The North Star Chapter II: Hexes, Drugs and Sausage Rolls

Continued from Chapter I: Thorney Close’s Unlikely Hero:

It was a cool Friday evening on Farringdon. The wind gushed down around the aging school buildings, papered with fresh paint to mask their decay. Litter of all varieties and colours swirled in a tornado through the rugged concrete surface, absent of the myriad of voices and yelling which had echoed through the day. The students had moved on, life had moved on, but one young man was left behind. Trapped within a soulless brickwork gym, without windows or character, he sat alone in silence on the green discomforting floor against the wall with his legs up. He was dressed in a cheap purple polyester t-shirt and blue shirts, with dirty white trainers donned on his feet, a phone was stashed in his pocket.

Suddenly, the echo of heavy footsteps echoed loudly through the building and a door swung up. A tall aging man strided into the gym, his head balding and his eyes deeply sunk. Dressed in a blue t-shirt and tatty black shorts, he had monstrously hairy and bulky legs. He looked down at the situation sitting: “Matthew!” he snapped. “Get up!” he commanded sternly. The boy reluctantly rose to his feet, his head hanging down. “Have you had some time to think about you did?” The teacher asked. Matthew nodded his head slowly, not uttering a word. “Using bad language in class towards me is not on! This is not the first time you’ve acted up either. So to complete your detention tonight, I’ve got a task for you.”- He growled.

Matthew looked at him coldly “What’s that then?” He asked. “You’re going to do one lap of the Foxy Island cross country run route before you can go home.” The teacher replied strictly: “Come with me now!” he shouted. The teacher stormed out of the room, Matthew dragging behind slowly. “Baldy prick” He muttered under his breath. He followed him outside, pacing across the concrete. Leaving the school premises and heading down a small footpath, they soon arrived at a wide expanse of wilderness, coated with tall wire like grass and a sloping hill, surrounded on its eastern flank by an extensive woodland. The teacher stopped at the foot of the area, which resembled more of a park with mowed grass and seating.

“Here we are. You know the drill. One FULL lap all the way round here up to Gilley Law flats and back again. Then you can get changed and sod off home!”-The teacher barked. Matthew muttered under his breath without looking at him and started slowly pacing towards a natural footpath pressed down within the tall grass. “And remember, no Slacking!” The teacher shouted as he disappeared into the distance, continuing to curse and groan under his breath. As he proceeded up and over the hill, not surprisingly he slowed down and pulled the phone out of his pocket which had concealed with the teacher. Amongst the grass there was litter everywhere. He kicked an old can of beer out of frustration and snarled incomprehensibly, beginning to make his way down the hill, where a small and unappealing stream fed into the woodland. “What a shithole” He groaned.

“Matthew!”- An unidentified and unseen voice suddenly called out. “Hello?”- Matthew said out suddenly with a tinge of concern, his anger dropping. “Sir is that you?” He asked softly. “Matthew!” The voice called out again, seemingly sounding younger this time. “Who is it?”- He yelled back. “It’s me!”- The voice replied. Matthew then groaned with annoying: “Kieran, is that you taking the piss?” Assuming the voice was a friend. “The baldy prick made me run a lap!” He shouted back. “If you wait I’ll meet you after!” he continued, gaining confidence he knew the speaker, still unseen. “Why then? We can meet now!” The voice replied, seemingly getting closer. Matthew suddenly felt at unease. “Stop messing about man, where are you?”- He yelled with concern. “I’m here!” the voice stated. He started looking around frantically, trying to follow the sound of the voice. “Kieran man!” he shouted angrily.

As Matthew walked towards the trees, aiming to find the voice, the area clouded with a mysterious white fog. “Hello?” He shouted with fear “I can’t see you it’s all foggy!” He moaned, feeling increasingly stressed. “I’m here!” The voice sounded again, no longer shouting but seemingly close to him. “Where?”- Matthew asked. He then turned around. “Here!”-Matthew froze in horror, draining white and lifeless as facing him stood a monstrous figure with green-gray skin and rancid yellow eyes. Its voice was no longer of that of a familiar friend, but had a deep and inhuman tone to it. Matthew proceeded to let out an ear piercing scream, ringing around the entire area, inasmuch it even made the birds fly away. As the sky grew darker, the teacher noticed Matthew was taking longer than usual. He journeyed into the area to find him: “Matthew?” “Matthew?”- He shouted with concern searching frantically, but Matthew was nowhere to be found…

