The fires of Hell

Chapter One:- The Rooftop

Mark wasn’t stupid. He was perfectly aware that what he was doing was stupid. But he himself wasn’t, he just had to get away. His mother was crying again, old beyond her age the death of Marks father had knocked her flying into the bleak, desolate landscape of her own mind, it became her prison. She tried, for Mark she did but less and less did she understand Marks earthly concerns. Things like sustenance or schoolwork didn’t register with her.

Recently it had gotten worse, she had found a picture of Marks father under her bed, the only one Mark hadn’t removed. She remembered it all as if it was the first time and stopped eating. The nurses had fixed her up but she cared even less than before and had started crying whenever he wasn’t in her line of sight. They had tried to take him away, several times but, although Marks mother had no interest in money, before his father died she had been a legend of the economic world. Buying and selling stocks leaving a significant fortune which paid for Mark’s school things and the rent to their stingy apartments right at the top of a block of flats.

Mark had arrived home that day, from another day of slogging through coursework, to find his mother sobbing uncontrollably at herself in front of a mirror. It wasn’t fair! His friends didn’t go home to sobbing parents unable to look after themselves. They didn’t dread the thought today would be the day their nuts mother would finally top herself. They were interested in girls and gaming instead of which cupboard he could hide the leviathan of anti-depressants from his suicidal mother.

Unable to deal with another night of shutting out his own, inconsolable mothers sobs Mark had fled from the house and charged down the steps into the night. Despite his mothers wealth they lived in a block of flats in a decrepit area of London, Chavsville. All the buildings were made of ugly, grey concrete, stained black with age. Rubbish of all sorts filled the street. From ancient, rusting trolleys piled in doorways to empty beer cans strewn across the street. It was rough, no doubt about it but it wasn’t the worst London had to offer.

Mark had fled, tears of fire clouding his stinging eyes. He paid no heed to where he was headed, or even the general direction he was heading. He ran, stumbling eventually with fatigue, for over an hour. Finally he collapsed against the side of a building, panting for breath. His ancient, two sizes too small, school trousers, fading with age, were sodden and freezing from the light drizzle permiating the air. The light was fading fast. Mark didn’t recognize where he was but it was worse than where he lived. A gang of thugs strutted down the other side of the road.

They were dressed in tracksuits and bling, fake shinny medalions swinging from their knecks. They all had close cropped hair and several had cigarettes. Mark doubted they had three brain cells between them. They strutted off into the gloom. Mark was fit and his breathing had returned to normal in the two or three minutes he had sat there. Now he simply had to gather the will to get back up. Already the guilt of his weakness suffused him, his friends had social lives but he didn’t have a right to one. So what? Get over it. Mark felt tears of guilt come to his eyes but pushed them back, refusing to be weak when beratting his own weakness. In his headlong rush Mark had lost his bearings. Now he leapt to his feet, turning to try and see anything he recognised.

He was in a dump. It had obviously been very grand and Victorian once, two or three big mansions still stood, one of them even looked well cared for. But the size of the plots meant many of them had been converted into blocks of flats or small, cramped houses. Abandoned cars littered any open area, broken class and rubbish littered the road and pavement. Danger filled the air. Mark gulped, looking more despertly for anything, anything at all, that he recognised. Now he felt like a guilty idiot instead of just guilty.

Mark made his way back down the street, in the direction he thought he had come. Visibility was poor, a combination of the dark, the strangly solid downpoor which was getting harder by the minute, the few operational streetlights masking anything further than their cast of light and the rising panic clouding Marks vision. Mark was twelve, and so may be forgiven for panicing and bolting headlong down the street. He kneeded somewere higher, somewere he could see any big buildings to at least get him heading the right way.

Mark brushed his sopping hair out of his eyes as the rain intensified, so it was like running through a swimming pool of icy water. He was drenched instantly. Mark spotted a rusty fire escape that still lead up an entire block of flats. Not caring about the fact that they didn’t look very stable and were the only fire escape stairs standing on any of the flat blocks in sight perhaps stating they weren’t to be trusted. Mark ignored all of this and practcly leapt up the first flight. He turned and sprinted up the next. It was a long way up and despite being quite fit Mark was soon gasping. Around halfway up Mark collapsed, the most painful stitch he had ever had burned down his side. Then the face of his mother came forward to the surface of his mind. Mark got up and didn’t stop his headlong rush again.

