Monday, 28 February 2011

After the Revolution - Part 5

Hello All,

Apologies that this was not posted on Friday, sadly I don't have the excuse of being ill this time... Anyway here is the fifth part of my novella 'After the Revolution.'

If you missed any of the previous parts, or just need a wee reminder of what's going on, please check out parts 1 - 4 in my previous posts. Thank you once again for taking the time to read my work.

After the Revolution - Part Five


(After the Revolution)

It was raining when three of the cloaked guards marched Alex outside to the transport. It was there, in that dismal courtyard, through the steel mesh of the perimeter fence that he caught his second glimpse of the future, only this time in the dismal light of the morning. It looked as though the bombing had stopped, and great rushing torrents of rain washed across the cracked and twisted skyline, dousing the fires in its path.
‘Get in.’ The biggest guard motioned towards the open doors of an armoured vehicle that sat in the courtyard in front of Alex. ‘Go on, move.’
Alex climbed in, with his hands fastened securely behind his back, taking one more look at the battered remains of the city he once called home.
‘Sit down and stay down. This won’t take long.’
The guard held his gun up to another man who was also sitting in the armoured vehicle, opposite Alex. ‘I don’t want any trouble from you, neither, Stoltz.’
The man smiled demonically at the guard. ‘Of course not. I’ll be good as gold… promise.’
The guard sneered and slammed the doors shut.
Alex looked up at the man across from him as the vehicle began to roar to life beneath him and smiled uncomfortably.
The man smiled back and looked over at Alex through wild, crazy eyes. ‘What’s your name?’
Alex cleared his throat and spoke timidly. ‘A… Alex.’
‘I’m Stoltz. That’s always the first thing we ask, isn’t it? What’s your name? Like it even makes a fucking difference. You could be George of Jim and it would all be the same to me.’
Something in the man terrified Alex. He looked unstable, and never stopped smiling. ‘I suppose names don’t matter much, especially now. They taking you to the lock up as well?’
Alex tried his best not to make eye contact with the man.
Nodding, he replied. ‘I guess so.’
‘What did you do?’
Alex didn’t reply.
‘Yeah,’ said Stoltz, ‘I didn’t do nothing either.’
Through a tiny window on the side of the vehicle, Alex saw the ruined city tear past. The streets were grey and vacant. The world outside seemed completely colourless, with not a single patch of green to be seen. Greys and blacks everywhere; smoke and ash. Alex thought he saw an arm creeping out from underneath a pile of debris on the roadside, but the vehicle was moving so fast, he lost sight of it.
‘Quite a sight, isn’t it?’ sneered Stoltz, unashamedly staring Alex in the eyes. ‘You live amongst it this long you begin to forget what it used to be like.’
Stoltz closed his eyes and leaned back in his seat, trying to visualise it. ‘Grass. Lots of grass and trees. I can’t remember the last time I saw the colour green. What’s the point in having colour vision if all there is to see is a million shades of grey? A million shades of grey… and red, of course, blood red.’ The man leaned forward and spoke directly to Alex. ‘You’ll remember what it was like. You’re just old enough I’ll wager. Do you remember? Do you remember what it was like to look out of your window, and the only smoke you’d see would be billowing out of chimneys? Do you remember when the only falling bombs you would see were on the television…?’
Alex looked at the ground and nodded.
‘It seems like a world away now,’ continued Stoltz. ‘You a defector?’
‘So the guards tell me.’
‘They call us the crazy ones.’ Stoltz raised his voice to shouting. ‘Bullshit! We’re not the fucking crazy ones. We’re not the ones starting wars with everyone any anyone. We’re not the ones destroying our country. No… Wilson’s already taken care of that.’ Stoltz nodded towards the driver’s cab. ‘But I had them fooled. I’ve been out for months… and they couldn’t track me. I found a way to escape them…’
