Disclaimer : I have no rights on HOLLYOAKS, nor on any of Hollyoak's characters used in this fanfic. This fic started as a Facebook challenge, and was originally in French to bring a French audience to that great British soap :) But as some of you sent me an email to get the english version, here it is ! ;-) Remember I'm a French-speaker. So there might be grammar and vocabulary mistakes in this text. If you don't understand something, don't hesitate to ask and I'll correct it ;-)
Note 1 : Even if the main character is Tony Hutchinson again, don't try to link this story to my other Hollyoaks fic : « Oriunde Ai Fi » (except for some psychological traits, maybe ^^; ).
Note 2 : Some times ago, I started giving the title of the musics I was listening while writing. Music can influence the mood and sometimes the actions. So in case you'd like to dive into the "atmosphere": "Lost in Space" - Avantasia, and "Omnos" - Eluveitie.
WAKE UP, TONY !
Chapter 1: A Ghost from the Past.
Tony startled and almost fell flat on the floor. He opened wide eyes, just to shut them tight again, blinded by a ray of light. He raised a hand before his face, as if to protect himself and opened his eyes again, cautiously this time.
He looked around the room where he was and noted at once that both his trapezoids and the nape of his neck were quite painful. He recognised his office and understood what had happened. Once again he might have fallen asleep in front of his PC, and it was the daylight which filtered through the shutters that woke him up. He was going to pay that dearly, with aches, he knew it !
'A good - fit - way to start your new decade, dude. You'd better get used to these'. He had just remembered which day it was today.
He sighed and turned around in his seat in order to stand up. But when he put his bare feet on the floor, he felt a sudden aching pain in his big left toe. He cursed and glanced at the carpet on which his desk was resting. There was a glass, now broken and in the shape of a chaotic puzzle - one part missing and apparently quite fond of his flesh now. The rug looked still wet; the fall had thus been recent. That was probably the sound that woke him up, and not just the light as he initially suspected.
He clenched his teeth as he tried to remove the piece of glass from his foot as painlessly as possible. First the sleep aches, now a cut. If it went on like that - he thought with some dark amusement - he wouldn't be there to see next sunrise.
An image suddenly flashed in his mind. The glassy wall between the corridor and the living room of his flat. One of the glass cubes exploding under the impact of-
And then the image left him. Tony froze in his movement. What was that? A memory? A dream leftover? He frowned, trying to remember what he had done the day (and night) before.
After the closing of his restaurant Il Gnosh, he had gone for a drink with his girlfriend Jacquie, his half-brother Dom and his sister-in-law Tina. Jacquie and he had returned to his flat late at night, passably drunk. Tony had wanted to check two or three accountancies on his PC before going to bed. He had been then hit by a burst of nostalgia and started watching one by one all the old pictures on his computer. All these old faces, dear friends, much of which had left the Hollyoaks village and Chester, or had alas disappeared in incidents that were not always clear... Sometimes those situations had looked like anything but an incident.
Yesterday evening, he was still twenty-nine. He had wanted to spend every last minutes of his twenties with his eyes wide open, remembering the past.
No wonder - he understood while totally removing the piece of glass from his foot and observing the minor cut - why he had dreamt that his actual friends were organising a surprise party for his birthday where all his old friends were also invited. Except that his dream had some bitter taste. He didn't clearly know why, but every times when he tried to gather the fragments of his dream, those memories just frayed as the mist in the morning breeze. And the more he tried to catch up with a detail, the more the scraps of fog passed through him. And when he turned over, there was nothing left there. Nothing but him.
He put the treacherous piece of glass on his desk, realising afterwards the strangeness in the act of separating the pieces and offering this one a preferential treatment. Why? Cause that thing had wounded him? Oh great...
('Come here, little piece of glass. Now that my blood flows through your "veins", you are special. You earned your place near me on my desk').
And what next? Was he going to make a necklace with that piece of glass as a medallion?
('This is a necklace with my first milk-tooth as a medallion... and this is a necklace with as medallion the cause of my first pain when I turned thirty. Well, technically it was my second pain, but I decided that a seat and a desk were perhaps too heavy to walk around, hung on a necklace...')
Tony shrugged to come back to reality, and put a mental note not to forget to use the Hoover on the carpet in order to remove every tiny shards that a simple hand collecting would miss. He leant backwards on his seat, closed his eyes, and passed a hand on his face, noticing a thin layer of sweat. Somehow, he felt relieved not to remember that last dream. As if - in the end - that dream had rather been a serious nightmare that he'd better forget in order to focus on reality. He had enough stress in his awaken life, not to encumber his mind with pressures from some imaginary world. His friends were sometimes taunting him about his cartesian mind or his too down-to-earth attitude, but he usually retorted that mornings were too short to lose his precious time making researches on Google to get the meaning of a dream where - for example - an egg was falling from a table, but instead of crunching on the floor, it was bouncing dully again, and again, and again, and again, until it reached the window, broke the glass to pass through and went on bouncing on the street... Or the meaning of a Terminator-wanna-be biker holding a bunch of red roses and-
Tony frowned. Where did this image come from? A reminiscence from his latest nightmare? But just as he wondered, that memory vanished from his conscious mind.
He would get many occasions to remember it later...
He opened his eyes. His thought for Google researches brought his focus back on his computer screen, and for a moment, he didn't understand what he was looking at.
The screen was completely dark, except for a single line in white, just like old DOS messages. His waking-up vision was still slightly blurred; he narrowed his eyes and leant forward.
