Hello, and welcome to my new Ashes to Ashes story! As you might know from voting on my poll and reading my other stories, this is going to be quite different from the Ashes to Ashes stories I've already written. Mostly because it's based on Molly (though don't worry, there will be plenty of Galex – you might just have to be patient :P ), and also as there will be some darker themes in here, and even some more supernatural aspects. Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy it all the same and as always, reviews, whether they contain praise or constructive criticism, are always more than welcome! So, on with the show...
Disclaimer – I don't own Ashes to Ashes.
Chapter 1 - Hate
Friday, 18th July, 2008
Looking dully around, Molly pulled her cardigan closer around herself and shivered. The breeze was unnaturally cold for a summer's day and the sun up above seemed to be struggling to penetrate the thin layers of grey cloud; but Molly decided that perhaps it was just her who couldn't feel its warmth.
She felt numb inside, almost as if she was so overwhelmed by the tangled mix of grief, loss and hopelessness inside her that she couldn't actually feel any of it properly. But there was one thing Molly knew she felt and that was that she hated this.
She hated all the robotic looking people stood around in black, with blank looks of sadness on their faces. Not because she thought they were truly grieving for her Mum, but because they felt they should. She hated the solemn priest who kept calling her Mum 'Alexandra' and the elderly DCI who was going on about what an asset 'DI Drake' was to the force. And most of all, Molly hated that she was even there at all, and she hated the gaunt, greasy-haired man who had landed her in this situation. She hoped they'd find him dead somewhere, ripped into mangled pieces by a savage dog. In fact, she actually hoped they wouldn't find him, because that would mean that no-one even cared enough to look.
Staring at the floor with a look of mournful anger on her face, Molly thought of how her Mum wasn't 'Alexandra', she was Alex. The name Alexandra made her think of some elderly, regal lady with a harsh tongue and a fondness for needlework. Her Mum was Alex, and she was none of those things. And another thing was the annoying repetition of the words 'DI Drake'. That wasn't a name, or even a proper person. It was just a job, a rank. Her Mum was Alex Drake and she was funny, understanding, always took care of her and had an unhealthy obsession with chocolate cheesecake from Marks and Spencer's. She wasn't just 'DI Drake'. But none of the people around her knew any of that, because they never actually knew her Mum. The only person they knew was 'DI Drake'. Stubbornly, Molly had tried to insist that the only people that deserved to be at the funeral were her, Evan, her Nanny and her Granddad, but to no avail. And two people that she definitely didn't want there were her Dad and his girlfriend Judy. What had they ever done for her Mum, except make her life harder?
Molly had cried herself out during the service, in amongst the abundant flower displays and throngs of uniformed mourners. Now her face felt damp and stung from the salt in her tears. All the robotic looking people seemed to be milling about, saying to everyone – Evan, her Nanny, her Granddad, her Dad and Judy – that they were sorry for their loss. No-one thought to say anything to her. No-one wanted to look her in the eye and say that they were sorry for her loss. Which actually, Molly decided, was fine, because she hadn't lost anyone. They made it sound as though her Mum had just gone missing, and she hadn't. She had died because some pathetic, crack-head criminal decided to put a bullet through her head. And Molly had no idea why everyone else wanted to pretend otherwise.
"Molly," Evan said quietly as he placed a hand on her arm. "Detective Superintendent Harper's leaving; do you want to come and thank her for coming? I think the great-aunts from Australia need to be going soon too."
Molly scowled – not at Evan, but at the floor and his words in general. "No, I don't," she told him bluntly, feeling like an iron lump had lodged itself in her throat. "They can leave, I don't care. I don't see why they came in the first place." Her voice was wobbly and she felt like crying again, or kicking something.
Evan gave a tired, exhausted sigh and the next thing Molly knew he had put his arms around her thin frame, pulling her into a tight hug. "Come here, Scrap," he said gently into her hair. "Believe it or not, all these people are here because they cared about your Mum. Now I know that you feel like no-one could ever be missing her as much as you are, and that may be true, but they still care and want to pay their respects." He pulled back a little way and offered her a small smile. "Come on, Scrap, you've got to put on a brave face." He held his hand out for Molly to take, but despite her best efforts to 'put on a brave face', she didn't feel any more courageous. She just felt weak and bereaved, and completely alone. Her Mum had told her that it was a hard, cruel and twisted-up world, but that if she listened to her, she might just get through it. She was shot dead just half an hour later. So what was Molly supposed to do now to protect herself from a hard, cruel and twisted-up world? She bet that he didn't think about that as he pulled the trigger.
Superintendent Harper was a tall, fifty-something year old woman who looked like she belonged on a posh country estate somewhere with a husband called Geoffrey, and Molly recognised her immediately. She politely shook Evan's hand and then looked down at Molly as if she had some unfortunate disfigurement. "I'm sorry about your Mummy, Molly," she said in a voice that reminded her of a nursery school teacher. "None of us will ever forget her and the work she did. You should be so, so proud of her."