Alex looked up at the man, who pulled his right hand from behind his back, his handcuffs pulling the left in turn, and held it in front of him.
‘I found a way to stay off radar.’ There was a long scar down his right wrist, which he looked at, almost with pride. ‘I de-chipped myself. If you were smart you’d do the same thing.’
‘I don’t have a chip.’
‘You don’t? How in hell did you manage that?
Alex was silent.
‘Well, they know now – you’ll have one soon enough.’
‘That’s why they’re taking me to see Wilson,’ mumbled Alex.
‘Wilson?’ said Stoltz, his eyes widening even further. ‘They’re taking you to see Wilson? What the hell did you do to deserve that honour?’
Alex shrugged.
‘I’d be a little more worried if I were you, mate.’ He lowered his voice to a little over a whisper. ‘You’ll be lucky to come out of there alive.’
‘Wh… what do you mean?’ asked Alex, feeling a sudden wave of terror rush through him.
‘Come on mate, have you been living in a cave all your life? You know what he’s like.’ He lowered his voice to a whisper. ‘You know what he’s capable of…’
‘What?’ replied Alex, sheepishly.
‘You’ve heard the stories. You know what he did. They say he killed his own parents – that’s where he gets his whole mantra from. Power, Strength, Freedom. No guidance… he had lousy parents. They say his own father tried to kill him when he was just a baby.’ He sighed and looked out of the window. ‘Shit, I’d probably be just as twisted as him if I knew that. There’s one hell of an Oedipus complex if ever I saw one… except instead of sleeping with his mother, he killed her too.’ Stoltz smiled demonically. ‘And he’s the man in charge. He’s the one who was supposed to return Britain to the people! Instead, he tries to rebuild the bloody empire, and gets us all blown up in the process.’
Stoltz stood up, trying his best to stay stable under the swaying of the vehicle underneath, and began shouting. ‘And all in the name of our glorious leader… Hail Wilson! Power! Strength! Freedom!’ He stumbled over to Alex and spoke only two inches from his face, showering Alex with saliva. ‘But they won’t keep me long, you can count on that. I’ll be out of here before you can say power, strength, freedom. Save yourself, mate,’ he said, hissing into Alex’s ear. ‘Don’t let them chip you. Don’t let Wilson get to you. Stay strong, brother.’
Suddenly he began leaping around wildly in the back of the vehicle, thrashing off every wall and repeating again and again at the top of his lungs:
‘Power! Strength! Freedom! - Power! Strength! Freedom! Power! Strength! Freedom! - Power! Strength! Freedom!’
He rattled his head against the wall that backed onto the driver’s cab and screamed ‘can you hear me? Can you hear me you vile pigs? Power! Strength! Freedom!’
Alex pulled himself into a corner, trying to keep a safe distance between himself and the prisoner that was violently lashing himself off the walls. Suddenly he felt the engine cough to a stop and the vehicle become stationary.
Stoltz stood in front of the doors and screamed again. ‘Come and get me! Power! Strength! Freedom!’ He turned to Alex, and spoke in a slightly softer voice. ‘Don’t let them get you…’
Within seconds, the steel doors to the armoured vehicle came flying open and two guards jumped in and began to restrain Stoltz. The largest kicked him in the knees and sent him tumbling to the ground. Sitting on him to keep him down, the guard pulled a syringe from his vest and plunged it into his arm, spitting into his ear as he spoke.
‘I thought I said no trouble, Stoltz. Night night.’
Alex looked down at Stoltz as the other guard held a gun in his face, making sure he didn’t attempt an escape. Even as he drifted into unconsciousness, Stoltz still smiled demonically, muttering under his breath.

