SATURDAY 28th JANUARY 2012
I awoke from my fitful sleep this afternoon after a busy night shift to find a letter from Mr Postman that was addressed from A.Vogel.
Curiously, I racked my brains and whilst slicing it open, it occurred to me that I had entered a short story competition back in October for their ‘Bedtime Story’ comp.
Unfortunately, I did not win but never mind; I gained lots of pleasure in writing the story and it now means I can publish it on here for your goodselves.
So, grab a cuppa and get cosy on the settee on this lovely bright Saturday afternoon….
Good Deed Gone Bad
Katy spun on her heels, failing to keep her balance, allowing the mosh pit mud to jump up and smack her in the face.
“Ow!” she grunted lying face down, “That wasn’t meant to happen.”
There was a splutter of laughter from her three fellow festival goers as one stooped down and scooped her up in his arms, “Are you ok little lady?” said Brandon.
Katy nodded dazedly, rubbing her forehead, smearing the mud into her hairline, “I think I’ve just bruised my ego,” she mumbled, thankful that the couple of bottles of beers now pulsing through her veins had softened the fall.
“Sit here,” said Tess, pulling up a discarded empty beer keg beside them.
Katy willingly obeyed and flopped onto the keg.
It was late August and she had taken a trip to the Starlight Music festival, an event designed for new bands to exert their talent and local bands, who had made it big, to bask in fame and return as headline acts. Katy had agreed to accompany her best friend Tess and her handsome brother, Brandon, to support their cousin’s band ‘The Time Machine’ that had secured a slot this year. The Festival was a two day event and they had decided to camp over.
The other addition was Paris; Brandon’s hideously beautiful yet annoying American girlfriend, who, despite the swamp pit, looked effortlessly glamorous, managing to pull off the mud smeared image so fashionably. She was at the same University as Brandon, where he had been only too eager to volunteer his services as her British Tour Guide.
The bass from the centre stage boomed across the field, signalling the start of the next band.
Paris grabbed Brandon’s arm and squealed, “This is them! This is The Time Machine, I recognise this song! Come on let’s get closer!!” she started pulling Brandon in the direction of the music. All around them, people started congregating towards the stage.
Brandon looked at Tess, who urged him to go on, “We will catch you guys up,” she said.
Katy stood up, “It’s alright Tess, I’m fine,” she linked arms with her “Let’s go down with them, after all, this is the main reason we came.”
The foursome trudged along, issued with another bottle of beer by Brandon from his rucksack. The music grew louder, the crowd grew deeper and the atmosphere was in full swing. People were dancing, singing and sliding all over in the mud bath.
“They are really good!” Katy enthused as she took a swig of her beer. They weren’t as close to the stage as they would have liked but they still had a pretty good view. Katy could see Marvin, the lead singer and also Tess’s cousin, standing centre stage, one hand wrapped around the microphone, the other hand waving in the air at the crowd.
She grabbed Tess’s free hand and they jumped up and down to the beat. Paris had draped herself around Brandon, preventing him from throwing any serious dance shapes, having to succumb to an apologetic side to side movement instead.
The faster pace on the drums and the increase in the guitar strumming signalled the climax of the song.
The crowd cheered in appreciation, Tess and Katy screamed, Brandon clapped his hands and Paris let out a huge wolf whistle.
“They were excellent!” exclaimed Katy, balancing her bottle of beer whilst fumbling in her bag.
“Not bad for their opening song,” Brandon nodded, “Don’t like his outfit though, it’s a bit on the feminine side.
Brandon was referring to Martin’s pink shirt that was tickled by a black and white checked dickey bow tie and framed with nerdy black thick rimmed glasses. Although not an outfit of choice, Katy pointed out continuing to fumble in her bag, it suited the image of the band; a quirky modern day Fifties Geek Chic.
“What are you looking for in that Mary Poppins bag of yours?” Paris said, eventually irritated by Katy’s continuous scrapping.
“I can’t find my phone, I know it’s in here somewhere, I put it in before we left the tent. This bag is just so god damn big it takes me forever to find anything.”
“Here, let me look inside for you,” Tess offered, taking the bag from Katy’s shoulder.
Whilst the Time Machine started up their second song, Tess started taking things out of Katy’s bag one by one, until she could no longer hold anything else, “Paris, just have a look at what’s left in there for me.”
Paris peered in the bag then rummaged around with her hand. No phone to be found.
A disheartening thought struck Katy, “Oh no! Maybe it fell out when I went splat on my face before!”
“I think it probably did, we have had this bag inside out and it is not there,” Tess reasoned, “Do you want me to go back and look for it?”
Katy shook her head, “It’s probably long gone now, and no doubt someone will have picked it up and played the finders’ keeper’s game with it.”
They agreed to listen to the rest of the Time Machine’s set list before retracing their steps back to their tent, half in hope of discovering the phone.
