Deep in the woods of Hartfield town, a rabbit leaped out of a bush and into a small puddle for a drink of water. Although it was a hot Summer's day, there were many trees which blocked the light getting to the puddle, preventing it from evaporating into the lazy air, so the area was still rather moist. This rabbit sat by the puddle for several minutes, taking occassional sips of water, watching the world go by; flies flying, creepy crawlies crawling, and leaves waving across the gentle breeze. Nothing at all could be heard, nothing but the distant sounds of life outside the woods, and the tiny movements of other forms of life nearby.
In all of a sudden, this peace and tranquility of a normal, natural day was disturbed by a group of youths, rushing to get out. Immediately, the rabbit was alerted by the sounds of the footsteps, so it took action and leaped away from the apparent danger. Four people in total were there, and the rabbit watched as they shot past it, making very little noise from their mouths. Slowly, the rabbit emerged from its hiding place, and returned to the puddle. It then looked towards the distance, as it watched the four people running away as fast as they could in between the trees.
The year was 1992, and the week after that strange occurrence, a group of friends gathered round in the main council estate of Hartfield. This council estate was fairly run down, and many of the houses were boarded up, because of the violence and drug-dealing in the area. However, this did not stop a group of seventeen year olds from leaving their homes during the day or the night. Five boys and two girls were stood outside one of the boys' homes, standing around, doing very little, like teenagers do. Four of the boys, Josh, Steven, Daniel and Richard, were the best of friends - they had always been together since childhood, and they were never seen without one whenever they left the house. Moira and Libby, the two girls, were good friends, but not best friends. In fact, the only thing that connected them was the other boy, John. He lived in the street, and he was stood outside his house, wondering what on Earth he was doing, stood talking to the other boys. Moira was John's cousin, and Libby was a friend, or a potential love interest, as some would see it.
"So, are you going out with your girlfriend today, John?" asked Steven, mocking John and Libby for been such good friends.
"Shut up, Steven!" Libby cried, determined to not let him get to her.
"Don't start on me!" screamed Steven, who did not want to be shown up in front of his friends.
"Alright, alright", Moira said, trying to calm everybody down before yet another fight started.
"My mother will not like you saying those things", said John, who was scarcely able to control what he said.
There was silence, and both Moira and Libby started to stare at John. The four other boys just burst out into a fit of laughter.
"That's not funny", said Libby, "you're all sick for laughing at such a thing!"
"He's such a weirdo!" cried Richard.
"No he's not", said Libby, moving closer towards John.
"Are you two together forever?" laughed Daniel.
Libby was so outraged by now. She did not want to let anybody hurt John, because she was in love with him. Moira saw this, but she cared about other things too much, so she let it slip from her mind.
"Why are you standing there doing nothing, John?" Moira cried, trying to get her cousin to fight back.
John just stood there, motionless. He did not know what to do in this situation. He had never once considered or planned what to do should this situation arise in his life, so he had to be spontaneous, and he stood and thought, doing nothing else.
"For once in your life, just stand up to them! And Richard, you should be ashamed of yourself!" Moira added, looking at Richard, "I thought we were friends!"
Richard continued to laugh. "I'm sure you'll get over it by tomorrow!" he said, winking at her.
The boys then decided to leave, because they were getting bored of messing around with a social outcast. When they left, Moira knew that she had to do something to calm John down, so she started a new conversation.
"Anyway", said Moira, "are you thinking of coming to my friend's mother's wedding anniversary in a few days time?"
"I don't know", replied Libby, "I don't really know them that well".
"I suppose, but there is also Mr. Block's 100th birthday on the same night, so it is going to be very busy! Almost everybody in Warwick Road will turn up!"
"I'm not sure. I might be working yet!"
"You're working now?"
"Yes!" cried a proud Libby, "I think so, anyway. I've been looking for some work experience recently, and the agent who is helping me has found a few jobs for me to do. Mainly in hotels. It's somewhere to help get me started".
"That's brilliant!" cried Moira, trying to remain talking to distract John until he had forgotten completely about the event that had just occurred.
John remained silent throughout the conversation, even though he was stood in between the two women.
"Anyway", said Libby, "I'd best be off!"
When Libby left, Moira started talking to John.
"Have you taken your tablets?" she asked him.
"Yes. You know I always take my tablets", replied John, "what sort of mother do you think my mother is if she does not allow me to take my tablets?"
"John, we've been through this..."
"And I'm telling you, my mother is not dead!"
"She's in the house, right now!"
Moira shook her head. She was beginning to get increasingly worried about her cousin. "There's no talking to you, is there?" she said to him, almost crying.
John did not seem to hear. Instead, he cried, "I'm coming mother!" leaving Moira on her own. Moira then turned to the house, and looked in the window of the bedroom where her dead aunt used to sleep. She could not believe her eyes for a second, when she thought she saw the curtain move. It was only for a fraction of a second, but she knew it could not have been John because he had only been in the house for two seconds. Moira thought nothing of it and went home, worrying about John's welfare.
Several days later, the body of Josh Dowling was discovered in the woods. Then, two days after that, Steven Burbery, and two days after that, Daniel Gibson, and five days after that, Richard Cliffe. All four had been knifed to death, and all had been discovered in the woods, just outside of town. The police had absoloutely no leads at all - there was no DNA evidence there, and a few statements could not solve the murder, so their files were packed in a box and put with the rest of the unsolved murders. Of course, people had their ideas, but no evidence could support it. Everybody else in the world forgot about the murders, everyone except those in Hartfield. Nobody ever dared to speak of the murders, because many people on the estate knew the families of the victims rather well, so it had affected them personally. Although everybody wanted to know who the murderer was, not one detail emerged about the character of the killer. Nobody knew anything about this person other than their local brand name - the 'Hartfield Hacker'.
© Copyright 2017 declan mckimm. All rights reserved.
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