a brief moment Mike was stunned as he thought the substance was blood. Upon further inspection he realized that this was not consistent with the thickness of any bodily fluid, he gave a barely audible sigh of relief. Fears began to grow inside Mike, questions began to float around him like goldfish in a transparent bowl. What had happened to Chrystal and the dogs and why didn't he notice them go? Whatever this strange liquid on the collars was, he knew it was not blood. It was too dark to be blood. It was not red but black with the slightest hint of purple. A veil of confusion wrapped itself around his already aggravated mind. In fact he was so deep in thought that he didn't notice a small dark shape growing behind him. It was a shadow that was transforming, it seem to exist without a master, without the need of light or darkness, without sun or moon. After only a moment it began turning into what looked like a giant mouth with jagged edges that would be its teeth, a single red dot appeared amongst the growing vastness which had spawned into being only a few moments before, the red dot split into two slits. The shadow now had eyes. Eyes of dark red, eyes that saw Mike even though he didn't see them. The shape was moving ever closer to Mike, it was soundless, more silent than any cloud, it created a lesser ripple in the air than the lightest feather yet it moved at an alarming speed but still Mike did not detect his doom creeping closer to him. The wind howled as if it was warning him to run but the sound of the breeze passing through the trees did nothing to encourage him to leave. The wind blew loudly a second time at the same moment a blood-curdling growl issued from the shadow but the volume of the wind masked it. Before he knew it Mike was gone, never to be seen again, just like his wife, and their dogs.
"Derek!" screeched Sasha, slamming the fridge door shut with such a force the entire refrigerator wobbled slightly.
Sasha scoffed loudly and walked quickly down the hallway and into the living room where she found Derek slumped in a swinging hammock, his arms hanging down either side of it lazily. A closed book rested on his stomach, he had intended to start the book earlier that day but had abandoned it after becoming too relaxed in the comfortable hammock.
"Derek," repeated Sasha putting her hands on her hips, "How many times did I tell you not to touch that steak? Didn't I say enough times that it wasn't meant for you? Now what am I going to cook for Joseph when he gets home? Did you think about that? If you'd even left a small piece I could have given him that with something else but no you had to eat the whole thing didn't you?"
Derek remained perfectly still, the hammock continued to sway back and forth at a steady pace, it was almost hypnotic to watch. Sasha marched over to the hammock and shook Derek aggressively but he did not bat an eye. Anger was building inside Sasha and her breaking point was not far off, her patience was disappearing and was being replaced by a rage that she was becoming more familiar with each day. One final time she shook Derek but this time he fell from the hammock and crashed to the floor, this was not enough to wake him. Blinded by rage Sasha reached for the closest item to her which was a beautiful vase she had received a few Christmases before from her son Joseph. Vase in hand and her anger encouraging her to attack she leaned in close to Derek's head, she swung her hand back ready to club him with all her power, as she did she noticed something peculiar. Derek's eyes seemed to be leaking blood, gripped by fear all Sasha could do was lean closer, her body was not allowing her to look away or move further away from Derek's body. Derek's eyes opened instantly instead of eyes there was blood. It seemed as though they were never going to stop bleeding as each second passed the blood continued to pour out of the empty eye sockets with no sign of slowing or stopping. All Sasha could do was sit there frozen to the spot observing and witnessing this horrible sight, she let out a scream when she regained her voice. Derek sat up as vertically as possible, his back straight and his head facing forward. For a few seconds he just sat in that position his chest was not expanding and contracting as if he was not breathing. Sasha whimpered and breathed heavily, desperately trying to catch her breath.
It was as though time had become frozen, Derek seemed to be in suspended animation, until without warning his head began to turn and after what seemed like hours he faced Sasha. His body was still facing forward only his head had moved; one side of his mouth started to twitch and soon so did the other. His mouth stretched into a malicious smile, his discoloured and crooked teeth were instantly visible. There was a loud cracking sound and his teeth began to crack and drop into the base of his mouth, his old teeth were replaced with new teeth. Each tooth was three times the size of an adult humans tooth; they were jagged and each had small sharp ridges similar to a shark's teeth, these jaws were created to rip and tear flesh. Derek swallowed his old teeth, stuck out his tongue and started panting; his tongue grew longer and darker. Sasha attempted to stand up despite knowing that her legs were currently like jelly, she lifted her arm high above her head ready to strike Derek with the vase, she swung her arm with all the strength she could muster but before the vase had connected with the skull of her target she stopped. Derek's hand was tight around her throat, his nails scratching the surface of her neck. The vase slipped from her hand and smashed upon the floor. Lack of oxygen was causing her to become light headed; she could barely breathe, the more she gasped for air the tighter Derek squeezed. Moonlight shone brightly through the window and filled the cabin, creating an eerie glow.
Derek kept his hold on Sasha's throat and looked at the moon over his shoulder. He turned his head to the side curiously then suddenly threw her through the window. Shards of glass cut and pierced her skin as she soared through the air. After crashing through the window she landed hard on the veranda table which collapsed under the pressure. The blood coming from Derek's eyes turned brown, his pupils were visible again. He started to cough and wheeze violently, his new teeth began to dissolve as if they were covered in acid. He dropped to his knees quickly as his legs gave way, he fell straight forward onto the floor face first, he didn't move again.