Finally, oh finally he reached the top. Mark deliberately controlled his breathing, keeping it light as if he had just walked rather than ran. It was a trick he had learnt from his P.E teacher when he discovered he had bad breathing in running and tended to take in too much oxygen in his rush to recover. By breathing normally he deprived his body and forced it to return to normal. It was surprisingly effective and fast even if it did cloud his vision with blackness for a few seconds.

Mark stood, looking over the rooftop, searching. He recognised two or three buildings in the distance but couldn’t seem to recall where they were in relation to his own home. Mark turned and for the first time he was afraid. Two women stood staring at him from the edge of the building. They had the back to the fifteen story fall an inch behind them and beheld him with a strange look. They could have been twins. Both were stick thin but obviously very strong from the outline of their muscles. They were both very pale, almost white. Both had bright, blood red hair that cascaded down from their head in waves behind them. They were both very tall, around six foot Mark would have guessed, and they wore close fitting red leather coats which opened up around knee length spreading behind them almost like capes. From what he could see they were wearing black canvas trousers and punk, thick boots strung with wide red laces.

But that wasn’t what scared Mark, both of them were simply, impossibly beautiful. It was inhuman. Marks feet were rooted to the spot. The air smelled sweet even across the roof in the rain with their scent. Light seemed to radiate from their tight fitting clothes and perfect, unblemished faces. Mark felt his mouth drop and a gasp of air escape his mouth but he wasn’t conscious of choosing to. They smiled, and moved forward as Mark struggled to blink, to move, to do anything at all. They seemed amused by his efforts. They walked with the grace of a cheetah, seeming to glide across the roof.

“Hello…” The woman on the right breathed quietly, Mark felt it strange she seemed to speak so softly and he still heard her through the now torrential downpour.

They reached him, both with widening grins like jackals before their prey. The one on the left put a hand on his chest and attached to his arm while the one on the right pushed up on his right side. Mark panicked, he was utterly paralysed., completely helpless. His eyes managed to go wide as they both ran their hands over his chest and back. They leaned in and ran their lips over his face, his ears and finally his neck. Mark felt something from his neck, a feeling but he didn’t recall. Trapped inside his mind Mark turned inwards. He considered and discarded a thousand possibilities, he didn’t know how he knew but he did; he was in mortal danger. He cast around in the blackness of his mind, and suddenly dove deeper.

He was too scared to worry that instead of just thinking he had somehow moved further and was visualising the thinking process. Mark saw a maze, a three dimensional maze of chaos. Lights of all colours and smoke and mist filled the air. Stairs and corridors ran here, there and everywhere in ordered neglect. Mark ran down the tunnels of his mind, viewing rooms full of pictures, always moving, from his childhood and rooms full of all the things he had ever dreamed of. Mark instinctively knew were he was going, he moved through doors, down stairs, over holes that appeared in the floor as he passed. His mind was booby trapped. As instinctively as he knew were to go he knew something was wrong with it as well. Red mist filled some corridors and the room that Mark guessed controlled his body was full of it. It was thick and chocking, so thick it was impossible to enter that particular room. It slowly stretched out as the women gained more and more control. Mark charged down the corridor, slamming through three sets of booby trapped doors finally stopping before a thick, solid metal door. Mark stopped there, he paused staring with fear at the door. Only he had the power to open that, but once it was open there was no closing it. Mark glanced back nervously to find the corridor blocked by red mist drifting slowly towards him. With a deep, steadying breath Mark touched the door watching it dissolve to reveal a bright, pure white box filling the doorway. Mark reached out and touched the light. Instantly he was back in his body. He felt pain in his neck and realised they were biting him! He didn’t even think he raised his arm and flicked his hand. Both women were blasted backwards in a rush of power, surrounded by a corona of orange light. They flew back screaming unearthly screeches as the descended over the edge of the building.

Mark stared with wondering eyes before blackness drowned him and he collapsed into unconsciousness.

The End

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