No Trespassing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A disagreeable surprise for three children who trespass.

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NO TRESPASSING

 The hoardings announcing the construction of six tower blocks in what had once been the derelict area of a large city, had been seen for many months before building actually began. For those who needed a new place to live, and with all the most modern amenities included, the first building wasn’t at all difficult to sell. People went from far and near to gaze at what would eventually be an elegant block of flats. The publicity showed that there would be gardens, an outsized swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a play area for smaller children. All in all, to live there was a luxury not to be found every day of the week in an inner city district. In a relatively short time the once miserable area was covered with the iron skeletons of the other blocks. One by one the dark silhouettes had notices on the site office doors, that there were very few flats left and to hurry up if you wanted to live in sheer modern luxury. Every day, cars would disgorge people eager to get their feet through the door of one of the finest flats going. The snowy winters and the wet springs held up the work for a considerable amount of time, and yet the advertising on television and in newspapers went on relentlessly. The general public was not allowed to forget about the most wonderful residential site going up. The whole city would be embellished by the most horrid of wasteland being taken over by high rise buildings with the best architecture and interiors. The idea was to create something beautiful out of something ugly. No expense was spared, which was to encourage people who were on their way up, to get on the property ladder and show they were in an ascendant position. There were three garage levels below the buildings and those were the first to be constructed. For a long time, it seemed as if nothing much was happening but then all of a sudden the first building was having the marble floors set into position. The stairs came next, and those who were able to see what was going on, said that marble was everywhere. Glamorous was the word most commonly used to describe the entrance. The lifts were those that have a speaking voice incorporated. The interested parties who had bought into the first building were able to have their flats painted in the colours they chose. The kitchens were also done out by the constructors following the owners’ instructions, and the bathrooms too. The windows were all double-glazed, to ensure that peace and tranquillity reigned indoors, and the noise and pollution from vehicles were kept outside. The views from the windows were rather disheartening at first, as on the ground beside the block there was still no finishing off, and the gardens were still to be laid out. The swimming pool had been dug, but it still lacked the final touch of pale blue tiles and the steps and diving boards. The constructors were well aware of the shortcomings, but battled on with the other towers that still had a far-from-finished look about them.

There were three flats on each floor, which made for an easier level of existence among the neighbours. Moving-in day was scheduled for two weeks before Christmas. Why that date had been chosen no one knew, but in fact it was so that the new dwellers wouldn’t notice the finishing off that wasn’t as good as it should be yet. The constructors thought as it was the Christmas season people would be too involved with presents and parties to create a scandal about a small detail like dripping taps in the bathrooms or walls that weren’t as straight as they should be. Nevertheless, the owners made the decision to move in on the official date given out by the inspectors after they had gone over it.

The miserable weather had no effect on those who were moving into their new flats, in spite of its having been raining all night, and it would do so for the next few days. No one seemed to notice the watery mud that surrounded the buildings that were still under construction. The first day, furniture vans and removals vans lined the road and one by one disgorged their contents. Men wearing different coloured overalls denoting the company they worked for, carried the goods into the building. There was a special lift that was used solely for the purpose of carrying heavy articles up to the flats. Some of the owners had already arrived and the delivery men put the pieces down where they were to remain till the owners wished to change the arrangement. For the furniture removers it was a long day. In some cases the owners were not present when they took the furniture up to the flats, but this was no problem as the owners would put each piece exactly where they preferred it to be.

That was that, and now every new flat had its owner installed with new furniture, crockery, towels, bed linen, and decorations as for example scented candles, glass tables and the latest in sofas and dining suites. Nothing had been left out. Everything was altogether new, even the owners to the building.

It was soon after, that the unrelieved darkness that pervaded the construction site was lit up by the lights that blazed forth from kitchens, dining rooms, and bedrooms, telling those who saw the lights that the tower was fully occupied, while the other buildings in different stages of construction still showed themselves naked to the world, without even the first layer of bricks and mortar. The pillars were covered with cement, but it looked as if progress would be slow.