Joseph returned home to find the veranda of the cabin littered with fragments of glass and wood. The main frame of the table was no longer there, it was gone as was his mother. Looking at the window Joseph noticed that the entire pane was missing, he ran inside quickly to find the cabin empty. His father was nowhere to be seen either. He called out but no reply came, and the vase he had given his mother was gone from the mantelpiece. This was strange as he knew that his mother loved that vase dearly and she showed it to anyone who visited her, even those who had already seen it multiple times.
"We've been robbed." gasped Joseph slapping a hand over his mouth in shock.
"You weren't robbed." spoke a voice from an unknown location.
A figure emerged from the shadows; it was so dark that Joseph couldn't get a good look at who it was. Joseph reached for the light switch and flicked it but nothing happened. For a few seconds he stared into the darkness trying to make out the shape of the person in the room with him.
"I won't hurt you, I'm a friend." said the voice softly, "I'll answer all your questions."
"Where are my mum and dad? Who are you?" shouted Joseph.
"I'll explain everything, but first there are things you need to know ..."
Darien strutted through the corridors of his university as if he
was at the peak of popularity, his nose pointing so far up that
you'd expect the back of his neck to be under particular strain.
Rarely had a person with so many personal debts been so pompous.
He had little to no money. Between the costs of his University
tuition, his living expenses he was practically penniless, and
this without a doubt made him stay awake at night, turning in his
bed, unable to sleep, a victim of his bankruptcy fears. His
failed attempts to launch his career cost him dearly. Trains,
buses and taxis and overnight stays in hotels for auditions
affected his finances greatly. He could scarcely afford travel
and accommodation. He may have looked calm on his exterior but
inside his fears ruled his subconscious. In contrast to all this
he was smart, reasonably attractive but there was something about
him; either an aspect of his physical appearance or in his
actions that seemed to act as an effective female repellent. It
was not that women rejected him, but rather that they avoided
contact with him altogether. He knew that he was no Romeo but he
still clung to the delusion that he was perfectly desirable and
that women would throw themselves at his feet if they were less
embarrassed of being turned down by him. When he wasn't parading
around like a show dog he was buried in his work, studying to
become a teacher of drama. In truth he had always dreamed of
becoming a Hollywood A-list actor. This fantasy was as cliché as
anyone could expect. Since childhood he would put on short shows
in his family room with only his parents to act as both critics
and audience. They were never impressed by his feeble attempts at
entertaining them. It is not uncommon for children to put on a
show with their siblings or cousins but as Darien was an only
child and had no other family he thought it more prudent to put
on a show in which he played every character. He did not change
voices or tone when slipping into the next characters place; he
simply carried on performing ad if the show were nothing more
than multiple monologues that appeared in the same act, as you
can imagine this was torturous to watch. But to their credit
Darien's parents were kind hearted enough to not criticize him or
his lack of acting ability in front of him. It is true that most
actors would never be great at the age of 7 but it was clear to
Darien's parents that he would be portraying a single character
on the silver screen, they believed his acting potential would
only allow him to serve as an extra in a low budget student film.
They never for a single second thought him capable of landing a
speaking role. As Darien entered adolescents his skill did not
develop, unfortunately he always acted too much. The characters
he tried to play just did not work.
He could not draw in an audience because he simply could not act natural and it was obvious that he was trying too hard to act. Darien could not see his own flaws, no one told him he could act but as no one had told him he couldn't he had no reason to think otherwise. In an effort to support their hopeless son, Darien's parents signed him up to youth productions of shows and acting clubs. He was never once cast as a key character, no lead roles, not even as an understudy or a minor role, the majority of his characters had no real significance to the plots of the productions he was starring in. But for some reason being cast as "Man with dog" or "Neighbour #1" did nothing to slow down the speeding train that was his ambition. Sadly, as in most cases his ambition far outweighed his talent and potential. As history has shown us, aspiration does not necessarily translate in to greatness. But in his own eyes he was a star already; maybe this was why he carried himself with such high regard. He felt in his heart that he would be famous and he was just waiting for the call from a high end film director that said he was the actor of a lifetime. He was sure he'd be a star but just didn't know when that was going to be. it never crossed his mind that he was yet another insignificant daydreamer with more passion than brains, convinced he'd make it big in an industry that had never heard and would never hear his name. After some time it had finally dawned on him that he couldn't possibly reach the heights he had anticipated as a youth. He turned instead to the world of theatre. He had a better chance of success in theatre as he could at least sing well. But once again his bad acting held him back like a resistance band looped around his potential, preventing him from getting even a fraction closer to fame. In his despair Darien finally embraced that old saying, "Those who can't do, teach."
