Snowcase #21 • 17 August 2007 • The SnowBlog
Andrew Duggan lives in Cheshire and keeps the wolf from the door by working in the computer industry. 'Scars Beneath The Skin' is his second completed novel.
A journey into darkness. A precarious route back to salvation. Love at the point of suicide in a world that's falling apart. Scars Beneath The Skin
Petrol and teargas saturated the air; everywhere, the sound of police ricocheted from walls that closed in. Batons hammered against shields in a steady drumbeat. Air horns bayed, as though a herd of wild animals was stampeding - the sounds of an abattoir. The glow of fires rose over the bulk of Alexanderplatz. Lucia tried to pull Dresner by the arm, but he was rooted to the spot.
'What's wrong with you? We've got to get out of here. Now.'
'Can't you see? Can't you see he's there?' he shouted. The armoured car inched forward towards the demonstrators, the black wheels rolled past the entrance to the alleyway. Dresner tasted blood in the back of his throat.
The diesel engine gunned again and whistles blew.
'Who's there? There's no-one there, Karl. No-one.'
'He is. Look. We can't leave him. We can't. He needs help.'
'Who needs help? There's nobody here. Just us, Karl. Just us.'
'He's bleeding. He'll die if we leave him.'
A wall had sprung up; she could pass through it, he was trapped on the other side - the side of petrol bombs and bricks, the side of violence. Lucia beat her fists against his chest, and his eyes began to focus. She was all that was in focus, everything else was in a haze. He had become nothing more than a spectator.
'I'm not leaving you here, Karl.'
Sirens wailed louder. At the summit of the Fernsehturm, wreathed in smoke, the glow of flames reflected in the stainless steel panels of a seven-storey glitter-ball; the Telecafe, the observation decks, spinning once every thirty minutes, a plaything for the tourist with enough spare change for the telescopes.
'I'll die rather than leave you.'
He tasted sweat on her lips.
'Do you want me to die because of you? Do you want that? Is that what you want?'
Again, the taste of salt and lipstick washed away the taste of blood, but even on her skin he could smell smoke. A petrol bomb streaked over the roof of the armoured car. In the instant of the explosion Dresner realised. The wall came down. The moment froze, his hand almost clasping her hand.
In slow motion, flames like liquid in a wave took the shape of a hand that became a claw - reaching out for Lucia.
Author: Andrew Duggan
Email: bendrix129 [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk