Dread and Breakfast
Dread and Breakfast
I didn't know you snored. The thought intruded Sid’s dreams, causing him to roll over in his sleep.
Fuck you, I don't snore! Sid thought back sleepily, before noticing the snoring himself, hmm, perhaps I do. Something didn't quite sit right with that thought. Sid opened his eyes to darkness and the snoring continued. He sat bolt upright in bed, eyes searching for the noise source in the black, fear pounding loudly in his ears. The snoring suddenly ceased, filling Sid with even more dread. Slowly he climbed out of the bed and felt for the light switch, finding nothing but the bed-side table with his shins. Feeling his way along the floor, and flinching at the touch of every foreign object, he skirted round the bed and towards the window. Feeling the base of the curtains with his hands he slowly pulled himself up to standing, shaking on his feet in the now engulfing silence. Gripping the dark curtains with both hands he threw the curtains open to black. He reached blindly for the window and felt more curtains. Gripping them tightly he threw them open to black, and more curtains. Threading his hands between these he felt the tell-tale coldness of damp window panes. He threw the third set of curtains open to black and more curtains.
Are you fucking with me? Sid asked angrily, fear rising in his throat.
No, Sid. Lucifer replied, I am not fucking with you.
Then what the hell is going on? Sid screamed in his mind; Lucifer didn’t reply.
‘What are you doing, Bill?’ A feminine voice asked in the darkness from behind him. Sid felt a shiver up his spine at the voice, turning around to see Ann led on the bed. She was illuminated by a light source he could not see and dressed in white negligee, leaving little to the imagination. He felt the fear in his throat momentarily be replaced by vomit.
‘Where did you come from?’ Sid asked with a shaky voice, suddenly worried Ann may have Alzheimer’s; but even more so that they'd somehow had intercourse.
‘Come back to bed, Bill. It's still night out.’ She said patting the side of the bed Sid had recently vacated.
‘Ann, my name isn't Bill.’ Sid said stepping forward, now fully convinced she had Alzheimer’s but relieved that he was still wearing his boxers and that he didn’t have the tell-tale morning glory of sex the night before.
Lucifer, what is going on?
Beats me, Sid. You're the one who picked this woman's bed to sleep in. Lucifer thought with a wicked smile, she’s a catch too.
Seriously, what’s going on? And besides, where did you fuck off to?
Me? I nipped back to the club. You're the one who disappeared for nearly three days, which I’m not happy about at all. You better have found Mary in my absence. Another shiver slid down Sid's back at Lucifer's mention of missing days.
Three days? I-I only just got here...
Then I think we better leave. Lucifer commanded whilst using Sid’s eyes to glance around the room for an option. Smiling at Ann, Sid walked around the edge of the bed, keeping as much distance as possible between them. Reaching the bedroom door he grasped the handle. Without turning his back to Ann, Sid opened the door and slipped out; slamming the door shut behind him. Sid sighed heavy against the door but at the call of Bill's name from beyond it, he set off walking quickly down the corridor; which soon turned into a run. Something was catching at Sid's thoughts as he ran down the corridor, which seemed longer than when he’d arrived, and he then stopped dead when movement caught the corner of his eye. He slowly looked up at a shelf and saw angel figurines, which looked back. They were the same dancing angels from before but their wings had been torn off, red marking the white porcelain as if they bled. Sid began to walk past, slowly, and the figurines’ stares followed him. One winked at him and then thrust out a sword in his direction accusingly. The other figurines took to the air and Sid stepped back in fear, raising his arms and shielding his face with his hands. Through his fingers he watched as realisation dawned on each of their faces about their lack of wings and they fell, one by one, to the floor to shatter.
What the actual fuck? Sid fled the scene of porcelain massacre and continued down the corridor without looking back. He finally reached the stairs and took them, two at a time, before he ran into the reception and turned to find the front door barred with wooden horizontal planks.
‘Can I help you, sir?’ Sid skidded to a halt and turned back to the counter to see Ann stood behind it, looking at him curiously.
‘But, you?’ Sid began confused, pointing at Ann.
Ask her the year. Lucifer thought, further confusing Sid; enough to remark out loud,
‘I asked if I could help you, sir.’ Ann replied patiently.
The year, ask her the.. Never mind, I'll do it. Lucifer took control from the confused Sid.
‘What's the year, please?’ Lucifer asked, stepping closer to Ann and releasing a menacing smile upon his face.
‘Are you okay?’ Ann asked taking a nervous step back.
‘Oh yes, I'd just like you to tell me the year, please.’
What are you doing? Sid asked still confused.
Ghosts lose track of time all too easily. Lucifer thought in annoyance and left it at that, as if explaining the situation fully.
‘Allow me to show you to your room, sir.’ Ann said stepping forward and passing straight through the counter top. She looked down at her body part way through the desk, then up at Sid and shrugged her shoulders.
