Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 4 - Forewarned) cont 2

Yes, I know.  I have not posted anything for awhile, but I have been busy writing.  In fact I have managed to finish a few chapters now.  Very rough chapters, but chapters that have potential.  So here is the last bit of Chapter 4 as it stands.

‘Hooligans,’ muttered Betty disapprovingly.  ‘How can they make such a noise near a hospital.  There are sick people needing rest.’
Zoe smiled wanly agreeing mutely to the elderly ladies reprimand of the youth of today’s society.
‘Now, look at you,’ rushed Betty glancing at the untouched coffee in Zoe’s hand.  ‘I bet you have not had anything to eat.  There is a little canteen just off the main reception where we can get a sandwich or something.’
‘I’m really not that hungry,’ said Zoe quietly, realising that it was futile to protest.  She knew from experience that Betty did not take no for an answer.  Her husband had passed away ten years ago in a fishing accident and since then she had been the mother Zoe did not have.  She always ensured that Zoe was fed and clothed and educated correctly.  Betty adored her old friend Alex Alexander but knew that he was a tad scatterbrained at times.  She still marvelled that the girl had turned out so well. 
Bustling around now, she got Zoe to her feet and escorted her down the passage towards the main reception and the small canteen.  As the walked slowly down the passage Betty kept up a non stop barrage of chatter.  Describing her last visit to the hospital and which doctors and nurses were the best.  Zoe stared dull eyed ahead of her, not taking in her surroundings and letting the sounds and voices wash over her.  What would she do if something terrible happened to her father?  She would be alone in the world.  She had never met any of her father’s relatives and she was not even sure if her mother had any family.  Her father never seemed too clear about her mother’s past and was very vague about where she had come from.  The only story he told time and time again was how they had met – that dramatic stormy night twenty years ago.  As they passed the reception desk, Betty shivered and Zoe instinctively put her arm gently around her shoulders at the same time she had to sidestep a puddle of water that had been walked into the main reception area. 
‘My, the weather has really turned miserable,’ murmured Betty, ‘I should have brought a cardie.  Aren’t you cold, child?’
‘No,’ replied Zoe trancelike.  Her mind turned again to her father and how frail he had looked lying in the bed.  Oh, please let him be alright prayed Zoe silently.
The short elderly lady and tall dark haired girl passed quietly into the canteen and proceeded to the counter where Betty ordered two salad rolls and two hot chocolates.
‘There,’ said Khaos happily turning to Thanatos, ‘it must have been stress that caused her to see you earlier.  She did not see us now; she walked straight past us without a look.’
Both were standing next to the main reception desk at the hospital, water dripping from their coats onto the polished floor.  They had just entered the main doors when Thanatos had seen her walking down the passage towards them.  He had stopped and indicated to Khaos that it was her.  There was a short, plump lady in a green floral dress walking next to her, but he did not take much notice of her.  Even though the girl had been crying and her eyes were red rimmed she was still incredibly beautiful.  His heart tugged painfully, who was she, why could she see him and why did she have this affect on him?  As they drew closer the old lady had shivered and the young girl had placed her arm around her shoulder and both had passed inches from himself and Khaos.  There had been no eye movement or any acknowledgement that she had seen either of them.  Why?
‘Happier?’ asked Khaos quietly looking at his friend.
‘Yes,’ said Thanatos slowly.  ‘You must be right, it must have been stress.’
‘She is very beautiful,’ observed Khaos, ‘but definitely not a Mythic.’
Sighing slightly, Thanatos turned and walked out the front doors and Khaos followed thoughtfully after taking another quick look at the girl in the canteen.  She looked strangely familiar, but for the life of him he could not say why.
Khaos suggested a quick trip to the Clurichaun pub nearby, but Thanatos pleaded tiredness so returned home.  Thanking Khaos for his help, he walked quietly into his house and upstairs to his wife.  For an hour after his return he lay there in the dark and talked softly to his wife about what had happened during the day.  Eventually feeling a little more relaxed, Thanatos pulled his wife gently into his arms, kissed her goodnight and lay with her until she fell asleep.  Once he was sure his wife was sleeping peacefully, he got up and went into his study to complete his paperwork for the day and check his assignments for the next day.
A few miles away Khaos was perched precariously on a tiny barstool with a large tanker of ale in his hand talking loudly to the Clurichaun standing on the stool behind the bar.  Even with the help of the stool, the startling green eyes and red beard of the short barman were barely visible above the top of the polished wood.  It was a quite night with only four other occupants at the pub.  A young couple sat cosily in the corner cubicle talking softly together and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.  An elderly gentleman in the next table with his head resting against the wall and his eyes tight shut appeared to have fallen asleep and the pleasantly rounded woman with bleached blond hair swaying to the music by the juke box.  Khaos was eyeing her appreciatively when in walked Cycnus, Deimos and Enyo.  Both Deimos and Enyo were still dressed in their formal suits and ties and immediately looked out of place in the small, dark pub.
