"I think that car's following us." Jett Coating twisted in her seat and stared out through the rear window. About twenty feet behind them was a navy ford. Jett snorted and turned back to her twin sister.
"It's just a car. You're only tired and paranoid." Michaela glanced in the mirror again before grumbling under her breath that she wasn't tired and she certainly wasn't paranoid. Jett smirked and switched on the radio, an old rock song came on and they were both soon bopping to the beat. They forgot about the navy ford and when it turned off onto a side road leaving them alone, neither noticed.
A few miles outside of their home town, Michaela switched the radio off and smiled as a dozing Jett beside her. After a moment or two, Michaela became aware of a dim shape coming towards them. She squinted through the windshield before elbowing her twin. Jet sat up and moaned.
"What? Are we there yet?"
"Your eyes are better than mine. Is that a car up there?" Jett also squinted through the glass.
"Looks like it. No lights though, probably full of drunken teenagers." Michaela laughed and flashed her headlights as the car passed them, almost immediately it spun around on squealing tyres and began to follow them.
The needle was hovering over 80mph when Michaela finally flipped the mirror up to the ceiling, she didn't want to be dazzled by the flashing headlights of the car behind at this speed. Jett was crying and trying to dig her mobile phone out of her bag.
"What do they want?" she cried.
"Who cares? Just call the rozzers!" screamed Michaela, she just glimpsed the last sign for their home town and felt a slight feeling of hope begin to bubble in her core. They only had to get across the bridge and they'd be home! Jett was screaming into the mobile, begging the operator for help and telling them the direction they were heading in. There was a sudden loud crunch as the car behind shunted them, Michaela fought to regain control of the car and had just about managed when the crunch came again. This time there was no hope, the wheel span and so did the car. The twins screamed as they hit the barrier and plunged downwards into darkness.
Donny sat bolt upright in bed, gasping for breath and dripping with sweat. Jesus that had been a bad one. When would these frigging nightmares go the fuck away? Donny climbed out of bed and pulled on jeans and a t shirt, he stared at his reflection in the mirror and wondered if Wayne was having the same problems. They had seen the mangled bodies of those two poor girls in the car and they had gone to the funeral, in the background of course but they had watched. The mother and father, the brother and other family members, all clinging to eachother and swearing revenge on the hoodlums that had killed their girls.
But Donny and Wayne had what they wanted. They were in and the initiation was definitely the worst part, now they had safety and drugs and women. Donny smiled when a car pulled up outside, he grabbed his black Bones jacket and slipped out of the window so his parents wouldn't know he was gone.
The car was full as usual. Livy was driving while their leader, Billy, sat in the front seat with his eyes closed but he wasn't sleeping. Donny was in the back with a blonde named Jenny on his lap while Wayne was in a lip lock with a brunette named Sierra. Donny was just sliding his hand under Jenny's skirt when Livy suddenly swore and slammed on the breaks. The car twisted a little before sliding to a halt, Billy opened his eyes and raised an eyebrow. There was a man standing in the middle of the road, he wore a long black coat and a balaclava over black jeans and matching shirt.
"What the fuck is this?" muttered Livy. Billy didn't move, he wasn't a fighter. That was what the others were for. Wayne and Donny stepped out of the car and squared up to the dude in black, puffing out their chests and trying to be more macho then they really felt.
"Are you nuts, mate? Get out the frigging way" said Donny, he poked the guy in the chest but he didn't move. Wayne decided it was time to earn his keep and stood right in front of the guy so their noses almost touched.
"D'you know who we are, mate? We're The Bones and you don't wanna mess with us." When the man finally spoke, he sounded as if his vocal chords had been put through a grater.
"Maybe it's you that shouldn't be messing with me." He strode past Donny and Wayne to the waiting car, the man pulled a gun from his pocket. Before anyone could move, he had leaned in through the window and shot Sierra through the head. There was a moment of stunned silence before Jenny began to scream and the man in black fled across the blacktop.
Donny and Wayne went after him but he vanished too easily into the shadows, when they got back to the car Livy had rolled Sierra's body out onto the curb. Wayne stared down at her and swallowed, they had only just met so he didn't really understand why he cared so much that she was dead. Jenny was curled in a corner of the car, sobbing and mewling. Livy motioned for them to get back in the car while she jumped back behind the wheel. They sped away from the body in silence for a while before Billy's quiet voice broke the stillness.
"We'll get you a new girl, Wayne." Donny glanced at his friend but Wayne was staring out of the window, he nodded at Billy and clasped his hands in his lap so hard the knuckles turned white. They continued on for a while in uncomfortable silence and then Billy held up his hand. Livy pulled the car over to the curb and waited.
