Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Secret Attraction

Adam was always angry. His life seemed to be taking orders from shit sticks and higher ups who just irritated the hell out of him. He was happy just to work but for some reason they kept giving him the shit things to do. He'd never wanted to go to private school, but his father had enrolled him in a military academy and now he had no choice. Pompous wankers a year or two older than him who thought they knew everything. First time they'd tried to bully him he'd punched one of them so hard that he'd broken the guy's nose. That had been a laugh. Little snot had run off blubbing to the Corporal about it and Adam got punished.

Adam was always getting punished. His life was one long round of cleaning toilets, weeding lawns, picking up leaves in the rain and being a dogsbody for the frustrations of those stuck up bastards who would one day be officers.

He wouldn't have given a toss and had refused to do it at first but they beat him up so badly that he'd been in the medical ward for a week and then put back in punishment. The idea was that if he simply did it, eventually he'd be released and sent back to train. His father didn't want to know and Adam doubted the old twat even cared.

Today Adam was clearing up these odd heavy plastic sacks that were littered over the grounds outside on the lawn. It was freezing cold and wet and Adam was miserable. Jennings had been supervising him until Adam had tipped a load of wet sacks all over his highly polished boots and Jennings had gone off wailing about more punishments and shouting that Adam had to learn his lesson sooner or later.

As Adam picked up one of the sacks he lost his grip and it landed on his boot. He stumbled and fell, landing on his backside on the muddy grass. Cursing he struggled up and with a snarl picked up the sack with both hands and with a heave hurled it at the nearest hedge. He heard a shout of protest and sniggered as a head appeared over the leaves looking about for the culprit. Adam didn't give a shit if he'd been seen. It was one thing after another. He walked to where another sack was lying and saw a red ball lying in the grass near to it, soaking wet in the rain. He shrugged and picked it up, walking to the hedge, thinking that if he offered it back to whoever it belonged to, they wouldn't blame him for the sack flying into their little ball game.

He hefted the ball in his hand, his big green rain coat sleeve making it hard to grip. He pulled the sleeve up slightly and casually walked round the other side of the hedge.

Stood there was a little girl, about 6 or 7 years old. Her hand and arm were covered in blood and she was crying and breathing fast. A man was holding her arm gently and saying "Just calm down, just calm down. It's alright." Adam's eyes widened and he pretended not to see anything. At the girl's feet was a broken glass. She looked terrified and her face was white. There was a lot of blood. Adam swallowed hard and pretended not to notice.

"Anyone lost this ball? Came over the other side?"

No one paid him any attention. Two other adults were looking at the sack that he'd thrown, laying heavy and wet on the floor.

"This anyone's ball?" Adam enquired again. One of the men looked up and his face creased in shock and anger. He nudged the other and whispered, pointing to the sack on the floor.

Adam was scared now. The girl was crying and the man with her had his hands covered in her blood. Adam decided to go. There was nothing he could do here.

"No? OK. Just thought I'd check, nice ball and everything." He walked off while the two men pointed at him and he heard their voices get louder.

Adam walked behind the old building and shrugged off his rain coat and dumped it next to the rubbish bin outside the steps that led to the main foyer. He kept the ball in one hand so he could say he was returning it if stopped for any reason, and moved to the main gate. The local shops were just outside the gate and he could get lost very easily. He tried to walk slowly but he heard voices behind him, shouts and he made it to the gate, not looking behind him.

Across the road was a WH Smith's. He headed for it but in his peripheral vision he could see Jennings and two other trainee officers come out of the smaller gate slightly further down the road and run to stand near the shop. One broke off and ran to block the other side. The man who'd been with the little girl was with them and as Adam tried to walk to the shop entrance the man ran up and stood next to the doorway but then pretended to be simply standing there, not looking at Adam and standing very still. Adam knew he'd been caught, there was nothing he could do now. His anger rose and he threw down the ball and it bounced away into the road. Lunging at the man he locked his fingers around his throat and and as the man turned in shock, trying to prise the fingers away, they both came tumbling to the floor with Adam on top.

"I didn't mean to do it OK?!!" He shouted. "It was an accident, I didn't mean to!!!"

People shouted again and then Adam was grabbed by other hands. Fists rained down on his head. He passed out.


Adam sat in the Shona's office. He'd been here so many times and the woman had talked to him patiently over many months. His prison was one of isolation, boredom and loneliness. He was kept away from the other prisoners, partly for his protection and partly for theirs. First time a snarling man had lunged at him hurling abuse and a crudely made knife, Adam had gone berserk.

Solitary confinement for a long time. Then slowly they tried to bring him back to the real world. He was now allowed out to speak to Shona twice a week and to exercise in the yard. People generally kept away from him, and he liked it that way.

Shona came back into the room. Smiling she adjusted her skirt and sat down. Adam trusted her and talking to her did something to release the boredom. They'd chatted and talked about what had happened and how Adam felt and Adam knew there was no future in this beyond a friendly chat. His moods remained the same and he knew that nothing could help him. He hated most people and most people hated him.

"So Adam, any thoughts on what we talked about last time?"

Adam looked at her. She was pretty for a woman in her thirties, he thought. Nice breasts and a lovely smile. Her clothes were formal, a red wine colour to her blouse and a dark skirt. He grunted.

"Not really, things just go in circles don't they."

"It depends, even a circle has an end."

"What the fuck does that mean?"

"It means you can bring this to a close if you want to Adam." Shona smiled again and it looked fairly real. "This hatred and bitterness inside you is only there because you allow it to be. What happened was a mistake and that is accepted by everyone except you."

"I know it was a fucking mistake" Adam snapped, glaring at her. "No one else seemed to think so, or why'd they put me in here?"

"Deliberate or not, your actions were what led you here Adam."

Adam sighed. "Is there really any fucking point to this? I mean, we talk and you're nice and everything. You really are. But this goes around and around and we end up at the same spot all the time. I'm sorry about what happened, but I can't change time."

Shona looked at her watch. "It's nearly time to end this Adam. Before you go I have something for you."

Adam shifted in his seat. This was a new one.

Shona moved to an old, dark, wooden chest on a table behind Adam and opened it, the hinges creaking. Smiling she turned back to him. "I know it's your birthday so I bought you something."

Adam's curiosity was peaked. He'd even forgotten it was his own birthday, how old now? 18. Christ! Old age was gathering. Shrugging again he stood up and looked in the box. Inside was a home made CD and a large open box of fruit Skittles. Adam looked confused. He reached slowly for the CD.

Shona watched his face and said, "There's a dedication written on the CD Adam. My patients all mean something unique to me. I hope you like that song. It's called Secret Attraction. That's what you are to me."

Adam was confused and then he looked into the box. Skittles were his favourite sweets as a child. Something gave out within him, like a bow string snapping under strain. He gasped and staggered, falling to his knees but managing to stop himself falling down fully by grabbing the edge of the wooden box. Tears welled in his eyes and he couldn't see. The grief reared up inside him and he couldn't see, just the blinding pain as the emotions roared their way to the surface. He turned away and Shona was kneeling next to him. She reached out and he put his head on her chest and cried, sobbing loudly. She put her arms around him and stroked his hair. "It's alright" she soothed. "It's OK."

Adam hugged her tightly.

Finally he spoke again.

"I killed a little girl!" he sobbed. "I killed a little girl."

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