Awake-Chapter One-Abandonment

Shadow returned and sat back down, next to Gravity.  He had a handful of change in his right hand and yesterday’s newspaper tucked underneath his left arm.  He let Gravity count the change, over the years she had become used to the shape and texture of the coins and Shadow remembered hearing that if you lose one of your senses all the others become heightened.  He took the newspaper and quickly flicked through it before turning back to the front page story.  He held it up and read it aloud.

ST. GEORGE’S HOSPITAL GONE UP IN SMOKE

At ten thirty a.m. yesterday on the fifth of January St. George’s Hospital was absolutely obliterated in an explosion caused by an unknown source.   Three C4 bombs were let off in various locations across the Occular ward.  The bombs were let off so suddenly and without warning, that only one survivor has been reported: hospital Consultant Gideon Jones.   This story continues on page 7.

Shadow stopped reading and looked up at Gravity.  “We did well.  We made five pounds forty.  We should be able to buy some sandwiches or at least snacks.” Bliss moaned slightly.  Gravity sighed gently and softly stroked Bliss’ head.  Apart from Shadow, Bliss was the only family Gravity had ever known.  She started to think about how Bliss came into their lives.

My family bought Bliss, shortly after I had turned four; Shadow had always wanted a dog and my grandparents thought that a dog could provide an extra level of companionship.  We grew up around each other.  We kept each other safe.  Once Bliss had learned to trust me, she was a loyal and brave friend.  She never left my side and protected me against absolutely anything.  The relationship between the two of us was stronger than diamonds.  The six hundred pounds our grandparents gave us was not only spent for our own purposes, but also on keeping Bliss alive and healthy.

The six hundred pounds had lasted them a decent year, but when the money had started to run low; Bliss had started to come down with something and the siblings could not afford to take her to the vet.  Then from completely out of the blue their grandfather had managed to track them down.  For the time being Shadow and Gravity had been invited to live with their grandparents.  Their grandfather certainly had a lot of questions for them.

“Have you been living on the streets all this time?” Their grandfather exclaimed.

“Yes, we did rent out an apartment, but we ran out of money.” Shadow explained.

“Have you been keeping well?”

Gravity nodded.  “How are you and grandma getting on?”

“I’m fine, but your grandmother is in a bad state.”

“That’s terrible Granddad, but how did you find us in the first place?”

Their granddad smiled mischievously and tapped the side of his nose.  Upon Shadow telling her what her grandfather had just done, she laughed a little before turning serious.

“Granddad, we’re worried about Bliss, we don’t have the money to take her to the vet.” Gravity explained, anxiously.

“I understand, well we must find a vet straight away and don’t worry I’ll pay for it.”

“Granddad, are you sure? This is your money after all.”

“That’s utter nonsense; I’ll pay anything to help my grandkids.”

****

That had been two years ago.  Bliss had checked out fine, it had been a complete false alarm, and it was back on the streets for Shadow and Gravity.  Their grandparents had given them some clean clothes and an extra two hundred pounds.

“Shadow, I don’t think Bliss is well.”

Shadow frowned.  “Are you sure, she’s not hungry?”

“No, I don’t think so, she feels different, and a lot more run down.”

“I’m sorry, Gravity, we haven’t got the money.”

“We’ll ask granddad.”

“That’s not fair on him.  He’s spent so much money on us, already.”

“Shadow, he said, he didn’t mind and I’m not joking.  I really think Bliss is ill.  Please, Shadow we have to help her.”

Shadow nodded.  He knew of the tight bond Gravity and Bliss shared and he also knew if Bliss got seriously ill or even died, then part of Gravity would die with her.  He would not let this happen.  “Let’s go find granddad.”

****

After a few hours spent finding their grandfather, they were at the vets.  When their grandfather, who was still in good health, had questioned the siblings over how they had found him, Shadow smiled mischievously and tapped the side of his nose.  Gravity Shadow and their granddad were in the waiting room. The girl was wringing her hands nervously.  She was extremely worried about her dog.  They had never been separated for this long before.  A Veterinarian came out off the room, where Bliss had been taken, and walked over to them.

