I must confess, I cannot possibly forsee a pleasant ending.
Bad Taste In The Mouth
The Food Chain
Blazing heat and golden light baked the seemingly endless yellow fields of hay in a dizzying haze of feverous humidity and warm tranquility. Some days under the orange tinged blue skies, even the birds and insects would stop their mutterings to revel in the vunrable peace which lingered over those lost lands. Hidden behind dense woodlands, the fields were known to few however, one ten year old girl walked and found solace in them more than anyone throughout history. Her name was Ivy and to her those were the best days of her life… And to her they were also the last days of her innocence.
That early summer spent wandering and relaxing aimlessly, drifted in and out of the girl’s dreams and nightmares frequently as she grew through eleven years of torturous metamorphisis and finally in to a woman.
One such dream clung to Ivy’s memory as she jerked awake up right on the floor of her cheap low rent apartment, located half way up a council flat block on the outskirts of London. She deeply inhaled the dusty morning air of the living room as she jumped up to her feet, regaining her barings.
Ivy couldn’t remember the night before and was confused by why she was in the middle of her living room and not in her bed. More confusing was the state of her surroundings. The balcony windows were broken open and the pale early sun rise was gleaming through the flickering tattered curtains. The place had been trashed completely, shrapnel from the window doors littered across the carpet, the sofa overturned, the tv smashed on its side. It was lucky she hadn’t cut herself on the amount of shards and bled out, she thought whilst stumbling to the fridge and retrieving a half drunk carton of milk. Gulping the cold refreshing milk down calmed Ivy’s fast beating heart and she placed it down upon the marble counter nearby. A scratching and a whining suddenly came from the other side of the closed door to her bedroom out in the hallway and her eyes widened to the size of the moon.
Cursing under her breath at herself, she rushed round the corner to the door and flung it open only to be jumped on and pinned to the other side of the corridor by a large golden and black furred Alsatian dog standing on his hind legs. His tongue panting between licking Ivy’s face, his tail wagging in pure joy and his almond eyes wide and glistening at the sight of her.
“Aw I’m sorry Ash, I love you too buddy, yes i do!” She smothered him for a while in hugs and affection before pushing him off of her and rushing back to the kitchen where his dog bowls were. After giving him breakfast and water she let him out of the apartment so he could go outside and do his business. The doors to the block were easily pushed open from a low level and had almost no security measures in place. Plus Ash was a very smart creature who had proven to Ivy on many occasions that he was capable of handling any trouble.
Ivy looked over her cheap apartment that had been made even cheaper. She hadn’t noticed it before but there were multiple holes in the walls which were about the same size of an average man’s head and blood was dried around the jagged edges. Staring in to the holes flooded Ivy’s head with the events of the night before and she stumbled back against the wall gripping her forehead in pain.
EIGHT HOURS EARLIER…
An exhausted Ivy was leaning on the balcony of the apartment, dressed in a flimsy tight black onesie, smoking a cigarette and rubbing her free hand through her thick and unkempt bright pink hair. Ash was curled up asleep on the sofa as he was one to do being a very lazy dog at times. Ivy however, had only just finished washing her face, taking out her piercings and wiping the lightly applied make up from her soft fair skin and it was fast approaching eleven at night. It had been a long day’s work and she was ready to relax and unwind in her temporary accomodation with a bottle of wine and a cheap 80s action film called I Now Pronounce You Dead that she had bought on dvd on the way back to the flat. London was too big for her although she liked the fact that cities could lose people within their concrete mazes. London was the most complex maze of all. There across a hill or two and a small park on the horizon were the towering glittering lights of only part of it. It seemed so alive and noisy, constantly buzzing and shining. Her work here was still not complete though and she had at least another weeks worth of hunting ahead of her. As Ivy flicked her cigarette butt out of the balcony and walked back in to the living room, she heard the feignt banging on a door in her level of the block. She ignored this at first but it persisted and was then followed by four young thug like voices chirping over eachother. It was mostly incomprehensible but she managed to work out a few words…
“Open the fuckin’ door or we will kick it down you old fuckin’ mug!”
Ivy sighed and closed her eyes. Even Ash had woken awkwardly from his bear like slumber and had his ears perked up, head cocked towards the door.
“You’re not getting involved, you’re not getting involved-” Ivy whispered over and over to herself. The more she did though the more she thought about it and the more she thought about it the more accute her hearing became to situation.
The door the youths were banging on creaked open and a fifth voice stung in her ears.
“Eh? What- what is it?” An old man stuttered feebily from behind the door.
“Oh not a sweet old person…” Ivy groaned, eyes still shut.
“You know why we are here old man.” One thug continued. “Jonjo wants his money.”
“But b-but i’ve already paid him-”
“Not enough! He wants more. He’s thinking an extra five hundred should cover all expenses ey?”
“But i don’t have any more, i’ve given him all I’ve got- i swear to you. I’m barely making a profit on the shop as it is. He said- he said that the price would be-”
“We know what he said. And now he’s saying different. You can either comply and give us the money or we can break in smash your legs like glass and then burn your fuckin’ shop down!” The thug screamed.
Ivy felt her fists clench automatically.
“But i swear-” the old man’s voice was wobbling. Ivy could tell he was crying in fear. “-I don’t have any more money to give.”
“See… we were kind of hoping you’d say that.” Another thug said. “Cole smash down the door.”
Finally Ivy’s eyes prized open and she took a deep breath. She quickly ran in to her messy room and retrieved her trusty yellow chrome baseball bat, Banana and exited the apartment. Sprinting round the corners she followed the sound of the largest thug slamming his shoulder in to the door. Eyes focused, brow furrowed Ivy ran gently yet swift like a samurai, Banana’s scuffed edge dragging across the metal floor so all could hear it screeching.
The few other people living in the apartments who had opened their doors to get a peek of the thugs began to lock up at the sight of Ivy darting by and turning the corners.
She heard the door break open as she turned the last corner and found three of the four teen tracksuit warriors about to enter.
“Oi!” Ivy shouted at them as she came to a halt around ten ft away from them. The thugs stopped and turned to her with confusion spread across their rough faces. They might as well have been clones of each other, all 18 and wearing the same grotty 90s chav style, complete with the occasional gold tooth and fake diamond stud piercings. They were big and burly. She had fought worst though. The fourth and biggest thug exited the apartment carrying the old man by the scruff of the neck. The old man was small and wizened, wearing blue and white striped pyjamas, retro shining spectacles and a night cap that matched the pyjamas. Fluffy black slippers were dangling off of his tiny feet as he was held up by the thug.
“Aw he is just as old and adorable as i thought he was going to be!” Ivy cooed softly before remembering the situation she was in. She got back in to her samurai like stance and put her serious face back on. “Who wants to go first then?”
End of part one…