The first person to enter to live in the tower was Sims, the janitor. He was of supreme importance to the other members of the tower as he was the link between those who went there from outside, like the postman, delivery boys, and those who distribute publicity. Sims was not a nice man, but he needed the job, therefore they accepted him and he them. Sims was in charge of making sure the names on the letter-boxes were written correctly and to look after any parcel or packet that was delivered, whatever its size. When he wasn’t in his cubby hole or behind his desk, Sims was to be found sweeping the stairs or cleaning up the exterior front around the entrance. The entrance hall had a couple of carpets which Sims loathed, as he was obliged to use a vacuum cleaner. Taking into consideration that he had a very large building to keep clean, Sims did very well. His wife helped him with the job, and she made herself extra money by cleaning some of the flats where a help wasn’t employed. Sims and his wife Carly were gossips, but in all their long years as janitors had never fallen foul of anyone. They knew how to play their cards in their favour. Sims and wife lived on the ground floor in a flat as good as the rest. It was cosy and comfortable, and perhaps that was the reason they never gave problems, as they lived so well without spending any money. The only gripe they had, was that the job was a twenty-four hours on duty, Monday to Saturday lunchtime.

“Sims, have you seen all that muddy water that’s being walked over and brought to the front door?” Carly asked her husband.

Sims was one of those men whose first name has passed into history, but at some point in their lives they have been called by their last names. “It’s a blooming nuisance. It comes from the block that’s going up next to this one. I, for one, will be glad when it’s finished. All the dust and dirt is coming into our entrance and making it look a real mess,” Sims commented grumpily to his wife.

“I was watching them this week, and it’s going very slowly. Not like this one, that went up in a decent time. They’re the same builders working on it as worked on this one, aren’t they?”  Carly asked.

“As far as I can see, it’s the same crew. Tomorrow I’ll go and find out what’s happening with the building next-door,  and  the others too. OK?”

“Yes, Dear, that’ll be fine.” And Carly put an end to the conversation.

A few floors above the janitor, the Cusp family had installed itself. The family was very small. It consisted of: mother Maris, father Nicky, and daughter Eloise. The family had a lot of money, and had seen buying a new flat as a good way of investing money. Their flat was decorated in the most elegant and up-to-date manner. They hadn’t cut back on anything. The flat had been professionally decorated, and it had the air that it would always keep - contrived. The colours went from black through grey to white. The only things that weren’t in those colours, were the giant artificial fig leaves made of metal. There was no colour anywhere. The dining chairs were grey with upholstery in black and white. Both Nicky and Maris wore black clothes in winter and light greys and white in the summer. Eloise was allowed for the moment, due to her young age of thirteen, to wear what she liked, although her parents sighed at the sight of her paint-box coloured clothes.

“Mum, is this one the only building that’s inhabited? When I look out of the window, I see only darkness, and sometimes I wish we had neighbours,” Eloise asked her mother, who was busy preparing the supper.

“Yes, it is. We were lucky to get in very early, when the hoardings advertising the buildings were on show. Your father and I consider we are in a good position here, as this will be increasingly built up during the next years, as more people will want to leave the city centre due to the rise in prices. Please don’t worry, we’ll soon have neighbours.”

Eloise wasn’t all that convinced by her mother’s arguments. She felt estranged from her friends at school, and when she had them over for tea or a sleep over, they were curious about the black skeletons of the buildings that had hardly been started. Eloise repeated her mother’s argument to them, but they didn’t seem to take it in. As time went by, and the weather got worse as Christmas was approaching, Eloise wasn’t keen on going out when darkness began to creep in.

Christmas came, and Sims put up coloured lights all over the entrance and a large decorated tree too, that was visible to anyone passing by. The first block was now fully inhabited and, in spite of the newness of everything, an atmosphere of wellbeing was in creation. That Christmas, all those who met up in the lifts and at the entrance started speaking to each other. Nicky Cusp, Eloise’s father, got into a conversation with Alfred Armitage about football, and whether the weather would be fine enough for a match on Boxing Day. Sims, of course, joined in with his opinion, and for the three men it was the first time they had made contact since moving in. Sims was delighted, as he had commented to Carly that he was worried about the residents being a bit stuck-up. The decorations and the tree gave everyone a feeling of getting on well, and if the weather was bad it didn’t stop anyone from greeting each other. As tradition demands, Sims and his wife, were gifted with hampers and cases of wine and whiskey, added to which were cakes and puddings. Sims and Carly felt more than pleased with their new job.