One Day later…

“You’ve been called?” Micky asked in bewilderment “What’s garn on here?” he continued as the three stood in shock. “Well, I wish I knew myself…” Sophie replied doubtfully the confidence fading from her face, looking at the purple glowing sword within her hand. “This is actually what I was saying earlier, about my experience last night. The monster that just came at us there, it’s the same thing that attacked me then too. As you can see it wasn’t trauma or a dream, it’s all real”. “I see…” Millie said nervously, “and you said some woman saved you and said you were in fact a hero, is this what you mean by being called?”- She asked inquisitively. “Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I’m called. This woman, Viviane… saved me from the monster as I fell in the stream and then told me I’m to be a hero called the North Star called to protect the people. Me dad said she’s apparently in the neighbourhood but what would he know?” She said perplexed.

“Sounds ragey that like.” Micky remarked “Easy to say its bollocks, but you just brayed a monster all awa in broad daylight and then killed it with a lightsaber. I’m not high or owt, so I cannot say you’re making this up. It’s all a bit surreal.” He looked around “I reckon anyway we move on from here in case there’s more of them, A’ll see you two off home then get back down meself.” He remarked. Just as the group began to move, Sophie’s sword suddenly begin to rapidly shrink in size, now engulfed in a white sparkling light. “It’s vanishing!” she yelled with surprise. As it became small enough to fit in her hand, it suddenly changed shape and curled into a circular like shape. The light then vanished, revealing in its place a perfectly round marble stone with the engravement of a four pointed Polaris star on it, which twinkled in the sun. “It’s changed… into a stone…”  she remarked, observing it.

“Probably less hassle than carrying it around in broad daylight, anyhow let’s get out of here!”. Urged Micky. The group left the confines of the old church yard and walked back towards the city centre. “So, let’s get this straight.” Millie said in an authoritative voice, aiming to open up discussion. “We’re all traumatized, we’ve been attacked, we’re facing strange monsters and now you’re telling us, of course with evidence, that you are in fact a prophesized hero? We need to work out what’s going on.” She remarked with concern. “It would mean logically, there’s a lot more going on here than random monsters on the loose… you know, bigger fish.” Sophie looked back at her unnerved. “Um yeah… Vivane said there was a great evil afoot, an evil spirit or something she said that’s turning people into those creatures, but didn’t give any further details other than I will stop it or something. Apparently my answers lie with the people, whoever they might be.”

“When the creature died, it uttered a name, Glanfeoil? or something? As if it were a servant pledging to a master”- Millie noted. “Well there’s ya first clue from Sherlock Holmes” Micky scoffed. “But honestly Sophie if you can fight like that they’ll be nowt the matter.” Millie’s face soured as it fell upon her ears. “Well…” she said trying to keep her posture, the events clearly still rolling through her head “I could have died, we could have died… It’s not all about brawn, it’s about brains too, we need to think it through. It’s a very strange and seemingly bizarre situation for Sophie to be in, and still none of it seems real. But work it out, if people are being transformed into those things doesn’t that mean there’s people missing? Or being abducted? Isn’t that the starting point?” She asked.

“Yeah… but I have to solve all of this? on my own?” Sophie said now less enthusiastic than earlier. “Not sure honestly what to do, who to ask or where to look.” She sighed… “Well, rest be assured I have your back then.” Said Micky confidently. “Well if it’s anything to go by from earlier…” Millie mocked as the group re-entered the city centre and approached a bus stop. Okay then. Well I think the best we can for now is go home and think this through. Sophie if you have any more trouble please contact me, I’m busy with study but I’ll do what I can!”- She then urged with a more tender voice giving Sophie a hug.

“Aye, me too.” Said Micky. “Alreet then North Star, see ya’s round, stay safe!” The trio then proceeded to split off in different directions. As the silence fell on Sophie, she began dwelling deeply on the day’s events with a rollercoaster of emotions. She was perplexed and stunned, excited yet nervous, empowered but also confused. She stared into space out of the bus window as she travelled home, with the added dimension of discomfort in facing the moment she loathed the most and the person whom beyond any kind of monster or mythical creature, was arguably the real villain in her life. Once again, Sophie approached her home in slow motion with a lethargy of hesitancy. As she entered and navigated her through the waft of stale beer and stagnation, entering the room once again to find him in the predictable location, perched upon the battered and grease-stained sofa still in his brown polyester pyjamas.

