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Stacey jumped when she heard the knock at the door. Sheíd drifted off
thinking about her brother Dean and their past and almost forgotten about
Dave. She got to her feet and shuffled slowly towards the door.
...So this was it, she thought. ...Months of frustration and Iím about to find
some serious stuff out.
She slowly opened the door and peered out. A tall, tanned man was being held
up by the warm, moist night. He was wearing a long, brown jacket and a pair
of round glasses. He looked at Stacey and flashed a self-satisfied grin.
"Youíd better have something important to tell me or Iíll kick you so
"Relax, Stacey." Interrupted Dave. "I know absolutely everything there is to
know. Iíve come here because Dean wanted me to..."
"...You know where Dean is?" screamed Stacey.
"Iíll tell you everything in the order that it needs to be told. Dean felt
guilty that he hadn't got in touch, and he obviously canít come himself. So
he asked me to come and tell you everything that happened... and I mean
Stacey invited him in and started to cry. Dave said nothing and walked into
the lounge. He gazed around the room with an air of disregard and sat down.
Stacey came in after him wiping tears away from her eyes. She picked up her
glass of wine and stood by the fire.
"You must excuse me but Iím a little pissed and emotional," said Stacey.
"Donít worry," said Dave. "Youíre probably in the right frame of mind in
that case. Thereís a lot of stuff you wouldnít even have imagined. For a
start Dean didnít just kill Clara that day."
Stacey looked at him with horror and astonishment battling for supremacy on
"He killed other people?" she asked.
"One other person. All that will become clear, however. Youíll need to hear
it from the very beginning to understand what and why." Replied Dave. "Iím
not going to sugar-coat this or leave anything out just to make you feel
better. Once Iíve told you youíll wish that youíd remained ignorant. The
outcome is a hell of a lot worse than you would imagine. If you take my
advice just accept that Dean is OK and will remain safe for the rest of his
life. You will never see him again, Iím afraid, but heíll let you know where
he is and how heís doing. The best thing for you will be for me to just go
and leave it at that. It depends on how inquisitive you are."
Stacey thought about this. She wanted to remember Dean the way he was and
not imagine him as some brutal killer. But she already knew that he was. She
could not go through the rest of her life not knowing what had driven him to
it. She loved him too much for that. Plus she was very inquisitive.
"Fuck it!" she stated. "Whatever happens Iíll never believe in Dean the way
I used to. Tell me the whole fucking story."
Six months before, Dean was stepping on to a train back to Brighton. He and
Clara were returning from holiday, and he had finally battled his way
through all the crowds, suitcases, people and ticket offices to the finish.
They journeyed back in silence, enjoying the memories of their until
recently current holiday. It had been a simple package affair to Southern
France. Nothing expensive or extravagant, just a week away from England,
work and monotony. Theyíd enjoyed the local wine and the local beach with
They arrived back at Claraís flat late in the evening, quickly unpacking
before going to the pub. They sat at a table in silence for a few minutes,
quietly watching the bustle of the pub and thinking gently about the dayís
"Itís good to be back," said Dean. "You start to miss little things about
home when you go away."
"We only went away for a week!" said Clara.
"Yeah, I know," said Dean. "But itís enough time to get homesick."
"You werenít even homesick," said Clara. "You were culture shocked."
Clara laughed as she said this.
"How can you get culture shock in France?" asked Dean. "Itís hardly any
different to here!"
Clara continued to laugh.
"Fuck off! So I got a little homesick!" pleaded Dean. "Itís hardly a good
enough reason to start laughing at me."
Clara calmed down a little and gave him a stare.
"Ok... I admit I couldn't cope with missing a few little things like telly and
football, but that hardly means I was culture shocked."
"You spent six hours on Sunday looking for a newspaper so you could check up
on the football results!" said Clara.
"So I get a little obsessed with my passions, whatís the problem."
Clara had stopped laughing by now.
"More like you get passionate about your obsessions," she said.
Dean silently admitted defeat ≠ he couldn't be bothered to argue.
They returned to their gestureless slouch and surveyed the busy room. The
Practical Pig was the nearest and the dearest pub to Claraís flat. It
catered for the young people of the area by fusing student prices with local
appeal. It was fun, not too loud and brightly lit. Massive Attackís
Unfinished Sympathy was playing in the background.
Without a word Clara shot up from her seat and raced across the bar. She
reached a tall man whose back was turned and whispered something in his ear.
