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The People Make the Place

Guest LauraPhilly!!

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Chapter 3

Xavier looked over to the door as he heard a gentle knocking.

As he didn’t yet have the strength in his arms to wheel his wheelchair by himself, Hugo went to answer it. In the porch stood Sergeant Watson accompanied by one of her fellow officers.

"“Do you have any news?”" asked Hugo, anxiously.

"“Unfortunately not, but we were hoping to speak to Xavier",” said Watson. “"Hopefully he can inform us of what exactly happened that night.”"

"“His memory is only just starting to come back",” said Martha, concernedly, coming to stand on the other side of Xavier's wheelchair. “"Surely this could wait for another day?"”

“"No, it is ok guys, I'’m fine,"” insisted Xavier. "“I'’ll answer whatever question you need to ask."”

"“Are you able to accompany us down to the station?"”

"“Can you not ask him the questions here?"” asked Hugo, frowning slightly.

"“Protocol insists that we question all major witnesses down in the station,"” said Watson. "“I'’m sorry but they'’re the rules."”

"“Ok well I insist on coming with him,"” said Hugo.

"“You may accompany him down to the station if you wish, but Xavier is an adult and thus does not need another adult to accompany him during the interview."”

Hugo nodded, sighing in frustration. “"What time do you want him there for?"”


"For the record, can you confirm that you are Xavier Austin of Summer Bay, New South Wales?"”

"“Yes,"” said Xavier, his stomach churning uncomfortably.

"“So Xavier, in the best of your ability, can you recall what exactly happened on the night of September 21 at the hall on the Walker estate?”" said Sergeant, leaning into the table intently.

Xavier sighed at the question. He knew that this moment would come. Looking to Morag, his council, she nodded and smiled at his supportively.

Turning his head back to look at the window behind Watson’s head, Xavier closed his eyes, allowing his mind to drift back to the memories of that awful night…....

Xavier smiled happily as he twirled Sasha round and round in the middle of the dance floor until she became dizzy. She giggled, stumbled and fell into his arms.

Standing up, she smacked his arm playfully. “"Mrs Palmer will think I'’m drunk if you keep doing that!"

Xavier smiled and pulled her in close so that her chin was resting on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her close so that he could feel her heartbeat against his chest.

“"I am so happy right now,"” she said quietly.

He smiled and kissed her hair. “Me too.”

Pulling her away from the dance floor and into one of the dark corners of the room, he pulled her in close and kissed her softly. She responded by wrapping her arms around his neck and biting teasingly on his lower. As he leaned back to grin mischievously at her, he saw two hooded figures standing in the middle of the room, facing Gina.

Taking Sasha'’s hand and leading her closer to the commotion, he listened closely as the two hooded figures began to talk.

"“Looks like we'’ve missed out on most of this party haven'’t we, Sed,"” said what sounded what a girl's voice, loudly.

"“We sure have, D,"” said the tall guy, who was standing on her left.

“"Who are you, what are you doing here?"” asked Gina loudly, walking into the middle of the floor.

At the edge of the circle, Xavier gripped Sasha’'s hand tighter as his concern for what was going on increased.

"“Oh but surely you remember me, Mrs Palmer,"” said the girl walking up to Gina. “"I caused a lot of trouble for you in Summer Bay High not too long ago.”"

“"Remove your hood,"” said Gina, firmly. "“Allow me to see who I am talking to!”"

And so slowly but surely the girl lifted her hand to her head and removed the hood from her face. Gina and those students facing her gasped as they recognised who she was.

“"Who is it?"” whispered Sasha, squeezing Xavier’s hand in fright.

"“I can'’t see…”", said Xavier, watching his Mum’s frightened face.

“"Maybe we should call for help…?”" said Sasha, trying to pull Xavier away but he wouldn’t budge.

He was watching the girls’ every move. And then, ever so slowly, Xavier watched in horror as she removed from her black jacket, a large silver gun. Everyone in the room screamed and began to scatter, but Xavier stayed rooted to his spot.

"“Xavier, come on, let'’s get out of here!"” cried Sasha, pulling hard on his hand. When he didn'’t move, she tried to pull her hand out of his grip.

