Oliver knew that this would all be over soon. The remorse had seeped into his mind like poison. He almost reconsidered his choice, but what for? There was nothing left.
He lived with Zack, his best friend since Secondary School, in a small bed-sit on the outskirts of Black Heath. It was a place of decay; no matter how much the Landlord decorated and cleaned, it would remain with a lingering sense of hopelessness.
Then again, there wasn't much hope for a nineteen year old in that day and age.
As he finished packing, Oliver left a letter announcing his leave along with the rent he owed to the landlord. He placed it on the kitchen counter, hoping he would not have to remain any longer. The next few hours were a blur; frayed images flooded his mind of his last day of college. Half way through his second term he was expelled for the lack of good grades. The pale scars on his arms tingled uncomfortably as he remembered. The first thing he did was rush to an off-license and purchase a cheap bottle of vodka. That night blurred beyond recognition, though he still awoke with the same emptiness that had since been amplified.
‘Councillors come and go, just like everyone else' he said to himself. Oliver had friends, girlfriends... his parents, they all let him down. He blamed himself for it all however, he concluded that he must have some part to play.
A long walk down a familiar street later and his serenity was broken by the strange screeching overhead. A small, dark raven had flown across his path; no more than a black streak cutting into the dull silence. A flash of red alarmed Oliver, igniting the anxious strain that saddened him. The ravens eyes burned into his memory. Like the harsh glares of those who he had come to love who had walked out on him. For one second, or maybe an hour, he was deafened with the petrified screech of the raven. Falling to his knees, he clamed his hands over his ears and screamed.
A strange vice yanked his head upwards, almost sending his body to the ground. He spun round weakly to see that an elderly man, with surprising strength, had ceased the host of the ravens cry. If only for now.
‘Now, what ya screaming ‘bout kid?'' The old man said wearily. ‘I thought ya was bein' killed or summat'
Oliver swallowed, his adrenaline subsiding. ‘N-nothing, just... nothing'
The old man eyed him with suspicion.
‘You ain't on any of them drugs are ya?' He continued almost threateningly.
Oliver shook his head incredulously as he backed away and almost ran. He didn't want to be seen.
As he passed into Lanegan Park, he heard the old man mumble something about ‘damn kids' and ‘time of their lives'. Oliver almost smiled. He wasn't a kid and this most certainly wasn't the time of his life.
He knew where he had to go. There wasn't much time left before the expected storm would wipe the slate clean. Oliver began to wonder about Zack. How long before he found out where he had gone? Would he be sad? Or would he be happy to be rid of him? He had to move on, even if he had to start again. Things were too hard to comprehend.
True, Zack had hooked him up with the bed-sit and offered to pay all the rent until Oliver found a job. Being kicked out of college had really hurt Oliver, it was his only path to a life that meant anything. Getting a job was next to impossible with all the experience that had be left to rot; the new foreign imports had taken their role.
The clouds began to gather overhead as Oliver found the cluster of trees where he had hidden the ‘Key'. The ‘key' that would solve all his problems. At least it was something.
As he approached the trees, he saw his initials engraved on the bark of the eldest. 'O.R.'.
They used to laugh at him at school calling him 'or', It wasn't the worst thing they called him but it still cut deep.
A single raindrop fell, crashing into the palm of his hand.
He dug through the mound of dirt, searching for the ‘key'. His hands were layered with fresh earth, but that didn't worry him.
A few more raindrops accompanied the solitary droplet.
Oliver sighed, as he searched. Digging through this dirt reminded him of his dog Bruce. Bruce was an Alsatian he owned when he was 5. Oliver always played with him for long hours in the garden. Before his parents moved and left him with his Uncle David.
More raindrops fell in unison.
As his hands explored deeper into the dirt, Oliver knew he was getting closer. A glimpse of silver caught his eye. A silver bracelet hung lazily on his right wrist; a gift from Laura. She loved him more than he had ever thought possible. And he ruined their relationship, like he felt that he ruined everything else.
The rain fell lightly, though a deep rumble from the skies suggested the worst was yet to arrive.
His hands finally grasped the solid wooden box which contained the ‘key'. He had hidden this peculiar object here yesterday. He prayed that night. He prayed that he wouldn't have to use it. Opening it slowly, the ‘key' gleamed in a holy silver, soon the trespassed by the rain.
Oliver dropped the box absent-mindedly. It made no sound upon it's collapse.
The Heavens were about to open, as the rain fell even more ferociously. For one precious second, he saw the golden beams of the sun. He was almost blinded by it, though he laughed with tears streaming down his face.
Oliver placed the ‘key' against the side of his head. The Raven's cries stormed his mind once more, as a glimmer of red permeated the gold of the sun.
He took one more look at the sun, as he unlocked the escape from his life.