The man turned round and saw Clara. They laid welcoming hands on each other,
talking and laughing loudly as they did so - although Dean couldn't make out
what they were saying.
Dean returned to his drink and felt a little disgruntled. All he wanted to
do was enjoy a quiet pint and go home for the night. Now heíd have to
contend with meeting an apparent stranger who was likely to shatter his in
intentions of slumber.
"Dean!" screamed Clara.
Dean rose laboriously from his seat and wondered towards Clara and The Man.
Halfway he stopped and remembered that heíd forgotten his pint, so made a
big deal of going back to his table and getting it. He turned round and
walked towards Clara and The Man.
"Dean! This is Harvey from Chichester ≠ we worked together in the Café where
you and I met. I havenít seen him for over a year!" said Clara.
Dean politely shook his hand and said hello.
"Where are you staying?" Clara asked Harvey.
Harvey was actually very tall and thin. He was wearing small glasses and
sported a short, ginger hair cut. He spoke quite quickly.
"Well thatís the problem you see," he said. "I was staying with a mate in
Gloucester Road but we had a bit of a falling out. I havenít got anywhere to
stay. I was hoping that the pub might put me up for the night or I was going
to go down to the Backpackerís hostel and fake a German accent."
Dean knew it was coming. There was nothing he could do to stop it and once
it had been said there was no way he could resist for fear of looking like a
complete cunt. Any moment now she was going to say it... there it is!
"What? No I couldn't possibly," said Harvey.
"No honestly. Come and stay at my place for the night," said Clara. "Iíve
just come back off holiday so thereís no food and itís a bit of a mess, but
at least you donít have to pay anything. Iíve got a couple of bottles of
wine as well! We can have a drink and a chat!"
"Itís tempting," said Harvey. Dean was looking at a patch of wall about
three feet to the right of the bar.
"Dean will be staying the night as well so it should be quite a laugh. What
do you say."
Harvey thought for a few seconds.
"Oh, go on then." He said.
"Excellent!" screamed Clara. "You donít mind do you, Dean?"
Dean dragged all his reserve sincerity as close to the surface as he
possibly could. He couldnít believe it! The first night back from their
holiday and some tosser heíd never met before was going to be snoring in the
next room and pissing in the toilet.
"Yeah, of course I donít mind," said Dean. "Iíll even go out in the morning
and buy some eggs for breakfast."
To his surprise Dean found that he was enjoying himself immensely. It was
nearly three in the morning and theyíd polished off the two bottles of wine
and were now halfway through the reserve bottle of cheap Vodka Clara kept at
the back of her food cupboard.
Dean had initially done his best to stay out of Clara and Harveyís
conversation. Theyíd spent twenty minutes talking about old times and how
they exploited their obvious talent for soft-core mischief. Rudeness to
ugly/impolite customers, stealing tea and coffee, spitting on teacakes and
exploiting the seemingly constantly pissed manager were the main topics of
They soon bored of this and started talking of the present and future. At
this point Dean was involved and pretty soon became the engine of the
conversation. It was his area of expertise... if there was one thing Dean
excelled at it was the ability to talk at length about his many theories
concerning the future.
The wine flowed; the Vodka followed. The sickness began pretty harshly for
Dean who played his usual trick of talking and drinking in equal amounts. He
came back from the toilet the first time feeling fairly refreshed and
continued to laugh, converse and drink. The second time he came back he felt
like death. It was ten past three and all he wanted now was to go to bed.
"I canít believe this," said Harvey. "At ten o'clock I was expecting to be
spending the night in some fuck off dirty hole, and here I am at three in
the morning drinking Vodka with one of my best mates."
"Are you having a good night?" asked Clara.
"Itís been great. I think Deanís starting to flag a bit, though."
Dean lifted his head as far from his right shoulder as he possibly could. He
was slouched on the floor with his back against Claraís sofa. Heíd had far
too much to drink and his head was spinning wildly. He hadn't eaten properly
for hours so the vomiting had made him feel terribly weak. Despite this he
still felt mentally strong and was fully aware of what was going on. He was
just finding it difficult to convey this awareness in a physical way.
"Iím fine." He grumbled. "Bed Ďould be nice vough."
At this point he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer and clasped them
shut. Clara and Harvey silently stared at their glasses for about two
"Itís good to see you again," said Harvey.
"Itís been weird you not being around. I know that coming here was part of
it all and I think Iíve coped with everything quite well, but..."