‘Aha! I knew it! You’re dead!’ And at the accusation the room went pitch black, taking away the triumphant grin from Lucifer's face.
Here, you take back control. Lucifer thought as he relinquished control.
And do what, exactly? Wait, how did you get back in without my permission? Sid asked, suddenly remembering what Lucifer had said before.
Do you think now's the time for a chit chat, Sid? An air raid siren began to call, loud and long.
‘Bill, quickly!’ Ann appeared at Sid's arm. She grabbed the crook of his elbow, sending yet more shivers throughout Sid’s body.
Jesus Christ, she’s freezing, Sid was temporarily concerned that he would become one giant goose-bump at her touch.
‘The bombers are coming!’ She cried and tugged at his entwined arm.
Well this explains her passing, thought Lucifer to Sid, follow her but keep an eye out for the exit.
An Exit? What, a glowing green sign with a running man? Sid asked exasperated, confusion yet again replacing the fear from Ann’s cold touch. She continued to tug at his elbow insisting loudly against the siren that they run.
If you want. Usually it's just a white door though. Lucifer replied, clearing up nothing. Ann was now tugging at Sid's arm frantically,
‘Quickly!’ She hissed and Sid followed her, head whipping around in search of a white door, or a glowing green sign. As they ran down a darkened corridor lights sprung on two yards ahead of them, and shut off two yards behind. Watching the lights flicker off behind him, and the darkness that was left in their wake, made the urge to run faster pulse through Sid’s body and he was soon leading the way. Pictures adorned the walls as they ran and Sid was struck by their vivid detail of sexual positions. When he recognised himself as the male in all of them, and an elderly Ann as the female, he stopped paying them any more attention and instead turned his focus to the alcoves that passed on his right.
There! Urged Lucifer so hard that Sid juddered to a halt, causing Ann to curse aloud.
'Quickly! We must continue. There's nothing to see here.' She assured, tugging again at his arm. Sid stared into the alcove he'd stopped at but saw nothing except a fish tank; which contained murky brown water and two dead fish floating on the surface.
I see nothing. Sid thought, looking behind the fish bowl for a door.
The castle! Lucifer urged, causing Sid to look inside the tank again. He saw it this time; a glowing green sign above a white door adorning the front of the castle within the goldfish bowl. Ann tugged at his arm but Sid shook her free.
‘And I get into there, how?’ Sid asked aloud, not caring what Ann thought of him talking to himself.
Do I have to do everything, Sid? Lucifer hissed before taking back control and grabbing the fish tank with both hands. Ann clawed at his arms hissing for him to stop.
'Stop that, Bill. The bombers are getting closer. We need to make it to the bunker before they release their bombs!' The siren grew ear-shatteringly loud, hurting Sid's ears and making him want to cover them, but Lucifer ignored it all. He brought the bowl down to the floor, smashing the glass and sending the contents gushing along the floor. Ann howled in pain,
‘NOOOOOO!’ And then there was silence. Sid found himself back in the room he'd been brought to originally, sheets dishevelled around him.
‘Was that even real?’ He asked aloud to the pillow his face was buried in.
What you should really be saying is thank you. Thought Lucifer in boast, come on. Let's get out of here before she comes back. Sid, however, wasn’t convinced he was free. Nervously and with unsteady feet he went to the curtains. With his eyes half squeezed shut he pulled the curtains open and his bowels sank; black. He reached out in fear but his hand found cold windowpane, not more curtain. When he removed his hand light shone through his hand print.
Dust. He thought, never having been so happy to see a dirty window in his entire life. Stooping to pick up the rest off his clothes, Sid dressed before he left the room and made his way down the hallway; careful to step over the pieces of broken angel figurines as he walked down the corridor. The reception looked like a bomb had hit it, which upon reflection, probably had. A broken chandelier hung from the remains of the ceiling, the carpet was pulled up and frayed, and there were holes in the walls and floor. Shards of glass pooled by a side table and Sid saw what appeared to be two dead fish. One suddenly flopped feebly and Sid yelped in surprise.
Careful, Sid. It might splash you to death. Lucifer thought with laughter. Sid quick walked, determined to keep his cool, to the front door. Planks of rotten wood were nailed to the door but he was able to pull them down easily enough. He forced open the stiff door and looked back just once. The flopping fish was stood on its tail and pointing an accusing fin at Sid. Sid stumbled backwards out of the door and into a mound of bin bags, his hand managing to find an open nappy.
Shit, he thought looking at his hand before thinking, oh shit, my suit! One of the bags caught his eye, and Sid realised it was his. He opened it, careful to not get any shit inside, and saw, to his delight, his newly purchased suit. He clutched the bag tight and ran down the street, stopping only to wipe his hand on an old yellow newspaper; an old newspaper he then realised wasn’t yellow because of age.
