The music blasted through Damien’s house. The bass boomed, rocking the chairs in the room and vibrating through Aiden’s body. He saw Danny stumble across the room, babbling incoherently and spilling parts of his drink all over the floor. Damien rolled his eyes, turning back to the minibar.
“Aiden, Alison, you want a drink?”
“Yes” they both responded in unison.
Danny stumbled his way over, hugging Aiden around the neck. “Can I get a drink, pal?”
His breath smelt of stale beer with the sweetness of cola. Aiden shrugged Danny’s hand off him, trying not to gag. “You’ve had enough, about two hours ago.”
Alison grabbed Danny’s face and pointed it in the other direction. “Alex is over there, Danny, why don’t you go talk to her?”
Damien’s ears perked up. “Yeah Alison, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea”
Before Damien could even finish his sentence, Danny was off like a shot heading towards Alex Brie.
She looked different outside of school, she had ditched the ponytail for long flowing black hair. She smiled at Aiden, waving politely at him.
Aiden sniggered. “So who’s helping Danny recover from his black eye tonight?”
Damien didn’t even look up. “He can help himself for now”
Alison nudged Damien, giggling. “Can we get a drink now?”
“Yes, of course” He then brought out two beers for him and Aiden and a vodka and coke mix for Alison. She raised her eyebrow before taking a sip.
“I like beer too, you know”
Damien sighed. “I know, but no one’s touching the mixers and spirits. It’ll look a little suspicious if my folks come back to a hundred bottles of Coke in the house”
Jimmy waddled over with his head down. “Damien, Danny is embarrassing himself again.”
He wasn’t wrong, Danny looked like he was auditioning to be in Project X, flopping around like a fish out of water.
“Alex!” he yelled across the room.
Alex turned her head to see Danny, drink in hand, coming over to her with a drunk look in his eye. She rolled her eyes as he came over and put his arm around her.
Aiden shook as he head as he drank his beer. “This is almost tragic to watch”
“I know, but he deserves it, that’s what he gets for inviting the whole country to my house”
Alison choked on her drink. “What? He gets laid?”
Aiden looked back. “Look at him, do you really think that’s the best way to get laid?”
Danny continued to stumble around, spilling his drink on the floor, then attempting to mop it up with his jacket.
Jimmy nudged Damien’s shoulder. “You know, he’s our friend, shouldn’t we help him?”
Damien nodded. “Yeah, I think we should, where’s his camera?”
Alison hit Damien in the shoulder. “Aww! Come on, that’s not fair”
Damien reached around to grab Danny’s video camera from his bag. He signalled Aiden to follow him. Alison simply stood back and watched the magic happen. They hit record and slowly walked up to him.
Alex tried to push him away. “I think you’re slightly drunk, Danny”
“Oh come on, I’m not that drunk”
Damien pointed the camera up to Danny’s face. “Nope, you definitely are”
“Jeez, Damien, really? I only have two minutes of footage left there.”
Aiden put his arm around Danny. “Sweet, so we get two minutes of this”
“Come on guys, just give me my camera back”
Danny reached for the camera and fell to the ground, spilling his drink all over the floor.
Alison walked over and helped Danny to his feet. “Okay, that’s enough”
“Come on, buddy, let’s get you some water” she said.
Danny began to mumble as he walked off. “Alex is so into me...I know it...”
“Sure she is, buddy, come on”.
There was a sudden opening of the doors. Damien thought of the worse, but on closer inspection, he wished that it had been his parents kicking everyone out. In the hallway stood Chad, Scarlett and Alistair. Aiden rolled his eyes.
“Who invited them?”
Chad looked around, admiring the view of broken plates and plastic cups littering the floor. “Well, well, well, looks like we hadn’t missed much.
Alistair laughed out loud. “Except maybe your house getting trashed”
“Who invited you guys? Get out”
“Whoa, Aiden. It’s not your house”
Alistair sneered at him. “You saying you don’t trust us?”
Scarlett stepped in front, putting on a pouty face. “It’s really cold out there, you know”
Damien laughed. “It’s England. What’s your point?”
“Just saying, it’s not going to look good for you if your neighbours see you leaving a bunch of friends out in the cold rain. The weatherman even said a storm might be coming”
Chad crossed his arms. “You’re really not going to leave us out here, are you?”
Damien looked over at Aiden. His eyes darted from side to side, wondering what he should do. Sighing heavily, he turned.
The three of them smiled as they walked in.
Chad nudged Aiden. “Hey Aiden?”
Aiden tried to control his emotions, clenching his fist and taking a deep breath. He put on a brave face.
“What’s up, Chad?”
Chad put his arm around him, leading him towards the kitchen. Alison and Danny sat in the corner round a table, as she kept trying to offer him a glass of water. Chad whispered into Aiden’s ear.
“How’d you fancy doing that race, right about now?”
Aiden took a step back and laughed. “Did you pre-drink before you got here?
It’s a storm out there.”
Scarlett followed them in, putting her coat down. She grinned at Aiden. “We got here without any trouble. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Umm, let’s see. Perhaps we fall and break our necks?”
Chad pushed Scarlett out of the way. “Nah, man. You wouldn’t do that. Come on, just a friendly race”
Alison got up and stood in front of Aiden. “What are you trying to prove, Chad? Leave us alone.”