Deanís cough and mutterish request for more drink if bed wasnít a viable
option stopped Clara from finishing her sentence. Even though his eyes were
shut and his head was spinning he was still listening to the conversation
and understanding every word.
"Donít say too much," said Harvey.
Harvey and Clara continued to sit on the floor opposite Dean. They stared at
their glasses without saying a word. The flat was deadly silent now that
conversation and laughter wasnít filling the void. A dog barking a few
streets away was answered by a drunken laugh just outside the flat. Whoever
had been so amused by the dog lost some form of control and dropped a glass
bottle outside Claraís front door. The sound of glass against pavement made
Harvey and Clara jump. Dean didn't stir.
"Itís quiet," said Clara.
Harvey nodded in agreement. He looked hard at Clara for the first time since
Deanís head had supposedly announced that he would no longer be taking part
in the evening.
"Massley quiet," said Harvey.
Dean allowed the words to settle before making any judgements. Occasionally
things are said or things happen and you try hard to understand why you feel
so unsettled. Some might say that itís deja vu which is nothing more than
your brain playing tricks on you. Sometimes, when you see something or hear
something that really shouldnít be seen or heard, you start to shit
yourself. Dean made his judgement and decided to act.
"Iím going to bed." Dean announced. He opened his eyes wide and looked hard
at Harvey. There was something in his face that was unsettling. Where there
shouldnít have been anything familiar there was something Dean suddenly saw.
A brightness in the eye; a turn of the mouth; a lift of the chin. Although
Harvey spoke quickly there was a tone to the voice Dean recognised. The way
Harvey sat there holding his glass awoke a distant feeling in Dean.
Dean suddenly felt very drunk and put the strange sensations down to his
extreme state. He tried to get up and immediately fell straight back on to
floor. He looked at the guilty face of Clara.
"Can you help me please?" he asked her. She put her wine down, looked at
Harvey with an expression that Dean missed, and lifted Dean from the floor
and on to the sofa. Dean looked up again and saw a very faint smirk on
"Good night, Harvey. I hope you sleep well and enjoy the comforts of the
Harvey continued with his half hidden smirk.
"And a good night to you, Dean. Iím sure the floor will offer the same
pleasures as your bed. Sleep tight."
Between them both, Dean and Clara (who was also starting to feel very drunk)
managed to stumble into the bedroom. They undressed in silence and got into
bed. They lay there without touching or speaking for ten minutes.
"He seems quite sound." Dean said eventually.
"Yeah," said Clara. "Heís a really nice bloke."
Dean decided to close his eyes and sleep.
"Massley good night, Clara."
Clara replied with silence.
Dean woke at midday feeling very well considering his exertions from the
night before. He looked over at Clara and saw that she was still asleep. He
slowly got out of bed and put his clothes on whilst trying not to disturb
Clara. He opened the bedroom door and walked to the end of the hallway and
visited the toilet. He splashed his face with water and looked in the
mirror. He felt mentally prepared.
He left the bathroom and walked back up the hallway to the door that led
into the lounge. He walked in and saw Harvey fast asleep on the floor. He
carefully picked up the keys to the flat from the floor, walked around
Harvey and went to the front door. He opened it and stepped into the bright,
The fresh air injected a little vigour into Dean Wivelís calm mood. He
walked towards the corner shop surveying the surrounding buildings and
busily hurried people. Everything seemed very calm and relaxed as he reached
the shop and gently purchased some eggs, a loaf of bread and a pint of milk.
As he left the shop a man in round glasses and a long, brown coat approached
"Dean Wivel?" he asked.
Dean was a little surprised to hear a complete stranger say his name.
"What? Yeah. Hello." He replied.
The round spectacled man shuffled uneasily as he looked at Dean.
"Look, I know this may sound very strange and bizarre coming from a
stranger, but you must listen to and act on what I say." He said.
Dean wasnít as fresh as he thought he was when heíd left Claraís flat. He
suddenly felt very tired and hung over.
"What? Who are you?" he asked wearily.
"It doesnít matter who I am. You canít go back to Claraís flat. You must
leave Brighton now and never come back," said the Man.
"What the fuck are you talking about!" said Dean Wivel. "How do you know me
"It doesnít matter!" shouted the Man. "If you go back there youíll regret it
forever. The worst possible thing is waiting for you. As soon as you walk
through that door your life will change."
Dean smiled and looked at the Man through a haze of midday illness.