Cycnus, seeing Khaos at the far end of the bar grimaced slightly but walked across the threadbare carpet to great him casually.
‘Khaos, at your regular spot I see,’ said Cycnus disapprovingly. ‘Lost your sidekick I see.’
Deimos and Enyo had followed Cycnus across the room and were now looking around in disgust, not wanting to touch anything in case they caught something.
‘Ahh Capitan,’ slurred Khaos trying to stand and salute but almost losing his balance on the tall chair. ‘Whaa brings you to the Dog and Whishle?  Bob, I drink for my friends.’ 
The barman turned to Cycnus raising an enquiring bushy red eyebrow.
‘A draft for me,’ said Cycnus carefully seating himself stiffly on the nearby stool and arranging his sword to hang down the side.
‘And you,’ enquired the barman to Deimos and Enyo. ‘I will need to see some identification first.  Can’t be seen serving alcohol to minors.’
‘I will have a soda,’ said Deimos quickly, taking out a handkerchief and wiping the next stool before sitting down.
‘Make that two,’ followed Enyo, blushing slightly as he turned and the woman gyrating by the juke box winked at him.  Quickly turning back he remained standing stiffly near Cycnus’ chair as if he was his bodyguard.
‘Khaos, who are these fine young friends of yours,’ enquired the woman walking across the bar and casually draping her arm over Enyo’s stiff shoulder.
‘Desiree, you Siren,’ chuckled Khaos watching Enyo squirm under her caress. ‘They are far too young for you.’
‘Age is nothing,’ she whispered near Enyo’s ear. ‘I am sure I can teach them lots.’
Enyo turned a brighter shade of red and Deimos could not help but laugh at his friend’s obvious discomfort.  Enyo always seemed to attract the ladies with his youthful, clean, innocent good looks.  Deimos on the other hand was thicker set and there was already evidence of a receding hairline.
‘Be gone women,’ ordered Cycnus.  Enyo’s inability to remain professional and forceful in these situations displeased him.  If he was going to acquire respect he needed to be more dominant and demanding.  Woman made men weak, something that was not acceptable in their position.
Ignoring Cycnus, the woman continued to caress Enyo’s short blond hair and tickle his ear.
‘I said, be gone,’ roared Cycnus standing up and causing the woman to jump and step back.
‘Ok, ok, easy on tiger,’ cajoled the woman. ‘Only having a little fun with the youngster.  He needs to lighten up a little, needs a woman’s touch.’  She smiled sweetly at Enyo, blew him a kiss and returned to the juke box to select another song.
‘You are a bit uptight, tonight Cy,’ hiccupped Khaos downing his beer and indicating for another.  ‘Wha eating you?
‘Nothing is eat ... bothering me,’ corrected Cycnus abruptly. ‘If anyone is troubled tonight it is Thanatos.  The boys informed me that he was late for the meeting tonight?  This is very unlike him.  They also mentioned that he had not had a good day.  Is there some problem?’
‘No,’ mumbled Khaos, ‘there was no problem, it’s all sorted out.’
‘So there was a problem?’ wheedled Cycnus moving closer to Khaos.
‘Nothing serious,’ replied Khaos burping loudly and causing Cycnus to move backward. ‘You know how paranoid Tha .. Thane can be.’
‘Yes,’ replied Cycnus. ‘But it must have been serious for Thanatos to be late for the meeting.’
‘Nothing big,’ answered Khaos again. ‘Just that it was seen.’
‘I don’t understand,’ said Cycnus. ‘What do you mean it was seen?’  Talking to Khaos in one of his drunken states was like trying to pull teeth and he was getting very frustrated with the incoherent mumbling.
‘Not it, he was seen,’ shouted Cycnus loudly as if he was talking to a deaf man.   ‘He was at the hospital tonight to collect a passenger and the guy’s daughter apparently saw him and spoke to him.’
‘What …’ roared Cycnus jumping off the stool and almost knocking Enyo over.  His face becoming flushed and his nostrils flaring, he glared at Khaos furiously. ‘He was identified?’
‘No,  no….’ rushed Khaos quickly. ‘It was a mistake.’  He put his glass down quickly and tried desperately to clear his head.  Cycnus sudden fury was surprising and alarming.  The confusion did not merit such a strong reaction.
‘We went back to confirm and she walked right past us, didn’t see us, nada, zero, zilch.  As I said, Cy, it wasn’t a problem.’
Cycnus sat down slowly, his heart still pounding fiercely.  Something was not right, the break in the circle and a sighting at the same time did not feel like a coincidence.
‘I have work to do,’ said Cycnus suddenly, pushing his untouched draft aside and standing up. ‘Deimos, Enyo lets go.’
Khaos stroked his beard thoughtfully and watched the three men leave the bar.  Thanatos would not be happy that he had told Cycnus, he really should stop drinking so much; maybe it was time for him to settle down.
“Bob, how about another one for the road,’ said Khaos turning to eye out Des dancing to the music.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 4 - Forewarned)

After my last post and my indecision on whether to continue I came to a bit of a grinding halt.  But after much thought, I have decided (no matter what is recommended about not showing your work) that I am having fun and writing is for my enjoyment so I will carry on as I started.  Hope you enjoy the next chapter.

