As the night before howled with the distant cries of murderous echoes and as Geoff and ‘She’ discussed their combined destiny, the Petrie household stirred with intense unease.
Andy awoke bolt upright in his bed, dripping with sweat while a weak hoarse scream from a dream still vibrant in his waking mind, gave him a shudder.
He looked at Marie in the bed next to him, his expression souring as he did so as observed her unbroken sleep with envy for a few moments.
He’d been dreaming a lot recently, especially since his little one to one with Jeanie and her revelations of what she knew about him and his misdemeanours. He’d started to feel like a puppet on a string with his daughter the puppet master.
He liked this scenario usually or at least the danger of it when it came to his mistresses. He always had, he got off on the danger and risk of Marie finding out of his lovers having him by the balls and the power they could exercise over him. One call, one word, and they could bring his life crashing down. One or two had tried before to do so and had nearly succeeded, but he had enough charm to gain forgiveness from Marie and keep her onside, just.
The fact Jeanie was now in the same position as so many of his lovers was a despicable feeling and he felt dirtied by it, though not quite enough to stop his latest sordid affair with the vivacious tour guide.
But the dreams had started coming and they grew in lucidity. They dug then fastened their way into his subconscious, spitting out images and scenarios he did not wish to see. His brow creased angrily as he recalled the visions now. The last few days he had started dreaming about that tubby little man Geoff Smith they met on the tour when they first arrived. He recalled the way the little fuck had looked at Marie all that time ago.
Marie had also been laughing fondly about Geoff Smith when retelling Andy accounts of their time at work and it was deeply unsettling Andy on a primitive level.
Andy moved into the bathroom. He muttered light, before the mirror flooded his face in pale revelations.
He looked terrible. Eyes deeply bloodshot and sunken into his ghostly face. Dark bags hung under those eyes as he noted his hair looked thinner than he remembered while his skin seemed to have a translucent quality. He poked his tongue out at his reflection and saw it glistening white like a salted slug. He turned off the light and padded downstairs and sat at the kitchen bar in the dark with a glass of water.
His head pounded as if his heart had been rammed into his skull and got trapped there.
His mind raced in a cacophony of shambolic noise. Nothing followed in any chronological order. It was a bombardment of thoughts and he had no control. He pictured Marie, her condescending pursed expression, Jeanie with a needle sticking out of her arm laughing, a colleague he strangled two weeks ago lying prone in the sewers, his lover spread eagled on her bed taunting him, his wallet fluttering down the streets and alley ways like a leather butterfly dripping cash, Geoff screwing Marie as they both laughed, Geoff crushing his head with a red robotic eye piercing Andy's, the City burning in a blazing consumption of fire and blood, vast deserts and lakes of plastic, four horseman riding on his roof before they dropped into his bedroom and started to feed on him. He saw himself slashing wildly at Geoff with a butcher’s knife in the basement of HQ.
Andy dropped his glass of water and it shattered on the floor.
In the kitchen doorway silhouetted in darkness, stood Jeanie with a sly smile, “We’re all going to die in this place, Daddy. I hope you go first so mum gets to experience some joy in her life before the end comes.”
She sauntered off and left Andy stood there, bleeding on broken glass as he decided he would murder Geoff and those who got in his way. He would let the warm embrace of insanity take him there, kill Geoff Smith and rule Proactive Square.
He felt liberated and truly free for the first time in his life, stood alone in the kitchen after Jeanie had left, grinning from ear to ear as the onset of madness clutched him in its arms. He threw back vodkas then laid out a shabby pile of cocaine on the kitchen worktop before abolishing this approach and scraping it all into his upturned palm and lapping the lot up.
It was time to go out and run amok with the animals and Andy did just that.
He raced from pub to club and relished the frenetic rhythm of madness that surrounded and thrilled him. Andy formed a significant part of the chaos in the City that night and he was unwittingly gathering followers as he did so, though he had little awareness of it.
Some of the crazies wanted to follow and follow they did.
It was a blur of blood, screams and filth.
When the night’s unsavoury proceedings were suddenly halted by She, he found himself in the wide expanses of the City Park, lying on the cold wet grass staring up at nothing. He started to cry, tears of joy and horror, as his mind continued to howl, conjuring up images of the night that had passed, the blood, the violence and the euphoric attacks that grew into exhilarating orgasms that exploded in sharp colours.
He had come out of it invigorated and empowered.
Andy felt invincible and he shivered in the soil with glee as the damp hugged him tighter.
Andy’s mind quieted and thoughts of Marie and Jeanie burrowed their way in. He welcomed the thoughts this time for now he could see the light.
This was his home and he loved it here. They, those two bitches would no doubt try and shatter his dreams, again, but not this time.