"Look... everything is fine at Claraís. I donít know who you are or what you
know about me but there is nothing unexpected at Claraís flat. Everything
will be fine. Just go away." Replied Dean.
Dean turned round and started to walk back to the flat. The Man stood
motionless for a second and then ran to Dean and stood in front of him.
"Please listen to me!" he pleaded. "You donít understand. Really bad things
are going on with Clara..."
"What bad things? What has Clara done that means I have to go away? This is
my home, where I work, where all my friends are. Itís taken me years to find
a place that feels like home. Why should I suddenly leave all that behind on
the word of some complete nutter?"
The Man looked at Dean with an expression of horror.
"I know it sounds stupid, but you must listen. If you go back there..."
"I know." Interrupted Dean. "Bad and weird things. Please, itís nothing I
"What?" said the Man.
"Now please. Leave me alone."
The Man allowed Dean to walk off.
"I couldnít believe it!" said Dave to Stacey. "Heíd just been approached by
a complete stranger and told something utterly stupid - and he just
dismissed it. I wasn't expecting him to just agree with me and leave
Brighton without resistance, but his reaction seemed very unusual."
"I still donít get what happened," said Stacey. "Why did you tell him to
leave Brighton? Why were you hanging around Claraís flat waiting to see
"Iíd been waiting all night to see him. Iíd been waiting for three years to
find the right moment and talk to him."
"Why?" asked Stacey.
Dean arrived back at Claraís flat and opened the front door. He was a little
shook up following the unexpected meeting with the stranger, so he quickly
walked through the lounge (hardly noticing that Harvey had disappeared from
the floor) and into the kitchen. He poured himself a glass of water from the
tap and drank it quickly.
He slowly unpacked the small bag of shopping and poured himself another
glass of water. Feeling a little more refreshed he walked out of the kitchen
and up the hallway to Claraís room. He placed his hand on the doorknob and
was about to walk in when he felt a sudden urge to use the toilet again. He
went back down the hallway and into the toilet. He splashed his face again
after going for piss and felt a lot better.
He left the toilet and walked back up the hallway to Claraís room. He
reached her door and opened it. As he walked in he looked over towards the
bed... Harvey and Clara were sat up in bed totally naked with beaming smiles
on their faces.
"Massley good fuck meíyoung chapster," said Harvey.
Dean stared open mouthed and fell gently against the wall.
"Jeremiah Craven," whispered Dean.
"Jeremiah Craven!" screamed Stacey.
"Jeremiah Craven!" agreed Dave.
"Jeremiah Craven," announced Clara.
"Jeremiah Craven," said Jeremiah Craven. "Who else?"
Dean stared at Jeremiah Craven and Clara Bodge for a few seconds before
turning his head and looking out of the window. He was completely unable to
summon a word or a phrase to account for his horror. He slowly slid down the
wall and ended up sat on the bedroom floor. A tear washed down his cheek.
"Cunts." He whispered.
"Did you really think somebody as stunning as my little Clara here would go
for a scrawny little twat like you!" laughed Jeremiah. "Sheís mine, mate. I
was fucking her years before you got your dirty little paws on her."
Dean continued to stare out of the window.
"Come on, Dean," said Clara. "You must admit he is amazing. You donít really
believe that at any time over the last six months Iíve felt anything other
than complete loathing towards you? You! Compared to Jeremiah? Youíre nothing."
Dean sat motionless and expressionless on the floor.
"Iíve waited five years for this moment, Dean Wivel." Announced Jeremiah
Craven. "I never thought that youíd fall for it. All I had to do was lose a
bit of weight, put on a pair of glasses, dye my hair and talk a little more
quickly. I knew you wouldnít recognise me."
Dean slowly turned his head towards the two people in the bed.
"I sussed it last night." He spoke disjointedly. "Well, I thought I had. I
put it down to being a bit pissed and tired and, but..."
As Dean drifted off into some other world Jeremiah and Clara laughed
"Iíve always had this theory," giggled Jeremiah. "About the whole Mr. Ben
syndrome thing. If you enter another Mr. Ben totally out of context then you
can be whoever you like. The fact that you know me inside out means nothing.
Give it five years distance and change the shape of things ever so slightly,
I could enter your new Mr. Ben without you even noticing."
Dean wiped the tears from his face.
"You wonít believe how much work Iíve had to put in to get this far, Dean
Wivel," said Jeremiah. "Iíve slowly encroached into your life over the last
five years until I reached the point where I control everything. Thatís
right, Dean, I control absolutely everything in your life. I control your
bird, I control your jobs, I control where you go on holiday ≠ fuck it! I
even control your shags!
