Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 July 2011
SILENCE (lyrics by delerium)
Heaven holds a sense of wonder
and I wanted to believe
that I’d get caught up
when the rage in me subsides
‘Where is the joy, Barclay, in the faces of these children?’
‘I would imagine that they’re terrified beyond belief, Heinz,’ Barclay replied as he examined the faces of the seven children in front of him.
‘Terrified beyond belief? Of what?’
Barclay smiled, ‘Of you, Heinz. Terrified of you.’
The large German grimaced.
‘Boo,’ he shouted in their direction. Two of the younger children began to cry, and were comforted by an older girl. Heinz laughed
‘Oh, what’s the matter? Poor babies scared of the big German man?’ He waited for one of the children to respond. None did, and it angered him. ‘It’s not the German you should be afraid of, it’s his big gun.’ Heinz waved the semi-automatic gun in the air.
‘Heinz,’ Barclay said, ‘stop tormenting the prey.’
The German looked harshly at the other man who was adamant on spoiling his fun, then grunted.
‘Exactly what are you going to do with us?’ asked a skinny, older boy.
Barclay walked closer to the terrified group of children. He towered over them; looked closely at each one.
‘What’s your name, boy?’
The boy shifted slightly on the floor, uncomfortable at being spoken to. He hesitated before answering, ‘Mac. Everyone calls me Mac.’
Barclay slowly nodded. He looked at Mac a moment longer, then turned his back and began to walk away.
‘Hey, you didn’t answer my question,’ Mac called, stopping Barclay in his tracks.
‘You don’t want to know that, Mac. Trust me, kid,’ he replied.
Before Barclay could say anything else, his cell phone rang. He quickly answered it, mumbling responses to whatever he was being asked. He threw glances towards the children who were huddling closer and closer together. Mac saw an opportunity to hatch a plan while neither Barclay nor Heinz was looking. He leaned towards the older girl who was comforting the two, now sobbing, smaller children.
‘Alison, there’s seven of us and only two of them. We could break into two groups and tackle them. Easy. Kenny and I are both quarterbacks. We could go one on each team.’
The girl, quite shocked by what Mac had just suggested, shook her head quite vigorously. She spoke in a whisper, ‘Don’t be stupid, Mac. Look at the size of them compared to us. It won’t make a difference that you and Kenny play football. These guys are huge. Besides, they both have guns. We’d be dead before we could get up. And the little ones are of no use, so there’d only be four of us who could help. And I’m not dying because of your stupid plan.’
She punctuated her speech with a punch to Mac’s closest shoulder. He recoiled, the hit completely unexpected.
‘We’re probably going to die anyway,’ he whispered back. ‘Why not go out our way?’
‘Because,’ she snarled back, ‘it’s not our way. It’s your way, and it’s stupid.’
Heinz turned his attention back to the children just as Alison spat out the last word.
‘What did you say? Did you call me stupid, you little bitch?’ Heinz strode to Alison. She shook her head. He snarled at Alison, reminding her of a rabid dog she had once seen her father shoot. And just like the dog, Alison knew that this man needed to be put down.
With a resonating clunk, a door at the back of the room flew open spilling sunlight into the warehouse. Mac, utilising the sudden burst of natural light that removed the shadows from the room, quickly looked around for safe cover. Palettes, wooden crates, and rubbish littered the warehouse, and he saw at least four flights of stairs that could potentially lead the children to safety. His eyes were drawn to several tiny, red, flashing lights. He thought he recognized them and he determined in that moment, to fight for their freedom.
Alison’s basic grasp of school German allowed her to make out in earnest, what the man at the other end of the warehouse was saying to Heinz. When he finished barking out instructions and left, she pulled the three little ones closer as Heinz moved back to the group.
‘You’re not having them,’ she said to him as he reached out a large and dirty hand to grab one of the younger children.
‘What did you say to me, stupid girl?’ he said to her.
‘You heard me, you moron. You’re not having them. You’re not taking them to him,’ she spat out the words with as much force as she could muster. Heinz snarled at her again, this time bearing his crooked teeth.
She tried to push the younger children behind her. Mac saw what she was trying to do, and pulled a young boy to his side.
‘Come here, Matty. Stay behind me. Kenny, you take Adele. Linda, Jake is yours.’