“Our diagnosis has shown that your dog has contracted Parvovirus.”

“What’s that? Is it bad?” Gravity asked.

“We think it’s in its early stages, but we’re going to have to ask you some questions just to confirm or hopefully refute our findings.  Ok let’s begin.  Did you give your dog the necessary vaccinations when she was a puppy?”

Shadow nervously glanced at his grandfather.  “We got Bliss after she was a puppy.  I’m not sure whether she had the vaccine.”

“You really should’ve checked.  The animal sanctuary should’ve informed you about this.  How old was Bliss when you received her?”

“She was two years old.”

“How old is she now?”

“Ten.”

“You’re in luck; Bliss is still young enough to receive the vaccines.  Has Bliss been eating properly?”

“No, she has barely touched her food.”

“Has she been vomiting a lot?”

“Yes, she has.”

“It sounds like she’s becoming malnutritioned.  Has she seemed dehydrated or generally weak of energy to you?”

Gravity nodded solemnly.

“I’m sorry to say it, but your dog definitely has Parvovirus.  She is certainly showing all the symptoms.  Since the virus has not finished developing yet, we can control it with vaccines, but there are some things you can do as well.  If you keep her warm and bleach her food and water bowls, as well as keeping her to this strict diet, then there is a strong chance of her making a full recovery.”

Shadow decided not to mention, that they could barely afford enough food for themselves, let alone for Bliss.

“Come along tomorrow at two o’clock for the first injections.  I’m afraid we’ll have to keep her here, under observation.”

“I’ll see you at two.”

The family stood up and made for the door.

“Wait, sir I’m going to need your name.”

“It’s Wilkins.” Wilkins was the old family name, but Shadow had not used it in a long time.

****

Mitch’s radio crackled into life.

“Mitch, I’ve had a talk with HQ and they’ve agreed that we can keep working on the murder case, but investigating the explosion at the hospital will be our priority, where we’ll be collaborating with SC07.”

“That’s fair enough.  I think it’s time to check out the hospital.  Meet there in two hours with a forensic team.  I know the other guys will have already checked it, but there can’t be any harm, giving it a secondary sweep.”

****

Mitch was standing in the rubble and shattered glass which was once Saint George’s hospital.  Mitch was taking notes down on a clipboard.  “I have reason to believe, that the explosion at the hospital has a connection with the death of the receptionist, Fiona Davids.” Mitch said, before walking over to a man in a white coat.

“Found anything?”

“Yes, we’ve found a single hair.  It’s blonde, but it might also have been a bit of fur.”

“What do you mean, by “have been“?”

“I’ve sent it off for analysis; I’ve told them to send the results to you.”

“How long will it take them to analyse it?”

“A few weeks.” Mitch gave an exasperated sigh and walked back to his car.

****

Mitch was in his office.  He had seen the test results and saw that the hair was actually fur from a golden retriever.  The golden retriever would probably be a guide dog, which would not be unusual in a hospital.  However, there was a chance that they could match the fur to a guide dog, which had been given to someone.  If they could find the dog, then maybe they could find the owner.

****

Mitch was in a hospital interviewing a victim of attempted murder.

“I was attacked, at three a.m., while I was watching TV.” The victim stated.

“Why were you watching TV at three a.m.?”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing at all sir.  I was just very surprised at hearing that.  When it’s three a.m. in my house I’m usually fast asleep.  Anyway, did you see your attackers?”

“No, it all happened so fast, but I think there was a girl, a boy and a dog.” The victim said, quickly.

“What breed was the dog?”

“I think it was a golden retriever.”

“How did they get into your house?”

“I’m not sure; I suppose they could’ve climbed through a window.”

“Thank you very much sir for telling me this information.  I’ll let you get some rest now.”

Mitch walked out of the room and picked up his radio.  “Hey, Sarah it was interesting talking to the victim.”

“Was it now? I’ve read the details of the case: he was attacked at three a.m. while watching TV and he was in a coma for nine hours.  Have you found out anything else?” Sarah asked.