Molly just nodded silently, her eyes fixed on the floor. A few minutes later as she watched her walk away with some colleague or other, she heard the older woman murmur, "Poor little mite, God knows what'll happen there. I feel so sorry for her, losing her Mum on her tenth birthday like that."
It took all the self-restraint Molly had in that moment not to burst out and shout viciously, 'Twelve. I'm twelve!' And anyway, Molly thought, if she had promoted her Mum to DCI when she went up for it the previous year, then maybe she would never have been killed. She knew that Evan would tell her that she shouldn't think like that, but she couldn't help it. To her mind, there were so many people who could have just done things differently and prevented her Mum's murder, herself included. She should have stayed in the car like her Mum asked her to, instead of stupidly running out into the crowd. At least then, she might have been able to talk to Layton, get it all sorted and then simply take her to school like on any other normal day. Or maybe Layton would have shot her dead right there and then, Molly didn't know. But she still should have listened to her; she should have done what her Mum told her to. Instead, she had run out to her and put the whole operation, including her Mum's life, in jeopardy. Even though Evan repeatedly told her it wasn't, Molly couldn't help but think sometimes that maybe it really had been all her fault.
After all the stony-faced mourners, most of whom Molly didn't even recognise, had trickled away, Evan took her back into the church to say a final goodbye to her Mum before the coffin was taken to be buried. Only Molly, Evan, her Dad and Judy were to be there for the burial; she had wanted her Nanny and Granddad to be there too, but they couldn't stand for very long anymore and the nurses had said it would be advisable for them to return to the home. She didn't like those nurses; they always talked to her Nanny as though she was a toddler and busy-bodied around her Granddad, doing things for him that he was more than capable of doing himself. Just because he was partially deaf, Molly knew they all assumed that he was blind and everything else too.
The sight of the coffin triggered another onslaught of tears and her stomach felt like it was ripping itself apart as she thought of the fact that her Mum was actually laid in that wooden box. The burial just made everything seem so much more horrifically real somehow, and she hated it. She hated that she could barely see the ground before her as her Mum was lowered into the soil because of her tears, and she hated that Evan was the only other person crying. Her Dad just stared down at the coffin, never blinking, his expression never flinching. There was a hard look of grievance in his eyes, but that was all. No tears, no clenched fists, no sign of devastation. Molly felt like screaming at him, to remind him that he had once loved the woman who was now laid six feet underground, had fathered a child with her; he could at least show some semblance of grief. What was wrong with him? Her Mum was dead, and he couldn't even bring himself to cry. She had said something much to the same effect to Evan earlier, and he had just said that different people had different ways of mourning for someone. Molly didn't bother to say that maybe some people just didn't care.
Lifting her eyes to the polished marble gravestone that stood at the head of the hole in the ground, Molly slowly read again the words that she had chosen to be inscribed in neat, silver lettering. It was only when the flowing words started to blur before her eyes that she realised she was crying once again, tears streaming unashamedly down her face. There was a burning, searing hole in her chest that ached to see her Mum again, to feel her arms around her and smell the familiar scent of her perfume as she held her close. She felt like shouting and screaming at the rest of the world and whatever divine forces there might be out there for letting this happen. How was this fair? She didn't deserve this, did she? Molly was sure that her Mum certainly didn't. How could anyone expect her to believe in God when this was the sort of thing he let happen?
Here lies Alexandra Caroline Drake,
Beloved god-daughter and devoted mother to Molly.
1973 – 2008.
May she rest in peace.
And when she shall die, take her and cut her out in little stars,
And she will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night.
A strangled, desperate sob erupted into the summer air and it took Molly a moment to realise that she was the one sobbing, her throat rasping and tears running furiously from her eyes. The last three lines came from her Mum's favourite Shakespeare play, not that anyone else had known to put them on there. Not even Evan had known that her Mum loved to sit and read Shakespeare with her; Molly didn't really understand a lot of it most of the time, but Alex had always stopped to explain the important parts. Molly had always taken the things her Mum did with her for granted, but now she would never do anything with her again. Bile rose up in her throat as the guilt once again coursed through her veins and she turned to the side, burying her face into Evan's chest. She just wanted to block out the entire world and everything in it forever, and simply dissolve into a nothingness that didn't matter. At least that way she didn't have to deal with any of this. She hated everything.
That was the day Molly buried her Mum, and to her, she was the best Mum in the entire world. She thought it was the worst day of her life. She was wrong.
Thursday, 31st July, 2008
The worst day of Molly's life was the day a hard-faced, severe looking judge brought down his gavel in court and announced, "Custody granted to Peter Drake and Judy Davenport." In that moment, she felt like kicking and hitting him until he changed the verdict or rewound time. He was just another person to add to the list of people she hated. After her Mum had died, the bottom had fallen out of Molly's world, but she was still desperately hanging on to a thread. But that day, the 31st of August, just a month after her Mum had died, she finally let go and just let herself fall through the gaping black hole beneath her. There was nothing left to hang on to anymore. She hated everything.
So there you are, that's the first chapter! Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading, and there will be more soon. :P