Chickens

The boy is hit, lit up against the sky, like a sign, like a neon sign 

And he crumples, drops into the gutter, legs twitching

The flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul

We’re driving at 110 mph down the A19 round the bends, past the trees and the sleeping houses in the yellow street lights. The other light that flashes in our eyes comes from the 4 police cars following us closely at high speeds. They’ve been following us from Acomb after we were seen fleeing a house with the alarm bells ringing.

I won’t lie to you all, we were robbing it. We needed some money short term and this was the best we’d come up with. We’re not really burglars, we’re hardly even petty criminals. I haven’t got a criminal record, the only law I break is the occasional speed limit but that’s about it.

Tonight I suppose I was just excited by the thrill of being in someone else’s house and taking their things. We agreed before we came in that we wouldn’t take anything personal or anything that couldn’t be replaced. No jewellery, no clothes and absolutely no music. TV’s, DVD players, mainly electrical equipment that probably wouldn’t fetch a great deal of money. Maybe the thrill was bigger than the actual need.

It took Dutch courage to get us through the back door of the house. It was 02:30 am and the past few hours my stomach had been in knots from the anticipation of what we planned. The beer was to take the edge off and calm my nerves although I’m not sure that that’s what effect it had. I took some Esmolol to further calm my nerves but I think I had too many and it feels like my heart isn’t beating any more.

It was easy to get in, Danny smashed to window using a towel, we’d seen it on a TV programme some time ago. It was easier than it should have been. As soon as we were in Danny went straight to it, I could hear his footsteps around the house, the opening and closing of doors, cupboards and drawers. I walked round in a daze, looking at the photographs of family on the walls. Smiling and unaware that they would return from holiday with some of their possessions no longer there.

My catatonic state was broken by Danny, ‘Come on. Get a move on. Fucking hell, they’ll be back from their holidays next week.’

‘Sorry, anything worth having?’

He smiled a wicked smile. ‘Yeah, come and have a look upstairs. There’s a mint flat screen just waiting to be taken.’

‘Nice one. Come on then.’

He lead me up the stairs and to the first door on the left.

‘Bloody hell, that’s massive. That’s bigger than the one downstairs.’

We both go for it, moving it around and sizing it up. After unravelling the flex from behind the drawers upon which it rested we lean it forward and take a side each then head back down the stairs.

”Ere, what were that chat up line you used on that bird last Friday?’

‘Michelle?’ He wrinkles his forehead.

‘Erm, blonde. Had a denim skirt on. Massive tits.’

‘Yeah, Michelle.’ he started smirking again.

‘What?’

‘God I was arseholed. I was talking some right shit. I was saying something about her being special, soul mates that kind of shit.’

I burst out laughing, ‘Fuck off. You really said that?’

‘Yeah, I hardly fucking know her. I’d had too much whizz. That was my problem. Anyway, it got me in her fucking knickers so no complaints there.’

‘Ah.’

We silently swept through the house and took the TV out back to the car. I heard the sound of a door opening from somewhere and stopped dead in my tracks but Danny didn’t hear it and carried on walking. The TV slipped from his grip and headed straight for the floor. It made a very large crashing noise.

This was our cue.

We were straight back in the car and tearing away from the estate as quick as the car would take us.

After a mile or so Danny slowed down to normal speed, there wasn’t anyone else around so we wanted to look as inconspicuous as possible.

‘We should get off the main roads. Fuck. Why did you stop man?’

‘I thought I heard a noise Danny, thought you’d have heard it too. Take a left down at the bottom here and we can head towards them back roads, go round Cawood and that to get back. No point risking it.’

After passing over a crossroads I see a police car waiting at the traffic lights with his indicator signalling the intention of a left turn, however as we pass the signal goes from the left to the right and my heart sinks.

‘Mate, coppers coming this way, I’m sure of it.’

And as I look behind, the white sheen of a police Volvo saunters around the corner and commences to flash his lights.

Danny boots it. Foot to the floor and into third gear but I already have a feeling this is a race we cannot win.

Fast forward five minutes and here we are, driving at 110 mph. The sound of engines at full stretch filling my ears and trembling my bones.

I see a group of teens quickly approaching, getting larger and larger and then I see one come into the road. He’s playing chicken with us but we’re going too fast to play. Danny hits the brakes to avoid hitting him and the car starts to turn on its side. At this moment all control is lost and we are powerless to the rules and laws of physics and gravity.

As the car turns a full 360 degrees I see one of the boys come closer to the bonnet of the car. Then his body flies back across the path of the advancing headlights from the police cars. They’ll be here any second.

As the car screeches to its final stationary position I hear the unbuckling of a seat belt as Danny is already planning his escape. In one swift movement he’s opened the car door and is making his way back across the road to where fields begin. I get up to follow.

As I exit the car I hear the brakes, the engines and the shouts from the youths. It all forms into an awful symphony, hurting my ears.

I follow Danny’s shadow and head for the fields. As I get closer, I see the body of the youth the car hit, rolling down the slopes of the ditch. This image strikes me and I know I cannot continue. Instead of making a run for it I go to the body. I look and see that the water has caught it and is taking it away. I don’t want to lose sight of the body.

I don’t want it to be lost. I feel sickened.

I hear the shouts of the police and hear the heavy footsteps of the youths as they come for the body.

I scream, ‘It’s getting away, the body’s getting away. Come on!’ Then I see one of them followed by another in front of me as they thunder down the hill to stop the body. A wave of relief hits me as I see them get a grip, I continue my run to try and help them but before I get there I fell my legs go from beneath me and figure I’ve been tripped. My head hits the water and I feel the weight of a policeman land on top of me.

He’s shouting at me but I can’t hear what he’s saying.

by Aron Hurst-Wilson based on Sometimes – James

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