Where are we going, Lucifer? Sid thought, back wandering aimlessly around Manchester city centre and looking for a place to change. Lucifer didn't reply. Sid eventually found a quite coffee shop and managed to change into his new suit in the toilet; also washing his hands more than once. Stalking back out into the rising sunshine, Sid gave his old, soiled suit to a nearby homeless man. As he began to walk away he felt a tap on his shoulder as the homeless man made to return it,
'Do you have one in better condition? The one I'm wearing is in better nick than this!' Sid shook his head and walked away, turning suddenly at the thud of the suit against his back. The homeless man flipped him the bird before settling back in a doorway and resuming his begging. Sid sheepishly left the suit spilled across the street behind him.
Her parent's house. Lucifer finally replied, catching Sid by surprise.
Where to go next, seeing as you’ve spent the last three days fucking a ghost. Lucifer thought as if talking to an idiotic child. You are aware the deal is off if I don’t find my target?
Please, don’t remind me, Sid thought back, swallowing hard and sheepishly kicking a can down the street, But that doesn't help, who is she? Mary? And where are they?
‘She; is unimportant. They; are in a place called Woodfield Grove, here in Manchester.’ Sid checked his wallet and sighed at its emptiness. He found a cash machine a few streets away before entering a taxi rank he found down a sewage stained street. He sat waiting for the next available cab, burning his mouth on a hot chocolate that, as far as he could tell, contained no chocolate.
Which begs the question as to what these floating brown specks are.
So? Sid asked, bringing his attention back to an unanswered question, how did you get back in and why did you leave?
Are you still banging on about that’ Lucifer replied in annoyance, I left the door to your mind propped open. You don't get to make me look like a fool more than once, Sid. And I left to get more up to date information as to where Mary is likely to be. Gossip may be rife in Hell but it’s seriously out of date.
Propped open! You left my mind propped open! And with what? Sid was horrified at the thought of his mind being left open for the world to see; or his intelligence to somehow seep out.
Does it matter? Lucifer asked rhetorically. Sid's name was called and, in shock, he dropped the conversation; along with the hot chocolate. Cursing at the burning sensation in his crotch Lucifer then piled on the misery.
You think that's hot? Boy are you in for a surprise. Sid walked legs akimbo into the cab.
‘Woodfield Grove, please. And do you have any paper towels?’ Sid asked, leaning forward as he spoke. The taxi driver gave him an uninterested look before ignoring his last request and setting off, throwing Sid against the back seat.
All three of them rode in silence at first; a silence broken regularly by a robotic voice giving the driver directions. Sid kept an eye on the time to destination, especially as the driver kept taking wrong turns causing the voice to get angry, tell him to turn around when possible, and increasing the time to destination.
Why didn't you take her like you did the angel? Sid asked as curiosity got the better of him, and deciding on conversation in an attempt to pass the time.
Who? Ann? I can't. Lucifer replied without interest.
Can't? Sid pressed.
Can’t, won’t. Does it matter? Ghosts are lost souls. They've been trapped on Earth too long for me to bring to Hell easily. Too much hassle and it's just not worth it. They've spent too long torturing themselves for there to be any fun left for me so why bother?
And you said I was gone for three days? Sid asked, fearful of the answer, How is it I don't remember those missing days?
They took another wrong turning and again there was a loud chirp from the robotic voice, which the driver ignored but it cut through their thought conversation. As if sensing Sid's frustration the driver spoke up.
‘S'alright, I know a short cut mate.’ Sid didn't doubt it.
I just doubt that's the way we're going. He thought dryly. Finally, they pulled into Woodfield Grove. Sid's eyes grew large at the fare, but he handed over the money grudgingly enough. He waited for the change before realising he wasn't getting any and so clambered out. As he did so he caught sight of a man who stumbled whilst jogging, falling into a can of bins. He smiled at the fact someone else was having as shit a day as he.
Which number? He asked Lucifer, stood next to the idling taxi and looking at the houses before him.
This one, I think. He sounded distracted and looked in the direction of the man who had fallen.
And I'm asking for? Sid asked tetchily, drawing back Lucifer’s attention.
The parents of Mary. Mary the schizo.
And that's her full name, is it? The taxi finally drove off, angry robotic voice fading as it went.
Mary Park. Lucifer gave up, annoyed at being pressed. Sid walked up the driveway and rang the doorbell. An elderly gentleman answered the door,
‘Can I help you?’ He asked, door on chain and speaking through the gap.
Shit, why are we asking after his daughter? Sid thought urgently whilst asking,
‘Sorry to disturb, but are you the father of Mary Park?’
We want to find out what institute she is in, so we can kidnap her. Lucifer finally replied.
‘Yes. What's this about?’
‘I'm, erm, a shrink. I mean a doctor.’ Sid began to sweat before the skills he’d acquired from years of bullshitting as a car salesman came bursting forth. ‘I'd like to talk to you about your daughter's case. May I come in, please?’