Fans of Scratches will appreciate this intriguing story by Rose Lyons that attempts to tie together that game and Serena with truly chilling results. Hope you enjoy it!
[b][u]LAURA - A MICHAEL ARTHATE STORY[/u][/b]
We were driving along the road to our country cottage. We being myself and my companion Laura. I met her while in the hospital. She was visiting her father. It wasn’t easy getting to know someone again. Not after what had happened with Serena. The nights I woke up screaming in that hospital, thinking I was burning to death. Goodness knows what Laura’s father told her. But she spoke to me and gradually I opened up to her. The trunk was the most terrifying thing of all; hiding in that trunk I could hear the flames crackling, could hear things crashing down around me, crashing on top of the trunk. How was I not burned to death? The trunk did not catch alight. Maybe the spirits were smiling on me that day. I would have loved to have seen the look on Serena and her friend’s face when they didn’t find my burnt body.
It took me a long time to get over that. I even ended up in hospital. I got the most help there. I spent quite a few months there recovering. And I met Laura.
Laura. Beautiful, sophisticated, well spoken. Don’t know what she saw in a wreck like me. Laura reminded me of Serena. God, that should have made me stay away from her but it attracted me to her. Can you believe that? You’d think the last thing I would want would be a woman like Serena. But I was attracted to Laura and Laura was attracted to me and we got to know each other.
And now we were on our way to our country cottage for our annual holiday. It was a nice day with blue skies and a slight wind when we set off on our journey. We had driven through some wonderful open scenery and now we were on a straight road through a forest.
“Are we nearly there yet?” said Laura.
“You said that ages ago. I could do with stretching my legs.”
“We’ll be doing plenty of that at the cottage.”
I carried on driving. And then the unforeseeable happened. Actually, it was foreseeable. It’s just that I didn’t know where my head was at. The car coughed, spluttered and came to a complete halt. I had run out of fuel.
“What’s wrong?” asked Laura.
“I’ve run out of fuel.”
“Run out of fuel! We passed a gas station way back there!”
“I didn’t realise we needed fuel.”
"Didn’t you look? You’re an idiot! A complete idiot!"
I hated it when she spoke to me like that. Like Serena! Just like Serena! I wanted to strangle her. I took a deep breath and smiled.
“Darling, we can walk back to the gas station. I have a can in the trunk,” I said.
“You want me to walk all that way in these shoes with these heels?”
“Your walking shoes are in the trunk. You wanted to stretch your legs.”
"I think I’d be safer on my own than with an idiot like you."
I clenched my teeth.
“Darling, let’s not argue,” I said. “Let’s walk back to the gas station together.”
“I’ll wait in the car,” Laura said. “Maybe somebody will drive by with some spare gas and I can drive back and join you.”
“We haven’t passed another car in ages.”
“Michael, I don’t want to leave the car.”
"Alright. Stay in the car and keep the doors locked. I love you."
I leaned forward to kiss Laura on the lips and she seemed to kiss me reluctantly. Then I got out of the car, got the can from the trunk and set off walking for the gas station.
It was a long walk back. There was silence all around me. Silence, except for the occasional bird song. There was not a breath of wind now. I never heard the engine of another car or saw another car. The sun was low in the sky by the time I reached the gas station. I wouldn’t get back to Laura and the car until it was dark. I filled my can with petrol. The gas station attendant advised me to stay in the nearby motel until daybreak. I explained that I had a woman and a car waiting for me miles down the road and the attendant got his assistant to drive me back to my car. I couldn’t thank him enough.
When I was near enough to the car I got out and the attendant drove away. I walked up to the car, opened the trunk and got out my funnel. I filled the tank with petrol. Then I recapped the can and put can and funnel back in the trunk. I noticed Laura’s walking shoes and I thought to myself how awfully quiet she was being. I closed the trunk and walked to the car. Laura was not there. I checked the back seat. She was not lying there. Where could she be? Could she have started walking? No. Her walking shoes were in the trunk. Laura wouldn’t walk a distance in those heels. I checked both sides of the road. On one side of the road the earth had been disturbed and there were gouge marks in the earth leading into the brush. Laura’s heels had made those marks. She had been dragged.