‘Power… Strength… Freedom…’


(Present Day)

It had only been a kiss. A stupid kiss. He had put the idea in her head, of course. That’s what she told herself, anyway. As Annie unlocked her front door, she held her collar up to her nose and sniffed it in case it smelled of aftershave. It seemed okay. Best go wash up anyway. The door clicked behind her and she strode quickly up the hall towards the bathroom. He’s here. Somewhere. He’s always here.
She listened out for her husband, but hearing nothing, she darted into the bathroom and began to fill the sink. He was different now. Ever since she had told him that she was pregnant, he had changed. He was less vacant; the news seemed to have kick started something inside him, bringing him a little more into the land of the living. He was at least, now, showing some emotion.
Too bad they’re not good emotions. He had been irritable since she had given him the news.
And I kissed someone.
It was just ‘some’ guy at ‘some’ bar, and she knew it didn’t mean anything. He drove me to it; He thinks I’m having an affair… why don’t I damn well have one?
She knew she couldn’t do that. That one lousy kiss had left her feeling wretched enough. She splashed water onto her face and looked into the mirror. She barely recognised the woman staring back. Wrinkles had begun to form in the corners of her eyes and she looked tired. Exhausted.
‘Annie…’ The voice was only a whisper that floated in from behind her. She jumped, and as she moved to her left, she saw him there, in the mirror standing in the doorway.
She turned around to face him, leaning against the sink with water dripping from her cheeks and long black streaks that ran down her cheeks where her mascara had leaked.
‘I need to talk to you, Annie.’
Annie was silent, and she reached out for a towel to dry her face. She could see he was trying his best to be normal.
Alex repeated himself. ‘I need to talk to you…’
Annie turned back around towards the mirror, flaunting faux confidence. ‘It’s been two weeks.’ She straightened her hair and watched her husband’s reflection. ‘Now you want to talk? You disappear in a flash one night, return seconds later with a beard… then you ignore me for two weeks and now you want to talk?’
‘Well… go on then. What happened to you that night?’
Alex sighed, holding his hand up to his forehead. ‘I can’t,’ he whispered.
‘I can’t,’ he replied, raising his voice. ‘I can’t tell you. I… I can’t tell you. Believe me-’
‘Well then what the hell is it you wanted to talk to me about, Alex?’ said Annie, turning around. ‘Do you think we can just chat and return to normal… like nothing’s happened? You need to tell me what’s going on…’ she gestured to his head ‘…up there.’
‘I need to talk to you about… the baby.’
Annie was silent as a tear began to form in the corner of her eye.
‘The baby,’ she snapped. ‘The baby that you don’t want.’
‘Annie,’ he said, his brow creasing, ‘I’m… I’m not well. I can’t have a baby. We can’t have a baby. We can’t bring a child into…’ he held his arm out ‘…this.’
‘This?’ said Annie. ‘This? You created this! You created this with that bloody machine of yours.’ She began to cry.
‘You have to get rid of it, Annie.’ He spoke with confidence. There was no uncertainty in his voice.
Annie began to cry louder, her face reddening. ‘Get rid of it? It’s not some piece of rubbish you can just throw away. It’s a baby… a tiny life. Our child, Alex. How can you be so cold?’
Alex looked at the ground. ‘Get an abortion, Annie. You have to. I can’t have a child. Not now.’
‘I can’t!’ she screamed. ‘I won’t. This is our baby, not yours! I won’t… I won’t…’
Annie supported herself on the sink and watched as Alex began to turn around.
‘If you don’t get rid of that baby, then I can’t stay here anymore.’ He marched out of the room and down the hall.
Annie fell to the ground underneath the sink and sat on the tiles stroking her stomach protectively.
‘Don’t worry,’ she whispered. ‘I’ll always keep you safe.’

Saturday, 12 February 2011

After the Revolution - Part 4

Hello all, apologies for the lateness in posting part four, but I've been hit by a nasty bout of flu. Anyway - better late than never. If you need to catch up on the story, please see my previous posts. As always, thanks for reading!

After The Revolution - Part Four


(Present Day)

The second week after Alex’s incident, Annie started going out. She couldn’t bear being in that house anymore. All that silence and tension was driving her insane. She would spend most evenings going from pub to pub, dousing her worries in a thick blanket of alcohol, dancing and laughing – even though her heart was breaking.
But no matter how drunk she got, or how late she stayed out, she always had to return to that house. That house. Where he was waiting; haunted by his private demons, saying not a word.
It was a Wednesday when she came to give him the news.
‘Alex.’ She called out to him from the threshold of his workshop with a confidence which had been vacant from her voice for some time. ‘Alex.’
He didn’t move. He didn’t even blink. He just sat, as usual, staring into space.
‘Alex… you can’t ignore me for ever.’ She waited for a reply, but got none. ‘It’s been two weeks. You need to talk to me. You need to tell me what has happened to you!’ She fought back the tears. ‘Why won’t you let me help you? You need to see a doctor about your back.’
Alex gave no reaction. He sat, motionless, staring out of the semi-circular window at the top of his lab.
‘I can’t live like this anymore…’ Annie’s sentence trailed off into tears and she wiped her eye with the palm of her hand. ‘You need to talk to me… you need to let me in… because… because…’ she took a deep breath. ‘Because I’m pregnant.’
A sudden burst of motion flew threw Alex’s body, like he had been electrocuted for the briefest of seconds. Slowly he began to turn his head and looked Annie straight in the eye. Alex had avoided making eye contact all week, but now he was staring right at his wife through bloodshot, terrified eyes.
‘No…’ He shook his head. ‘No.’
Annie battled with her tears. ‘I did the test this morning.’
Suddenly, Alex stood up and became the most animated Annie had seen him for two weeks. His expression turned from fear to rage. ‘Whose is it?’
Annie burst into floods of tears. Not content with ignoring her all week, Alex had also decided to accuse her of having an affair.
‘How can you ask that?’
Alex turned around, holding his fist to his forehead. ‘I’ve seen you,’ he said. ‘Going out every night. Off drinking… don’t think I haven’t seen you.’
‘Would you rather have me sit here in silence whilst you stare at the wall?’
Alex didn’t reply.
‘We’re having a baby, Alex.’
He began walking in circles and muttering under his breath. ‘No… no… no.’
‘We’re having a baby, so you you’re just going to have to get used to it. We’re gonna take you out, find you some help, and-’
‘I don’t need help!’ Alex shrieked at the top of his lungs, his words echoing around his workshop. ‘I don’t need a doctor. I’m in trouble… right. We’re all in trouble, but it’s nothing a fucking doctor can fix. I don’t want any help and I don’t want a fucking baby!’
Alex picked up a glass beaker from his workbench and launched it across the room, shattering against the far wall.
Walking towards the door, he barged past his wife.
‘I’m going out.’