"Get out" said Billy, his voice was low and even. Nobody was quite sure who he was talking to; Livy suddenly spun around in her seat and glared at Jenny.
"He said get out." Jenny almost threw herself out of the car, she was just glad to get away.
When they reached the old factory on the edge of town, Livy pulled up and let the others out before driving away again. The rest of The Bones were inside but Billy didn't follow Donny and Wayne into the building. He was fuming but nobody would ever guess to look at him. How dare some lowlife think he can just pull a gun on the leader of The Bones and walk away? And now Livy had to get them a new car! There were no other gangs in town; Billy's father had driven them all out before handing his territory over to his son. That had been a mistake because Billy had killed him the next day and set about recruiting a younger, more pliable crowd to his crew. Things had been going well and now this and in front of two new recruits as well. Billy kicked an empty paint can as hard as he could, breathing hard. This would not stand. Billy spun on his heel and stalked inside the factory.
A few hours later, a car rolled past the factory. Billy watched through the wide doorway as a battered Hyundai approached. Billy frowned, what the Hell was Livy thinking with this shit? The passenger side door opened and Billy's frown deepened. Who was she driving around? The car continued to roll as a body was pushed out, it rolled a few times on the concrete before coming to a stop. As Billy dashed across the concrete the car sped away. Billy rolled the girl over and was relieved to see that it was only Jenny, the dumb blonde they had kicked out earlier. He was a little annoyed to find he relieved when, just at that moment, Livy pulled up behind the wheel of a bronze Jag.
"I think it's fairly obvious that we are under attack" said Billy, addressing the room at large. The Bones were a small, select gang but they rallied round today. All thirteen members were there, including Livy and Donny and Wayne. Billy hooked his thumbs through the belt loops on his jeans and leaned back against the doorjamb.
"Who would be dumb enough to do something like this?"
"Could be anyone" muttered Donny, he was thinking back to his initiation. To the faces of all those people at the funeral, the girl's parents and – Donny suddenly raised his hand. Billy looked at him a moment before nodding.
"Those girls from the other week? I knew that dude sounded familiar, it's their brother! He gave the eulogy at their funeral. I know his voice!" What Donny didn't add was that he'd heard that voice a lot in his nightmares, where his guilt was given free reign over his imagination. Billy smiled; he stood up and led the way to the waiting cars. Time to pay some old farts a visit.
Belle Coating lifted the watering can and began to see to her garden. She always did the roses first, twin rose bushes for her twin angels. A tear slid down her cheek, Michaela and Jett would have loved these. Shaking her head, Belle headed towards the front of the garden to water the line of daffodils. A car came around the corner and began to crawl past the house, the speed limit was thirty but the Jag was barely pushing five. Belle looked up and her eyes fastened on the two young men sitting in the back seats, she had seen them at the girl's funeral. The driver was a woman; she spotted Belle looking at them and pressed the gas pedal. Belle watched untill the car was out of sight before dropping the watering can and running inside to find her husband.
Billy told Livy to stop the car when they were around the corner and out of sight of the house. They climbed out of the car and headed back to the Coating house, being careful to go for the back door where they would be more hidden. It was locked but Livy soon took care of that, she was an expert lock picker and had the door open in under a minute. They stepped into a well lit kitchen, all mahogany and marble. Photos of the family were everywhere; Billy pulled one of the twins from the wall and dropped it to the hardwood floor. With a snarl of rage, he stomped his foot down and ground the glass beneath his heel.
"They came into our house. Time to return the favour. Go to work, boys" he said. Wayne, Livy and Donny split up while Billy lit a cigarette and made himself a cup of tea.
When Belle had burst into the living room her husband, Hal, had been going through the post. After telling him about the car and the two boys in the back, Hal had gone to the kitchen in search of a weapon but it was too late. The gang of youths were already at the door. Hal swore under his breath and led his wife back to the front; he peered through the glass of the door and was a little surprised to see nobody out there. He pulled it open and checked in both directions before dashing across the street with Belle in tow.
"I guess those little bastards were never in the army" he said, heading around to the back of his neighbours house.
"Why do you say that?"
"They forgot to cover all the exits." Hal and Belle slipped around the corner and out of sight while their neighbours called for the police.
Billy was sipping from a mug when Livy and Wayne came back to the kitchen, both shook their heads. There was a beat of silence before Billy launched the mug across the room, it shattered against the wall.
"Where the Hell are they?" he screamed. It was the first time they had ever seen him lose his temper and Wayne had a feeling it wouldn't be the last before all this was over.
