Mitchell's Mustard Blog

May 18, 2017

What about Charlie – The Chase

Filed under: My Work — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — mitchellsmustard @ 9:31 am

Oxygen was burning his lungs, he could feel the heat prickle under the skin on his face. This late at night it was harder to navigate down narrow Trinity Street, it was quiet apart from the sound of rushed footsteps and Charlie panting for air, aggression and revenge kept him running. His vision bouncing past the shops and scattered street lights, desperately trying not to trip on uneven patches of cobbled pavement that hid in the shadows, knowing that would end the chase. Up front he could see the silhouette of the man he was pursuing, plunging in and out of light from the shop windows. He was running on the same amount of energy as Charlie, both men were running on fumes and adrenaline. Charlie was grateful for the lack of tourists out late at night, Trinity Street was a haven for tourists but at this late hour it was only the homeless in doorways that could be counted as a witness and that wouldn’t stand up in any court. The man passed an alleyway full of shops on the left, the overhead lights made him easy to see and Charlie was gaining on him, pushing him harder and giving him an extra boost of energy. He was deafened by his own gasps for air, his vision seemed slightly blurred but he knew he needed to catch up, he needed answers. There was music and light coming from the church on the left as he passed, he hoped that no one had noticed these two men pass in a hurry. The street opened out into a wider road and the man stopped for a split second to make a decision on his route, he could carry on straight forward past Kings College but it was a long and straight road which meant there would be more running to do, he could take the dark passage to the right, or take the road on the left onto the Market Square. To Charlie’s delight the man chose to turn left, he was tired and needed to slow, if not stop soon. Going straight on was not an option for Charlie, his body wouldn’t allow it. Going down the passage on his right would have meant little running but pitch black alley ways to lose the chase. Market Square has an island of market stalls in the middle, to the left of Charlie was a row of shops, following his eyesight clockwise the side of the square opposite was also occupied by shops. To the far right of the square was what looked like a big hall which took up a full side on its own, on the last side of the square was St Mary’s church, it was the one way road next to that which Charlie had followed the man down onto the square. Split second decisions felt like minutes passing as Charlie was close on his tail, they both clambered through the empty market stalls of wood and metal. The stalls left derelict by their owners until the following morning. As tired as they both were they battled their way through, under and over metal framework. The man tipped the occasional stall over to cause more work and frustration for Charlie, he knew he was gaining on him which caused his heart to pound. As one stall led onto the next the tarpaulin roof had breaks in which let in the light from the moon, catching the moments of light in the darkness maze of the frame-work made it harder to see what obstacles were in the dark on the next stall. This caught both men out which slowed them both down, catching their shins and arms on loose metal that were hidden in the dark. Charlie needed to get close to him before they reached the other side of the market stalls or he will manage a huge lead that Charlie feared he wouldn’t make up. Catching sight of a metal pole waist height Charlie managed to jump and land without any obstruction just as his target stumbled out of the last stall, Charlie was right on his tail, he could hear him pant for breath as well as hearing his own. The man’s fear was obvious as he scrambled across the road nearly landing on his knees, no time to make a decision on direction, straight forward was the path taken. He fled down a large path between the buildings at the corner of the square leading onto another road behind the huge hall. Charlie was close on his tail but his legs and chest burnt like never before, he had to fight thoughts of giving up by picturing the deathly expression that this man had left on her face. They went through another alleyway next to a pub to come face to face with a group of girls dressed up standing outside a club having a cigarette, they screamed as they flew between them, Charlie shouting his apologies as one fell over. They went up a few steps taking two at a time, past a raised coffee shop on the right and funnelled into a side entrance of Grand Arcade shopping centre. Charlie knew it would be closed off at this time, as he turned the corner into the building there were bars up to prevent entrance. To his right there is parking ticket machines and a bland wall, to his left there is two lifts. The lift furthest away had its doors closed but the closest ones doors had just started to slide closed, It’s the only place he could have gone Charlie thought as he launched towards it. As he entered the lift just in time for the doors to close the man was standing there with fear over his face, they stood for a few seconds staring at each other, they were thinking what to do next. It was deadly silent in the lift whilst both men seemed to hold their breath, Charlie had never really thought about what he would do once he had caught him. Suddenly the lift beeped to say it was heading up, Charlie glanced at the buttons and notice they were going to the top floor. Every wall in the lift was covered in mirrors so it was hard for Charlie to not notice how worn out and old he looked, he could hear his breathing again. Charlie breathed in and it felt like fire, he pictured her smile then launched forward and punched the man in the face.

