What the Rave Led To (Part 1 of 2)
By Catherine, age 24, England, United Kingdom
Tremendously over-sized water drops were purged from the blackened sky, crashing against the concrete patio. Jemima had never seen marks on the ground left by rain this sizable. But the spattering crashes of precipitation were not to last long before a break in the weather's matinee. As if pausing for effect there was a lull in the rainstorm before the heavens truly did open and chucked down streams, heavy, loud, and all encompassing, like a rainforest shower or a geographically misplaced monsoon.
Jemima rocked back and forth awkwardly on the rickety old chair she was sitting on back-to-front. Her pillar box red hair fell in messy fragments in front of her darkly made-up eyes that looked out through the teary windows. She was wearing black and white striped tights and a tartan skirt of standard original green shades, the hem line resting precariously just above her knees. Heeled school shoes adorned her feet and the look was completed with a stark white shirt and a yellow and black diagonally striped tie which reached halfway down her torso. Her shirt was untucked and the top button was undone to reveal an enticing glimpse of her protruding collar bones.
Smirking, she ran a pencil along her bottom lip, fragments of the eraser breaking off which she removed with the back of her thumb. Rain, she thought. Why do so many people complain about it? Standing up with a start she spun on her right heel, firing the pencil against the desk in the corner with such force that it ricocheted off the wall before hitting the desk again and rolling onto the floor. Fleeing up the antique stairs which creaked under the strain of her prancing, she pounced onto the landing before waltzing into her spacious room. She began to brush her bright red hair into pigtails as she hummed in front of the mirror on her dressing table.
Across the room on a small circular coffee table with a monochrome chessboard patterned surface, a mobile phone began vibrating, causing an undesirable rattling noise and kicking out one of the lesser heard Gorillaz tunes. Jason Heston flashed onto the screen, accompanied by an unflattering photo, snapped on a particularly drunken night out.
Jemima continued tussling with her hair. She didn't know who it was and she didn't care. As far as she was concerned, mobile phones were for the convenience of the owner. The phone stopped ringing for a minute or so before a shrill doorbell sound signified a text message. Voicemail, she thought to herself. She walked across the floor gallantly before picking up the phone and listening to the message.
"Hi darling, it's me, Jase. How are you doing? I've been worried - haven't heard from you since Fri-". She snapped her phone shut; it was only Sunday now. "Why are people so irritatingly attentive?" she muttered. Jemima was in avid need of her own space in ample amounts.
There was a crashing and screeching at the window. Friar, her sidekick, forced the window up with great might and thumped a foot onto the floor inside her room. He was wearing New Rocks studded with aggressive looking custom applied silver gleaming spikes all the way around the soles.
"New shoes, Fry?!" she exclaimed as he pulled the rest of himself through the window and stood up 6 feet tall towards the mahogany beamed ceiling. Friar was an exception to the rule. He would grace Jemima with his company at the least expected moments, and every now and then at the expected ones too.
"New shoes, new cape!" he replied, pleased with himself, flicking the entire length of his new jet black cape around to the front of his body, as if trying to impress. It rippled and shimmered ever so slightly, as the wave of motion carried itself the length of the material.
"You're taking this very seriously, aren't you, honey?" she mused, taking in his appearance from the shoes up, with her speculative, long lash encircled eyes.
Mid-length, choppy and flowing black locks covered his left eye, and an eye patch concealed the right.
"Wow. Right, well, in other words, I'm going to go and put the kettle on ... Do you want anything?" she asked, almost dismissively.
"Got any camomile tea?" he requested, in complete contrast to the personality of his demeanour and attire.
"Heavy night?" she remarked, raising a slender eyebrow slightly.
"Ever since I met you, my dear, sleep doesn't seem to equate anywhere in my vocabulary, never mind my lifestyle, and I don't mean that in a goo-". Jemima grimaced at him.
"You know you love the Ghost Pact, Fry. Hell, it was mostly your idea!" she cut in.
"It was," he admitted, bowing his head momentarily.
The vivaciously mystical duo paced out the room - Friar, nearly two feet taller than Jemima, and Jem, with two feet more assertiveness to make up for it.
They had been close friends since meeting at a rave in a dilapidated building on the rougher outskirts of Fawnbridge. It had been a hyperactive night. A heavy array of illicit substances - the usual suspects - had been injected, inhaled, and infiltrated into the partygoers' systems. It was a Wednesday night in the height of summer, 1995, and everyone made tracks to their local abodes at around 3 am in order to attain a more comfortable rest than available on the splintering floorboards in the rave den ... all apart from Fry and Jem, who had struck up an unlikely rapport amidst the raucous frolicking, based on actual similarities in interests compared to the usual drug-fueled connections made between attendees, which in reality did not exist.
The building was comprised of large grey stone brickwork and was quite literally crumbling to pieces in some places. Bats fluttered in the tops of the tall and looming sycamore trees which overgrew wildly in the exorbitantly sized garden, and the roof of the house had a gaping hole in it, making trips of consciousness all the more visually enlightening, as partakers looked up into the stars in limb strewn heaps, lackadaisical and dreamy.
After hearing unexplained scraping, screeching, and movements on the first floor of the house, the couple decided to investigate what was causing these late night ructions, and with lessened inhibitions boldly sprinted up the winding staircase.
