Thread: Alpha and Omega
‘You didn’t listen to me before, so listen again,’ said Fay, resting against the creaky foot board of the bed. ‘Get yourself out of this farmhouse.’
The tiredness, the inevitability of it all was wearing on Ariadne. What difference did it make if she did anything or not? Fay’s voice receded leaving her with warm carpet that oozed between her fingers, inviting more touch. The walls drifted away.
The ‘phone rang and lanky Tin picked it up, Tin of all people who was always bad on the ‘phone, spluttering his way through the call. She was in the kitchen, waiting for their rusty toaster to spit out rusty toast, and Tin was in the room waving his arms: ‘Addie, they want you to be a regular in Khemist!’ Douggie banged on the floor, demanding everyone to leave his firking hangover alone. ‘Tin, flipping heck-’
‘Wake up.’ Fay slapped her face and returned to the edge of the bed. ‘Get yourself out of this farmhouse.’
‘The Cloth looks for anyone who is making attempts to stay out of the system. They’ll pick you up within a year, if they haven’t already got the feelers out to this place. Get back into town, a city would be better. Once there, get yourself a land line, but don’t use it.’
Ariadne let the chill breeze pouring onto her neck revitalise her. ‘What’s the point in that?’
‘The same reason. A household without any kind of phone may be trying to avoid phone calls and that’s just as bad as tryin’ to live in a remote location. If you get the land line, it’s one less red point you’ll flag. Probably best to make a silent call or two just to put something on the bill, but I don’t think the Cloth monitors look that deep yet. Oh and never answer the damn thing, you’ll end up saying “Hello” by mistake and the recorders will snatch that.’
‘Is this for real? They’ve got that level of… monitoring?’
Fay was disappointed. ‘After everything you’ve been through, do ya still not get it? I didn’t come here to fakk spiders.’
‘It’s not easy to swallow it all in one go.’
‘One go? This isn’t the first time we’ve been through this.’
Ariadne pushed herself up, against the wall, feeling her fingers move onto the glass. She stumbled forwards and said: ‘Fay, I just gave birth. Stop being such a bitch.’
‘I’d rather be a bitch than dead.’
‘Just… piss off out of here and leave me alone. I’ve got the folder, right? I’ve had enough of you. Go. Get out of here.’
Fay broke into an enormous, beaming smile. ‘There’s just one other thing–’
‘I told you to go!’ Ariadne shoved Fay on the shoulder, much to her own surprise. Fay fell backwards, onto the floor suddenly weak and pathetic.
‘There’s just one other thing, I said,’ Fay continued from the floor, lying flat out and gazing out through the bedroom door. ‘Bobby got to stop selling dope. It’s game over if the police start getting interested in him.’
Feeling just a little empowered, Ariadne said: ‘What are you talking about? Bobby doesn’t sell drugs.’
‘I love the way you say ‘drugs’ as if it disgusts you, doesn’t belong in your world. Just tell him to stop.’
Fay sat up and stretched out a hand. ‘Help me up?’
‘No.’ Ariadne walked back to the window and studied the crumbling barn attached to the house.
Suddenly, her stomach was a storm of butterflies; the hairs on her neck stood on end and sweat prickled down her back. Ariadne could only put one word to this eruption of strange sensations: danger.
She turned quickly to see Fay standing halfway out the door, draped in shadow, facing away. Not a sound, yet she was suddenly there, still as a statue.
There was no response. Fay remained motionless.
Ariadne waited, enduring the fearful silence. She heard a truck trundle over cattle grid on a distant road; some birds flirted in high-pitched song.
And Fay moved. With tiny, almost infantile steps she disappeared into the corridor, still in shadow.