"WAKE-UP, TONY !"
Tony's thought abruptly sped up, and his somehow paranoid mind came up with several possible answers: MAYBE Windows was programmed to send small and stupid messages on the owner's birthday occasion. Tony got this computer less than a year before and so, didn't have the occasion to see that "action" yet. But he didn't remember entering his birth date (October 30th) in any recording form. MAYBE someone had changed his screen-saver to display this message as a joke. Probably Dom, who was often teasing his "big bro" on the fact that the latter had deep sleeps and difficult mornings; yet, Tony was not exactly found of having his half-brother passing through his password protection. Or, last possibility, MAYBE he was in the Matrix and Morpheus was going to ring him to propose a rendezvous in a nightclub.
His Cartesian mind wiped off the third choice, but none of the remaining two made him smile. With a abrupt gesture, he moved the mouse and recovered the screen as it was when he fell asleep. A picture of Kurt, Jambo and himself, taken 12 years earlier, the very day of his 18th birthday, on October 30th 1995. The time of long hair and check shirts. Way before Kurt and Ruth's wedding. Way before the Christmas when Dawn died of leukaemia in Jambo's arms, leaving him completely devastated. Way before Jambo decided that too many things in Hollyoaks reminded him of Dawn and left for Anglesey in Wales.
Jambo had been one of his best friends. They even shared the same flat for awhile, alongside their third "room mate": Jambo's life-size plastic cow. One of these typically Jambo-ish weird stuffs, just as "Beryl", his three-wheel bug with its Mickey Mouse ears...
Tony started smiling at that memory, before a sad expression appeared on his face. He had not received any news from Jambo for awhile. Not since Christmas 2004. Not since the strange vision he'd had from Jambo. Oh, he had told his friends that it had just been a woken dream, and that no, he hadn't seen a ghost! He had even pretended that he had called Jambo at Anglesey and that he was very much alive.
But the reality was otherwise: He remembered remaining prostrate in front of the phone, not daring to compose Jambo's number, dreading to learn that the point of no-return had been reached for his friend. And that exactly seven years after Dawn's death, he had finally made the Big Jump... And that himself had seen his ghost. Nowadays, Tony was still unaware of what scared him the most. But he had never dared making his phone call, finally.
To be able to see dead people was probably a fantasy for most of the people of his age, but the idea to have such a capacity didn't tempt Tony at all. For these reasons, he hated the Ghost Whisperer TV series. Somewhere deep inside, it reminded him of his former room-mate and it terrified him.
He pretended to his friends that he was sometimes driving to Wales in order to pay a visit to Jambo, but he never dared passing the border between the two 'countries'. These evenings he was supposed to spend with his best friend, he was spending them getting completely drunk in a pub of some godforsaken hole, very far from Chester (just to make sure he'd never meet anybody he knew). And when alcohol would finally win over his guilt, he would crawl back to his car and fall asleep on the backseat until a strong headache - or a cop - would wake him up.
When his friends would see him the next day, stumbling like a zombie in the streets of Hollyoaks, they would all believe he had a reaaaaaaally long and great party with Jambo! And Tony would be the last person to contradict them. After all, it was not like he hadn't lied before...
He hated himself for his weakness. But the more the time flew, the less he felt comfortable with the idea of calling Jambo about this dream or vision he had. Jambo would probably wonder why it took so long to his ol' friend to check if he was all right. On the other hand - and it was the only thing comforting Tony - all these years of silence never pushed Jambo to call him to ask some news. He could have !
... if he was still alive.
If at Christmas - almost three years ago - he didn't blow his brain up, cut up his veins, took way too much sleeping pills or other creative ways (even everything at once, just to be sure)... and came back just afterwards as a ghost in order to haunt Tony and show him what his life would become if he kept being too tight-fisted!
A pop-up in the bottom right of his screen pulled him out of that dark train of thoughts. A new incoming mail. He absentmindedly clicked on it, expecting a new advertisement for Viagra or a hoax telling that O2 would offer him the latest state-of-the-art mobile phone if he forwarded that mail to at least 50 people of his address book.
But his breathing stopped when the saw the author of that latest mail, and he remembered how his cartesian mind hated coincidences. "James Bulton".
To Be Continued...
When I announce a fic centered on a particular character, and that that very character is shot in the prolog, maybe there's a possibility that the rest will either be a flash-back, or some weeeeeird stuff coming ;) (after all the stories I wrote before, you should get used to it :p )
WHOOOPS! There might be new readers, here O_O; Nice reader, please have a seat, make yourself home for the continuation. Do you want a cup of tea? Coffee? Pop-corns? A seat belt? ... A Straight jacket? :-)
I told you last time that this story was more advanced in French (as it was initially created to bring the french audience to the Hollyoaks show) than in English. So now, both languages are even... until I put a new chapter in French. Quite soon, by the way ;-)
Thanks for all of you who read so far, despite my terrible English. (and despite the fact it is not a John-Paul & Craig fic as you usually (and mostly) find on fanfiction dot net ;-) )
Meanwhile, while there's still time, I'd encourage you to listen to the SING FOR ENGLAND song our Hollyoaks friends did. Probably the only song worth representing England in the Football World Cup ;-) And if you ever have 60/70p to spend, don't hesitate to buy the song online. The benefits of the song will go to the Alder Hey Children's Hospital. :-)
Until next chapter, I wish you a LOT OF FUN :-)