"How does that feel Dean? I want you to feel bad. I want you to feel like
you canít go on. I want you to feel like thereís nothing left in your life
that means anything. I want to control your feelings. I want to control your
destiny. And hey, guess what? I do."
Dean looked at Jeremiah and shed another tear. He glanced at Clara quickly
before fixing his gaze at the wall, unable to look her in the face.
"Havenít you got a mind of your own?" Dean said slowly.
"Of course Iíve got a mind of my fucking own!" laughed Clara. "Iím not here
because Jeremiah forced me to. You see I actually believe what Jeremiah
says. I listened to what he told me about you and what you did to him. I
love him so much that I agreed to do whatever it takes for him to get even
with you. The way I see it, you destroyed his life so he deserves to destroy
"Youíre both fucking evil and screwed up," said Dean, softly.
"Itís got nothing to do with that, Dean," said Jeremiah. "Itís about
revenge. Itís about setting straight what youíve screwed up."
"What have I done?" asked Dean. "I didnít do anything!"
Jeremiah laughed at this. He lent over to Clara and gave her a kiss on the
cheek. "Go and make me a cup of tea."
Clara got up and walked over to Dean.
"Take a good look at this body, because youíre never going to touch it or
look at again," she said.
Dean continued to look elsewhere. Clara laughed and walked out of the
"You always did have a weird control over people, Jeremiah. I donít know how
you do it, or what it is about you, but thereís something about you ≠
something indefinable. You can make people do whatever you want them to do.
You can get into peopleís heads and screw them up."
"Iím glad you recognise that because thatís what Iím having the most
difficulty with. Thatís the very reason why Iím here. I thought you were
going to do whatever I wanted. I thought that weíd established a Mr. Ben so
well defined that it could never be broken. But you broke it. You destroyed
what Iíd built and just walked away. Why did you do that?"
Dean looked across from the point where heíd been staring and back at
"I didnít do anything. All I wanted to do was move away." He whispered.
"You betrayed me you fucking wanker!" screamed Jeremiah. "All those times we
had, all those laughs we had, all the people I ignored because I thought Iíd
found somebody I could fuse with. You and me, Dean. We couldíve been
something really special. We couldíve been the greatest. And you walked
Dean slowly rose to his feet and stood limply against the wall.
"Now the punishment for that is you lose everything. You now have no
girlfriend. You will lose your job. You will lose your flat. All you have
left is that shitty little village and that slag of a sister of yours."
Dean continued to lean faintly against the wall.
"I canít believe it," said Dean. "I thought Iíd finally done it. Iíd found a
place where I was happy, I fell in love with somebody I thought was perfect
and I had a life I didnít want to leave..."
"...And it was all down to me," said Jeremiah. "Must make you feel sick, Dean
Wivel. Iíll bet it doesnít feel half as bad as I felt. I thought Iíd lost
it. The ability to make people do whatever I wanted them to do. Fuck me I
was wrong! It gave me more power, more will and more intent."
Dean looked at Jeremiah and shook his head.
"And thatís what I want you to find out, Dean. I want to see how much power,
will and intent youíve got compared to me. I can build and destroy
somebodyís life. I want to see if you can end it."
Clara walked back into the room with a tray of cups. She put it down on the
floor and picked one up to give to Dean. He ignored her totally. She laughed
and gave it to Jeremiah instead.
"Iím hungry," said Dean.
Clara picked up her own cup of tea and got back into bed.
"Now Dean," said Jeremiah. "I want you to do something. Look in the top
drawer over in that corner and tell me what you see."
Dean slowly turned round and walked towards the chest of drawers in the
corner. He stopped for a second and took a long deep breath and opened the
top drawer. He stared for a few seconds at the object resting on a pile of
"Itís a gun," said Dean.
Jeremiah and Clara laughed in unison.
"Well spotted," said Jeremiah. "Iím glad youíve recognised what it is
because thereís a lot I want you to understand before you use it. First I
want you to tell me how youíre feeling."
Dean left the gun untouched and closed the drawer.
"I feel sick Jeremiah. Everything was so good and the way I wanted it to be.
Youíve been here five minutes and now everything is the complete opposite.
Thereís nothing left for me. Itís all been destroyed. I donít understand
what Iíve done."
Jeremiah said nothing for a little while.
"Whereís your FIE, Dean Wivel?" He asked, eventually.