(After the Revolution)

‘Morning sweetheart; time for processing.’
As the guards opened the door, sunlight poured in and Alex saw his cell, and Ralph clearly for the first time. He hadn’t slept, of course. He’d sat awake all night staring into the darkness.
Ralph had fallen asleep hours ago. He’s probably used to sleeping in here by now.
As the guards marched in and grabbed Alex, the boy began to stir. Upon seeing the two men in black, he shot, almost instinctively, back up against the wall, and as the men pulled his new cell mate out, Ralph smiled kindly and waved to his new friend.
The men led Alex down a long, bright corridor towards a room with bars on the window at the end.
‘Sit down.’ One of the men gestured with his gun towards a wooden chair. Alex sat, looking down the barrels of two guns.
‘Okay,’ said the other man, ‘you know how this works.’ He picked up a device from the table next to Alex. It looked like a barcode scanner. ‘Show me your chip.’
Alex looked around the room, not sure what to do; not quite sure what they expected of him.
‘Is he drunk?’ said one guard to the other. ‘C’mon, we don’t have all day!’
Alex sat, confused, unable to admit that he didn’t have the faintest clue what they were talking about.
‘Your chip. Show me your hand, prisoner.’
My hand? Alex held his hand out in front of his face, and the man held the scanner up to it.
‘Where the bloody hell is it…’ he was muttering to himself. After several seconds, the man stopped.
‘Jesus Christ, he’s a defector. He’s not chipped.’
‘Well well,’ said the other guard. ‘A traitor. And here was us thinking you were just some bum.’
Placing the scanner back on the table, the guard pulled a walkie-talkie from his hip. ‘I’m calling HQ. I’m guessing Wilson will want to talk to this one.’
Alex felt the cold steel of handcuffs around his wrists. ‘I’ll take him back to his cell.’
‘You think it’s safe? Putting him in there with that kid? He could be dangerous.’
‘You got a better idea? The place is already bursting at the seams.’
Alex was lead back down the hall towards his cell.
‘Well mate…’ said the hulking guard, ‘…looks like you’re going to visit Wilson…’

‘Wilson? They’re taking you to see Wilson himself?’ said Ralph, when Alex had been returned to the cell, ‘whoa, what the hell did you do, mister?’
‘I don’t have a… chip?’
‘Did you remove it?’
‘I’ve never had one.’
‘Never? But you must be like… forty? How the hell did you slip through the net?’
Alex shrugged, and not even convincing himself, he replied: ‘I dunno. Just lucky I guess.’
‘I never had a chip up until two years ago. My parents kept us in hiding, away from the POLA-’
‘POLA?’ interrupted Alex. ‘What’s that?’
Ralph laughed. ‘Those men in cloaks, the men who brought you in…? That’s the POLA. Wilson’s Police force. Licensed to do… pretty much anything.’
Alex muttered to himself. ‘All’s fair in love and war…’
‘My parents kept me as far away from his men as possible,’ continued Ralph, ‘I only finally got chipped when they died.’
‘What is the chip?’ asked Alex.
‘The chip is how they find you. The chip tells them every thing they need to know… who you are, what you’ve done. They can track you and find you like that.’ The boy clicked his fingers. ‘Everybody has a chip, and if you don’t… you’re a defector.’
‘Which is why Wilson wants to see me… they think I’m a defector.’
‘Are you?’
Alex Sighed. ‘I don’t know…’

Friday, 4 February 2011

After the Revolution - Part 3

Morning All - It's that time of the week again, Time for part three of 'After the Revolution.' If you need to refresh yourself with the story, please check out my previous posts. Enjoy!