“Ya back? Aye.” Eddie grunted as Sophie made her way in. “Where’s me shopping like?” He asked with surprise, overlooking Sophie’s anxious and unsettled posture. “Dad…” She said softly, sitting down opposite him. “I wasn’t able to get it, some things happened.” She said nervously, with a glimmer of hope that he might understand. “What have yer done now like?”- He snapped with a frontload of cynicism, seemingly angling himself to dismiss whatever was coming next. “Look… Whilst out near town I was attacked.” She said quietly and nervously “It’s not the first time, it happened last night too, that’s why I was found… and these attacks, they weren’t by a person, I need you to believe me on this, but they were by a kind of monster…” She gulped. “This creature, with gray skin, big ears and yellow eyes, came after me last night and then today with my friend Millie and Micky from work, but we beat it. I know you might find it all strange but the woman who rescued me last night, warned me about this too.”- She slowly and cautiously, biting her tongue on the “hero” part of the story already fearing he’d never believe it.

Then as he responded, her face sank as her worst fears materialized: “Yer didn’t get me cans and then you come home spouting this utter shite? Monsters? Yellow eyes? You’ve been smoking the weed again haven’t yer?” He snapped, angry and unimpressed. “You continue to be utter bloody useless like!” He barked. “Dad!” She yelled back, angry and emotional. “This is serious! I know it’s a weird story but I haven’t did that since I was a teenager… I was honestly attacked!” she pleaded, attempting to hold back the tears. He then glanced up and down at her in a sarcastic way squinting his eyes “Ya look okay to me like for someone attacked. Didn’t sod me on pet yer’ve been up to nee good as usual! I can’t be arsed to fight this over with yer this time, so all I’ll say is make sure yer get all me groceries tomorrow instead. I’ll get off me arse to the shops for tonight’s cans. Jackie’s got me sausage rolls ready at the market anyhow.” Sophie felt as if her mouth had been zipped to silence, simply left to stare at him in frustration. “Anyhow, get out me hair, want to watch the footie.” In a similar fashion to before, Sophie left the room without saying another word and proceeded up upstairs.

Not long after, Sophie went to bed completely worn out, but as she slept she felt as she was being swept away, as if she was not dreaming but awake. She suddenly began to envision herself standing in a dark and dreary surrounding. All around her was a large and spacious grass field which was coated by the thick blackness, baring eerie similarity to the Barnes Park extension she had walked through two nights ago. She began to walk, seeking a way out, yet the field seemed to present itself infinitely. Suddenly, a voice called out in the distance: “Sophie” it said strongly and softly.

It sounded familiar, she recognized it as the voice of Viviane. She looked around and then in the distance she seen the glowing figure of a woman dressed all in a long white dress with glowing blue eyes. However, the woman did not look like that of Viviane. Instead, she had long fine blonde hair was tall, and young. “Sophie” she called again “Come” quickly, Sophie began to dash towards the woman. As she got closer, she recognized her. “Mam…” she said with surprise, “is that you?” she asked. The woman did not reply, but simply smiled. Sophie ran towards her, but the distance between them did not appear to change, “Mam! Mam!” she shouted desperately attempting to catch up.

Sophie woke up. Again, the daylight was piercing in through the curtains of her bedroom, her eyes strained with the brightness. The night felt short, as if she had not slept that long. She looked around, there was nobody else present in the room. The experiences dwelling on her mind deeply, she quickly got ready. Eddie once again greeted her with a shopping list, and with little hesitation she headed out the door. Instead of going for the bus however, the dream obscuring her pathway ahead, she rushed quickly towards the field where the first encounter with Viviane had taken place, clutching in her hand the stone which Cargast had transformed into. Dashing through the grass, she approached the location where she had fallen into the stream and seemingly been pulled out of. She squatted down on her knees, and quietly gasped under her breath: “Viviane!” and waited. But nothing happened… again, she called out in a slightly louder voice, clutching the stone harder: “Viviane!” but there was no reply. She waited and waited, before grunting with frustration and walking away, begrudgingly heading into town