"Your ĎFuck It Elementí you twat. Whatís happened to your ability to say
ĎFuck Ití and do whatever? In order to exploit this life to which we have
grown accustomed, meaning you and me in this flat, you must possess the need
to say ĎFuck Ití at any given opportunity. A situation presents itself and
you must grab itís bollocks and announce ĎFuck It you cunt!í
"I said that to you once and you didn't get it... you didnít get it at all. In
that gun there is a single bullet. You have to decide which one of us is to
"Remember the power, the intent and the will? Well, if you have the power
then youíll kill me, because then you would have righted the wrong you think
Iíve done you. If you have the intent then youíll shoot Clara, because sheís
the main reason you feel this bad. You loved her; she made you happy. If you
really loved her that much then youíll recognise that she has to die. You
can then live on, in some prison cell, slowly festering and rotting - hating
yourself and everybody around you.
"And if you have the will, youíll use it on Dean Wivel. How can you go on?
You know that your life is over and that Iíll haunt you forever. If youíre
brave enough, if you possess enough will, you will use that bullet on
Dean turned round and stared at Jeremiah in disbelief. He stood completely
silent unable to comprehend what was being asked of him.
"What if I just turn around and walk away?" he asked. "Youíve done what you
wanted ≠ youíve destroyed my life, youíve got the girl. Why does there have
to be bloodshed? Just let me go and try to get over it and leave me alone.
Why do you have to push it even further?"
"Because I want to see how far you will go. We jelled, Dean Wivel. You might
not see it now but we built an unbreakable friendship. Our Mr. Ben was
totally rigid and unbreakable. It still is. To break it one of us has to die
and that will be the end. If you walk away I will pick that gun up and shoot
you in the back. It has to end."
Dean looked at his feet. He didn't speak for what seemed like a lifetime.
"I get it." He said, finally.
Dean turned round and walked back to the chest of drawers. He slowly opened
the top drawer and picked up the gun. Without closing the drawer he turned
back round and walked to the foot of the bed.
"I do get it, Jeremiah. Iíve always understood what it meant to you. The
problem was you didn't understand what it meant to me. Fuck all, thatís
what. Itís a game. You donít understand that the whole thing is a game. You
canít make new rules or try and change the old ones. Whoever you want me to
shoot it will ultimately be for the wrong reasons. Itís not up to you to
make the choice."
"Thatís where youíre wrong, Dean," said Jeremiah. "Thereís only one person
who understands the reasons. Iíve already made the choice. Itís up to you to
work that out."
"And how do you feel about this?" Dean asked Clara. "You havenít said
anything for ages. Donít you care that he might want me to shoot you?"
"I told you, Dean," said Clara. "I donít care. After what you did Iíd do
anything for Jeremiah. Iíd even die for him. Thatís what love is all about."
"No it isnít." announced Dean. As he said this he opened the barrel of the
gun and let the bullet fall to the floor. He kicked it under the bed.
"There isnít a winner or a right choice. You know, Jeremiah, that nobody
will get killed now. You just want to play little games. You think that
Clareís a weak woman, but sheís not. She knows that I wouldnít shoot her.
She also knows that I havenít got it in me to shoot you or myself. You think
that youíve won, but you havenít. You also know that it is just a game. The
whole Mr. Ben thing means nothing. It may be a simple way to describe people
and psychology, but it means fuck all.
"Thereís only one question youíve asked that has had any relevance ≠ have I
got the will? Well...Yes I have."
Dean smiled as he said this.
"What?" asked Jeremiah.
Dean reached into his pocket and pulled out two bullets. Before either
Jeremiah or Clara understood what was going on heíd put the bullets in the
barrel, pulled back the trigger and pointed it at Jeremiah.
"As I said, Crave, Claraís not a weak woman. She wouldnít agree to die for
you. You might have convinced her that it would be a laugh to get me to fall
in love with her before you unleash your little plan, but sheíd never die
Jeremiah looked absolutely mortified.
"What are you doing?" he cried.
"I knew that the gun was in the drawer. I also knew that you were too piss
weak to put a live round in there, so I took the trouble to go out and get a
couple!" shouted Dean. "One for you and one for her!"
As Dean said her! he turned the gun towards Clara and shot her square
between the eyes, killing her instantly.
"Oh my God!" squealed Jeremiah. "What have you done!"
He leant over Claraís bloodstained body and tried to lift her head.