“He managed to describe his attackers, but not in very much detail.  He said there was a boy and a girl and a golden retriever.”

“Are you thinking, what I’m thinking?”

“Yes, I am.  We need to get a forensic team around the victim’s house, straight away.”

“I’ll radio HQ about it.”

****

It was the next day and Mitch and Sarah were around the victim’s house, with a team of men in white coats.  Mitch and Sarah were in the kitchen, with a man who had a magnifying glass.

“I think I may have found something.”

Mitch looked up at the man who spoke.

“I’ve found this golden hair.  It might’ve come from a golden retriever or it might be from somebody who has blond coloured hair.  I’ll run some tests to see, if it’s from a human or an animal, then I’ll send it off for further analysis, the results should be around-”

“In a few weeks, I’ve done this before.  Ok, if it does turn out to be fur, then we can cross-reference it with the sample we found at the hospital.  I‘ll send it round to you.  Have we had any progress on finding out how the assailant entered the house?”

“That has been more interesting.  Now the assailants must have used a laser cutter, to break open the window, because there isn’t any excess glass in the surrounding area.  Also the window has been very neatly cut, so there’s no jagged glass and unfortunately no clothes tearing.”

“Ok, thank you for your help.  We will be in touch.” Sarah said, professionally.  She and Mitch headed out of the door and back to the car.

****

It was the end of another slow and boring few weeks and Mitch was sitting by his desk, with Sarah opposite him and the results of the test were between them.  It turned out that the ‘hair’ was actually a piece of golden thread.

“This killer really doesn’t want to be found out.” Mitch said, dejected.

Sarah nodded and then perked up a bit.  She reached into a cabinet and pulled out files on all of the recent murder victims.

“Do you know the one thing that all of these cases have in common?”

Mitch shrugged.

“All of the people that have been attacked have had connections with the medical industry.  The first case, where the receptionist, Fiona Davids, had been murdered, now where did she work? At St. George’s hospital.  Now the second case, Nikki Lambert, was an Ophthalmologist at St. Anne’s hospital.  The third case was an explosion at St. George’s hospital.  Where were the bombs placed? Across the Occular ward.  Do you see my point?”

Mitch nodded with enthusiasm.

“That’s our pattern: people in the medical industry.”

“I think it would be very important to find out what job the fourth victim has.” Mitch nodded in fierce agreement.   Sarah placed the files back into the steel cabinet, while Mitch was pulling on his overcoat.  Afterwards he walked out of the office and down to the car park, with Sarah following him, before driving off to the hospital.

****

“Hello, we’re here to ask some more questions, if that’s ok?” Sarah said, gently. The man nodded.

“What’s your job?”

“I’m an assistant to an Ophthalmologist.  Like a nurse to a normal doctor.”

“Where did you work?”

“Here, in this hospital.”

“Who did you work for?”

“Doctor Nikki Lambert.”

“Do you know what happened to her?” Sarah enquired.

“Yes, I heard she had been murdered.”

“Yes, that’s right; she had been attacked in the same circumstances as you.”

“Do you know any reason why anybody would want to attack you?” Mitch asked.

The man shook his head.  “Nothing comes to mind.”

“Are you sure you haven’t angered anybody?”

“Well you can’t please everyone, but I am sure that I haven’t caused anyone enough discomfort to kill me.  Is this to catch the person who did this to me?”

“We can hope it can help us with that.  We’ll leave you alone now.” Mitch and Sarah walked out of the room.

“I think that definitely confirms your hunch.” Mitch remarked.

“Come on, we had better report this back to HQ.” Sarah replied.

****

“Do you have it?” Gravity asked.  Shadow nodded and passed it to Gravity.  She handled it with caution.  “It feels really painful.”

“We’re not the ones; it’s going to go into.” Shadow said.

Gravity smiled and stroked Bliss.  “I think, those injections did the trick, Bliss is feeling so much healthier.”

“That’s good news.”

“Have you got everything else?”

“Yes.  This is going to be perfect.  We’re going to be undetectable.”

“So, who have you chosen this time?” Gravity asked, with interest.

“He’s a trainee stockbroker.  This should break the pattern.”