   He stumbled back and fell to the floor of the lift, cupping his nose as blood trickled down his chin.

   “You’ll learn to regret that” the man said with glazed eyes.

   The lift stopped and the doors slid open behind Charlie, in the split second that Charlie took to turn and look out of the lift door the man had produced a gun from his belt line. Charlie knew nothing about guns but his initial thought was the bigger it is the more dangerous it can be and it wasn’t a small gun. He stared at the gun, noticing the chrome reflect the lift lights, indentations down the side of the barrel, maybe a model number. It looked heavy, maybe that was the reason the man’s hand was shaking.

   “Slowly walk backwards out of the lift, keep your hand where I can see them.”

   Charlie did as he was told, backing out of the lift into the open air top floor where it was empty and quiet, looking over his shoulder he could see that the only other exit was across the other side, too far to run. He held his hands above his head. He hadn’t asked him to do so but that’s what you always see in the movies, it seemed the right thing to do.

   “Turn around, walk over to the edge” Charlie obeyed the mans orders.  

 

The Cambridge skyline was beautiful at night, a show of lights from the cluttered heights of surrounding buildings, church steeples and college towers. Each with their own significance, a reason to be lit up. At this height the wind whipped around his body, trying to pick him up and carry him to safer ground. Pulling and tugging at his clothes, distracting his thoughts. Looking out from the edge of this car park, Charlie remembered visiting these lit up buildings with Abigail. She had wanted to visit them, understand the history of these buildings, look at their beauty, but he never really appreciated them until now, too late. He had turned his back on the man, the gun. He stood at the edge of the car park looking out.

   “I loved her, loved her more than you could ever dream of!” The man’s voice came as a surprise as it broke the silence.

   Charlie took a deep breath, controlled his aggression, he didn’t want to sound emotional or in fear.

   “Clearly, there’s no better way to show a women how much you love them than to . . . . .” he still couldn’t say it. “To do what you did”.    

   “She deserved it, that little prick teasing bitch” He replied through gritted teeth.

Charlie could hear his footsteps as he slowly worked his way toward him, felt the cold of the gun as it touched the back of his neck. Charlie felt numb, his body wanted to give up, his mind slowly starting to agree.  

    “Do you want to know what her last words were?” he said laughing. “Ohh Charlie, Charlie I’m sorry” he teased in a high-pitched female voice. “That’s when I cut her throat because I was sick of hearing your name, Charlie this, and Charlie that . . . That all she used to go on about . . . Stupid bitch didn’t see what was right in front of her!”

   He tapped the gun against the back of Charlie’s head a couple of times.

   “Are you listening to me?” He asked.

   Charlie ignored the question. He stared out across the city, controlling his breathing, trying to save his energy. He looked over the edge, down six floors to the concrete, it could be so easy just to end it all now he thought.

   “Hey!” The man smashed the gun against Charlies head again, this time with force. “What’s wrong with you, I’m trying to tell you about how your girlfriend died, are you not interested?” He yelled. “Some boyfriend you are!!” Nudging Charlie with his gun again.

   The more Charlie ignored the man, the more irate he became. He could hear it in the mans voice, his movement, he was starting to pace back and forth behind Charlie. He had started to mutter to himself, Charlie couldn’t make out what he was saying. The more he paced the more distracted he had become. Charlie was feeling calm, his breathing was back to normal. He now just needed to wait for the man to make a mistake, a moment for him to take control of the situation.

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November 7, 2013

The Tartan Blanket

Filed under: My Work — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — mitchellsmustard @ 5:30 pm

