So sorry this last chapter has taken a while to get to you! But I'm back at school now, so yeah... Things have gotten a bit hectic again! :D I just want to thank you all for your reviews, and I hope you've enjoyed this story! I've really liked writing a Molly-centred one for a change. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the final chapter...
Disclaimer – No matter how hard I wish, Ashes to Ashes still doesn't belong to me. :P
Chapter 13 – Alive
Friday, 18th August, 2008.
Molly swallowed, gripping the tape recorder tight in her hand. She stared at her reflection in the mirror; confident gaze trained straight forwards as she clicked the record button, and began to speak.
"My name is Molly Drake. My Mum was shot and went back in time, leaving me in 2008. Every night I have dreams about her; in the dreams, she solves cases and fights crime with a team of people I've never met before. But they're real. I know now that my dreams aren't just dreams, and this world, this life, is just an illusion. In the dreams, I feel alive. Everything is more colourful, more vibrant, and my Mum is there. I'm not mad, or consumed by grief. I know exactly what I'm doing, and I wish there was another way, but there isn't. This is the only way I can get back to my Mum. And I will go back. I'm determined to fight to see her again. Because today isn't the day I die. Today is the day I wake up."
She swallowed again, her gaze still boring into itself in the mirror. She breathed deeply. "I don't understand how my Mum went back in time, or how Sam Tyler did either, but they did go back. Ask Annie Tyler. I don't know why I started having the dreams either, the dreams that helped me to realise that for me, this isn't my reality. That world, with my Mum and Gene Hunt, is my reality now. At night, I don't go to bed to fall asleep. I go to wake up. And I don't understand how that's possible, or how or why it works that way, but it just does. I've often found myself wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else, or whether Sam Tyler was the first one. I doubt it. I'm making this tape because I didn't want to say all this stuff on the other ones – they're more... personal. They're my goodbyes, if you like. This is more a record of what has been happening to me over the past few weeks since my Mum died, and so that at least someone will know exactly why I have to do this.
"I know I've already said, but I have to make this clear. I'm not crazy or going insane or driven mad by grief. The dreams are real, and I have proof that the world I see there, where my Mum is alive, is real. Like I said, if you don't believe me, talk to Annie Tyler. Her husband was Sam Tyler – the same Sam Tyler who committed suicide in 2006. He went back in time to the seventies and lived there for nearly ten years."
Here, Molly's steady, confident voice began to waver a little, and she watched in the mirror as tears built up in her eyes.
"My Mum used to say to me, 'I love you more than anything else in the whole wild world'. She said wild instead of wide because she said it was wild, and you could never predict anything. I know now, more than ever, exactly what she meant. I love her more than anything else in the whole wild world too, and I would give anything to be with her again. So that's what I'm doing. If anyone listening to this can work out how or why this has happened, or what caused my dreams, or if this has ever happened to anyone besides my Mum and Sam Tyler, then I'll be glad. That's what I've made this tape for. Not to say goodbye, but just to... explain. In the hope that if this does ever happen to anyone else, they might have a bit more to go on..."
Turning her head slightly as the tape quietly whirred on, Molly watched as the sun just started to peer above the horizon, signalling the start of a brand new day. Sunlight crept up the long lawn at the back of the house, bathing the grass in its soft golden glow. She smiled slightly, and looked back at her reflection, her thumb moving over the stop button on the tape recorder. She swallowed once more, and pressed it.
Half an hour later and Molly slipped out of the front door, closing it as quietly as she could behind her as she headed off down the road. The sun was still slowly rising in the sky; it wasn't even six yet so no-one else was up, just as she had hoped. Despite the warm summer morning, Molly had the hood of her jumper up and the sleeves were pulled over her hands, just leaving her fingertips visible, still cut up from the glass on the windowsill of the Railway Arms. The BlackBerry Evan had given her for her birthday weighed heavy in her pocket. She had run her scarred hands under the hot tap too that morning, and again, the same thing happened. Or rather, didn't happen. There was no pain. She couldn't feel it. The mysterious words from her dreams drifted back to her again –
When you can feel, then you're alive. When you can't feel, you're not.
And now, it was as simple as that.
Her bed was made, the duvet pulled pristinely over the mattress. Everything else was perfectly in its place, the curtains pulled back and surfaces free of dust as though the room had never been inhabited at all. But on the bed sat a small box, just waiting to be discovered. Inside were four cassette tapes. The first was labelled 'Evan', the second 'Annie' and the third, 'Dad'. The fourth one was unlabelled, meant for anyone who wanted to listen. The sun streamed in through the window onto the bed, a shaft of bright light falling across the box, making it appear as though it was sat in the spotlight. A post-it note was stuck to the top of the box, a single word written on it.