As they edged nearer to the beer keg that Katy had sat on, she noticed something glittering in the mud. It was the sparkles on the back of her pink phone case!
“I don’t believe it!” she gasped, running over to pick it up. She rubbed the screen clean against her hoody, “Look, as good as new!”
The others smiled in relief and they continued back to their tent.
Once there, Brandon lit a fire whilst Tess retrieved some more beers from a cool box. Katy and Paris set up the camp chairs and they all cozied themselves around the fire.
“Let’s have a look at what pictures you have taken so far Katy,” Paris purred, holding out her long tanned arm.
Katy begrudgingly passed Paris the phone. She wasn’t bothered about her looking at the Festival photos; she just didn’t want her trawling through the rest of her life that was encased within the phone and spouting out any unnecessary opinions.
“Wow, you have some good photo’s, ughl but I don’t like this one,” she held it out for all to see, “I look so fat!”
Tess and Katy rolled their eyes as Brandon put his arm around Paris and cooed, “You could never look fat sweetie.” It made Katy sick the gooey baby that Paris turned Brandon into.
She continued flicking until she said, “Oh I didn’t know you had taken any videos.”
Katy paused from sipping her beer, “I didn’t think I had. Maybe I recorded by accident when it was in my pocket”
“Well there is one here, let me just see what it is….” Her voice trailed off as she watched intently the images that came on the screen, her blue eyes getting wider in horror, the sounds coming from the phone echoing of fumbling and scuffling.
“What is it honey-pie,” Brandon asked, noticing the change of expression on his beaus face.
Paris remained still and silent, her mouth dropped until she finally threw the phone on the floor, just missing the fire and let out a blood curdling scream.
The others looked aghast, Katy picked her phone up as Tess screeched demanding to know what was on it and Brandon fussed over Paris.
Katy pressed replay.
“What the hell…”
The phone must have landed on its side when it fell out of Katy’s pocket during her stumble and somehow knocked the record button into action. She could clearly see the beer keg on which she had sat on in full view, the distant murmur of the crowd humming in the background.
Then an image appeared, beyond the beer keg, wedged in between a couple of family sized tents pitched perfectly nearby. Katy could see a young teenage girl bent over, sorting out her wellington boots. There was a hooded figure slowly creeping up behind her. At first he looked like he was just going over to speak to her; however he suddenly raised his hand, in which something glistened brightly in the sunlight. Without warning, it came crashing down on the girls back. Her mouth formed a perfect ‘o’ – projecting a silent violent scream before her back arched in pain, collapsing in a heap. The man then calmly picked her up and carried her off amongst the tents.
Katy too let out a scream, hers full of volume, unlike the poor victims. Brandon and Tess looked at her in shock.
“Oh my god, we have to tell the police! Someone has been stabbed and they may be seriously injured, or dead!”
Tess stood up and snatched the phone from her, “Let me see….” She too had the horrific expression creep across her face as it played. Brandon stood over her shoulder to get a glimpse.
Katy started pacing up and down, “How come it recorded for that short space of time, why didn’t it keep recording, we could have seen more…”
“I have the same phone, it’s easy to accidentally press record, see how the button is on its side? However, it’s on a timer and after thirty seconds it stops itself, unless you press another button to keep it going,” Brandon said.
Paris was mute; she had curled herself up into a ball, rocking back and forth with tears streaming down her face.
“Surely someone must have seen this – if not the attack, then the killer carrying the girl through the tents? Won’t they have thought it odd? Plus she would have been bleeding everywhere.”
“I don’t suppose anyone would think it odd her being carried by a male,” Brandon said, “I picked up Katy when she fell, girls are falling over all the time either too drunk or slipping in the mud. No-one would have battered an eyelid at that.”
“But the blood” Katy whispered.
“I know this is a sick thing to think but maybe it’s a joke, that they are in a group of friends and it was a prank,” Tess suggested, ever the optimist.
Katy shook her head, “That is sick! We need to find the police and show them. We need to check around those tents to see if we can see anything as to where they might have gone!”
“Don’t you think that’s the Police’s job?” Tess responded
“I do, but I want to check. How can something like that happen and it goes unnoticed?”
Paris still hadn’t said anything.
“Let’s go and find the Police,” Brandon said calmly, taking control. They all started following his lead, Paris slowly getting up from her seat, her hand in her mouth trembling. Brandon placed his arm around her and they went in search of a security tent.
They came across one nearby which was staffed by a steward in a high visibility jacket, speaking hushed into his radio. Brandon walked over to him, “Excuse me,” he said politely, “We need to speak to a Police Officer.”
The steward looked around irritant, “I will be with you in a moment.”
Katy looked around at the tent; understaffed and disinterested sprang to mind. There was a Police Officer base, but that was empty. The steward took his time with his conversation. Katy felt her impatience rising uncontrollably, “I’m going to look myself,” she announced.
Tess grabbed her arm, “You can’t! Where are you going to go?”