Scarlett glared over at Alison, with the devil in her eyes. “No one was asking you, Montgomery.”
Alison looked at Aiden, who looked back. Her lip quivered as she fell silent, Aiden smiled at her and turned to Chad.
Chad smiled. “Fantastic, I’ll see you out there”
Scarlett and Chad walked out of the kitchen. Alison turned to Aiden.
“You’re insane. It’s dangerous, you could get killed out there”
Aiden looked into Alison’s eyes. “Don’t worry. I’ll be fine”
After various party chatter and drinking games, many of the guests began leaving. It was nearing midnight. Aiden, Alison, Chad, Scarlett, Damien and Alistair all went outside to start their race. Danny and Alex could have been hooking up in the living room of Damien’s house, but Aiden was beyond caring at this point.
The cold bitter air started penetrating his body, shaking him from head to toe. As the heavy rain pattered down on his hair, many strands began getting in his eyes. Alison tapped him on the back as she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to keep warm. “Aiden, you don’t have to do this, you know”
“I know, but I win, Chad gets off my back, Scarlett gets off yours. We all win”
“Just be careful okay? It looks bad out there.” She rubbed her wet hair back, keeping it out of her green eyes.
Aiden took his hoodie off and put it around her. “Don’t worry about me, Alison. Just worry about getting my next drink when I win”
She wrapped the hoodie all around her body. “I’ll get you a thousand of those damn things if you come back in one piece.”
“I might take you up on that.”
She chuckled. “Aren’t you cold?”
Aiden put his hand on her shoulder. “I feel pretty warm inside”
Damien raised his hand and walked past Chad and Aiden. “Okay runners. Take your positions.”
Aiden and Chad both walked side by side to each other, with the rain beating down on them. A crack of thunder startled Aiden. Chad turned to look at him, giving him a look that seemed to whisper good luck. Aiden felt nervous, like he had just signed over his soul and the Devil was just laughing at him.
Damien moved his hand to signal them to go. They were both off like a flash.
Heading around the corner first, Aiden saw new territory he had never attempted to scale before. In front of him was a small fence made of weakened wood. It looked even more vulnerable from the rain. With the right push, he could soar right over it, but with the wrong slip, he could wind up in the hospital. He kept on running.
Rain splattered against Aiden’s face as he vaulted over the rusted gate. Chad soon followed, tailing behind him. Aiden kept his face straight ahead, running as fast as he could. Eventually, they both came up to a junkyard. The same junkyard that he’d visited that morning. He felt right at home. As he headed for the tyres, Chad grabbed his shoulder.
“Look over there.”
He looked up at a warehouse that dwarfed both him and Aiden. It looked abandoned and shoddy. The door was flying open as the lightning kept striking. Chad turned to Aiden.
“What do you say we have a quick race to see who can get up there first?”
Aiden looked over at Chad and back at the warehouse. It wasn’t much higher than the crane from earlier. He clenched his fists in determination.
Chad pointed up at the sky. “First one to the top and back wins” He made a break for it.
Aiden ran after him, climbing up some old metal stairs. They clanged like bells with each step he took. With some ease, he managed to climb up to the top of the roof as well, where Chad was waiting.
“Think you can jump across that window? We’re pretty high up.”
Aiden looked back at his surroundings, shaking him from his core. He shook his head. “I don’t know, but it would still hurt on the way down.”
“Okay, buddy. Race is on!”
With ease, Chad leaped over the window and landed with grace. He picked himself up and waited for Aiden to do the same.
“Okay, Aiden, your turn”
Aiden took a position to propel him across the windowpane. He then took a small jog, which turned into a sprint just before he leaped into the air. But he was a millisecond too late, and he crashed through the windowpane, crash-landing onto a pile of cardboard boxes surrounded by empty metal barrels.
As he got up, he could feel warm, fresh blood gushing down his arm and a piercing pain radiating from his wrist. A thick liquid pooled around the wound. It was probably an oil of some kind. He looked up at the broken window, the glass shards shining back at him.
“Chad, where are you?”
Chad came to the corner of the pane, and kneeled down with a sly grin on his face. “That was quite a fall you took, buddy. Guess you don’t have what it takes to beat me after all”
Aiden’s blood boiled. “Very funny. Now help me get out of here!”
“Scarlett said you would be easy to trick. See you at the races, pal.”
With that, Chad ran off into the darkness. The whole warehouse became a void of shadow and rain. Aiden kicked the boxes, yelping in pain as his foot struck something hard and metallic. He was too annoyed to care what it was. He couldn’t even call for help. His phone was back at the house. All he could do was hope his friends would come looking for him.
How could have been so stupid? Of course Chad had something up his sleeve. A friendly race? Aiden almost punched himself for how dumb he acted.
Using his hands, he managed to guide himself around the warehouse until he came to what appeared to be a door. He tried to move around to find the handle, but he could only feel what seemed like switches. There were small ones, big ones, and definitely dangerous ones. He flicked as many as he could with no avail. Nothing.
Rage started to build inside of him like an erupting volcano, and as he slammed his fists down on whatever was in front of him, a flash of light blinded his eyes and sent him flying back into the rest of the boxes. Darkness settled in his eyelids as the pain seared all over.