(OJ Note: It is well known I suffer from depression, and recently I put all the negative energy this brings into a novel. Heavy is that novel, and should be out sometime in 2016. In the meantime, here’s a rough chapter from one of the 2 timelines that take place in the book. As always, hope you enjoy.)
Nothing good comes from a phone call at 11:30PM.
Jerry had just gone to bed. It was Friday, and he had just completed a Hell of a day at work that called for a long drink and an even longer sleep. A hearty 12 hours of kip was overkill, but seemed like absolute bliss right now. His head had hit the pillow at 10PM, and he had fallen asleep a few minutes later.
Then, had came the call.
Usually he left his phone in the living room, leaving it to charge overnight. For some reason, the usual wave of coincidence that strikes at these times, he had bought it in the bedroom with him, and placed it on his bedside table. It was still on silent, but when it vibrated, it drilled a steady beat against the wood, waking Jerry almost immediately. The screen lit the room up more than any torch would, and he could barely force his body to react to answer the call.
He did. He wished he hadn’t.
The ripple reached Swansea, where Dan Welsh now lived. He had gone to university there, and had managed to grab a job with the local library. Since then, it had been a steady wave of re-living his old university haunts, discovering some more mature ones, and enjoying the company of his Welsh friends. As the token Englishman, he was the butt of many jokes, but he gave as good as he got.
Right then, he was out at the local metal bar, enjoying a few bars of the Cesarians, and starting his third straight pint of ale. Him and his friends were having a little skulk, eyeing up the various gothic ladies who frequented this joint, and had played with them in the past.
When his phone rang, he assumed it was just another person about to join their party.
The ripple turned into a wave, hitting Southampton.
There, it first found Sophie Peters. She was spending a quiet night alone, watching some DVDs which she’d blog about later. She’d been in love with film since she was a kid, and had a certain penchant for horror. From there, she had created a cool little blog which focussed on the genre from a female perspective. It wasn’t anything new, but it was catching the zeitgeist. From humble beginnings she had turned into a minor internet darling, and so felt an obligation to keep it all up.
In between the day job, of course.
While she was halfway through watching a person in LARP gear get stabbed in the woods, she barely noticed her phone start ringing. Such was her intensity at watching films, everything else seemed to stop.
Still, the phone kept ringing, and eventually she snapped out of it.
When the words on the other end filtered into her ear, the film didn’t matter anymore.
From one side of the city to the other, and to the bedroom of Kimberley Dane. Kim, to her friends. She was in bed, but she wasn’t sleeping. Instead, her and her boyfriend were fresh off a few minutes of fairly passionate sex. They had gone from the early honeymoon period, where you had sex every other hour, to that comfortable stage where it becomes less and less, to that exciting one post-move. They had only been living together a month, but they had felt revitalised in their relationship.
Right now, they were in that stage where you just lie there and look at your partner. You’re out of breath, but filled with amore, so all you can do is look into their eyes, smile, and hold each other.
They kissed again and again, arms and legs interlocked with each other, deciding whether to turn the light off or keep being post-coital and soppy. Before either could decide, Kim’s boyfriend heard her phone, and offered to get it for her.
Dressing gown on, he left and came back with a grave look on his face.
Finally, to Lee.
He lived alone, in a tiny little flat by the coast, but he was happy there. For him, Friday wasn’t a night to go out drinking and dancing to a rave, it was time to put up your feet, have a cup of tea, and drift nicely off to sleep later.
Tonight, however, was party time. The Grand Prix was live, and he simply had to stay up and watch it. All he had planned for the next day was a quick meal with the girlfriends parents, and that wasn’t until the mid-afternoon.
He could afford a late one. And a beer. Why not? It had been a busy week down the factory and he had done more than his fair share of work. The usual rubbish that came with such an atmosphere. At times, he wished he was in the pits with the cars he so loved watching. One day, that would be the plan. For now, he’d be a big fish in a small pond.
It was a pond he liked, though, and it paid the bills.
While on the edge of his seat for a particularly thrilling lap, he got the call. He answered with as much energy as was happening on screen, then suddenly felt it all blow away.
Taking him off the seat as well.
Dan couldn’t believe it. Dan wouldn’t believe it. These things don’t happen. Not in real life. He thought it was a joke, a prank, played on him on someone’s boring Friday night. Probably drunk. Probably high. Anything.
Anything but being real.
The tears cascaded down Sophie’s cheeks. She couldn’t stop. She wanted to, but simply couldn’t. Nothing that came out of her mouth made sense, except screams. The pain was fierce and unrelenting. All she could was cry.
Even after the phone was down, the person on the other end gone, she just cried. Non-stop. For hours.
Kim’s boyfriend had held her after telling her the news. She was in shock, not knowing how to act. She was confused more than anything. After all, it didn’t seem real. She knew in her heart that, in fact, it was very possible and very real, but it still didn’t make it OK.
She just held onto her partner, and let him kiss her on the head.
On the floor of his living room, while the cars continued to do laps, Lee just sat there stunned.
What else could he say? What else could he do? His mouth was just gaping open, wondering what to do next. The news had hit him like a hammer, and now he was struggling to process it.
In the end, he just finished his beer and went to bed. It seemed the only sensible thing to do, at that moment.
Jerry finally put the phone down, having called all the gang, and sat on the edge of his bed. If he was truly honest, he had been expecting that phone call for months.
He just didn’t want to hear it.
The plan to have a good night’s rest had gone, and instead Jerry found himself being the bearer of bad news and now just sat there. He didn’t cry, he didn’t stammer in disbelief, he wasn’t even shocked. He was just hurt. He was sad. What he had hoped never would have happened, happened.
Dave Marx was dead.