Red Bricked House – very much a draft

This is very much an early draft of a short story and needs a lot of tweaking/rewriting but the bones are there and that’s a start! I’m going to work on it again this weekend but since losing 10,000 words I’m going to back up all drafts online!

——–

I stood amongst the crowd that had gathered to watch Joey be removed from the house that had been his grave for 25 years.

Joey was brought out in a black zip up bag and placed in the van. When I realised the bag probably only contained his bones a wave of nausea surged through my stomach and turn into acid in my throat. I watched his mum stand in silence as she let the emotion evade her face. On her left, Joey’s dad gently wept into his handkerchief. Cameras swarmed like parasites as the police decorated the garden with yellow tape. Reporters roamed the pavement, searching for friends of the boy who died locked in the basement of the abandoned house.

A reporter asked how I, as his best friend, felt about the awful accident.  I don’t know why I said ‘peaceful’. It didn’t make any sense why I would feel that way but she seemed to think watching your best mate be exhumed was a cathartic experience. The end of anguish caused by not knowing what happened to that 15 year old boy, 25 years ago. Except my agony was never caused by ‘not knowing’ because I knew too much.  No one will ever truly ascertain when he died. It is unlikely that the coroner will establish that he did not die as a result of falling down the stairs and hitting his head on the way down, alone in a basement of a house he had mistakenly entered whilst on his way to a house party.

Detectives arrived just as the SOCO team marched into the house dress in white, plastic looking body suits and cameras around their necks. SOCO, Scene of Crimes Officers. I wondered whether they would discover the key to my dreadful past by uncovering a finger print, hair or footprint, anything that would place me at that house in the basement where my child hood best friend died all those years ago. Joey didn’t just die though.

On 23 July 1987 I was dumped by the girl of my dreams for the boy I thought was my best friend. Never had I felt so betrayed and the anger I felt was like a timed explosion that had once or twice only simmered. We were on our way to a house party that night and instead I lured him to the house where I hit him with a discarded cricket bat on the back of his head. I had only meant to knock him out and give him a fright but when the blood splattered my grey shirt and he tumbled down the stairs it dawned on me that I had just committed a murder.

Even though half his scalp was missing I checked Joey’s pulse. Leaving Joey lying in the basement, I scrubbed away the blood that had pooled around him. Each time I rung the bloody cloth I vomited into a separate bucket. I threw all discriminating evidence into the river and for a long moment I stood on the railings of the bridge and considered joining them. Once the moment, passed I carried on to the party where Joe was supposed to be.  For twenty five years I waited for someone to buy the house and discover his body but it never happened. The street was going to be bulldozed and it was only then, upon inspecting the red bricked terrace houses from top to bottom they found him.

My secret will remain with me. I have a family, the girl of my dreams came back to me once Joey had died and since we have married and have two beautiful children. If she knew, it would kill her and I can’t destroy two lives and survive.

 

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