After The Revolution - Part Three


(Present Day)

Annie had made the breakfast table as usual. She still always set two places and made enough toast for both of them, even though she was fairly certain he wouldn’t be attending. The last time she had seen him was last night, a drawn grey spectre shuffling through the hallway at one in the morning, offering her the slightest of nods.
She sat and crunched uneasily at her buttered toast, her mind still lingering, as it always did now, on her husband. She played out every scenario that could have happened that evening. What did he see? In many ways, not knowing was the worst situation. As far as Annie was concerned, Alex could very well have faced all the demons that she had conjured up in her terrified daydreams.
She began to feel queasy. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she set her toast back on the plate as she tried to hold it back. She couldn’t cry again. She didn’t have the energy. Every night since Alex’s incident, she had quietly wept herself to sleep. He had been sleeping elsewhere; she wasn’t sure where, his workshop probably.
As she wiped her eyes and looked up, she saw him. He was standing in the doorway, hunched and looking out at her through heavy, pained eyes.
Annie forced a smile and wiped her eyes on her sleeve.
Alex said nothing. He offered her a gentle nod.
‘How… How are you feeling this morning…?’
No reply.
‘Want some breakfast?’ She stood up and pulled a chair out from underneath the table. ‘I set you a place.’
She didn’t expect him to sit down.
‘Do you want some toast, Alex?’ she said, holding the silver toast rack in front of her. ‘It’s fresh… well, I mean its a few minutes old… I suppose I could make some more if you-’ she was rambling. She knew it, too. She couldn’t bear sitting there in silence. If only things were the way they were.
Alex used to eat cereal. He would always put way too much milk in it and keep refilling it, a little less each time, until all the milk was used. She missed watching him read his newspaper and babble excitedly about his work. She missed seeing him smile.
‘I’ll just butter you a slice.’
As she dug the knife into the butter and began scraping it across the triangle of toast, she watched him out of the corner of her eye. He was looking out of the window. He stared out at the blue sky, deep in thought.
As she passed him the slice of toast, Annie toyed with asking if he felt like going outside. Probably best not to push it. Just having him in the same room as her was a comfort.
‘H… how have you been sleeping?’
He looked up at her through the raven black pinpricks that once were his eyes, saying nothing.
He began to crunch at the toast.
‘Is there coffee?’
Annie’s heart leapt. He spoke. How she had longed for some idle chit chat. Smiling widely, she got up and wiped her hand on a dishcloth. ‘I’ll just make a pot.’
She filled the kettle and turned it on. As she turned around to reach for Alex’s favourite mug, she noticed something. The top two buttons on Alex’s shirt had come undone, and it hung loosely around his shoulders, exposing the tips of long scars on the back of Alex’s back. All the skin around his back and neck was covered in wounds.
Alex’s favourite mug shattered against the laminate floor as Annie held her hand to her mouth.
‘What’s that on your back? You’re covered in scratches!’ She took a step closer. ‘Alex… are you ok…?’
Her husband immediately dropped his toast and pulled his collar up around his neck.
‘Alex… what’s happened to you? Where did all those wounds come from?’ She began to weep inconsolably. ‘You have to see a doctor!’
He immediately stood up, pulling his collar around his neck and turned for the door.
She fell to her knees and watched as he turned around before leaving the room.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said.


(After the Revolution)