On reaching the city centre, Sophie entered the same shopping centre from the previous day and shifted through the crowds towards a small complex located at the east side of the building. Above her stood a blue and white sign of a simple design, reading: “Jacky White’s Market”. As she entered, she was immediately greeted with an all powerful smell of butcher meat, as if it had lingered for years, making the air thick and flexing the taste buds. As her nose taken a beating, likewise her ears were drummed with the sound of bustling crowds and shouting grocers. “FOUR APPLES FOR A POUND!” bellowed one man at the top of his voice. She then reached a stall titled: “Jackie’s Tasty Corner” filled to the brim with various baked products. Before she could make another move, a little middle aged woman with a reddish nose, brown straw like hair and glasses perched upon it pounced out from the counter: “EEEE it’s Sophie!” she said passionately: “It’s that time of the week again!”. Sophie smiled awkwardly “Hello Jackie, you alright?” She asked in a somewhat reserved voice. “I’m fine love, keeping busy at the Dun Cow still?” her words seemed charged with enthusiasm and jubilance. “Too busy!” Sophie replied. “Right, I’m here for me dad’s usual order, the sausage rolls” she added, still bracing discomfort.

“I’ve got them all ready in a bag, you send Eddie my love and tell him to get off his arse!” She laughed. “I sure will, I’m always telling him that anyway.” She laughed. “Eeee Sophie! Have you heard about those young boys gannin missin?” She added suddenly… “In the echo I read a Farringdon school lad vanished on Friday. You take care of yersel now, dangerous times! Anyway… £3.50 for that lot.” Sophie reached out and handed her a £5 note. “Right, I’ll be on me way then!” she said as she grabbed the change, eager to close the conversation. Then suddenly, before she could walk away, her path was blocked by a short tubby man in a tracksuit. The man, with a round perchy face, had big music headphones clamped to his ears. “Eee Sophie, you’ve met me mate Disco Dan right?” The woman shouted back to her. “Oh yes… how could I not” Sophie rolled her eyes “Alreet Dan…” The man smiled and did a little dance, speaking as if he were a DJ “Yessa, Sophie’s in the house, all the people praise Jesus man!”. “Okay, I’ve got to be on my way.” Sophie said suddenly, clutching the bag of sausage rolls and eager to escape the cringe. “God bless ya!” the man bellowed “See ya chuck” said Jackie as she scuttled off.

Eager to escape the chaos, the thought had not crossed her mind straight away, then it did. “Boys? Missing?” She said to herself. Then it struck her like an epiphany. Suddenly, she hurried back into the market. “Jackie, sorry… did you say young men were going missing?” She asked sharply. “Eee yer back already. Here let me get yer me copy.” She quickly produced a newspaper from behind the counter, and held it in front of Sophie. On the front were the photos of 5 young men, with a larger photo of a schoolboy sitting above the rest. The headline read: “OUR LOST BOYS: FARRINGDON STUDENT DISAPPEARS AS GROWING CONCERN MOUNTS”- “Holy Shit..” Sophie gasped under her breath, grabbing the paper and scrambling to read it. “So since when have they been disappearing?” She asked. “All in the last few days… really scary stuff.” Jackie replied. “Pray for those lads!” Disco Dan waded in. Her eyes then fixated on a name on the list. “Dean Gray.. I think I know this lad from somewhere.” She gasped “Eee gerraway!” Jackie replied “what do yer reckon is happening?” she asked. “If I can be honest with you, they’re being abducted.” Sophie said coldly. “I have an idea why… but nobody will believe me.” She scorned.

Jackie looked at her perplexed, the smile ran away from her face. “What’s that love? Yer can tell me, I’ll listen…” she said softly. “Tell you what, I’ll meet you tomorrow if you’re free to talk about this as I’ve got more to do, then I have to work later.” Sophie said in a rush. “Well here’s me number pet if you need to talk, let me know.” Said Jackie handing Sophie a business card, who then quickly dashed off. “Never thought I’d be relying on bloody Jackie Nutmeg.” She groaned to herself. She then pulled out her phone and dialled Micky, dashing at the same time to complete the shopping. “Micky!” She said strictly “Alreet…” he replied “wasn’t expecting yer call, everything okay?” He asked with concern. “Listen, I’ve got a lead on you know.. what happened yesterday.” She said in a serious tone. “Aye.. go on then…” he replied, with a tint of awkwardness under his voice. “You knew Dean Gray right?” she asked. “Aye, that old dopehead haven’t heard from him in a while like…” he replied. “Well, might surprise yer but I’ve looked at the echo today and he’s amongst 5 young men who’s gone missing recently.”

