Chapter 1


Emily walked down the street, her brown hair blowing wildly around her because of the strong wind. She was meant to be at school but her brother had asked to see her and she couldn't say no. Especially not after how bad he'd been lately.

She was wearing a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and a black band shirt which she was feeling slightly uncertain about. For some reason she felt as if she should have dressed up a bit more.

As she reached the end of the street she realised that through the noise of the wind screaming through the air she could hear the sound of a phone ringing. The street was empty so she knew that it wasn't anybody's mobile.

She looked around, trying to find the source of the noise, until her eyes eventually rested on a phone booth, a few metres away from her.

Something flashed in her memory of a day two years ago but she ignored it. She couldn't let herself be drawn in by irrational fears.

She walked over to the phone booth, the door closing behind her, and picked up the phone.

"Hello?" she asked.

"Hello," the voice replied, a hint of amusement in the man's voice.

"Erm...Are you calling for someone in particular?" Emily asked, fiddling with the phone cord.

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, this is a phone booth."

"I am calling for someone in particular, yes."

"And who would that be?"


Emily laughed. "Who are you exactly? I wasn't expecting a call."

"It doesn't matter who I am. It only matters who you are Emily."

She paused, not knowing what to say. "How do you know my name?"

"Oh I know lots of things about you. I know that you're seventeen years old. I know that you and your parents don't get on. I know that you ride your bike to school everyday. I also know that you're bunking off school today so that you can meet up with your brother."

"How the hell do you know that?" Emily was scared now. How did this man know this about her? Something about this seemed familiar.

"I told you Emily. I know a lot about you. I know a lot about your brother as well."

"Okay then. What's his name?"

"That's easy. His name is Stu."

He knew too much. How did he know so much? "Okay, I'm hanging up now."

"It wouldn't be in your best interest to disconnect me Emily. Oh wait, would you prefer Ems?"

"Oh god. What do you want?"

"I just want a conversation with someone. Is that so wrong?"
"Why do you want a conversation with me? You could talk to anyone else."

"You don't recognise my voice do you? Wait, but then again why would you? I only talked to your brother."

"M-my brother? What do you mean you've only talked to my brother?"

"Stu and I had a great conversation a few years ago. I'm sure he told you about it. It didn't end well. I'm hoping this conversation will be different."

"No," Emily muttered, shaking her head back and forth. "You're meant to be dead."

He laughed down the phone. "Don't act so surprised Emily. I know that Stu told you that I wasn't dead. You are his sister after all."

"What do you really want? It's obviously not just a conversation that you're after."

"I'll be honest with you Emily. There is something that I want. However I don't want to spoil the surprise for you. I want you to work it out yourself."

"How am I meant to work it out? You're a fucking psycho. Do you know how fucked up my brother became after he spoke to you."
"Oh but we your brother and I weren't just speaking were we?"

Through the phone Emily heard the distinct sound of a gun being cocked.

Emily covered her mouth to try and cover up the sob that escaped from her.

"Now doesn't that just torque your jaw? I love that. You know, just like in the movies, when the good guy is about to kill the bad guy, he cocks his gun. Now, why didn't he have it cocked? Because, that sound is scary. It's cool, isn't it?"

"Not really," Emily replied shakily.

He laughed. "You're boring Emily. Are you scared?"

"Of course I'm scared."

"I don't think you're scared enough. I have a highly magnified telescopic image of you. Now, what kind of device has a telescopic sight mounted on it? A 30 calibre bolt-action 700, with a carbon one modification and a state-of-the-art hands-hold tactical scope. And it's staring straight at you."

She looked around wildly, her eyes looking up at all the windows surrounding her.

"You won't be able to find me Emily, too many windows." He paused but continued when she didn't say anything. "Stu was more scared then you are. He was practically begging for his life after I told him that I had a gun."

"That doesn't sound like Stu."

"Doesn't it? Well, it seems like you don't know your brother as well as I do."

Emily ignored this. "Is this why you want to talk to me? Because of my brother, Stu?"
"That's part of the reason. You see I was intrigued. I got to know everything about Stu's life. His life, his girlfriend, his wife. But the one thing I never really knew about Stu was what his family was like. So that's what I've done for the past two years. I've found out as much as I can about you, your mother and your father."

"But why are you still so interested in Stu? He's changed now."

"Oh I've seen the way he's changed and I'm not sure I like it."

"What do you mean? You said that the whole reason you did it was to make him more honest and he is. He's so different now."

"I wanted him to be honest, sure, but I didn't want him to throw his life away. I gave him the opportunity to change his life, to better himself, and what does he do instead? Fucks everything up."

"Kelly left him though. It wasn't his fault.

"Oh Emily. You're so naive. Of course it's his fault. We all have a choice about what we do and it just so happens that Stu made the wrong choice."

"What're you going to do then?" Emily asked in a still shaking voice.

"I'm going to have a word with Stu. You have his number right?"

"Of course."

"Okay. Get out his number and call him."

"Wait, don't do this. Stu's messed up enough as it is. If you talk to him then it's just gonna make him worse."

The caller laughed. "I really don't think you should be telling me what to do. Now, get your mobile phone out and dial Stu's number. Make sure that it's on loudspeaker."