Jamie expected himself to lie. He’d been doing it far too much lately, and it was becoming easier. But he told his mother the entire truth, about the letter, about getting attacked by Mary kidnappers - everything. The only bit he left out was Wilson.
“Right, the moment we get home I’m phoning the police station,” she said adamantly. “Why you didn’t tell them in the first place…”
Jamie didn’t tell her what he planned to do next however. He wasn’t entirely sure himself. Maybe if he strolled over fields and around hills…
He looked at the ominous turbines, just visible at the top of the hill. They’d stopped moving…
“Test 13 was a success!” Mary could hear someone shout.
“Excellent!” Miss Manson cried.
Mary wanted to know what was going on, so she politely knocked on the metal door… loudly.
She heard Miss Manson’s metallic footsteps walk in her direction, so she sprang away from the door.
“Yes?” Miss Manson asked, opening the door.
“May I ask what you are doing?”
“May I ask why I am here?”
“Can I leave?”
“Oh…Why was I kidnapped then?”
“I suppose you may have guessed that part.”
“Well…” Mary said, thinking. “We’d read the letter.”
“Correct. We took your friend Jamie as well, but he got lucky and escaped!”
The moment she said Jamie’s name, reality crashed down on Mary. How good it felt to hear a name she knew! And how much she missed him… Would she ever see him again?
Miss Manson smiled at her. She had quite a nice smile. It almost made Mary believe she was good. However, the anger of never being able to go home - of never seeing Jamie, or Robert ever again, or her parents – took hold of her. She grabbed the knife she’d been given to eat with, and swiped it towards Miss Manson’s throat.
Miss Manson was taken aback, but not alarmed.
“Why am I being kept here?” Mary growled at her.
“Believe me, if you weren’t needed you’d be dead by now…” Miss Manson spat. Within a second she’d become fiery and fierce! Maybe being threatened by a knife does that to people…
“That didn’t answer my question!”
Mary thought; what would Jamie do in this situation? He’d probably do the same, but more feebly. What about Robert? He’d probably just fight his way out…
“Well… in danger of angering you for not actually answering your question…” Miss Manson said. “You were taken when you’d read the letter. You see, nobody can find out about this. Your Grandfather did, so he was disposed of. Many others did as well.”
Mary glared at her.
“Was a guy called Ernie McDuggen killed?” She asked.
“Yes. You knew-?” She began to say, but didn’t have time, as Mary began slashing the knife at her. Miss Manson quickly tried to dodge it, but got a nasty cut in the arm, and in return gave Mary a massive kick, which hurt a great deal. She fell to the ground, winded.
“Try that again and you may not recover!” Miss Manson shouted threateningly. Mary passed out…
Robert hadn’t realised how tired he was. It was early in the morning, and he hadn’t slept since over a day ago. He wouldn’t have been able to sleep though; he was too scared to sleep.
“I admit, attaching isn’t the most pleasant process…” Archa had said. “But there’s worse.”
“Hour of agony Henry told me!” Robert had replied.
“It really isn’t that bad…” Archa had explained, trying to calm him down. It hadn’t worked.
Robert lay on a soft patch of grass. Weeping silently. Not only was he about to do something dangerous and painful, but his sister could be dead! But he didn’t have much choice.
“You ready?” Miss Cormier asked him, in that uncaring voice of hers.
“No!” Robert shouted. He couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t. She bent down to talk to him.
“Look Robert!” She shouted. “People are gonna die just because you can’t handle a bit of pain. We don’t know the extent of their plans but we have reason to believe at least hundreds of people are in danger! So stop being selfish and do something for other people for once!”
“SELFISH!!” Robert roared, so loudly that she jumped backwards (in a ghostly way of course). “In my entire life I’ve never done anything for myself, always for other people. My mother wanting me to look after the baby, then having to put up with… him… and then…” He stopped. Who did she think she was, ordering him about like that? “You’re only doing this anyway so you can escape from being trapped, and die properly. If anyone’s selfish, then it’s YOU!!”
She was shaking with rage, and looked as if she’d smack him. But unless they are attached, ghosts have little power; a living child could beat a dead sumo wrestler.
“Are you going to do it?” Miss Cormier asked.
The reddish-brown car trundled along the road.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Jamie’s Mum asked him.
“Yeah, I’m fine…” he lied.
“Of course you’re not-” she began but never finished. In the distance she could see a cloud of blackish grey smoke bellowing over Aith. Beneath it, was what must be a raging fire.
“That’s not our house… Is it?” Mum muttered.
They were too far away to tell. They drove on, and after a few minutes realised it was. Two fire engines sped past them, towards the house.
The car skidded to a halt at the side of the road and they got out. The police had cordoned off an area around the blaze. The fire brigade began pouring water over the house, but it did little good. This was going to be a long fire.
“Excuse me!” Mum said to someone. “When did the fire start?”
“Only 10 minutes ago,” the man said. “This is like a replay of 20 years ago…”
They ran up to the rope dividing Aith. Jamie ducked under it and continued running.
“Jamie stop!” Mum shouted. “It’s not safe! JAMIE, STOP!” The Jamie she knew would never have done that. What had happened to make him so rebellious?
© Copyright 2016 Mathew Nicolson. All rights reserved.
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