“Yer kidding right?” he replied in surprise. “Not kidding, check out the Echo man there’s been loads of disappearances in just a few days, he’s amongst them.” She spoke with an undertone of passion in her voice. “Christ, so you reckon they’re turning into those monster things?” He asked nervously. “Well I don’t know, but there’s our lead man. We should gan and talk to someone who knows him before we start work later.” She suggested eagerly, “aye? Like who?” he asked. “Someone of course, we both know, who knows him? You know Liam Heskett right?” Micky paused for thought, “Aye.. another spenk. You’re like the Chav Burberry pages here like.” He laughed. Sophie pressed the phone against her ear as she picked up the cans in the store “This is serious man, let’s hook up a meeting with him and try and find out what’s going on… unless you fancy me being attacked by these things routinely.” She nagged. “Alright then alright then, I’ll sort it out. Pick you up at 3 before work and we’ll garn see the divy, deal?” “Deal!” She replied “Talk later shopping for the lazy prick!”

Sophie paid for the shopping and belted out of the supermarket. Ironically, she could not this time get home fast enough, her anxiety having melted into a streak of enthusiasm, as if a warm feeling of inspiration was pulsing through her that she had never felt before supressing her anxiety about the previous events. She charged in the house and dropped the shopping bags on her dad’s lap abruptly “Here you go your majesty!” she sarcastically remarked. “Cheers pet, now you stay out of trouble and stop smoking crap!” he grunted and then without saying another word she retreated immediately upstairs.

Resting on her bed, she quickly flicked out her phone: “Alreet, be here in 10” read a message from Micky. Without replying, she lay on her bed facing the ceiling upwards reflecting on the events of the past few days, her eyes vacant against the stained and aging paint above her, lulling herself almost into a self-hypnosis, almost to the extent time around her stopped. Suddenly, she was awakened by the loud blast of a car horn causing her to gasp and jump up in shock. She glanced out of her bedroom window to see Micky’s purple car perched on the curb waiting eagerly. Sophie then groaned under her breath and proceeded to grab her stuff, march downstairs and quickly flee out of the house without saying goodbye to her father, quickly jumping into the car.

“Alright” Sophie said positively climbing into the seat “Did you get in touch with him then?” immediately turning to the subject of interest, not caring for small talk. “Alreet? Aye I did, not like he has much to do is it? Told us to meet him soon down at Backhouse Park, nice quiet area where we can chat about this kind of stuff…” He said softly as he started the car and pulled away from the house. “Oh lovely… ” Sophie remarked unimpressed “Nice dodgy place for two men to meet with a woman…” she snarked. “Ha’way Sophie you’re a hero with a magic sword and special powers who just knacked a green face monster, if anything we should be scared of you” he commented. “Aye well you better be.” She added, presenting her stone amusingly.

“So are you planning to tell him about all this mad shit?” He asked. “Nah I’m more interested in asking him what he knows. As far as I know Dean was a quiet lad, troubled and misguided, but not anyone you’d expect to be a green monster” She Replied. “Well I don’t think you’d expect anyone to be a green monster like that’s the point.” Micky remarked with his eyes on the road. “But why young lads? Even a school boy man… so hopefully detective Sophie we’re going to get something out of Liam when we see him. Probably try and peddle us dope or something in exchange.”

“He’s alright man, aye he does that… but he’s a pretty chill lad with a good heart I reckon.” Sophie responded calmly. “Not my choice of person for hanging out with, but let’s get this done. After all, lives are at stake man.” Micky replied. The conversation ended abruptly and the two sat in silence thereafter. Eventually, they pulled up aside of a large stone wall with tall trees peaking out from behind. All was quiet. The two got out of the car and walked towards a large metal gate. “After you Miss North Star” Micky quoted as he held open the gate for Sophie, she glared at him jokingly and walked in.

Inside, the depth of the trees curled all around the park blocking out the sunlight, giving it an almost forest like feeling of seclusion, yet he interior resembled that of a miniature valley, with a stream running through the middle having carved out a passage between two rolling banks, as winding footpaths navigated the way through. It was a park of natural quality, yet it was not a park of prestige, attention or seemingly popularity. “Like I said, this place has always given me the creeps.” Sophie remarked cautiously as they walked. “It comes with the beauty of Ashbrooke but the horror of Hendon.” She observed.