Matty, Adele, and Jake quickly scooted in behind their older friends. The German sneered, breaking into laughter at the futility of what Mac was trying to achieve. He reached forward again, grasping Jake by the collar of his school shirt. Linda grabbed the boy by the waist and valiantly tried to pull him back to her side. She was no match for the big German.
‘Let him go, girl,’ Barclay quietly said. ‘There’s no point in putting up a fight.’
Linda looked to Mac for confirmation of what she should do. He was staring down Barclay.
‘Hold onto him, Linda. Don’t you let him go,’ said Mac sternly.
Alison stood up quickly, catching Heinz unaware. Startled, he leapt back a step, letting go of Jake as he did so.
‘Leave him alone,’ she said.
Heinz raised his left hand and quickly snapped it down across her face. She fell to the floor, clutching her face, shocked that he had slapped her so hard. She could taste the blood in her mouth.
Heinz bent down towards her. She could smell his sweat and cheap aftershave. He opened his mouth to speak, and she spat her blood in his face. He was now the one recoiling in horror. Seizing the moment, Mac sprung to his feet as fast as he could and used Heinz’s backwards momentum to assist his forward attack. Keeping his head low, Mac barreled into the German, snatching his weapon away as they fell to the floor.
Fumbling with the gun, Mac wrestled it into position, and began to pound Heinz’s face with the butt, screaming for Kenny to take Barclay down at the same time. Kenny, quick to move, threw himself at Barclay, who remained relatively steady on his feet. Alison, sensing that the quarterback might need help, crashed her petite frame into Barclay. It was enough to off-balance the man, and send him spiraling to the floor.
Kenny wrapped his strong quarterback’s hands around Barclay’s neck and squeezed as hard as he could.
‘Ali, get the gun,’ he said to her. She rolled free of Barclay and wrestled the gun from the hands of the suffocating man. Unsure how to use it, she pushed the barrel onto Barclay’s forehead, her index finger wrapped around the trigger. Barclay stopped fighting, no longer able to draw breath, he gasped for air as he began to lose consciousness.
Heinz’s bloodied head lolled from one side to the other as Mac continued to pound it with the butt of the weapon.
‘It’s not me you should be scared of, Heinz, it’s your gun,’ he said, every word punctuated with a hit to the German’s head.
The little ones, comforted by Linda, watched on in awe as Mac, Alison, and Kenny violently dealt with their captors.
Convinced that Heinz was not getting back up, Mac dropped the gun, stood up, and walked to the nearest of the flashing red lights. He reached out and pulled it free of the cord, holding it up in his bloodied hand for he others to see.
‘It’s a camera,’ said to them. ‘He’s been watching us.’
For a second, Alison stood stunned. When she processed what Mac had said she ran, gun in hand, towards the door at the opposite end of the warehouse, threw it open and ran outside. Mac followed. Kenny looked back at Linda and the three younger children.
‘Watch him,’ he said pointing to the unconscious Barclay, before bolting after Alison and Mac.
Jake, spotting the unattended and blood covered semi-automatic next to the German’s corpse, cautiously stood and walked over to it.
‘Jakey, come and sit back down,’ Linda said to him, but he wasn’t listening. Before she understood what he was doing, Jake was holding the gun in his hands and walking over to Barclay’s body.
‘Jake, sweetie, put the gun down,’ she pleaded with him. He looked at her and smiled. Matty and Adele snuggled in closer to Linda, preventing her from moving.
Once again, the barrel of a gun was positioned on Barclay’s forehead, but this time he was unconscious and would never know. Linda didn’t need to tell Jake a third time to put the gun down.
‘BANG,’ he said as he pulled the trigger, firing off three bullets in quick succession into Barclay’s head. Linda, Matty, and Adele screamed in unison. Jake quickly dropped the weapon and ran back to Linda, curling up in her lap.
‘Jake, why did you do that? Why did you do that?’ she asked him, tears streaming down her cheeks.
‘I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe ‘cause he made me angry,’ came the little boy’s reply, as Mac and Kenny escorted a much calmer Alison back into the warehouse.
‘This way,’ Mac called to Linda and the smaller children. ‘We won’t have any problems leaving here now. Let’s find a way home.’