It started in darkness!
In the darkness of the study, the silence was broken by the ‘kapoof’ of the monitor turning on. Its soft, fluorescent blue light eerily lit the desk and surrounding area. There followed a soft ‘buzz/scatch’, then a fanfare of music as the hard-drive sprung into action, its small green light flashing as the system booted up. On the screen, a logo lit up for a second, then the desktop appeared, and started to load the shortcut icons, and the system tray. The mouse moved silently over a blue ‘Save the Whales’ mouse pad. On the screen, the pointer moved quickly, with obvious purpose, to the ‘START” menu, and clicked. The menu opened, displaying the program names, and highlighted the ‘INVID’ video program. The program booted, to show a cyber-punk-skinned media player. The pointer moved to the ‘PLAY’ button on the player, and in the darkness, a man’s smiling, handsome face appeared. One click on the maximise button, and the face filled the screen. The smile broadened!
Out in the hallway, an over-active six-year-old played on the landing with an Action Man figure, placing a huge studded plastic ball-on-a-chain into the figures right hand, and stretching it back over its shoulder. When he let the arm go, the ball sprung over the Action Man’s shoulder, and shot off down the hall, ricocheting off the study door. The ball made a loud THUD as it hit the door, then fell to the floor and rolled back about one foot. Young Christopher cheered. ‘I’ve killed you, Spiderman!’ he yelled at the top of his voice, crawling forward to collect the ball for a second onslaught.
Down below the stairway, in a small alcove, Karen Peters was about to make a phone call. She smiled as she looked up the stairs at her son. It was good to hear him yell. He was getting over his father’s death at last. And not before time, either! It had been nearly twelve months since he had died, and though she didn’t really miss her husband – it had never been a love match, let’s face it – Christopher did, and she thought, not for the first time since the accident, that he was never going to stabilise. If she had known how long things were going to take to return to normal, she would never have involved herself in Paul’s plan to get rid of Andrew. Divorce would have been easier, but Andrew would fight to the very end. His family, running a long established marketing company, had amassed millions over the generations, and Andrew had access to it so she faced losing Christopher in a custody battle. Especially if details of her infidelity happened to come to light! That was a risk she wasn’t willing to take! She loved her son, and knew that Andrew did as well. He would deny her a divorce just to give Christopher a fully parented growing-up.
She had met Paul during a major opening at her gallery, just after Christopher’s birth. They had been having the affair almost from that point. She was sure Andrew knew, as there was certainly no fucking in the marital bed these days. If he did know, he wasn’t saying anything. She didn’t know if he was fucking anyone or not – though she did suspect one of her closest friends – and she really didn’t care. Let’s be realistic, she thought to herself. If he was screwing someone else, he was leaving her alone.
It didn’t take much convincing on Paul’s part to talk her into putting a slow leak into one of the car tyres. It was winter, and the roads were icy, so accidents did happen. Andrew did have a reputation for not looking after anything mechanical he owned. A few crocodile tears when the police showed up at the door; some kind words and a comforting hug to her mother and father-in-law; regular trips to the cemetery. She was pretty sure nobody suspected anything.
The coroner had judged it a misadventure, and that, frankly, had been that! Though Paul was keen to move in, she felt that would be a bad move. She had told him to hold off for a year, until a ‘normal’ amount of time – as deemed reasonable by their parent’s and friends – had passed, and people would be expecting her to be getting her life back on track.
Christopher’s perchance for fantasy toys however, she hadn’t counted on.
Upstairs in the hallway, Action Man was about to launch his second assault. He had bought in reinforcements in the guise of rocket-roller-blades Action Man, clutching a long, hard-plastic lance, which he was rolling down the hallway towards Spidermen. Muscles bulging, his lance poised in front of him like a knight of old, Christopher pushed the lance-bearing figure a bit harder than he intended.The figure shot straight past Spiderman, and through the banister rungs at the edges of the landing. Christopher cheered at his accuracy. As he moved towards the edge of the stairs to climb down and collect the errant figure, the study door creaked open. In the darkness beyond the door, he saw a soft blue glow. He was momentarily distracted by a scream f issuing up from the lower floor, but curiosity got the better of him, and he headed towards the partially open study door. Pushing it open, he broke into a beaming smile.
‘Daddy!’ he yelled, as he entered the room.
Karen had just lifted the phone to her ear. She looked up just in time to see the Action Man figure hurtling toward her through space. If she had time to comprehend what was happening, she would have laughed at the incongruous sight of the figure taking flight, but it was time that was denied her. It hit her full in the face, it’s spear entering her left eye, and piercing right through to her brain. She didn’t even have time to hear Christopher cry “Daddy”, as if she would have believed what he cried out anyway.
In the study, two figures embraced on the screen of the monitor. They both peered out, as the pointer moved to the ‘SHUT DOWN’ command.
It ended in darkness!