“Aye well years ago before this was built, this place used to be called the Valley of Love.” Micky laughed. “Definitely creeping me out now cheers” She snarled. “So where is he?” she asked looking around. “He said he’d be here… not like he knows how to keep time well. Oh there he is man!” Micky pointed at a figure in the distance walking towards them, who waved on spotting them. He was wearing a blue and white tracksuit made out of polyester. His hair was short, dark and excessively greasy. His face was pale and had an almost vacant look on it, complete with the presence of some acne as if he were almost suffering some malnutrition. Yet as he came to the two, he smiled charmingly and seemed sincerely pleased.

“Y’alreet!” He cried out as he approaches them. “Aye alreet Liam, long time no see like.” Micky remarked in a cautious voice. “Sophie my lass!” He said suddenly, diving into a hug with her. “How yer doing sweetie?” Sophie breathed in as if to hide a gasp. “Liam yer knacker, I’m good cheers still working down at the Dun.” She replied. “What you been up to?” She asked. “More like what he hasn’t been up to.” Micky added sarcastically. “Aye well you know me.” He smiled “Just going about me business, chillin, reflecting on life. So, what’s with you two coming like, yer a couple now?” He asked, striking a more serious tone. “He wishes.” Sophie snarked. “But nah of course not, we work together remember? But we’ve got something serious we need to chat with you about.” She added, taking the lead quickly.

“Aye… I heard, about Dean. Ha’way let’s garn sit somewhere quiet. I’ve brought goodies.” Liam said calmly. “I bet you have.” Micky said sternly, with displeasure on his face. “We’re working after this so I’ll say it now, no thanks”. The group walked down the hill and eventually sat on a picnic table near the stream. As they sat, Liam quickly pronounced “Sophie yer know used to be one of me best buds back in the day, we’d have this kind of session all the time with the others” he smirked. “Well… I like to think I’ve changed now.” Sophie said uncomfortably, clasping her hands together in an indication of seriousness. “Sometimes, just when life is doing you no favours you have to grow up, especially when lumped with that old sod… if you get what I mean.” She added. Liam smiled and replied “But those were the days aye! Dolling off school, ganning down the Barnes and the like for these seshs! Cannot say yer didn’t enjoy it Soph… but me now, I’m just ganning with the flow and enjoying life.. Lots of old marras have moved on like you, got jobs, a life of their own, but are they happy? I can say I am when I still get a whiff of the stuff.” He laughed. “Melting me braincells here like” Remarked Micky.

“Anyhow” Sophie snapped. “Dean…” she said softly. “Reet… what do you want to know?” Liam asked in a concerned voice. “Yers are not undercover cops are yers?” he appeared to Joke with an undertone of seriousness. “No but if you’ve got information, it probably will help him.” Sophie said intrusively. “We seen the echo story, he’s gone missing along with a few others. We want to find out why…” she asked. “Well if I knew that like he’d be found already, not like I’d cooperate with those bloody coppers, for good reason anarl.” He replied. “Ha’way Liam… get those cogs working in ya heed and tell us something useful.” Micky pushed.

“Reet… well yer know he was a quiet lad, quiet but always angry. Bit troubled, bit disturbed. Too many marra used to pick on him at school so it’s no surprise that he went into a bad way after he left, and I mean a bad way even for me like.” Liam said, pressing his thoughts hard. “What did he do then?” Micky asked probingly. “This is why I don’t want the coppers involved… cos if they find out, I’m done for on both ends.” He replied with a tint of fear. “Look, he got in with the Southwick Green Boys, those mental pricks led by Tony Radcliff who’s everyone and everyone’s suppliers, but yers didn’t hear me say that okay?”

“Bloody hell man…” Micky said aghast. “But aye go on, tell more…” he pushed. “Well aye… these guys have monopolized the drugs trade all ower the place, but not only that they’ve got something new, again I dinnit want copers knowing.” Liam brought his voice down to a whisper. “And this is the thing right, they have summit new… summit secret which I wouldn’t touch…” “Like what?” Sophie asked an interrogative voice. “It’s this shiny red liquid, they call it Larva and they say it’s like magic on ya. Makes yer feel all powerful, anew and confident. So he started takin this stuff they gave him and a few weeks ago, then he disappeared. Apparently he was last seen around that Foxy Island up near Gilley law. That used to be a session place anarl” He said in a worried voice.