He was dimly aware that Marie had begun to retreat into herself recently. She had muttered to him several times about being scared here, how things were changing in the City and about Jeanie, this not being a good place for her. Andy recalled telling her to quiet and that Jeanie was a teenager after all and the City? Well the City would take its course and the right people would take over.
Andy felt he was the right person to help get it on track again. This was his environment and he meant to exploit it for all it was worth.
As he lay leering from the dark damp soil, and as the insects crawled over him, he came to a simple but conclusive answer to his problems. Jeanie, well Jeanie could become a junkie or not, it didn’t really matter, the course of her life was inconsequential. Should she become obstructive she would die at his hands anyway unless one of the other animals that now roamed the City got there first. He smiled to himself.
Marie, dear sweet stupid Marie, he loved her in a way but not the way she wanted. Life was tough, and he had no interest in being what she wanted him to be. He used to try in vain, or at least pretend to do the right thing, but here in paradise there was no need to. Times have changed and Marie would go the same way as Jeanie he decided. She either got on board with the game or she could die. Marie would die by his hand, however. He wanted her to stay here with him and become what he wanted her to be. His wife, a lover, a loyal obeying vessel to witness and enjoy his newfound freedom.
Perhaps at this stage, under normal circumstances, he would simply let her go or more likely murder the bitch, but a certain someone had changed all that. This certain someone had found his way into his dreams and become an object of hatred. Andy had watched Marie closely in recent times. Despite his stages of status insecurity in the City and her gathering concerns over the City’s safety, she had still maintained an air of calm and even happiness and he didn’t like it, not one bit.
Her misery and moments of joy had always derived from him.
But not now.
He had followed her for some time and was not surprised to see that the source of her calmness was that fat fuck Geoff Smith. Andy watched them together as they met for cosy little lunches or lunchtime strolls. Marie laughing as her eyes sparkled, Geoff blushing while his chubby little face lit up. The more Andy observed them the more he realised that Marie’s demeanour and moods were no longer solely reliant on him.
He wanted to screw the man’s face up in his hands like play dough. He wished to destroy him and show the mess that was once Geoff to Marie. To see her crushed then compliant.
So, it was decided, there in the dew topped soil, that he would dispose of Geoff Smith.
Andy raised himself from the earth and wandered the darkened City streets. The dark veiled him, and he observed the results of the night’s drama. As early morning reared its head, Andy stood in a smashed up vacated bar, his clothes ripped rags and his face a violent snarl. He unwittingly bared his teeth and grunted to himself, shuffling about the place, drinking a variety of abandoned spirits. He needed to find Geoff Smith and tear him up. He dug into his jacket pocket and felt for the last of his cocaine. His fingers happened upon it before ripping it open and pouring the contents into his mouth.
He left the bar and stumbled through the streets always keeping close to the alley ways and side streets, to the open doors so he could jump through and hide should he be spotted.
Andy recalled seeing Geoff one morning on his way to work treading this very path. Andy was with Marie at the time and he knew Geoff had seen them, but thankfully Marie did not see Geoff until Andy had reached his place of work and Marie had reached the entrance to HQ. Andy had hung back in his works reception area, staring through the window and sure enough, Geoff had called her name just as she was about to enter HQ. Andy saw the steam from his own breath smearing the window as rage coursed through him. He saw that irritating smile from Marie and Geoff’s face glow with boyish pride.
This could well be the route that Geoff would take again today. Andy didn’t know why but he felt sure that Geoff would be going into HQ today.
There was a certainty and destiny in the air, he felt it all about him.
Andy was convinced in fact that he was now somehow guiding events, controlling them, and that the other players were unwitting passengers being pushed by his inaudible intentions and will.
He ducked into an alleyway at the rare sound of footsteps some way behind him. He waited for them to pass before poking his head around the corner. His manic sneer returned with a vengeance as he realised that the footfalls belonged to Geoff. I really do control this game he thought as he tiptoed and crept someway behind Geoff.
Andy had no doubts that Geoff was indeed heading to HQ. He noted with tense amusement Geoff’s odd glance this way and that, like the tubby little fuck knew he was being watched, but Geoff never veered from his path or let a suspected presence deter him.
Andy watched Geoff move into HQ as he hunkered down behind the now blood stained and forlorn flower display at the front of the grandiose structure. He observed with some anxiety that there were armed security guards inside the reception area. Yet Geoff somehow was allowed through after being initially halted.
Andy knew it would not be so easy for him, he needed another way in.
He nervously played at his pockets while he thought of what to do next and stumbled upon his mobile phone. His eyes lit up as a perfect idea struck him.
He would ring Marie under a false pretence. Marie could get him in, and he’d have the added amusement of her dismay once all became clear.
Then she would witness his wrath and Geoff’s demise.
She would witness his rise in the City and relish it or die.