Michelle turned around and saw the two boys who were calling to her and screamed. “JOHN! OWEN!!!” she ran towards the Halse boys and when she reached them John picked her up and spun her around. “Hello gorgeous.” he grinned and she blushed. John was exceedingly handsome and all of her friends were convinced that he liked her.
He put her back down on the ground but kept his arm around her shoulders. “So what’s the plan for today? I think we’re all staying her tonight.” he quizzed her as they walked over to the pool. Michelle looked around for Owen to find that he had disappeared from beside them and made his way over to the pool to plant himself in the middle of a group of girls. Michelle laughed “Typical Owen!”
John smiled and squeezed her shoulders a little. “Sam and Mark said they’re sorry they couldn’t make it, Sam is in Norway for a gig and Mark has exams tomorrow.”
Michelle smiled up at him “Tell them not to worry about it, there’s always my eighteenth.” John looked into her eyes and she felt her stomach do a flip flop manoeuvre. “Yeah.” he said softly. “I’m sure your eighteenth will be a day you never forget.”
Michelle wondered what he meant by that but before she could get lost in thought her best friend Katie came rushing over with a group of friends and together they picked up a screaming Michelle and threw her into the pool.
John fell over on the ground and curled up in a ball clutching his stomach and crying silent tears of laughter while Michelle swore revenge.
Killian sat sipping a glass of merlot and chatting to Michael and Derek. “I’m so glad you could make it Derek.” he smiled warmly at his friend as he waved the glass of wine around in his hand. “It’s so hard to track you down these days.”
“Oh I know Killian, I know.” Derek grinned. “Sure ain’t I always running around the gaff* like a headless chicken!”
Killian laughed at the Irishman’s way of speaking. “God Derek, I forgot how much I love your accent!”
They all burst out laughing and Martha then proceeded to interrupt them by standing up. “My darlings, excuse me, but baby is dancing a jig on my bladder and it’s not pleasant.” and with that she waddled out of the room.
“She’s quite big now isn’t she Derek?” Margaret looked back from the door and turned to Martha’s husband.
“Yes she really is.” he agreed. “I think it’s another boy.” he said ponderingly and Mike shook his head sadly. “If it is then god love you!”
Derek simply laughed and took another swig from his bottle of beer.
“So lad,” Derek began, waving the bottle at Killian. “Any craic** at all lately?”
Killian sat back in the chair. “Well…”
And they began to catch up on lost time.
It was about an hour later when Killian heard several angry shouts from outside and then it went quiet.. “What’s going on out there?” he wondered aloud. Derek, Michael and Killian stood up at the same time and they looked at each other. “It’s too quiet for….”
Then Killian heard a scream. And Molly’s voice rang out. “Daddy!! They‘ve got Shelly.”
Killian dropped the glass of wine he held in his hand and the crimson liquid spilled out onto the container and soaked into the pale cream carpet.
Derek was first to the door and Killian and Michael ran after him as they stumbled out onto the patio and froze in horror at the site before them.
Three men dressed completely in black stood in the centre of the lawn and one of them had Michelle by the arm.
“SHELL!” Killian roared and at the same time as he took a step forward he saw John Halse move sideways slowly towards them and watched in horror as one of the men raised his gun and pulled the trigger.
John crumpled onto the ground and Michelle screamed. “John!”
“No!” Derek yelled and moved to rush over to his son but the man pressed a gun against Michelle’s head.
“Move and she dies.” he growled in a thick eastern European accent. Derek froze.
Killian raised both hands in the air and looked pleadingly at them. “Please. Please let her go.” he begged, his mind in complete shock as it tried to register what was happening, John Halse had just been shot.
Michelle began to struggle as she sobbed and looked over at John’s crumpled form. The main guy slipped a bag over her head and she raised her hands to try and remove it.
“Stop moving.” the man ordered her but she ignored him and continued to struggle.
He raised the gun and brought it down across the back of her head, catching her as she collapsed.
Killian swallowed rage and again tried to bargain with them. “Please, just let her go and we’ll let you leave ok?”
The man began to laugh as he searched the skies. Killian looked up too and then he heard Michael hiss under his breath. “They’ve got a helicopter!”
He was right, an unmarked black chopper landed in the garden and the three men jumped into it and it took off, leaving Killian and Michael roaring at it.
“I will hunt you down and KILL YOU ALL if you touch ONE HAIR on her head!” Michael roared and Killian seconded it.
The main guy simply gave them the middle finger and then they were gone.
Derek rushed to John’s side while Killian checked that the rest of the kids were ok and Michael ran indoors to the phone.
Derek turned his son over and checked his pulse, breathing a sigh of short lived relief when he found one.
A red stain was forming slowly over John’s white tshirt and Derek ripped it down to see that the bullet at pierced his shoulder.
Before he could do anything else Killian had lifted John and was walking towards their helicopter out the back. “Wait, what.. Where are you going?” he called in confusion and Killian replied blankly. “Taking him to the hospital.”
Derek rushed after him and jumped in as the helicopter started up, watching in a shocked silence as Killian lay John on the back seat and began to apply pressure to the wound with gauze from the first aid box that had been under the seat.
Tears fell from Killian’s eyes as he worked and Derek didn’t know what to do. “You should be at the house.” he murmured and Killian looked up at him, somehow hearing him over the roar of the helicopter. “I have to do something.” he said desperately. “Something.”
Derek understood and they sat in silence, Derek holding his son’s hand, as the chopper flew towards the hospital.