“What time is it now?”

Shadow looked up at the nearby clock tower.  “It’s four p.m.”

“We might as well get started.”

****

“Mitch, guess what.”

“Another death.”

Sarah nodded.

“This guy is on a murder spree.  Any connection, between the other cases?”

“None at all.  This man has died through a completely different method and in completely different circumstances.  This man was stabbed in the back, at five thirty just as he was coming home from work.” Sarah explained.

“What work does he do?”

“He’s a trainee stockbroker.  Now we’ve been looking around his house and it seems that the backdoor got pick locked open.  Also we’ve found what seems to be the murder weapon, buried in the back garden.  It is a bit dirty, but it’s being analysed at the moment.”

“That seems a bit weird: burying the weapon in the garden.  It’s like the killer wants to be caught.”

“Maybe he does, kill enough people and it will get to you.” Mitch walked over to a white tent, where tests were taking place.  He picked up a clipboard, which had the results of the killer’s identity.  Mitch frowned and then went over to show Sarah.

“That can’t be right.  That doesn’t make sense.”

“That’s what was on the knife.”

“Ok I think we should bring him in for questioning.” Mitch’s radio suddenly crackled into life.

“Mitch, I want to talk to you.  See me back in HQ.” Mitch groaned and went back into the car.

Mitch was back in the police station and sitting in the office of Chief Superintendant Milton.  “Mitch, this is a shoddy affair.  Now, I do believe the murder case was going quite well, until this one came up.  You were so sure, you had found the means and then this happened.  Also, what is happening with the hospital? I make that your main priority and you do not do anything about it.  You better do something or you’re off the murder case completely.”

“Sir, with all due respect there is nothing to find at the hospital it was just terrorists or something like that.  This is just a relapse of an old terrorist attack.” Chief Superintendant Milton sighed.

“Mitch I know, you are very dedicated to the murder case, but this is much more important.  So many more people died.”

“I understand.” Mitch turned and started to walk out of the door.

Gravity was already sitting upright, when Shadow awoke.  He got up and stretched his arms.  “Anyone on the list, today?” He joked.

“I think we should be more concerned, with trying to keep us alive, rather than ending other people’s lives.” Gravity harshly replied.

“Ok, I’ll be back soon.” Before Shadow left, he led his sister into a nearby, deserted alleyway, just to keep her safe.  He also gave her an empty cup with a little bit of change, in the faint hope that someone might walk through the alleyway.  From her current position, Gravity could hear it was a busy day and she knew there would be quite good takings.  She was brought out of her thoughts, when she distinctly heard three male voices, crowding around her.  She heard a rough scrabbling and she guessed what was happening.  It occurred often enough.

“Put the money down.” Gravity said, solidly.

“Ooooh, what you going to do? You dumb blonde.” The first voice spat out. The voice had a rough gravely sound to it.  The voice suddenly found itself with a knife pressing into his back.

“You really don’t want to know what she can do.”

Gravity perked up.  “Hey Shadow.”

“How’s it going sis?” Shadow suddenly lashed out behind him and caught the knee of a man sneaking up and then with amazing speed got behind the man and pressed the knife into his throat. The man started whimpering, as he felt the cold metal being pressed into his skin.  Shadow gently whispered into his ear.

“She can’t do anything; she’s as blind as a bat and just as ugly.” The first voice snarled.

Bliss growled deeply and jumped onto the first voice, knocking him to the ground.  The dog sunk her teeth into the man’s shoulder.  Gravity stood up and smiled and started to follow the sound of Bliss’ growling and the man‘s pathetic whimpering.  Bliss was still on him, but very sharply the man stopped convulsing and lay still.

“What did you do to him?”

This time it was Shadow who smiled, as he drew the knife across his victim’s carotid artery.  The poor man collapsed.  Blood spurting from his neck.  Shadow turned to the last man.

“Now if you want to stay alive, you’ll run along and never tell anybody about what happened here.”

The man nodded and sped away.

“We should get out of here too; this place won’t be safe for us anymore.”  Shadow pulled Gravity up and they quietly ran away.

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