At the train station, every stranger was a potential threat to her plan. Molly tried to speak to as few people as possible, using the electronic machine to purchase her ticket into Manchester and keeping her head bowed so as to avoid meeting anyone's gaze. She didn't know when her Dad or Judy would find the tapes and how long it would take them to contact the police, and she didn't want people to see her and recognise her later. It was only when she was finally on the train, sitting in an empty carriage, that Molly's hands began to shake. She was trembling all over as fear started to creep up on her; her unconscious was screaming with protest at what she was intending to do and she kept swallowing, trying to wet her throat and dispel the lump rising up at the back of it.
What if it didn't work? What if she didn't wake up? What if she just died, and then... that was it? It would all be for nothing.
But firmly, Molly told herself to stop worrying, and tried to push the rising panic and fear away. This was no time for second thoughts. She didn't want to be known as the melodramatic girl who let everyone think she was going to commit suicide, but then didn't. It would work. She would see her Mum again, feel her arms around her, snuggle up with her in bed again and have girly shopping trips once more. Her Mum had died and gone back in time, so had Sam Tyler, and Molly was sure, countless others. It would work for her too. She wouldn't have had the dreams if she didn't have some connection to that world too, if she didn't belong there as well. She felt alive there. Here, she felt dead. It was as simple as that.
This was it. This was how it was going to end. Or, as Molly saw it, this was how it was going to begin. She was ready to wake up.
She stared down at the people below, the few early birds walking the streets of Manchester, and then lifted her gaze to look across at the city skyline. For the last time, she took in the sight of twenty-first century architecture – the modern glass and metal structures blended in with the older concrete buildings, the blocks of flats in the distance at the fringes of the city. She smiled, as though seeing the world for the first time. Molly stood there for a while, just feeling the gentle breeze in her hair, the morning sun on her face. The sensations she felt were only half experienced though, and were nothing compared to the sort of warmth she could feel against her skin when she was stood in Luigi's; the colours of the vast city landscape before her were nowhere near as vibrant as they were when she was awake.
Her clenched fists slowly uncurled, and she lifted her head again, holding it high as she smiled once more. A sense of total and utter peace washed over her as she breathed in the fresh air, closed her eyes, stepped forwards...
She jumped backwards, whipping her head around. Her Dad was running, racing towards her, Judy and some uniformed policemen not far behind.
"Don't you even dare!"
But he was still too far away; he would never reach her in time. Molly knew that; she was in control here. The anguished look of desperate despair on her Dad's face said that he knew it too. The knife of guilt twisted in her stomach once more and Molly felt tears misting up her vision. They slipped slowly and forlornly down her cheeks as the breeze blew her hair back from her face. She felt choked up, guilt wracking her body. But she had to do this. This was it. Time to stop sleeping, time to stop walking around in a dreamlike haze.
Time to wake up.
Her Dad was nearing her now, reaching out towards her as though trying to summon his daughter towards him. Molly drew in a deep, staggered breath.
"I'm sorry, Dad..." She turned back to face the modern Manchester skyline again, only her head turned so that her gaze connected with her Dad's, her eyes shining with guilty, apologetic tears. "I'm so sorry."
And then, she took a step forwards, threw her arms out, and fell peacefully, gracefully, off the edge.
On the street below, a young woman watched with tear-filled eyes as she watched the twelve-year fall through the air, eyes closed and arms spread out as though she was just flying, soaring to some unknown, wonderful land. A loud, raw, heart-wrenching cry of anguish came from the top of the building; a man was stood on the edge, staring, wide-eyed and shocked, as his daughter carried on falling, and falling, plummeting towards earth.
Tears dropped from the corners of the young woman's eyes and slid down her face in salty streams. She swallowed and turned away, making her way back down the street, away from the building, away from where the twelve year old girl was now laid, arms still spread out, a faint smile still on her face. Like an angel.
Wiping away her tears, Molly Hunt turned the corner and a small, watery smile graced her lips. Because she knew that today wasn't the day that the twelve year old girl died. Today was the day that girl finally got to live.
*Crosses fingers tightly* I really, really hope that was okay! I've never really written anything like that before, so I hope it was alright, and not too melodramatic or cheesy or anything! If it was, please don't hesitate to tell me. Like I said, I've never written anything like that before, so constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated! I hope you've enjoyed the story as a whole though, and please leave me one last review!
P.S – I do have plans for a short sequel to this story, so let me know if you'd be interested in that or not. :D