Unfortunately, most of her head was dripping off the wall, so he caressed
her naked body instead.
"What have you done, Dean." Cried Jeremiah Craven. "You cunt! Youíve killed
her! Youíve killed her! You werenít supposed to kill anybody! Oh my God
sheís dead! Youíve mutilated her you bastard!"
Dean smiled and pulled the trigger back on the gun.
"The will to win," said Dean. "Must far exceed the otherís will to win. It
wasn't about winning for you, Jeremiah; it was about playing a game. You
didnít take the game seriously enough - which is why she has died."
"How did you know about the gun?" sobbed Jeremiah, shaking uncontrollably as
he held what was left of Clara.
"Because youíre a dumb cunt, Jeremiah Craven!"
There was a wicker chair in front of the chest of drawers. Dean walked
towards it and sat down.
"Leave her alone and listen to me, Jeremiah."
Jeremiah looked over and saw the gun pointed at his head. He carefully
unwrapped his arms from around Claraís body and sat round attentively to
look at Dean. He was totally naked, covered in blood and crying his heart
out. He painted a sorry picture.
"The tables have turned somewhat, eh, Jeremiah?" said Dean.
"Fuck you!" screamed Jeremiah Craven.
"Watch your mouth, please. You have to understand, Crave, that I know
exactly whatís been going on and I know exactly what youíve been trying to
do from the very day you started. You really should be more careful when
youíre hatching schemes to destroy the person you live with, especially when
they have their ear pressed up against the wall."
Jeremiah looked wearily at Dean.
"You knew what I was doing?" he asked.
"From day one!" Announced Dean. "From the day I overheard you telling some
cunt on the phone what you were going to do, to when you arrived in Brighton
yesterday. Iíve known your every movement for the last five years. I knew
exactly where and when you met Clara, I know that it was you who called the
caterers and asked specifically for me to go to the café. I thought about
making it more interesting by ignoring her and leaving it up to you to push
harder, but I wanted to get it done with."
"How? How could you possibly know?" asked Jeremiah.
"Because youíre dumb! You donít plan a scheme as grand as yours without
leaving a mark. There were people you freaked out along the way. I simply
posed as a kind of understanding uncle figure and got what information I
wanted out of them. You thought that youíd tied everything up and made the
whole plan watertight. You fucked up Massley style mate."
Jeremiah looked at the gun pointed at his head and leaned back a little.
"Are you going to kill me as well?" He asked.
"Yeah, in a minute. First, though, I want to know why you did it. Why did
you devote your life to the effort of destroying mine."
"I just thought it would be... a bit of a laugh. You did hurt me, you know. I
donít know why, but..."
"It had nothing to do with Mr. Ben syndromes or friendship," said Dean.
"Itís because youíre a fucking faggot, and you wanted to fuck me, isn't it?"
Jeremiah looked angrily at the gun.
"What?" Answered an astonished Jeremiah. "Iím no fucking queer! What the
fuck are talking about!"
"Which fucking word didnít you understand! Youíre a queer cunt and you
wanted to fuck me. As simple as!"
Jeremiah Craven was clinging desperately to what remnants of reality
"Dean!" he shouted. "Youíre talking shit! Iím not queer! Iíve been shagging
Clara for the last three years! How the fuck could I be queer if I was doing
Dean looked at Jeremiah and smiled.
"Yeah, I know." He said whimsically. "Just checking. It all comes down to
who wants it the most and who possesses the bollocks to see it through. I
just chucked in the queer thing on the off chance that you actually were."
"What?" said Jeremiah Craven. "Are you some sort of gay basher, then. Have
you sunk that low that you want to humiliate and hurt queers? Youíre fucked
"No." said Dean, coldly. "Itís just that Iíve been planning this occasion
for a while and I promised myself that Iíd throw in a few teasers for you,
just to throw you off guard. All I want to hear you say is that youíve
Jeremiah Craven adjusted his position on the bed so that he was leaning back
a little more.
"Fuck you!" said Jeremiah Craven. "Iíve got nothing to lose now. Just shoot
me and get it done with. Iím not giving you the satisfaction of saying that
youíve won or that Iíve lost. Yeah, I fucked up and I shouldíve been more
careful. But you broke our friendship! You took away the one thing that
meant more to me than anything because youíre too weak and pathetic to stick
"All you had to do was stick around a bit longer. Another year ≠ whatís a
year? But no, you had to fuck off back to little Stacey because you couldn't
Dean remained silently smiling in the wicker chair.
