Zedlist – Part Eighteen
Kevin found himself at the top station. The weather was dull and wet, creating a bleak scene over the village of Edenbridge. It is one of those semi-rural areas, close enough to London to entice commuters, but featureless enough for them to spend time and money elsewhere. There was one supermarket, several residential homes, a very large graveyard and five charity shops. The only secondary school had shut down years before, leaving the kids to commute to schools in neighbouring towns. There had been a new-found optimism since the more difficult times of the recession. Villagers were holding onto the heart of Edenbridge by their fingernails. Apart from pottering around three or four little shops, going to the pub, or worshiping God, there was very little for a person to do, especially a young person. It was absolutely the perfect breeding ground for gamers.
Kevin walked down from the station towards the village. The long stretch of road provided no cover from the rain, which was getting harder by the second. The sky presented no promising gap in the grey, from which light could burst out and bless this sweep of industrial buildings. The rain was so heavy that it seemed to cover the concrete in a constant layer of water. Lonely, cold looking figures squelched up and down. Kevin was no exception, he had come out without a coat and his hoodie was dripping wet. He couldn’t fully recall what had brought him to Edenbridge, but there was only ever one reason for him coming here.
From the Land Rover parked in the driveway, he could tell that his mother was at home. He rang on the doorbell and waited. The barking of dogs was quickly followed by the door being unlatched. As soon as Valerie saw her son she threw her arms around him.
“Where have you been?” she asked, “I have been worried sick about you.
“I just thought I’d pay you a visit.”
He wondered why Katie and Pongo weren’t more pleased to see him, they usually lept all over him when he visited. Both dogs seemed more interested in the aromas of beef wafting from the direction of the kitchen.
Valerie moved her head forward everso slightly and looked at Kevin searchingly, her brow furrowed with motherly concern.
“Have you been taking drugs?” She asked.
“Muuum. For God’s sake.” Kevin exclaimed, walking past her into the living room.
“You’ve changed the wallpaper”, he said.
“Kevin, I would rather you not used the Lords name in vain.”
“It’s good to see you mum”, Kevin said, smiling.
She looked bewildered for a second.
“You need to get out of those wet clothes, Kevin.”
Valerie left the room and came back with a selection of clothes, warm from the airing cupboard. Kevin went to the bathroom and put them on, recognising the items as his own. They smelt of fabric conditioner, something he had never used at his house. He pulled the soggy contents of his trouser pockets out and then threw the clothes into the wash basket. Looking in the mirror, he noticed that his hair was noticeably shorter than he remembered. Had Alex crept into his room last night and chopped his hair off as some kind of prank? That did seem like a step too far, even for him.
“I can’t believe you went out without a jacket. You’ll catch your death of cold”, Valerie said, as Kevin came back into the living room.
“Mum, I wish you’d stop fussing like this.”
“I’ll stop fussing when you stop giving me reasons to fuss. I do worry about you”, Valerie said.
“I am fine, you have no reason to worry.”
“I wish that were true, Kevin, I really do.”
Kevin was used to his mum nagging him, but she was really overdoing it. He put it down to all the spare time she had now. ‘It must be difficult going from such a fast paced job to pottering around the house’, he thought.
“There is something I need to tell you”, Kevin said.
“What is it?” Valerie asked, nervously.
“There’s no easy way of saying this, but there is a demon that has possessed celebrities and is determined to take over our human world.” Kevin said.
Valerie started to cry, her features distorted as she sucked air in through her quivering lips. “I do wish you’d stop all this nonsense”, she said between convulsions, “you are driving me to distraction Kevin, you really are.”
“Mum, you have to listen, we are all in danger, the demon could possess us if we don’t…”
“I don’t understand what I did wrong. I always loved you didn’t I?” Valerie said after she had calmed down slightly.
“Of course you did, but that’s not the point. I’m trying to tell you that…”
“I laid down boundaries.”
“What the hell are you going on about?” Kevin muttered under his breath.
“What am I going on about? What am ‘I’ going on about? I’m not the one who keeps talking about demons Kevin. Demons are not real.”
Even though Valerie used ‘The Good Book’ as her moral compass, she chose not to take everything she read at face value. To her, demons were a symbol of fear, destruction and decay; three concepts that scared her to death. A long career in Law had been the perfect distraction. Now that she had retired, she found that the previously dormant fears were brimming to the surface. There was only so much house work and pilates she could do.
Photograph by Charles L.Hire An Editor