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Amidst a Storm
by mitxela

It was a dreary, miserable night. Rain pattered down all around like an ambient muffle, a constant drone of drizzle. Jack's eyes hadn't moved in over an hour. He just sat there, gazing out aimlessly into the clouds as the raindrops pitter-pattered on his head.

His thoughtful stare was broken when thunder cracked above. He hadn't seen the lightning. He shivered, realizing he was freezing, and decided to head home. Standing up was a chore – his muscles were aching from being stationary so long. The dry patch from where he'd been sitting on the rock disappeared in seconds. The rain was so thick he could barely see the way out amongst the boulders, let alone the view you were supposed to have this high up the mountain. There was no sign of the sea, just the murky night sky, wet rocks all around and damp tufts of grass in-between them.

Before he took a step he noticed someone. He blinked, but they were still there, standing motionless in the downpour – the unmistakeable outline of a small child. A girl, maybe five or six years old, her eyes fixated on him. Dark hair was the only way Jack could think to describe her, so drab in every other way. How long had she been there? How had he not noticed her?

"You should go home, or you'll catch a cold" he gurgled.

Nothing. Well, he tried. The way she stared so lifelessly at him was beginning to creep him out, and reminding himself that curiosity killed the cat, he tried to walk away.

He didn't make a complete rotation before turning back to face her. What was a little girl doing out here in the rain? How did she even get up here? This was his spot, and it was quite a climb to get to, too. He shook his head. Thunder cracked again. He opened his mouth to ask another question, when he realised the girl had moved.

It took a long moment to realize that she hadn't moved. She'd changed. He was now staring at a fully grown woman.

Her whole body looked limp as the water hurled down on her marvellously dark long hair, her tanned skin and her ruined, ripped, soggy dress. Her arms were thin and fragile. Her feet were bare. Her eyes were still the same though, those glassy, gloomy eyes that never looked away. Jack knew who this person was. Heart pounding, he doggedly took a step towards her, struggling to hold his balance. He took another, and another until he came face to face with her. This isn't happening, he told himself.

Clearly now, there was an open wound across her chest. As more detail materialized he saw the torn flesh, the blood constantly dripping to the floor. He could make out now that most of her body was missing. His heart thumped louder than the thunder.

"I am hallucinating."

She swayed a little, and twisted her head as if to say No. No, he thought. This isn't happening.

The tears he'd been holding back for the last hour welled up again. His breathing was erratic. He couldn't keep himself still, from the cold, from the shock, from the terror and the misery that pulsed through his corpse from head to toe. He gingerly raised a shaking hand to try and touch that beautiful face.

"Jenny…" he muttered, "you're dead. I saw it. I was there. You were dead. You –"

And his hand met cold and wet. She was dead, all right. She was dead and standing in front of him.

Her mouth opened to speak, and whether she made a sound was irrelevant, Jack could hear her. He could understand her.

It wasn't an accident.

And a pulse of white fear went through him. Guilt then shrouded his vision, followed by confusion. He tried to focus but was already losing touch with reality. He didn't understand, if it wasn't an accident…

It was murder.

The cloud of emotions that raced through Jack made him stumble backwards. His vision blurred, his mind blocked out anything and everything, all he knew now was anger. He struggled to make himself as coherent as possible, striving to mouth, "who?"

Her response was raising an arm, an accusing finger, a pointer to the killer, aimed right at Jack. He shook his head and blinked. No, she wasn't pointing at him. She was pointing behind him.

As he turned to look, lightning finally decided to erupt across the heavens. The clouds and the storm were spectacularly illuminated, and Jack saw the monster on the rock where he had sat. Before him was the hideous silhouette of David.

Just like that, Jenny was gone, forever.

David – the hunched, barbaric creature that was David – perched on the rock glaring lividly at Jack, his last fragments of civility eaten by greed and guilt. David – the vile, gruesome beast that was David – waited for the moment to pounce. Jenny had come to warn him that David had come to kill him. But in the calmest, plainest English, David spoke.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't want it to end this way."

Jack was breathing faster than his pulse. He stepped forwards and David looked a lot more human. His dirty face under the hood looked almost sympathetic. Jack looked at him eye to eye.

"You…" he tried to reply.

"I'm so sorry. If there's anything I can do to help out, let me know. It's so tragic."

"You… you killed her, didn't you?" said Jack.

It took a second to sink in that David's horridly powerful hands were around Jack's neck. He tried to scream but nothing came out. He tried to breathe but David tightened his grip. He tried to move but it was hopeless, he was lifted off the ground, his limbs were flailing, his actions were useless. He kicked as hard as he could but David was an immovable object.

The eyes had no sympathy any more. They held only the greed and the guilt Jack had known was there. Greed and such irrelevant traces of guilt.

His arms uselessly pummelled and tore at the man's long coat. He reached and tugged and scrambled as he suffocated.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't want it to end this way" said David in the calmest tone.

With one last attempt, Jack outstretched and grabbed hold of the pendant around David's neck. He held the chain tight, and twisted it. It constricted instantly, and snapped David's cold killing tone. With a cry, he loosened his grip.

The air tasted warmer than ever. The sweet, sweet air rushed to his lungs. He yanked the chain to the side, and David had to let go to try and stop him. This was his moment. The surge of adrenaline doubled his strength, and he planted his fist in his enemy's face.

The rebound was instant, and neither man maintained balance. Rolling and spitting and choking on the flooded floor, Jack frantically searched for a weapon, and planted his hands on a boulder the size of his head.

Here at the freezing tip of a treacherous peak, under the storm and the thunder and the rain, two men battled for their life, fighting for a woman who was already dead. The rock hit David square in the face, crushing his skull to pulp. He fell right down to the base of the mountain, engulfed – Jack assumed – by the waves.

Author: mitxela
This page was uploaded on 31/01/09

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