The day was dark. The air was cold. Leaves danced around my feet as I lay on the hard, unforgiving concrete of the street’s floor.
I struggled to get up, but was held down by two, strong, hairy arms. Then, a sharp flash of pain in my neck, and the lights went out.
My name is Robyn Jones and it has been 363 days since Karlie died. 363 days since Karlie was murdered. And I’m going to take revenge.
‘Martyl Grenieve? No, sorry sweetcheeks, but there’s never been no Martyl Grenieve in this town. He ain’t exist in this part of the city.’
‘Oh. Thanks anyway.’
I walked out of The Thomas Patrick Library, with yet another failed attempt at finding her killer heavily sitting on my shoulders.
‘Martyl Grenieve, you wanted?’
I shot back from the man who’d jumped out straight in front of me, right from the middle of nowhere.
He repeated himself. ‘You asked for a Martyl Grenieve, did you not?’
His voice was so low, it was hard to separate it from the wind.
‘Y-yes.’ I stuttered, before standing up tall with my chin high in the air and my chest puffed out in mock-confidence. ‘You know him?’
‘Know him? I used to be best friends with the guy. Before he tried to kill me.’
‘Look, I don’t even know your name. Let’s have food, and I’ll tell you all about it.’
As I walked into the Castle Café at 8:00pm, a shiver went down my spine. Martyl had given me eternal life, why would I want to take revenge on him? But then the memories came flooding back. A piercing scream, a deafening ambulance siren, Karlie lying face down in a pool of her own blood…
The man from this morning was standing in front of me.
‘Huh?’ I asked, confused.
‘Your eyes… it was like you were going to slap me or something. You were in a trance and…’ He pointed to my arm. Red, sharp streaks of blood swam down my arm and into a puddle on the floor. I looked at my other hand. I was holding a fork.
‘We need to talk,’ he said. ‘Now.’
His name is Daniel O’Hara, and he works with M15.
‘Why are you telling me all this? I asked. ‘I could turn on you. I could expose what you’re telling me to the whole world. Why risk it?’
‘Because I know you have to tell me some things, too.’ He glanced down at my bloodied arm, and I grimaced. Ever since the… incident, I’ve been having flashbacks. Except, they’re not flashbacks. Because what happens to Karlie… it’s like it happens to me.
‘What are you staring at me like that for?’ I glared.
‘The things you’ve been through…’
‘How would you know?’
‘I… erm. I don’t.’
‘And you’re not going to either.’ I stormed out of the café, slamming the door behind me.
‘Wait!’ Daniel ran after me, he grabbed my arm and I snatched it away, trying to push back the memories of the last time someone gripped my arms.
‘You can’t leave now!’
‘Why not?!’ I shouted, angrily.
‘Because… I need you.’
‘And I need Karlie, but she’s never coming back!’
I broke down in tears, and Daniel ran up to me. I pressed my face into his chest and let the tears come. Then I told him everything.
Karlie was young. At the age of eight, she was my everything. It was her birthday. I’d planned a big dinner, but just her and me. She was the only family I had. And I was hers. But as we were leaving, a man broke back the door. I recognised his face. Martyl. We’d dated back in High School, but when things had got too far, I broke up with him.
‘What’re you doing here?’ I asked, my voice shaky.
‘I’ve got something to show you,’ he grimaced, and pushed me up against the wall.
‘Get off!’ I shouted, but he wouldn’t let go of my wrists.
‘Mummy,’ Karlie said. ‘I’m scared.’
I shoved Martyl back and ran to my daughter.
‘Out. Martyl, get out of my house.’
‘Not yet, pretty girl. I haven’t finished yet.’
He pushed me back, and Karlie fell out of my grip. I smashed my head against the table, and everything went black…
‘Jenny! Stop it!’
I woke from my trance, Daniel holding me tightly.
‘Where am I?’ I asked dozily.
‘You’re at my house, you tried to stab me in the back with that stupid fork. I brought you back here so you could calm off, but you’ve just started clawing at your face with your nails. Stop it!’
He snatched back my hands, and I began to cry again. These days, I’ve been all but a mess.
‘You still didn’t tell me about Martyl,’ I questioned, in between hiccups.
‘No, and you don’t need to know. Not like this.’
‘He killed Karlie, you know. Killed her! She was my everything, and now she’s… gone.’