He chose to focus on becoming a drama teacher although how he planned to teach young people to act when he couldn't himself was something he obviously never contemplated. Still he worked towards a degree, but also tried to score parts in local films but nobody wanted to use him. When you cannot get a job on a movie run by inexperienced, talentless actors there is something wrong. One day after a particularly embarrassing audition in which the director had empathized to Darien that he "lacked the ability to act and therefore was unfit to play the role of anything other than a real-life fast food clerk." Darien returned home only to be confronted by his parents who insisted that he commit himself entirely to his studies as his time-consuming preparation for auditions and the auditions themselves never led down an avenue that resulted in progress. This was the last straw that night Darien well and truly snapped. He lashed out at his mother, swiping at her with a knife. As his father advanced on him to prevent his mother from coming to harm, Darien, consumed with his anger, blacked out and struck. As he did, his father clutched his own stomach and collapsed on the ground, succumbing to death. Darien did not know what was happening, he dropped the knife, seeing his hands stained with blood, it took a moment for him to understand whose blood it was.
His eyes fell on the bleeding body of his own father. In his shock Darien made to move away, his bare-feet slipping on the red puddle growing on the wood flooring of the living room. Darien's mother screamed, her hands cupped in front of her face, her fingers in grotesque positions giving the impression of a dead spider, with its legs curled up over its dead body or of an unruly set of garden thorns, seeking to hide things from view. Tears dripped between her fingers, resting on the palms of her pulsating hands. Her high-pitched hysterics lingering in the air as she refused to stop wailing her horror screeches. Darien in a moment of panic pushed his mother down after which there was a bang. She was now in a sitting position, her hand slowly reaching for the back of her head. As her semi-wrinkled hand made contact with a spit on her head she looked confused, she patted her head slowly then looked at her hand. Ruby red blood covered her fingertips; she had banged her head on the corner of the table. That at least would explain the faintness she was feeling as well as the headache that was appearing. Darien panicked, what was he to do? His father dead potentially dead, he wasn't sure, he was no doctor and he did not know the exact location where to place his fingers in order to check for a pulse, not only that he did not want his fingerprints on his father's body, in actuality he was more afraid of making contact with the body of his father, whom he had murdered. And what was he to do with his mother, she saw everything, an impossible thought entered his mind; should he kill his mother? He couldn't live with his mother with his guilt and he couldn't live with himself either. He was going to jail and he knew it. The world would know him but not for the reason he had dreamed about. Darien was not an evil person, he would never harm anyone purposely but his temper had cost him dearly at last.
Upstairs he ran, abandoning the body of his father who he did not know the condition of. Darien did not call for an ambulance or for the police. Bounding up the stairs he went almost leaping multiple steps in a go. He crossed to his room and began scooping up his dirty clothes, he did not know what his intentions were but he decided that he would run. What else could he do? Of course he could do the honest thing and own up to the police and seek medical help for his injured mother. Sadly and realistically if this situation were to occur to them most people would not behave responsibly and instead try to escape the consequences in order to prolong their own freedom. The fear of imprisonment, spending the remainder of his days in jail was the greatest fear of Darien, bigger than the fear of obscurity and being unknown was the fear of being remembered for something as notorious as the murder of his father and the assault of his mother. Into his case went his dirty clothes, cleanliness was not his present concern, that was reserved for his plan of escape. How would he accomplish it? How would he get passed his mother? Could he convince her to let him go? Surely not, surely she would never allow him to run from what he had done. Whether he was in the house waiting for the police to arrest him or on the run, he would be found, he would stand trial, no evidence could save him from iron bars. He was at least spared the fear of execution as a result of Capital Punishment, instead of death he would instead spend his life faced with his guilt every day for the rest of his life. He would receive no letters on prison. Who could send them? One parent dead and another with the intention of never acknowledging his existence again. The same would go for visitation, who would there be to come and see him?
He had no friends, no family he knew and his parents were never going to come visit him for the obvious reasons. All Darien cared about was what his experience of prison would be like, instead of worrying about his hurt and possibly traumatised mother. Nor did he spare a moment's thought for his father or how he must have felt in his final moments, what being stabbed by his own son so fatality must have felt like, the last face he saw being the face of his killer, his own flesh and blood, someone he was partly responsible for creating. Such cruel irony being robbed of life by the one he gave life to. Never getting the chance to say "goodbye" or "I love you" or even "I hate you." The contents of Darien's was basket were soon flung into the already loaded suitcase, none of the clothing was folded, he flattened the mound of clothes that were in the centre of the tattered suitcase, old clothes mixed with new ones, clean combined with unwashed. Numerously Darien's eyes darted up from the suitcase to the window as if he was expecting to see the police approaching or perhaps see red and blue flashing lights from the police cars reflected in his own window. He spoke in whispers so he could hear sirens clearly in the distance. This was all absurdity, he hadn't contacted the police nor had his mother to the best of his knowledge or if she had she must have been extremely discreet as he had not heard a single sound coming from downstairs unless if course you count the sound of his mother's unsuppressed sobs. Darien expected no one to feel any sympathy after all; in his opinion a killer feels more sympathy for them-self and their predicament that no amount of consolation from someone else could make the slightest difference. Darien had to leave, get away, anywhere he could. The location did not matter, as lo