Alfred Armitage and his wife Paige and their Jack Russell Ricky, lived higher up in the tower and their windows looked out onto the next-door building still to be concluded. There weren’t many pets among the householders, due to the fact the owners were vain about their new properties and had a deep desire to keep them impeccable. Therefore, although they were allowed to have pets, few lived with fur or feathers.

After meeting Nicky, every time Alfred saw his neighbour, he invited him for a drink in a local pub and a walk round the park with Ricky. Nicky found that the walk did him good and he hardly ever refused his new friend’s invitation.

The swimming pool was formally inaugurated in the New Year. It was Olympic in size, and everyone was amazed that it had been opened at such a time and date. Sims was instructed by the construction company to deliver letters in the individual letterboxes, informing the tenants that the pool was open and would be usable at once, as it was covered by a removable glass roof, which should help maintain the temperature warm enough for swimming all through the year.

The pool surroundings were festooned with all kinds of decorations. Tables covered with dishes of food were at the near end of the pool, music was played, and many of those present began dancing around the still unused pool. Alfred wisely left his dog Ricky at home, otherwise he would have been the first one to enter the pale-blue warm water. Eloise was talking to two brothers she had become friends with, Bertie and Billy Finch. They lived with their grandmother Yolanda, and their mother Tara. The three were friends because they were the only children in the same age group. The other children were either too old or too young.

“Do you think the other buildings will be finished soon?” Eloise asked the two boys.

“We asked Sims the same question two days ago, and he said all was going well,” Billy answered.

“I’m not too sure I believe it,” Bertie said. “There doesn’t seem to be much activity going on. We never hear any noise coming from over there. Do you?”

“I don’t like looking out of our window and seeing only darkness. It frightens me,” Eloise said.

“I have an idea. As tomorrow’s Sunday, why don’t we go and find out if any work is actually being done,” Billy suggested.

“Fine by me. What time shall we go down?” Eloise asked.

“At half past seven. No one will be around at that time, they’ll all be sleeping it off. Well, is it a deal or not?” Bertie said, his eyes going from one face to the other.

“I’m going to tell my parents that I’m off to bed,” Eloise said.

“That’s a good idea, that means we’ll be fresh for the morning,” Bertie said, going over to his grandmother, who was sitting chatting to some of the other female neighbours.

Sims waited till everyone had gone home, before he cleaned up the swimming pool area, then he, too, went back home for a much needed sleep.

On Sunday morning, the three adolescents let themselves out of the front door and went into the street.

Eloise, Billy, and Bertie turned to their left, and strolled along the pavement till they came to the next tower block, to go up. “Doesn’t look like much is being built,” declared Eloise.

“Hang on a minute, and I’ll make a hole in the wire fence,” Billy said.

“You don’t need to, there’s a gap already there,” Bertie said, pointing to where some of the fence had been pulled back to facilitate entrance to the building site.

The three managed to get through the gap without hurting themselves or tearing their clothes. It was extremely cold, with ice in some of the puddles. It wasn’t hard work for them to walk round and see evidence of drug paraphernalia, empty bottles of beer. The iron skeleton rose above them menacingly, and created an unpleasant darkness, made even worse by the wintry dark outside. The air of total desolation was in great contrast to where they lived a few metres away. The feeling of treading in unknown territory was obvious to them.

“Can either of you see any workmen’s huts or building equipment?” Eloise asked her companions.

The brothers stared around them, and Bertie said, “They might have removed it during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.”

“Are you kidding? There hasn’t been any construction activity here for ages,” Billy responded.

“We might as well check out the other unfinished buildings while we’re here,” Eloise suggested.

“If you say so, but I fear they won’t be any better than this one,” Bertie said.

