That night, after school Alfie had changed into black jeans and a black shirt, there had been an hauntingly coldness infecting his bedroom, so a grey hoodie was shoved over his body. He had tiredly stumbled over to his bed and fell on it and fell asleep, there were no nightmares that time. Bliss. He dreamt of his childhood, with his father before Eve and Seth were born, the long walks that him and his mother and father would share in the forests of their neighbourhood.
In all seasons, winter would be when snowmen would be built. Autumn would be when Alfie would be buried in leaves. Spring, when Alfie would pick his mother’s favourite flowers. Summer, when he climbed trees that were flourished with pale pink blossoms.
It soon changed though. Nothing much worse, nothing he wasn’t used to. Before long he was screaming himself awake. Screaming his own name, as loud as he could until he woke up screaming. His eyes struck open in pure terror; tears moistening his innocent eyes. He heard loud footsteps, Alfie curled up into a ball, still screaming. The person ran into Alfie’s bedroom and jumped next to him and held him tightly. It was his father. “Hey it’s me. Alfie?” Alfie’s screams subsided, he looked up; his eyes pure and terrorised. His father shushed him and hugged him until he fell asleep again, even though Alfie was the eldest of Joel’s children; but he was the most vulnerable.
* * *
Alfie was now awake looking at a girl, with effortless wavy light brown hair, her blue eyes were locked on him. The sides of her mouth curled up, she said something that Alfie couldn’t hear. His heart was beating in his ears. He was scared. He thought about all the possible and logical things that would be scaring him at this point in time. But none of them seemed to fit his feelings. Then it hit him. It was her. She is so pretty he thought to himself. He smiled at her, mirroring her smile. She stuck her tongue out at him. He closed his eyes and wandered around his curious mind about what to do next. There was a sudden scream. Alfie snapped his head up and stood up, until he bumped his head on the roof of the truck. Eve laughed and she got up too. “Stay here Eve.” Alfie said as he opened the back door and hopped out, leaving Eve with Seth and the girl he had just met and another little boy, he assumed it was the girl’s little brother.
Alfie them turned his attention to the pool of blood that he had treaded in. His black running boots were moist with this viscous liquid that belonged to someone else, Alfie’s face drained out all of the colour on his face. His eyes wide. Alfie headed over to his father who was part of a circle of people. Alfie, a boy as curious as he was could get himself killed. There were three people that he didn’t know. All of them had a gun in hand. Alfie stood next to his father, who acknowledged him with a small wiggle of his eyebrows, which made Alfie smile a little. Something that Joel hadn’t seen in months. “What’s going on?” Alfie whispered to his father. “I can’t tell you right now” Alfie frowned but kept on listening “We just want a ride that’s it mate” Alfie looked at the man who said that, younger than his father but older than Alfie himself. The man had shoulder length black hair that fell over his eyes when the wind passed it. Joel didn’t look impressed with the man’s sarcastic tone, but he repressed his anger towards the man. Two other guys surrounded the man, they only looked a few years older than Alfie; they sure didn’t look happy. The girls’ father, Nate was standing with his arms crossed, Joel was the same. These childhood friends were now looking after each other’s families now.
The two younger men stood around Alfie and looked at him, Alfie looked at his father and then at Nate. The two younger men drew their guns, Alfie took a breath. Maybe his final, Out of nowhere Joel kicked one of the younger men in the shin and shot him. He went down like a tonne of bricks. Unconscious. Almost simultaneously the other young man took Alfie by the neck and put the gun on the side of Alfie’s head. He closed his eyes. Ready to go. There would be no more nightmares. No more fear of falling asleep at night. But he would never see his brother and sister again, never see his parents. That girl.
"Hey let him go now!" Joel beckoned, Alfie looked at him with wide eyes, Don't help me, I've got this. It became very silent for what seemed like hours, but only was about ten seconds.
“Hey man you don’t know what you’re doing” Alfie pleaded
“Shut up!” His captor beckoned, hitting him with the butt of the gun. Alfie winced in pain; he could also sense the fear in his voice, Nate was quiet and still, his fists were clenched; his knuckles were pure white. Joel locked eye contact will Alfie. It was Alfie’s turn, Joel had a uneasy look in his eyes, his eyes were dark green. Like pine needles. It calmed Alfie. Now ready to escape, any false move and it could mean inevitable death. For him, his father, Nate, Eve, Seth and the girl.
Alfie visualised his next moves down to the last detail. Taking a deep breath, he moved his foot and kicked the man where a man should never be kicked as hard as he could backwards; at the same time he grabbed the gun from the man, he held it up in the sky in case the man pulled the trigger.
Alfie looked at the man, his cheek stinging. The gun felt heavy and unnatural in his hand. The fear from the man’s voice had transferred to his eyes, he was probably a mirror of Alfie’s eyes. Alfie hadn’t realised that Nate was restraining the other man, he was struggling, these two younger men were his sons. Alfie was disgusted with himself. Alfie tucked the gun in the back of his jeans, the cold gun calmed Alfie in a way. The other man that had been shot was now starting to stir. “Get out of here, all of you. If I ever see any of you again I will kill you” Alfie was scared at his own words; but he meant them. The younger man nodded and helped the other get up, the older man was still looking at Alfie until the younger man slapped his shoulder. They stumbled away. Hopefully this would be the last they would see if them.
The girl had stuck her head out of the window, she was smiling. Alfie went to run to the truck but a hand stopped him. He stopped to see Nate’s hand on his chest. “Hey listen, go talk to her. She doesn’t bite” He said smiling. And with that he walked over to the truck where she was. The girl.