"They must've seen us, boss. Maybe they recognized Donny and Wayne from the funeral. They did say they were dumb enough to be spotted" suggested Livy. Wayne felt his face flush and had to stop himself from shoving the bitch through the nearest wall. Billy was frowning, when he spoke his voice had returned to its normal level.
"Where is Donny?" Wayne and Livy turned but he wasn't with them, the sound of footsteps from above had them heading upstairs.
They found Donny swinging from the rafters in one of the bedrooms. A rope had been tied around his neck and, from the look on his puffed face, it hadn't been a nice way to die. Whose bedroom it had been was obvious. Two single beds, two televisions and stuffed animals everywhere.
"They must have been close to be able to share a room this long" muttered Wayne. Billy snarled and turned on his heel, the sound of sirens in the distance was just started to echo through to them.
"Let's go" he said. They trashed as mush of the house as they could before they left and headed back to the factory.
But the factory wasn't there. It was a smouldering heap surrounded by fire engines and ambulance crews pulling body after body from the wreckage. Billy, Livy and Wayne watched from a distance as the emergency services went about their work. Billy was very pale but a hard spot of colour began to burn in his cheeks.
"We need to recruit and fast. Wayne, there's a kid on Elm Street that's wanted to join. Get a car and do the initiation tonight. Liv, we need to find a new place." Wayne climbed out of the car and watched as Livy and Billy drive away, he had a ban feeling about this.
Wayne was having serious de ja vous. He was sitting in the front passenger seat while the kid from Elm Street was driving like a maniac along the dark roads around the edge of town. Wayne had hoped to get this over with quickly but there were no other cars out here. Suddenly, they turned onto the same stretch of road that he and Donny had used last time. Suppressing a shiver, Wayne explained the rules to the kid and gave him the chance to back out. The kid just grinned and peered through the windshield.
"Look at this nutter" he crowed. Wayne couldn't see anything at first, but after a moment a vague shape began to form. It was a Hyundai with its headlights off and coming right at them.
"Here we go!" shrieked the kid. Before Wayne could stop him, he flashed his lights at the oncoming vehicle.
Livy and Billy were in the Jag and roaming the streets. Wayne and the new kid were late and they wanted to know why. They crossed the bridge and slowed as Billy spotted thick, black tyre marks on the road. Livy pulled the car over and they both jumped out, following the marks to the edge of the bridge. The car had gone over in almost the exact spot that the twins had gone over just a few weeks before. Billy walked on a little further, trying to spot the car.
Livy rubbed her arms, despite the warm evening she had goose bumps. They were all going to die, she knew that now. When a twig snapped behind her she didn't turn to look. Livy closed her eyes as a hand slithered around her throat.
"Is it my turn now?" she whispered. For the first time in years she wasn't afraid, just the idea that it was all over gave her a nice feeling inside. A voice whispered in her ear.
"Yes. It's your turn, Elizabeth." A swift twist and her neck was broken, Livy's body fell to the ground.
Billy spun around when he heard the loud snap; his eyes grew wide as Livy's body flopped to the tarmac. Tears pricked the backs of his eyes, tears he didn't realize he knew how to shed.
"Dammit Liv" he muttered. The man in black was staring at him; Billy took a few steps towards him but hesitated when the man spoke his name.
"Good evening, William." The last to call him that had been his mother.
"Who are you?" Billy's voice had lost its cool edge, it was trembling and weak but he didn't care.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Marshall Coating and you murdered my sisters." Billy shook his head as Marshall bore down on him, yanking his arms over his head and almost lifting him off the ground.
"It wasn't me. It was Donny and Wayne and you got them! You don't need me!" Marshall threw Billy to the ground and placed his booted foot over the fallen mans throat.
"You gave the order. It was your initiation. You ruined it; I was supposed to look out for them. I'm the eldest!" Marshall shrieked. Billy winced as the boot pressed down, making it hard for him to breathe. Through the black spots in front of his eyes, Billy saw the ghost of a blade flash past his vision.
"I can look out for them now."
When Belle and Hal were finally allowed to return home, they found Marshall waiting for them. He had made tea and was just in the process of pouring the rich liquid into mugs when his parents walked in. Belle took a tin of biscuits from the cupboard and passed them round before turning to her son.
"You look happy." Marshall's smile grew; he sipped his tea and took another biscuit from the tin.
"I did some cleaning today. I finally finished."
"You cleaned everywhere?" asked Belle, a tear slipping down her cheek. Marshall smiled again.
"Yes mother, I cleaned everywhere." Bell gripped Hal's hand as he raised his mug.
"Well, that deserves a toast" said Hal. Belle and Marshall raised their cups while outside, two rose bushes swayed in a breeze that wasn't there.