They experienced the same ease of entering the other four towers as they had with the first one. It was very clear that the sites were being used for dark and dirty deeds. The wire fences had all been forcibly opened to allow for entering. On one of the sites, tents were to be seen. There was also the smell of a fire with some food cooking on it.

“I get the feeling we’re not alone here,” Billy said. “Let’s go back before they miss us.”

There was no decision to be made, not one of them wanted to stay and find out what was going on there.

As they were leaving the block to go home, Eloise gasped and said, pointing at something on the ground, “What’s that?”

They went to where she was pointing, and saw a young man with a syringe stuck into an arm and lying as if in agony, with his face contorted. He was very dead.

“I’ll ring the police and tell them what we’ve found. There might be more in the other buildings,” Bertie said, as he rang the police on his mobile.

“We must get back quickly, the police will come to our block and will need us when they arrive,” Eloise said, anxious to leave and get home.

Watched by the unseen eyes of tramps and dropouts in the other barely-there towers, the trio went home.

Sims was at his post in the hall, “Where do you think you’ve been at this time of the day?”

“We went next door to find out whether or not we were going to have neighbours,” Bertie told Sims. “By the way, Sims, the police will be arriving shortly, as we found a body out there with a syringe still in it, and we think the man is dead,” Bertie informed the surprised janitor.

“Why should the police come over?” Sims asked Bertie.

“I told the police where we live and, anyway, my mobile number would have shown up on their system. It wouldn’t have taken them long to find us, so there was no need to deceive,” Bertie finished up.

Sims said, “I have to tell your parents what you three have been up to, so don’t go away. Stay here.”

Sims rang up their parents and duly informed them of their children’s adventures so early on a Sunday morning.

The police and the parents turned up at the same time, and the trio gave an account of what they had seen and done that morning, from the moment they had left their tower and had entered the unfinished one next-door.

“This is a big problem with these buildings that are abandoned before being terminated. All the local tramps and homeless tend to make camp inside, and then, of course, you get drugs - both sellers and users,” the police constable said.

“We’re going to have to go in and see whether or not you’re telling us the truth. Some youngsters like to make out they’re important and get us out on a wild goose chase. So you three can take us to the spot where you found the man,” another policeman said.

Eloise, Billie, and Bertie, together with the police, walked along to the gap in the wire fence where they had entered. The police opened it even more and they all passed inside.

It took very little time, till they were all standing by the inert form with the syringe sticking out of his arm. One policeman rang for an ambulance.

Police reinforcements also appeared at the site, and removed those who had been living rough in the tents and makeshift dwellings. The ambulance took the corpse away in a plastic bag, and sped off to the mortuary for the forensics to make their examination.

A short time later, the site was visited by the directors of the construction company, who called in workers to clear and clean up all the sites, not just the one where the body had been found, and fix the damaged wire fences.

When the New Year was well and truly over, construction started up again, and it wasn’t all that long before the tower blocks were finished. None of the newer ones were as beautiful as the first one, but as Alfred said to Nicky, “It’s better for us and our safety now that the flats are finished, and not left abandoned, as they had been.”

“That’s true. Who knows what else might have happened if the children hadn’t entered that day. We might have had drug-pushers outside our front door by now,” Nicky said.

 

The forensics didn’t take long in discovering the cause of death. The victim, Jacky Emmett, nineteen years of age, as the number of needle punctures indicated, had had his life terminated with a massive overdose that would have killed an elephant.

 

The police said it was a piece of unfinished business. He had made the mistake of escaping from the drug world, only to be murdered by his old suppliers. 


Submitted: October 05, 2014

© Copyright 2022 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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Comments

thushara

A nice description of two worlds, not too far from each other :) I can see in my mind's eye how the flats are built, and it is clear that marketing the flats take presedence. Good job, keep writing!

Sun, November 23rd, 2014 11:00pm

Georgina V Solly

Many thanks for your comment. Most of my writing has a message and it is always nice when someone, like you, gets it, and takes the trouble to let me know. I shall keep writing, and I hope you keep reading.
Gerogina

Mon, November 24th, 2014 7:13am

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