I went to my trunk opened it and got out my flashlight. It would soon be dark. Blackness would be all around me. I hated the dark. Things - things occurred to me in the dark. I went back to the side of the road and followed the heel marks into the brush.
It was getting colder and the birds had stopped singing. Closed bushes were all around me as I followed the heel marks along what seemed to be a tiny little well-worn path. I too was silent. Until I found the note. It was hanging from a twig on a bush. It read ‘WILL YOU EVER FIND LAURA?’ The writing…it seemed familiar.
“Laura!” I screamed at the top of my voice.
I heard a woman’s scream and started running.
“Laura!” I called again and again I heard a scream.
It was coming from that bush! I ran into the bush and tripped over something and fell flat on my face. A pair of feet appeared in front my eyes. Without waiting I grabbed both of the feet and pulled forwards so that the person fell flat on their back. I threw myself on top of the person and I hit and I squeezed and I hit and I squeezed AND I HIT AND I SQUEEZED until my hands and my clothes were covered in blood and a bloody pulp was beneath me. I leaned back, breathing hard. The person beneath me was unrecognisable but I recognised that suit, that tie. It was Jerry. I turned to look behind me, at the object I had tripped over.
I saw Laura, lying on her back, very still.
“Laura, oh god, no,” I sobbed.
I held Laura in my arms and cried over her. I could hear that she was still breathing. Thank god! I was about to pick Laura up and carry her out of the bush when I saw a flashlight and I heard a woman’s voice say:
"Jerry, is Michael dead?"
No! It couldn’t be! I lay Laura back down and backed to the side, prepared to pounce on the female as soon as she entered the bush. As soon as the person’s head appeared I pounced and soon she lay on the floor, her neck broken, able only to uselessly twitch her hands and feet.
It was Serena. She tried to burn me to death once. I would have given her a divorce if she had asked. As for Jerry, I had been responsible for him going to prison. He had only recently just got out. When had the two of them got together? Had Jerry put her up to this?
Serena’s eyes fixed upon my face.
“I hate you, Michael,” she said.
“Why, Serena, why have you done this?”
“You wouldn’t leave me alone”.
“I never went anywhere near you.”
“You’re controlling, Michael. You like to control things all of the time. I could never be free.”
“Are you free now, Serena? Look at you, a prisoner in your own body.” I crouched down and bent over Serena. "Would you like me to release you, Serena? Would you like me to set you free?"
I felt a blow to the back of my head and I heard a crack. I fell forwards over Serena. Somebody turned me over and I looked up into the face of Laura. My hands and my feet twitched uselessly. Beside me I heard Serena laughing. I looked into Laura’s face, a bewildered expression on my own.
“Why?” I said. “Why?”
“Serena is right,” Laura said. “You are too controlling.”
“You could have just walked away,” I said.
“Nobody can just walk away from you, Michael. You will never let them.” said Laura.
“I thought you loved me, Laura,” I said.
“Did I have a choice?” Laura said. “Does anybody ever have a choice with you?”
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
Laura crouched down and bent over me and said "Would you like me to release you, Michael? Would you like me to set you free?"
With all my strength I swung my arm and smashed Laura in the face. She fell backwards, stunned. I quickly sat up and crouched.
"Don’t know much about breaking a person’s neck, do you, Laura? This is how it is done."
With that, I took hold of Laura’s head and broke her neck.
I may have been a writer but I had just run out of words. In silence I killed what was left of Laura and then I killed what was left of Serena.
So much for a pleasant holiday. I had just killed three people and I was covered in blood.
I knew just where I could put these three dead bodies. I had rescued a manor house. I had to, for a man and his deformed son. It had lots of secret places where you could hide things.
7 JANUARY 2015