‘Put him in with the boy.’
The dogs barked as two of the cloaked men threw Alex in to a tiny, dark room and pushed the five inch thick steel door behind them.
‘We’ll be back for you,’ growled one of the men through the air vent.
As Alex picked himself up from the floor, he struggled to see anything around him; the room was nearly completely black. His head throbbed from when he had impacted with the floor. Sitting up, he felt a tear welling in his eye. Through the blanket of darkness, he began to hear something. Breathing.
He called out into the unknown again. ‘Hello?’
‘Are you a defector?’ It was a child’s voice. A tiny, timid squeak from somewhere behind him. Alex jumped and turned around. It’s just a child.
‘No.’ He squinted, trying to see through the darkness. He could just make out the dark silhouette of a young boy sitting at the back of the room. ‘I’m a visitor.’
‘You’re visiting someone here in prison?’
He guessed the boy was about eleven or twelve.
‘Are you here to visit me? Is that why they put you in here?’
‘No, I’m afraid not.’ Alex rubbed the back of his neck. ‘Is that where I am? Prison?’
‘You mean you don’t know?’
‘No,’ replied Alex. ‘I’m afraid I’m a little… disorientated.’
‘Why did they bring you in?’
‘I don’t know. They said something about… a curfew?’
‘You broke the curfew?’
Alex sighed and rubbed his chin. ‘Looks like it.’
There was a long pause before the boy finally spoke again.
‘I’m Ralph.’
As Alex’s eyes grew more accustomed to the darkness, he saw the child more clearly. A streak of jet black hair fell across his grubby face.
‘I broke the curfew too.’
Alex crept to the side of the cell and sat with his back up against the wall. ‘Why the hell is there a curfew? What’s going on out there, on the streets?’
‘You have to be kidding me,’ said the boy, edging closer to Alex. ‘Where have you been?’
Alex sighed. ‘A long way from here. How come you’re in here?’ he said turning around to Ralph. ‘You can’t be more than twelve years old.’
‘Thirteen.’ The boy paused and sniffed though the darkness. ‘Today’s my birthday.’
Alex smiled, thinking about the date that he punched in to the time machine. ‘Yeah? It’s mine too.’ Alex sat in the darkness thinking. What a way to spend your thirteenth birthday. Locked in a pitch black prison cell. ‘Even at thirteen. They can’t put you in prison… surely that’s illegal.’
‘Since the revolution they can do what they want.’
‘They don’t care if you’re old or young, black or white – if they suspect that you are defecting, they’ll throw you right in here. I’ve been in here lots of times.’
‘What revolution?’ asked Alex, perplexed.
‘Did you fall out of the sky? The Revolution. The British Revolution.’
‘Like I said… I’m just a visitor.’
‘Hell of a place to want to visit. Every single British person’s trying to get out, and you’re here visiting? Since Wilson took power nobody comes to Britain except to bomb it.’
The boy was unlike any other thirteen year old boy Alex had ever met. He didn’t seem timid or shy in the slightest.
‘Why do they want to bomb us?’ asked Alex.
‘Dunno… cos of Wilson I guess.’
‘You really don’t have a clue do you?’ The boy shuffled across the room and sat opposite Alex, cross legged on the wooden bench. ‘Wilson killed my Mum and Dad.’
‘I… I’m sorry.’
‘It’s okay. It was two years ago. I’m fine on my own. Dad always said I was a fighter.’
‘Where do you live… who looks after you?’
‘I look after me,’ said the child, confidently. ‘That’s the way I like it, too. I live where I can – here, mostly. Every few months they pick me up after curfew, charge me with the same crimes as always, and then let me go once the prison gets too crowded again… they know I’m not a threat… that’s why they keep letting me out.’ The boy pulled awkwardly at his shoelace as he looked up at Alex. ‘My parents were defectors, that’s how come they’re always after me. They think I’ll grow up to be one…’
Alex cleared his throat. ‘What do you mean by defectors?’
The boy sighed and looked up through the darkness towards the ceiling of the tiny cell, brushing his hair out of his eyes with his hand. ‘My parents were part of the second revolution. They were going to end Wilson’s rule… and return Britain to the people.’
There was a silence as the two sat in the darkness.
‘They were killed in the Hyde Park massacre.’
Alex could tell that the boy was pretending not to cry.
‘I’m sorry. You must miss them.’
After another long pause, the boy spoke again. ‘Do you have children?’
‘Why not?’
Alex almost laughed. ‘I don’t suppose I’d be a very good father.’
‘Why not?’
‘I don’t know. Maybe someday.’ Maybe someday. Suddenly Alex’s thoughts turned to Annie. Would he ever see her again? As he closed his eyes in the darkness, he saw her face in front of him. Her porcelain skin and ruby lips made him feel suddenly very homesick. I miss you Annie.
A long time passed as the two sat in darkness opposite each other, not saying a word, before Ralph’s voice eventually came squeaking out of the black.
‘Hey, mister?’
‘Happy birthday.’
Alex smiled. ‘Happy birthday to you, too.’