I looked at mydrunk friend sprawled over the bar's countertop, his broad shoulders and long arms taking up half the space in the corner. I sighed to himself as I looked at the sight.
"Jack, mate, wake up," I said, trying to shake my friend's shoulders, but got a loud groan as a response. "Yo, it's 1 in the morning. Let's go already... Your brother's going to shout at you."
"Screw him! I'm 25, I could drink whenever and wherever I wan-" I covered his mouth so he couldn't shout anymore and draw other's attention towards us. We already have a few people glaring at us, including the bartender who was walking up to our spot.
"Sorry sir, but please keep your friend down or we have to escort the both of you out," He said as friendly as he could, but obviously that didn't work with his sour face. Jack looked up and pursed his lips as he glanced at the bartender.
"We'll go," He replied through gritted teeth and stood up. He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me up easily.
As we walked towards the door, Jack swayed side to side. He bumped into quite a number of people, apologising each time. Whenever he bumped into this man draped with a black tailored coat, he scowled at him. He grabbed my wrist and pulled me behind him, his grip getting tighter and tighter as his eyes wandered around the bar. Once we were outside, he let go .
"Can y'call a taxi?" He asked me. I gave him a puzzled look.
"But the car's right there," I replied. "I only drank half a beer, so I'll drive, since you can't. You drank like 4-5 beers in there...."
He shook his head and folded his arms over his chest childishly. "Nope,nope,nope. Not risking it."
I clicked my tongue in annoyance and brought my phone out of my pocket. We sat on the curb until it came. Jack played with my hair until then, no matter how much I cursed at him and slapped his hands. Once the taxi arrived, I pushed inside before entering myself. I put his seatbelt on for him because he looked like he was about to doze off any second. Once it was around him, I plopped down onto my seat. "Fernagh Avenue, please."
The taxi driver nodded and drove off. I didn't bother putting on my seat belt, and the driver didn't say anything. I sprawled my body over the two seats, leaning my back onto Jack's side since it was way comfier than the car door and began to doze off.
I didn't know what happened next. But all I felt was Jack's huge arms wrapping around my body as I felt the rush of adrenaline while the whole world jerked around me. After that, I couldn't feel Jack's huge arms around me.
I stood behind the yellow tape as a swarm of police cars were gathered around the collision, their blue and red lights lighting up the four road lanes around them. The metal fence that shielded the road from the undergrowth on the other side was destroyed completely. A broken down lorry was sitting motionless right beside the catastrophe, one of its cracked headlights flickering on and off as the rest of the vehicle was completely destroyed or hanging on by a thread like its side mirrors.
This was suppose to be family night, but as usual, it is interrupted with one of mum's cases or investigations. Now it is turned into 'Mother and Son's Investigatiom Night', again. Great job mum. You brought your 14 year old son to a collision site, with one of the vehicles being pulled out of the ocean right in front of him. The police found one survivor. A young man in his mid-twenties. Apparently there are two more victims. Their current condition is easy to guess since I can't see them getting treated in once of the ambulances.
"Renny!" I looked around and saw my mum waving at me as she stood wrapped in her red shawl beside Uncle Brandon, whom she called so he would take me home. I walked over to them, ducking under the yellow tape and totally ignoring the fact that I caught sight of two, motionless bodies being carried out of the taxi.
Once I got there, she wrapped her hands around my face and kissed me on the forehead. “I’ll be home by midnight, ok?”
I hummed in response. I got into the car, closing the door after. I waited a few minutes as Uncle Brandon was talking to my mum before we drove off.
“Oh god, MOVE!” Uncle Brandon screamed as he honked his horn at the police officers in front of him. He has enough nerve to do that because he’s related to my Mum.
Suddenly, a high pitched ringing noise filled my ears. It wasn’t annoying at first, but it became really irritating as the seconds flew by. I groaned, covering both my ears with my hands.
“Ren, what’s wrong?” My uncle asked me. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by it at all.
“Can’t you...ugh...hear that noise?” I groaned. He raised his eyebrow. I looked around until a small, flashing light caught my eyes. It wasn’t from the police car’s light or the ambulances. It seemed to be right under the lorry.
I quickly realised what it was. I screamed at the top of my lungs but I knew that wouldn’t stop it from happening.
It didn’t come as a surprise to me when the road behind me blew up into a huge ball of fire. All of it came as a shock as I saw a red shawl dancing above the flames.
I’ll be home by midnight, ok?
No. No, you won’t.
Chapter 1 : Every Flame, Every Sound, Every Scream
My senses were dulled as I kept staring at the detective’s pen. He was saying something but my interest of the subject flew out the window ever since he came in.
Just as my vision was about to get blurry, I snapped back into reality. I glanced at the detective’s face. He was quite young. I saw him in the police station many times whenever I used to go there with my mum. I think his surname was Chimes.
“Renoir, please try and pay attention,” He muttered, clicking his pen impatiently.
“Hey, try and understand the situation, will you!” Uncle Brandon growled. We were at the hospital for a daily checkup. I didn’t need to stay over night because all I have are minor scratches and a slight concussion. I was lucky. My uncle has a broken arm and my mum's dead six feet under the ground.
He frustratingly sighed as he gritted his teeth. "Don't ever say that I am not trying to understand the situation. I understand this more than you will ever could."
"I lost my sister that night," Uncle Brandon breathed out and pointed towards me, " and he lost his mother. I think I understand pretty well."
"Well, might I inform you, if you didn't already know, Detective Vance wasn't the only one that lost her life so stop making it sound like it is," Detective Chimes spat, abruptly getting up from his chair and storming out of the checkup room. I wasn't surprise about his actions. We sat here for quite a while and out of all honesty, both my uncle and I were pressing all of his buttons from the second he sat down.
"Don't listen him," Uncle Brandon muttered, pushing his chair back.
"No," I sighed, staring at the doorway Detective Chimes just went out of, " you should listen to him."
The drive home was silent. Uncle Brandon usually turns on the radio but his hands gripped the wheel so tight, by the time we reached the house, his hands had an imprint of the surface of the wheel.
"Go to your room," He breathed out but he didn't need to tell me twice. I was halfway up the stairs by then.
I carefully plopped onto my bed, resting my head onto a stack of pillows. I try to get comfortable on the first go because every time I move, a fiery stab of pain shoots up my side. I slowly closed my eyes.
Over the past two weeks, I realised that I wasn't like those people in fictional novels. I don't get scared of the flashbacks every time I close my eyes. I'm not out to search for the person who did this. Or persons, in most cases. I just....feel really empty. It's like my mum was only a an imaginary friend from my childhood, memories of it fading away as I grow older. But for now, I remember it vividly. Every flame, every sound and every scream. It's all stuck in my head and it won't go away.