“Just like that schoolboy the other day…” Micky added. “If you read the story on your phone, he went for a cross country run around there then he was gone… but what is this Larva? It’s a drug?” Micky asked further. “Aye, it’s a drug, nee idea where it came from or how they made it… but they dinnit give it out to anyone willy nilly either.” Liam replied nervously. “Wonder where the other three were last seen then, doesn’t seem to give any information…” Sophie asked flicking through her phone. “Foxy Island? You want to go and investigate that area sometime Micky? I’ll invite Millie along too.” “It will be swarming with coppers like.” Liam butted in. “Aye I guess so, reet… anyway looks like our task here is done, we’ve got to get off to the Dun Cow now for a fun night shift at work!” Micky said sternly, closing the conversation down.

“Areet then, cheers for yer time and best of luck Sophie, stay safe love.” Said Liam empathetically grabbing her and hugging her again. “You too.. catch you later!” she said, and the two quickly headed back out of the park. As soon as he was gone, Micky looked at her with a sense of disbelief. “You spent your teens smoking shit with that divvy? Nee wonder you’re stuck at the Dun with me” He asked in a joking tone, but clearly serious. “Call me misguided I honestly didn’t know better and like him, who gave me reason to care?” she said defensively. “Girls with good parents like Millie stuck in, but the likes of me and him had no good examples. The old lady across the street before she died used to call us the Imps because we were left to wander mischievously and were a nuisance.” She sighed. “Ah well, you were right mind about growing up. There’s a lot on your shoulders, and even more now like.” He complimented.

Sophie and Micky proceeded to get back into the car and drove towards the city centre, which was not far from the park. “Now let’s get our sleaves rolled up for another hectic night at the Dun Cow!” He chanted in the car feigning enthusiasm, pulling up in a nearby car park to the pub. The two got out and headed to the building, its smooth ornate baroque style glistening in the late afternoon sun. “One thing you can say about this place, is that working here isn’t great, yet you can never tire of looking at it like.” Micky said cheerfully as they crossed the road. “Anyhow, I heard we’ve got a special guest tonight doing a function upstairs for us to cater for…” He added and winked with an amusing face. “Wait, what? I completely forgotten Who might that be?” Sophie asked gormlessly as they walked through the door.

“Well hello there!” an aristocratic voice bellowed before them. “A pleasure to meet you both!” before them stood an elegantly dressed man in a suit with a baffling hair do, stretching his hand out to them. Sophie froze with surprise. “Oh erm… hi!” she said awkwardly, shaking his hand with a half-hearted effort. “Mr. Fulton it is an honor to finally meet you!” Micky roared enthusiastically shaking his hand thunderously. “Me and Sophie are your bartenders here at the Dun Cow tonight. I’ve been looking forwards to this event all week!” His smile gleaming with joy. “If there’s anything you need honestly, we’re on it, right Sophie?” He glanced at her. “Right!” Sophie feigned attempting to hold back her sarcasm.

“Sophie! Micky! Glad you’re here early!” Said a strict voice from the background. A man with a shiny bald head and a white pristine shirt came rushing towards the three. “Mr. Fulton here is preparing for his event tonight upstairs. Plenty for you two to be on with. Clean the tables, set up the speaker platform and the audio, put out the buffet and put out his leaflets. The TV crew will be here any moment! Now mush mush!” He snapped clasping his hands together loudly. Sophie sighed “Yes Derek and quickly headed upstairs. “Okay Mr. Fulton nice chatting with you, catch you upstairs!” Micky said still stunned with awe, following her thereafter. “Certainly!” He replied fallaciously.

“Cecil?” He then called out once they were gone towards a snotty looking young aide sitting in the corner on a MacBook. “Yes sir?” He replied. “Remind me how to do that stunt again with the pint, it will look pristine in front of the cameras…” “Oh yes sir it will.” He replied getting up quickly. “I was just researching the latest poll data.” The man added, with slick square glasses over his eyes and an equally stylish suit. “I was just looking at the poll data, you’re well in the lead against the Socialists, but tonight should absolutely be the cherry on top of the cake. You just make your speech passionately about those lost young men and you’ll be flying.” He smirked. “Jolly good! What a night this is going to be indeed…”

To be continued…