"What do you think that really did to me? How do you think that really made
me fell? Maybe the Mr. Ben thing is just a load of bollocks, but all that
friendship stuff is true. Iíd never had a mate like you before. We could
pull birds together, smoke puff all night, talk bollocks for days on end. It
was the best few months of my life. And just because you were bored -
because thatís all it came down to - you fucked off home. Ok, I admit the
big plan was out of order and wouldíve hurt you really badly if it had come
off, but I never meant to kill you. It was just a bit of a laugh."
Dean lowered the gun.
"None of that matters to me," said Dean. "Iíve been festering for five
years. Whatever plan I had to stop you has totally gone. That was five years
ago. Iíve discovered something better, stronger... something that will out
live your pathetic little desire for ditsy friendships and bonds. Iíve got
With that Dean pulled the trigger and shot Jeremiah Craven in the head. He
died instantly not knowing that Deanís own plan was just beginning.
Staceyís eyes were red and puffed up. Sheíd just been told a story about
three people whom she thought she knew. Now she realised that she didn't
know either of them, especially the one she thought she knew best.
"When I heard the second gun shot I banged on the door. Dean let me in and
told me everything," said Dave.
"How come nobody knew about Jeremiah? If heíd been shot then surely his
blood would have gone everywhere."
"It wasnít easy. We had to clean and paint the walls, change the bedding and
clean the room as thoroughly as possible so no trace of Jeremiah Craven was
left. We waited until it was dark and wrapped him up in a bin bag. We then
drove Jeremiah to the New Forest and buried him where nobody will ever find
him." Replied Dave.
Stacey sat down on the sofa next to Dave and sobbed.
"I wish that youíd never told me any of this. At least I felt better not
knowing what had happened or what Dean had been up to. Jeremiahís plan was
bad enough ≠ Deanís was just... calculated! This way round I feel worse. My
world doesnít exist anymore."
"I did tell you."
Stacey wiped her eyes with her hand and poured herself another glass of
wine. Her whole existence had been turned upside down. The person she
trusted most in the world, the person she loved and understood more than
anybody was a complete stranger. He was a psychopath, a cold-blooded killer
whoíd slain two people. Why hadnít he just confronted Jeremiah all those
years ago? Why had he waited until the time was right? ≠ Heíd waited
patiently for five years so that he could shoot Jeremiah. Heíd never loved
Clara. In fact he must have hated her to kill her like that. Jeremiahís plot
may have been horrible and brutal, but Deanís counter-plan was down right
"If he could wait all those years for Jeremiah just so he could get him
back, what else is he capable of?" asked Stacey. "Heíd lied about everything
for five years: is he out to get other people? Is he out to get me? Am I
part of the Great Big Plan?"
"Who knows?" replied Dave. "Maybe Iím for chop. At the moment Deanís in
hiding with myself and a couple of others who were involved. Iíd been roped
into the whole thing by Jeremiah years ago. I got out just at the right time
and disappeared. I discovered what Jeremiah was planning and got down to
Brighton whilst Dean and Clara were on holiday. All I wanted to do was warn
Dean ≠ I didn't realise that heíd already got a plan. I donít really
understand anything about him to be honest. I donít think that heís planned
anything else and Iím pretty sure that he genuinely loves you and cares for
you. But as I said, who knows? Maybe youíve got an elaborate scheme to kill
"Oh donít be ridiculous! How can you possibly say that?" said Stacey.
v"How could Jeremiah know that for every move he made against Dean, Dean was
always peering over his shoulder? Who knows anything? If Jeremiahís failure
teaches you anything itís that every outcome is possible. If you get
yourself into something make sure you are aware of each eventuality."
"Thatís not very comforting, and to be honest I donít want to hear any more.
Iím getting more paranoid by the minute, thanks very much. Iíve just
discovered that my brother is utterly evil and into premeditated murder. I
would therefore prefer to be depressed in peace. I donít think thereís
anything left to say."
Dave saw his cue and decided enough was enough. He left without saying a
word and walked through the rain to a waiting car. He got in the front seat
and stared out of the windscreen.
"Well, she knows everything. Everything we decided to tell her anyway," said
Dave looked at the driver. Through the darkness the driver looked back at
Dave and began to laugh hysterically. Dave reciprocated with further
"Excellent," said the driver. "Sheíll keep for a while longer."
"How long?" asked Dave.
"In Massley good time, meíyoung chapster. Massley good time."
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