“The tents where it happened, I want to see for myself the scene, see where the trail of blood is. Follow that. There has to be a trail”
Paris was quietly sobbing into Brandon’s sleeve, whilst he tapped his foot before finally losing his patience, “This is an emergency, someone may have been murdered”
The words hung in the air, like sharp icicles ready to drop at any minute.
The security guard eventually turned to them, a look of bewilderment spreading across his face.
“Now you listen!” Brandon said exasperated, shoving the phone in his face, “Watch this. Someone on this site has been stabbed and we need to help them.”
The steward took the phone and watched the video. He then turned to his radio and spoke calmly, but sternly, requesting a Police Officer returned to his tent immediately.
To give them their dues, the Police were much quicker than anticipated, a tall Police Officer appeared as if he had been just outside. He introduced himself as PC Davies.
Before the steward could explain, Katy jumped in, her words tumbling out uncontrollably, her voice wavering as she explained how she lost and found her phone, jumping in with unnecessary comments about the band they watched and her falling over. She went to grab the phone from the steward who beat her to it and handed it to PC Davies.
He watched with a vacant expression, his face a blank canvas, not wanting to give anything away.
“I will radio control to see if we have received any other reports and get an incident created. I need to alert my Sergeant so that we can search the site for the victim and get the scene cordoned off.”
From then the world went into a fast spinning washing machine cycle. Other police officers turned up at the tent, interviewing the four of them, obtaining their own statements. Katy gave hers first with it being her phone whilst Brandon took them to the scene. Katy had wanted to go but Brandon had refused, saying they needed to speak to her first, his desperate attempt at getting her to stay away from the scene.
Tess and Paris stayed in the tent, watched over by one of the Police Officers who ensured they had a steady supply of cups of tea, subtly watching their mental health.
Brandon trudged through the mud with PC Davies, showing him exactly where the phone had been found and which way it was pointing. PC Davies then started clearing the area of people, taping it up as a crime scene. By now, forensics had arrived and a couple of Detectives from the Major Investigation Team. Brandon had not been allowed to go near the scene and was unable to confirm if there was any blood, as Katy had asked him to. A crowd had started gathering, shouting their speculated curiosities.
Brandon watched over helplessly, before being escorted back to the security tent for interviews.
Once all four of them had been spoken to, PC Davies gave them a brief update.
“We have checked with control, we haven’t received any reports from any knife wound victims or anything similar. We also haven’t received any reports from potential witnesses, through default, you are the only witnesses. We are speaking to the occupants of the tents beside where it occurred and they appear to not know anything at this stage, not even the girl. Why don’t you all go back to your tents for the night and get some sleep, we will speak to you in the morning?”
The four of them trooped back to the tent back in silence, in fear of speaking the unknown.
Brandon lit another fire; Paris feigned a headache and scuttled off to bed. Tess agreed to have one drink with him and Katy before going to bed.
The one drink turned into the threesome sitting by the fire until late.
Katy felt lost without her phone, which had been taken away as evidence. She feared that they may try and wrongfully incriminate her and that was another reason for her being unable to sleep.
“My only hope is that they find the girl and she is alright. I can’t believe no-one else has seen anything and that no-one has been reported missing, injured or either,” Tess said quietly.
“PC Davies said they had checked the hospitals as well and no-one had been admitted with knife wounds,” Brandon offered.
A heavy silence hung thickly in the air, before Tess let out a yawn, “I’m calling it a night.”
Katy and Brandon sat for a little while longer, Katy staying more out of comfort, she felt safe with him. She really wanted to stay in his part of the tent tonight even though it was highly inappropriate. He caught her sullen expression and rubbed her arm, “It’s ok now Katy, it’s in the hands of the police.”
She wished she shared his positivity. She forced a smile, “Thanks Brandon, I think I will try and get some sleep.”
Once tucked up in her sleeping bag, with Tess curled up in the same part of the tent, Katy lay awake, her mind replaying the day’s events. She was about to close her eyes when she saw a flicker of a shadow against her side of the tent. She sat up with a start; alert, adrenaline pumping, her heart jumping into her mouth. She wanted to scream for Brandon, but her voice had been swallowed to an ocean depth so low that even summoning enough submarine power could still not raise it. The figure seemed to be getting bigger, getting closer to the tent.
Katy tried to move, but a paralysing liquid circulated her system.
Then she saw it.
It was a flash of a blade that inched its way along the cloth of the tent, piercing the fabric like it was piercing skin.
The warm summer air bled into the tent, panic bandaging Katy as the same hooded figure from her mobile stabbed its way into her tent.
The killer had returned to retrieve the incriminating evidence.
But it was too late.
Once the killer realised the mobile phone was no longer in her possession, she would be a mirror image of the scrupulously recorded video.
Katy bitterly accepted her fate as she recognised the familiar glisten in his hand.
Somewhere, the words ‘Payback’ were whispered, as the hooded figure cold bloodedly sought his revenge.