It’s time for more serial, because November is nearly over and I’m horrifically behind on my NaNoWriMo targets. Never mind. At least I managed to write this in time, just about.
By Nick Bryan
A few seconds after Angie giggled a little too loudly, Joe joined in. And, seconds later, there was a loud crash as Wendy across the hall slammed a door. And then they looked at each other and, yes, giggled laughed longer.
Not that they’d been doing anything rude, well, not much, but from the tone of that crash, clearly she thought they had. To be honest, they both thought, may as well have sex loudly anyway.
Angie and Joe didn’t exactly mean to annoy people, swear to god, but seemed to manage it anyway. When they weren’t at work, they spent huge amounts of time in their flat or staggering to the pub, not really meeting anyone in particular. How, they argued, could that possibly be irritating?
(“Well,” said their friends, family and neighbours, “it could be because you treat us as if we’re some niggling back-of-your-head noise.”)
So there they were, in their own little world, Joe’s trousers about to come off, when there was a knock at the door. They both looked up sharply, first towards the noise, then at each other. This never happened. Angie and Joe didn’t have guests, and neighbours normally communicated their displeasure by pounding on walls.
A proper knock on the physical door? This was new.
Unsure exactly what one does in this situation, Joe approached nervously, zipping his flies up as he went. Angie, meanwhile, hid around the corner and watched. Not because she was in any state of undress, just out of sheer fear.
Finally, he swung it open. There, standing, eyes half shut and hair a clammy mess, was Alf from downstairs, one of the stoner flatmates who could occasionally be heard yelling at any small movement. He was always scruffy, from beard to clothes, but this time it didn’t look like an intentional style choice. He seemed to have been ripped into by something.
‘Alf, what’s up mate, you, um, okay?’
Joe looked him up and down, partly to check for visible blood and also to avert his eyes, which were staring firmly. Alf seemed to have gained a lizard-like immunity to blinking.
He still hadn’t said anything, either. Joe glanced back up again, making eye contact for a split second. ‘Look, if you’re having a bad trip or something, just, y’know, go sleep it off.’
Behind him, he was conscious of Angie spinning around to look out of the window. ‘There’s a thing.’
‘What?’ He turned, relieved of the chance to face away from Alf. ‘What kinda thing?’
‘Something fell out of the sky like a shooting star or something, I think it landed…’
She made it most of the way towards the huge window in their living room, before looking back on hearing Joe’s shocked growl. Alf, with freakish strength, had grabbed him by the back of the neck and now appeared to be lifting him off the floor.
The eyes still weren’t blinking, closing or deviating from straight ahead. Suddenly, with a backheeled kick, Alf kicked the door shut behind him and shoved Joe towards Angie. But, rather than attempt further violence, he first turned and picked up the white overalls that Joe had left in the hallway from work, among a pile of other tat.
This, Joe thought, seemed weirdly coherent for someone in a trance. He was experiencing a psychotic episode, but still wanted to keep his clothes clean?
Which, moments later, stirred Joe’s stomach towards nausea when he realised what mess Alf would be protecting his jumper from. With no real plan in mind, Joe raced at Alf, trying to knock him off-balance whilst he was still putting on the damn overall.
But Alf didn’t seem to notice the shoulder barge. With an offhand shove, he pushed Joe to the ground, knocking his head on the way down and drawing blood. As the red stuff hit the air, Angie finally started to scream from behind them.
So, of course, Alf was on her before she really had the chance. Then he threw her very hard into the wall of a cupboard. And then, zipping up the suit for good measure, rubber grips covering his hands, he more or less reached inside her with a couple of grasps at her midriff. Joe was so shocked, he didn’t even make a sound.
Not until it was too late, anyway. By the time he’d thought to shout, Angie had started to spill out over the carpet and Alf had turned on him, with a harder kick to the skull. Things started to go a little hazy. The hard, white soles of the overalls were pressing down on his head, squeezing him unconscious.
Through that window, wherever the shooting star had landed, he thought he could see a glow. Whatever it was, it was getting brighter or the rest of the world was dimming.
Finally, at last, his skull split open and willpower exploded outwards.
Well, that was lovely. God knows what I’ll think of next week. Do I have to beat myself in unpleasantness every time? Anyway, yes, copyright me, do not steal, email me to discuss, ta very much, read Satellite Four to see how it ends.