The black silhouettes’ of two horseman loomed over her, one appearing like a shadow to the other and both oblivious to the raging storm around them.  The inky blackness of the sky behind was still lighter than the darkness of the two figures before her.  The horses appeared to have been ridden hard as steam surrounded their twitching flanks and their nostrils flared.
The bitterness of the betrayal made her cry out “Why are you chasing me, what do you want? This plan of yours makes no sense.”
The forbidding creature stepped closer, the horses eyes glowed red, but with her back pressed against the cold, hard granite wall she had nowhere to go.  She had accepted her fate and her sacrifice would ensure life would go on, but this did not quell the disappointment and fear she felt. 
Lightening pierced the sky beyond and the sallow face of her captor shone victorious before her.  He raised his weapon in triumph and shouted to the world.  “Life will be no longer.”

Zoe’s eyes flew open in panic, florescent light suddenly streaming into her semi-conscious mind.  She looked around her in confusion, taking in the hospital bed, the heart machines and it all rushed back.  Seated in the uncomfortable straight back chair next to her father’s bed she must have drifted off to sleep.  Even though her nightmare was familiar to her, she was still unnerved about the clarity of them.  She could still taste the bile of bitterness in her mouth, smell the musty scent of the earth when it rains and her heart beat rapidly against her ribs.  Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, she moved closer to her father’s bed for comfort. 
He looked peaceful in his sleep, blue veined eyelids fluttering slightly as if in dream.  The pain relieving drugs being pumped into his arm through the IV drip had made his eyes droopy until they had eventually closed.  After the second attack he had only woken up briefly to look into his daughters eyes and tell her to shush and that everything was going to be alright.  If only she could believe him, she could not shake the uneasy feeling she had had all day.  The nurses had tried to persuade her to go get something to eat or drink, but she did not leave her father’s side for fear something would happen if she was not there.  She was not sure how many hours had passed as she sat by his side.
‘Miss Alexander,’ said Dr Marshall quietly at her side.
She quickly blinked away the unshed tears and looked up at the doctor who had just entered.
‘We need to take your father up to do his ECG now,’ said Dr Marshall.  ‘Perhaps you would like to use this time to get something to eat or drink?’
‘Can’t I go with?’ replied Zoe frantically.
‘I am afraid not,’ said the doctor gently. ‘That area is strictly for patients and staff.  The process does not take long, but we will also be taking blood and doing a few other tests.  I will call you when he has returned.’
Zoe reluctantly let the nurse who had just entered lead her back to the small waiting room near the ICU reception.  As she was about to enter the quite waiting room she stopped as a familiar voice behind her called her name.  She turned and saw a short, dumpy woman with iron grey hair wearing a green floral dress, a large brown handbag clutched under her arm and brown flat walking shoes waddling as quickly as she could down the passage.
‘Zoe,’ she puffed out of breath, ‘Simon just told me.  Oh my dear, I am so sorry.’  The little woman then proceeded to engulf her in a tight bear hug.
‘Betty, oh Betty,’ wailed Zoe.  ‘I am so scared.’  The tears began to flow in earnest and Zoe’s whole body began to shake.
Zoe was led quickly into the waiting room and seated on the large black sofa where she continued to hold firmly onto the motherly figure of Betty and sob uncontrollably.  The woman let her cry, until her wracking gasps quietened gradually.  Then carefully extracting her handbag which had become sandwiched behind her she pulled out a pack of tissues which she gave to the young girl to blow her nose.  Digging 20p out her purse she quickly went to the coffee machine in the corner of the room, selected a strong coffee with lots of sugar and brought it back for Zoe.
‘Now, tell me everything the doctor has said,’ said the elderly women calmly.
Zoe proceeded to tell her the details the doctor had told her and about how he had had another attach just after she had entered the screens by her father.  She did not mention the dark man standing over her father for reasons she herself did not quite understand.
‘You say, Dr Marshall is his doctor,’ queried Betty nodding happily.
‘Yes,’ said Zoe. ‘Do you know him?’
‘Yes,’ replied Betty.  ‘He was my doctor when I had those angina attacks a few years ago.  He is very good, there is nobody better.’
Zoe blew her nose softly feeling a little more comforted with this information.
‘The weather has turned suddenly very dark,’ reflected Betty randomly, looking out the small window. ‘It has been a beautiful sunny day, it just goes to show you how fickly our weather is.’
Distracted, Zoe glanced out the small window at the darkness outside just as large raindrops hit the glass.  She shuddered remembering her recent dream.  The weather seemed to be reflecting her dark, despondent mood.  Just then the sound of a large motorbike outside made the window pane shiver.