He spread the tartan picnic blanket out with care, making sure all corners were straight. Every year he used the same blanket to protect the importance of this tradition, it was used, washed then folded neatly and stored away until this day came around again. The tartan was laced with yellows and greens and over the years the colours had faded to give it a vintage look. He loved this blanket, not because of the colours, not because it was of an age, but because it was one of the first things that she had given him. He swept the loose mischievous blades of grass away with his hand, “she’ll be here soon” he told himself. Every year in the same spot this picnic was set, to a standard that she would approve.
The first time they discovered this spot was by chance. He had just moved to Cambridge and she came to visit. A romance by distance is hard for the strongest of relationships, but they were strong, she was his queen and nothing would stand in the way of that. They had spent the day walking around his new local area, stopping on a bridge that looked over the river Cam, they stood and they watched as the water passed below. He whispered love songs in to her ear to make her giggle, she was bashful about love. As he went to tickle her sides she ran to the steps next to the bridge, taking each one carefully in her heels. She made her way onto Jesus green and finally stopped, turning she expected him to still be on the bridge looking down at her, but he was hot on her tail. He took her by the waist, picked her up and spun her round as they both laughed. They eventually fell to the ground, laying on the grass entwined. They stopped laughing, they stared at each other, they smiled, they were in love. They spent that afternoon together sat on the bank of the river watching the water pass under the bridge, talking of future plans, not realising they would make an effort to watch the water pass this same spot on the same day each year. It was their spot.
He took a step back to view the layout of his affections, brushing his hands together as a sign of completion. Sitting down next to the picnic basket he considered opening the bottle of her favorite wine to accompany him while he waits, she wouldn’t have minded but he still felt that it would be rude to start without her. He tapped his fingers on top of the basket, some would think of it as impatient but she knew him better than that. He watched the river pass under the bridge, gently flowing past like that of his life, the occasional bit of debris twisting and tangling with its surroundings to give the water an uneven run. He sat, he watched, and he waited.
Each year they spent time at this spot talking about future plans, with each year that passed their plans became smaller but their achievements became bigger. She had moved to Cambridge, they lived in a small two bedroom house off Hills Road. The news that they were to become a family had come as a surprise, a good surprise. Nine months passed quickly and they welcomed Isabelle in to their lives, she was a quiet and adorable baby, giggles and brunette curls. The only thing that didn’t change from that moment on was the love this little family shared, his job, the money, their friends, it all spiraled around their beautiful little girl, but he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
He watched people pass by as he waited, the fruits of one existence viewing the many, remembering, romancing in the moment, and sympathizing. Loud disobedient children, just like their Isabelle had once been. The young and adventurous, who learn only by mistakes. Young couples holding hands, causing a smile to the happy, yet disapproving to the disgruntled lonely. And the old that take their time and refuse help, holding their pride higher than their health. He watched life, he waited, he smiled.
Isabelle grew quicker than they could have ever imagined, gone were the days of cuddles before bed, he missed the days of testing his imagination for a bedtime story, to watch her drift off to sleep as he explained how the prince and princess had met, or how they had saved their kingdom. He even missed pretending to eat and drink at one of her tea parties, he felt a little stupid when she insisted that they dine out in the street for all to see, but it was for her and he would do anything for her, that had never changed. Even through her troubled teens, the many broken curfews, the bad attitude, the long nights of waiting up for her to get home, in fear that something may have happened, dreading that phone call. He was never soft on punishment with her but he knew there wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for her, even when he was still upset.
He watched a Cambridge university rowing club across the river, synchronized movement by the crew pulling their racing shell from the clubhouse into the water without a hitch. This was a common pastime for many while sat on the bank of the river Cam, something he had watched with interest over years while he waited for her. He liked to reminisce about his wife, from the moment they met she was destined to occupy his mind, even when she wasn’t there. When he proposed to her he had sent the ring through the post to their home address so it wasn’t expected. He fondly remembered her face, how it turned from surprise, to a smile, to tears. She said yes as soon as she could find the words. Remembering the funny faces she used to pull at baby Isabelle to make her giggle when she thought he wasn’t watching, he never told her that he saw her.
She had started to lose a lot of weight, she looked drained. As stubborn as a mule but she knew something was wrong. By the time she had her first checkup, the cancer was diagnosed at its most advanced stage. That was the day it all changed, the day everything came crashing down. She closed up, his queen had become vacant, she had disappeared out of the back door, just leaving someone who looked like his wife behind. All communication had left, it took the playful smiles, the infectious laugh and her comical wit. A shell of the woman he loved, she had given up before the first bell, that’s what tore him apart the most.The last goodbye was the hardest part, to bury his queen, to be alone knowing that she will be waiting for him, alone.
He was staring at the water day dreaming when he felt movement next to him on the blanket, she had silently arrived. As he gazed at her his heart started to pound against his old and tired ribs. It had been three years and he missed his wife that little bit more every day that passed, she still occupied his mind, even though she wasn’t there. Caught in the right light, the resemblance was flawless, Isabelle looked like her mother. The same facial expressions that would always melt his heart. He loved spending time with his daughter, because little parts of his wife lived on in her. Just like her mother, she had grown to become an amazing woman. His heart swelled with pride.

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