The Big City | By: Ken Makepeace | | Category: Short Story - Death Bookmark and Share

The Big City

   Rising crime, drugs.  The big city didn't appeal to everyone.  Debbie included.  Especially after what happened to Jake.  All he was guilty of was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

  As the coach pulled in, was this her chance to escape?  or would she pick up her cases and head home like the last time?  No way, she thought  But as she was about to board she saw her younger sister, Alice, running towards the coach.   

   'You can't leave.  You can't leave,' she kept shouting, but Debbie ignored her.  Knowing there was nothing she could do, Alice walked away.   

   Once the coach reached its destination, Debbie got off, then made her way to her friend Jane's.  Jane had left the city almost a year earlier with her parents, and had just moved into a flat of her own, which was just about big enough for her, but she did tell Debbie she could stay till she found somewhere more permenant.   

   When she arrived, Jane was at the door to meet her.  Both were in tears as they hugged.  Apart from being Debbie's best friend, Jane was also Jake's sister.  This was the first time they had seen each other since the funeral.  He was so popular.  Many turned out to pay their respects.   

   After making their way up to the flat, Jane put the kettle on.  They then chatted about old times.  While chatting, Jane gave Debbie some surprising news about the person they thought responsible for Jake's death.  He had recently moved to the area, and was now living just streets away.  He may have been found not guilty where a court was concerned, but Debbie and Jane reckoned he was still to blame. 

   After their chat, Jane showed Debbie to the as she could unpack.  As she unpacked, she couldn't help but wonder why he had moved to the area.  She just hoped she wouldn't have to bump into him.    A few day later, on her way to the Job Centre, that's exactly what she did do.  He was fooling around with some girl instead of looking where he was going.  How could he laugh and joke like that after what he had done to Jake?  She decided she was going to get even.   

   Carrying on towards the Job centre she plotted her revenge, and next day while out shopping, she realized it wasn't going to be too difficult when she saw him coming out of a pub.  She caught up with him. Walking past, she let her bag fall to the ground.  He eagerly helped pick it up, plus the contents that spilled.   

   'There you go,' he said, handing her the last item..  Then noticing a cafe across the road he asked her if she fancied a coffee.   

   'All right,' she replied.   

   After leaving the cafe, he walked with her towards Jane's flat.  Once outside Debbie was hoping Jane wasn't watching from the window.  Just as she was about to leave him to make her way up to the flat, he her if he could see her again.   

   'If you want,' she said casually.   

   'Call for you about eight and we could go for a drink?' 


   When she got inside Jane had just got out of the shower, so was no wiser to who Debbie had walked home with.   

   Later, Debbie got ready to go to the pub.  Jane had already gone out for the evening, saving awkward excuses to what she was up to.  Just after eight, the intercom buzzed.  She went down to meet him, before carrying on their way. They got on so well that she was beginning to think he was a nice person. She knew better.   

   After coming out of the pub he walked her home.  She asked him in for coffee.  He accepted.  Her chance to get even?  But before her key could turn in the lock, the door started opening from the inside.  Debbie was confused.  She thought Jane had arrived home early.  But when the door fully opened, it wasn't Jane she saw.   

   'All right, Debbie?'   

   'Alice, what are you doing here?'   

   'Thought I'd visit.  Couldn't stand it at home without you.  The neighbour opposite let me in with the spare key.  OK, isn't it?'   

   'Course it is.'   

   But as she was making her way inside, she remembered who was with her.  She hoped Alice wouldn't recognise him.  But it was too late.            'Debbie, what the hell are you doing with him?'   

   'What does she mean by that?' he asked with a puzzled expression.      'You are the one who was responsible for what happened to Jake.

That's what she means.'   

   He looked at Debbie stunned, then left.   'Thanks, Alice, you've scared him away.'   

   She thought that would be the last she would see of him.  Till next day.  He was sitting on a wall with a girl - the same one she had seen him with when on her way to the Job Centre the day before.  He left the girl and made his way over.   

   'Does your girlfriend know what you are capable of?' she asked him.        'She's my sister, and if you are referring to what happened to Jake, I wasn't to blame.'   

   He went on to tell Debbie what really happened the day Jake died - he was making his way home, when he saw a couple of members of a local gang forcing Jake into a van because he wouldn't hand over money they demanded..  Then realizing he was a witness, they dragged him into the van as well.  The van took off at speed, crashing further on.  All got out except Jake, who was left fatally injured.  When the police arrived, the gang members said that he was the one that was driving, and that it was his fault that Jake was dead.   

   'You're lying,' Debbie yelled after he had finished explaining.   

   The girl then got off the wall and walked up to them.     

   'No, he's not,' she said.  'Why do you think he moved here? To escape from the gang, that's why.  See tomorrow's paper, then you'll know it is true.'   

   Next morning, Debbie bought a news paper, stating that the others involved in the crash had been charged with Jake's death.  he was telling the truth after all.  She decide to go and apologise for her behaviour.   

   His sister answered with an angry look on her face.  

   'He's not here,' she said, after Debbie asked if she could speak to him.   

   'Where is he, then?' Debbie asked.   

   'He's gone.'   

   'Where?'   '

   I don't know.  He left without a word.  If it wasn't for you sticking you nose in he'd still be here,' she said, before slamming the door in Debbie's face.   

   Debbie couldn't feel any worse making her way back to the flat.  All that she could hope for now was that he'd turn up safe and not become another victim.

Click Here for more stories by Ken Makepeace