The weakest link.

The storm tore relentlessly at the trees and dispatched pin sharp rain into a pitch-black night cracked only by lightning flashes. Wide-eyed and gripped by buttock clenching fear, Clive pushed ahead, leading, what he thought was the way to the quay. Will stumbled five metres behind him, H Butt behind Will and Betty staggered, tripped and waddled a hundred metres behind H, hobbled by his fashionably low slung jeans, the waistband caught mid way across his Calvin Klein clad rump.

Betty, Will and H were too scared to think. Clive – desperate to gain momentary respite from the knowledge they were running from a psychopath – distracted himself by trying to recall whether he had paid the insurance company, who covered Goliath’s lives, in case of death.  If he had posted the cheque, then, with two band members already down, he was quids in; lose another and his financial woes could be over. He glanced back – if he had to jettison a third, who would it be? Who was (after Fingers) the biggest bastard of them all?

It had to be Betty.

Clive allowed himself a moment to enjoy this optimism in the face of total fucking disaster and then he slipped, falling face first into the mud.

The howling storm tormented Georgie Delaware but not as much as the incessant squeals from the bathroom above. He paced his cluttered and darkened kitchen, pressed frozen peas to the crown of his throbbing head. Twice he sat down and sobbed but a restless moment later he got up again. The third time he rose and walked to the table, littered with detritus, snagged with thick black wiry thread attached to a bloodied needle, next to which the shotgun rested.

Fingers squealed continuously from the moment he felt his tail wiggle; until, hyperventilating, he dropped to the floor; here he was overcome by an intense desire to push his new snout into the dusty corners behind the toilet – he gave in to it.

Georgie picked up the gun and slowly climbed the stairs. He crept quietly along the upper hall and finally, with a trembling hand, he unlocked the bathroom door and stepped in.

‘Oink,’ Fingers said cheerily, blinking at him with clearly shrunken eyes, and waggling his tail, “Oink, snort snort, snuffle?” he said gleefully before returning to whatever pleasure he had discovered beneath the pink towelling toilet rug.

Georgie stepped two steps backwards and quickly closed the door; was it him or was the lad now more pig than man? He sat heavily down at the top of the stairs, listening to the snuffling noises and a sob caught in his throat – staring down at his gun laid across his thighs he could see only one way out this nightmare. He balanced the butt of his gun on a step below and pushed the end of the barrel into his mouth. Georgie jumped and nearly choked when the phone rang downstairs but he recovered. Ignoring the call, he found the trigger with his thumb,and was about to apply a little pressure just as his ancient answer machine kicked in and a mechanical voice asked who ever it was to please leave a message.

“Dad!” said a faraway but cheery female voice with a straightforward Australian accent.

Georgie lifted his head.

“It’s me, Matty!”

He left the gun on the landing and raced down the stairs. He skidded on letters piled up unopened, righted himself and dashed into the kitchen.

I’m done walkabout Dad, I’m comin’ home!”  Matty said.

He located the phone beneath old country music magazines, on the shelf below the kitchen window and snatched up the receiver.

He sobbed at the news that she was so close, just across the water waiting for the storm to abate. He laughed with relief and then joy when she said enthusiastically:

“I’ve learned some awesome boomerang skills Dad.”

That’s my Matty Georgie thought. He wiped his eyes and glanced briefly through his darkened window as the space beyond was suddenly illuminated by an unfortunately lingering gash of lightning at the precise moment that Clive, H Butt and Will, emerged utterly spent, and somewhat confused from the tree line. This was certainly not the fucking quay.

“Matty,” said Georgie wincing, taking a step backwards into the darkness of his kitchen, “Ah’ve a wee bit of a mess t’sort here lassie then Ah’ll be over t’pick ye up.’

To be continued…