What they saw was of such horror and atrocity that to this day they have never been able to divulge it to another living person. But it sparked an idea between them. Jem and Fry collaborated some blurred opinions frantically as day broke, and days later in stark sobriety over black coffee in a seedy downtown café decided to take information from their discoveries and use it to pursue suggested links to other buildings around the town.
What they did not yet know was that these discoveries would unveil more than they previously thought possible. Invited to explore further afield than the merry town of Fawnbridge, they would make devastating realisations that don't currently feature in even their wildest and darkest fantasies.
Fry climbed onto one of the stools that was fixed to the ground by the shiny racing green colored breakfast bar and stretched out his legs, yawning. It took a surprising amount of effort to walk about in such heavy and bulky shoes. Realigning his cape so it hung straight towards the floor he changed his mind about the camomile tea.
"I'll have a coffee actually, Jem," he uttered.
Meanwhile, Jem had opened a cupboard above her head and was deciding on which of the brightly coloured mugs to serve their drinks in. Jem resided in a house far bigger than what she required. Officially she was the house sitter, but behaved far more as the owner; her dad was often away on what he liked to refer to as 'business' and owned more than one property in the UK alone.
"Where's daddy at these days?" questioned Fry, as he smoothed down his sideburns.
"Venzuelaaaaaaa," she piped back, elongating the latter syllable flippantly. "Shooting a holiday documentary at the Isla Margarita, well. He's directing it actually, but he's always pretty hands on, as you know," she continued.
"A holiday documentary?" Fry replied quizzically. "Isn't that a contradiction in terms?"
"Oxymoronic mission objective, but it works," she explained. "It's a documentary on the Isla Margarita, inviting people to venture there for a holiday ... not a place that has much of a tourist presence currently." She pursued the subject, obviously well informed on the matter.
"I've never even heard of the place," scoffed Fry as she placed his mug of coffee in front of him. He felt the side of the mug tentatively to gauge how long he had to wait before gulping the caffeinated beverage, then smirked as if he'd just thought of something both intelligent and witty. "Like a documentary, but only the positive bits?" He grinned.
"Like a documentary with only the good bits, yeah," she mimicked, to show understanding and agreement while sounding ever-so-slightly patronising. "Sweetener?"
Jemima sat down on a stool on the other side of the breakfast bar with a large mug of tea. The mug was bright yellow with a black marble pattern swirling across it. A silence swept across the kitchen now that remnants of small talk had passed and an invisible chill sat between them. They both knew it was time to approach the subject that had brought them together once again, however much they may have preferred to gloss over it and carry on discussing trivial flippancies from other parts of their lives.
Skeletal bones, skeletal drones ... skeletal bones, skeletal drones rang the chant they heard on the first night of paranormal activity they witnessed. The splintering cracks, the fine jagged edges, and smears of dark and dried blood invaded their imagination viciously at moments they had time to stop and think, when beyond their control they were forced to remember.
Jem looked into her tea longingly and ran the tip of a finger around the rim of the mug.
"Does it scare you?" she asked low and quietly.
"No," he retorted quickly without thinking, kicking a leg of the bar automatically in nervousness. Clearing his throat he looked straight back at Jem who was scouring him for dishonesty. "All the damn time, I can't sleep, I don't ... we can't tell anyone," he trailed off.
Jem tapped the bar anxiously. "So what- no, no, we can't, but what's next? We've got a f***ing pile of bloody bones in the garden. What did Trylvester tell us to do with them?"
Trylvester was a witch, in the most ancient sense of the word. She didn't even look like she was still meant to exist anymore. Fry and Jem had met her crouching in the thicket as they scampered away from the rave den that fateful night. She knew what had happened, what they had witnessed, as a foreteller, a mystical being within an icon of human and eerie form.
"I know what you saw, children," she had croaked. "I know what you saw in the attic. It's up to you now, all up to you." Jem had blocked the rest of the narrative out of her mind through traumatic repression.
"I blacked out," said Jem, shaking her head, as if wanting to disregard the conversation with nonchalance.
"You did not, Jem. You were there in every sense of the word. You spoke back, both to me and that Tryl person." Fry took a swig of his coffee. "You just don't want to remember."
Trylvester had worn a black pointed hat with a wide brim, just like the ones bought down at the store during the Halloween period. It would have been amusing if it wasn't so damn petrifying. Her eyes were black all the way through - she didn't possess any whites to her eyes, never mind a coloured iris. A large hooked nose and a distinct lack of redness in her almost transparent lips were but some other disturbing features of her blank and voiding, expressionless face. Her voice was a rasping airy croak which seemed to emulate from somewhere even deeper than her diaphragm. She sounded as if she were pulling words from the most satanic of hell's undergrowth.
Jem regurgitated her tea and fled to the bathroom to purge her still remaining fright involuntarily at the thought of the thicket witch.
"There's a f***ing pile of bones out there, Fry. I can't live like this anymore!" she announced, sloping into the frame of the kitchen door meekly. She looked ill.
"Let's take a break then," Fry suggested, as he swiveled around on his stool.
"What, pretend it never happened? I can't, Fry, because it did," she flatly remarked in response.
Editor's Note: This story concludes next month in the December issue.