Friday, October 07, 2005

Ghostopia, Chapter 66: Kat's Story, Conclusion

(For the first time in history, I shall be skipping a reCAPPENING! Or rather, I'll delay it for a chapter. 'Stead of your regular multiplies of five, this one's gonna be held till after this chapter 'cos I figured it'll be much neater to just tie up the whole Kat saga in the next reCAPPENING. Not like anyone cares anyway =p)

When Katrina's eyes opened the first thing she saw was the stiff body of her dad trapped beneath the mangled wreck that was the floor of the car. There was a deep gash across his temple, blood gushing out of it in a most unsightly manner.
She tried to move. A jolt of pain shot to her neck, the sort you felt after a bad night's sleep. Multiplied by thrice, probably.
"Katrina..." he seethed. "What have you done?"
A crowd had gathered outside, some looking on curiously and some trying to help them out. Several burly men were removing the doors by the hinges, yelling at them all the time if they were okay. She didn't know what to say or do.
"Someone's going to have to pay for this," her dad kept repeating. "The car was brand new."
At last they managed to get them both out. Apart from a sore neck, Katrina wasn't all that injured. Her dad, on the other hand, was screaming in pain every chance he got.
"Get me the cops!" he yelled, then turned to glare at her. "I'll let them know this was no accident."
The blood drained from her face. Without even realising it, she had presented him the perfect chance to get rid of her. The cops would come, listen to her dad's story, dust for fingerprints, and successfully convict her of attempted murder or something. Then everyone would say bad things about her. Mr. Rogers wouldn't hire her.
What would mom say?
She felt dizzy, almost unable to stand. She kept closing her eyes, hoping each time that the car wreck would disappear when they were opened. But all it did was become uglier.
What would mom say?
As the crowd began to swell, ominous grey clouds rumbled in the sky. A light drizzle was starting to come down. Were those police sirens wailing in the distance?
What would mom say?
The overpowering rush of fear and desperation was all too frightening for the sixteen-year old girl to bear. Amidst the staring faces and scattered voices, she got up and fled the scene.
"Katrina!" she heard her dad call out. "Where do you think you're going? You're mad!"
Maybe she was. Katrina kept running and running till her shoes were all muddied. Every once in a while she would stop to clutch her aching sides, but when she heard her father's voice in her head she plodded on in agony.
Finally, drenched and utterly breathless, she found herself in a narrower-than-usual alley. They shouldn't be able to find me here.
How long had she been running? Maybe twenty minutes or so - she couldn't tell. All she knew that she could run no more. She slumped beside a wet garbage bin and suddenly realised how exhausted she was. Her heels were numb. Her arms were limp. And the pain in her chest - it was coming back. She didn't feel it at first, but every time her heart pumped it became more stabbing.
What has happened? Oh, what in the world has happened?
Katrina looked up. The tall aged walls stretched high to the dark sky, as though making sure she couldn't escape. Stacks of precariously-arranged cartons piled up at the far end of the alley. All around there was not a soul to be seen.
I don't know where I am now. And even if I did get home, I would be in serious trouble with everyone. Dad. Mom. Mr. Harold. Mr. Rogers. Mom especially. She wanted it so badly for me, and now I've ruined everything.
Katrina couldn't hold back her tears. "Help me," she wept to nobody. "I don't know what to do now."
Then the pain came again. She tried her very best to ignore it, but this time it was so terrible that it felt like a vice around her heart. The more she tried to control her breathing, the tighter the vice squeezed. There was no strength left in her to scream.
Breathe! I must try to breathe!
But she couldn't.
At that moment Katrina experienced it. It was far worse than any stage fright, any fear of being scolded, or even the fear of being in the accident. It was all of those fears rolled up together and made into something so utterly monstrous, far more than an average young girl's mind could take, that it left her paralysed on the ground. The fear of knowing that her life could end right here.
Very quickly the crippling effect spread to her whole body. She couldn't tell if her inability to move was due to the pain or the fear. The two seemed to have melded into one.
For a very long while Katrina lay there, trying to move.
She didn't even know if she did - all she felt was the pattering rain washing her strength away.
Help me, she tried to scream. I don't want to die.
Was that a man standing in front, looking down on her?
She couldn't tell. She died the next instant.

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