A loud knock came from Daniel’s front door.
‘Stay here,’ he commanded, holding my gaze. ‘Don’t. Touch. Anything.’
I lay down on his sofa and start to feel myself drifting off again when I hear it.
It rings in my ears like a bomb gone off by a microphone. It punctures my heart and deflates my hopes. I’m too late.
‘Trick or treat!’ The kids shout from the other side of the hallway, each one of them dressed in a different form of death.
‘What did you do to her? You monster!’
‘Now, pretty girl, don’t be mean. You’re the monster, falling asleep when your daughter… has gone for a swim.’
I stare at him, confused, but then it clicks.
I shoved past him and ran up the stairs two at a time.
‘Oi!’ He shouts behind, but I don’t care.
I jerk open the bathroom door and…
She’s there. Karlie.Laying face down in the bath. A bath… of blood.
‘Aww, she’s asleep, pretty girl. Don’t wake her now. Shh…’
I turn around and punch Martyl straight in the face. He pushes me back, and before I know it, I’m flying through the window…
Onto the hard, concrete floor.
‘Look, Jenny, I know. I know what happened. I know how you feel. I know you want to take revenge but… you can’t.’
‘How would you know? I shouldn’t even be alive! I should be buried under the cold soil of a cemetery next to my daughter! I fell out of a three-storey building, for God’s sake!’
‘Jenny. Calm down. Just breathe and… stop it!’
I stare down at my hands, at the shards of glass embedded under my skin. At the homemade stitches. At the memories bubbling under my flesh.
‘Why would you do that? I’ve only just cleared up the blood from your leg injury! You’ll die of loss of blood! And then you’ll—‘
He stopped. Blinked two times. Licked his lips.
His eyes flashes red, and I recognised him.
His disguise had slipped come off.
His skin grew pale, his facial features disorientated. His pupils growing smaller, to the size of a measly pin head.
Martyl. Martyl Grenieve.
Karlie’s killer. My murderer.
I forced my eyes open, to find Karlie staring down at me.
‘Mummy! I’ve been waiting for ages for you! What happened? Why didn’t you come sooner?’
‘Oh, Karlie honey.’ I smiled a tired smile.‘Karlie, I—‘
I sat up in bed. I just saw Karlie. And it wasn’t a flashback. She was there. Right in front of me. Had I…? No. That couldn’t be possible.
‘How does it feel to die?’
I snapped my head to the side, only to find…
‘What are you doing here after all—‘
‘Stop. Take deep breaths and…’
I slapped him.
‘Ouch. Okay, I guess I deserved that.’
‘You guess?! You killed my daughter, you killed me! You—‘
‘Jenny darling, what are you on about? You’ve had a nightmare.’
No. That was not a nightmare. I…
But it was all fading away.
Why was I angry again?
There’s a name foggy in the back of my head. Katherine? Or Katrina?
‘Ah, good morning, Mrs Levington.’ A voice came from behind the door.
‘Honey, this is Dr Davidson.’ Martyl said.
‘I am so sorry, Mrs. But Karlie didn’t make it.’
‘Mrs Levington? Karlie… your baby? You were in labour and… I’m so sorry.’
Now I knew what happened. Martyl was right. It must have all just been a cruel, harsh nightmare.
The doctor cleared his throat. ‘I’ve run some tests, and you’re all safe to go home.’
Martyl grabbed my hand and kissed it. ‘Yes honey, let’s go home.’
I smiled up at him, and in no time we were back in our cosy flat.
‘Are you okay, honey?’
‘I’m much better now.’
A weak smile crawled across my face.
Just as my head hit the pillow on our soft, fluffy sofa, the doorbell rang.
‘Won’t be a second!’ My gorgeous husband cheered happily.
I was so lucky to have him. So lucky that he chose me out of every other girl in the world. So happy he—
‘Trick or treat!’
It all came back.
Martyl strolled into the room.
‘I have a present for you!’ He cried.
I tried to get up, but a curse held me tight to the sofa.
Turning his head to the side, and his eyes glowing red, he trailed a long fingernail down my face, a pool of blood dripping onto the sofa.
‘I’m so glad you’re home, honey. So glad you’re happy, and healthy… so glad you’re mine.’
‘And you’re all mine, pretty girl.’