“"No, Sasha, please stay with - " – “

And the screams all fell silent as the sound of a bullet ran through the room. Xavier turned his head back and opened his mouth in horror as he saw his mother fall to the ground, the girl standing in front of her, holding out the silver gun.

Xavier tried to run over to her, he wanted her to pay for what she had done but Sasha was pulling on his hand so hard that he was unable to move very far.

"“No Xavier, don'’t!"” she screamed, grabbing his other hand and forcing him to look at her. “"They'’ll only kill you too!"”

And then another bullet went over and everyone screamed.

“"Listen up all of you!"” the girl screamed.

Everyone fell silent. Replacing her hood over her eyes, she walked around the edge of the circle, gazing at them all threateningly, swinging the gun in her left hand.

“"Now if the rest of you want to live, you will stay here. You will not try to call for help, you will not try to contact the emergency services, you will wait here in the desperate hope that somebody finds you!"”

"“And why should we do that?"” cried out Xavier, glaring at her furiously.

The girl stopped and looked over at him. Xavier flinched but kept his stance as she walked slowly over to her. She paused just in front of him, looked him up and down and then looked to Sasha who was still holding onto his hand, a terrified look on her face.

“"Sed,”" she said, calling back to the man behind him.

He grinned evilly and walked over to where she stood. “"Yes boss.”"

"“Apparently this young man here thinks its ok to question my authority. I think we should teach him a little lesson.”"

The guy grinned and suddenly grabbed Sasha'’s arm and pulled her away from the crowd and Xavier’s grip. There were loud screams around the room as the girl lifted the gun once more and she pointed it in between Sasha’s eyes. “

"You'’ll do as you’'re told because I doubt you would want anything happening to your precious girlfriend here!"”

As everyone held their breath in fear, Xavier remained rooted to the spot in shock. He saw a tear fall down Sasha's cheek as the tall man held the held right up against her temple. The girl was smiling evily, looking from the gun to Sasha's terrified face.

"This is what happens when people question my authority!"

To be continued...

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That was a very tense but awesome chapter. I still have no idea who the two mysterious people are. I thought we would find out when the girl took her hood off but we didn't. You tease Laura :D

Look forward to your next chapter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all so much for your comments.

Here is the next chapter! :)

Chapter 4

As Sasha stood helpless in her captors arms, Xavier watched him in horror. He felt as if he had been paralysed but he managed to raise in his arms in a defeat like stance.

“Please, ok I’m sorry, just don’t hurt her.”

He saw the girl smile and look to Sasha who was crying with fear. “Well, I’m not so sure if you’re really that sorry,” she said, placing her finger on the trigger, causing more screams to ripple across the room.

“Ok, ok, you’ve made your point!” he said loudly. “No-one else will question you again, alright. Just please leave her alone.”

The girl looked at him and smiled vindictively. “Power… it’s such a dangerous thing,” she said, walking around Sasha, picking up a piece of her hair with her fingers. “And yet, it is such a useful means of persuasion.”

Looking at Xavier once more, she smiled. “Sed… let her go. We’ve done what we came to do.”

“Sed” dropped his arms that were binding Sasha and walked away, leaving her to fall onto the fall and burst into tears. Rushing over, Xavier knelt down beside her and held her tightly in his arms, as he watched the girl and her accomplice walked around the room once more, the girl still playing with the gun.

Looking over to where Xavier was still holding Sasha on the floor, she replaced the gun in her jacket and walked away. The entire room was still and quiet as they slammed the doors shut behind, and then the cries and screams of everyone erupted once more.

Leaving Sasha with her friends, he ran over to where he mum lay on the floor. Sid was already trying to administer CPR, while John held Gina’s head, and Roo and Marilyn crouched over her in shock.

After a few minutes, Sid shook his head and stopped. Looking up at John and Xavier, he sighed. “I’m very sorry, guys.”

Without uttering a word, Xavier fell to his knees and began sobbing. He placed his hands on his mother’s arm and cried like he never cried before. He felt someone come to kneel beside him and then whisper reassuring words in his eye.

“Xav, c’mon, stand up,” said Sasha, quietly, pulling on his arm gently.

Despite his shaking knees, Xavier managed to stand up but willingly fell into Sasha’s open arms as she hugged him tightly. Standing back, she placed her hands on either side of his face and smiled at him. He smiled back lightly and drew her close again.

“Guys, guys,” said April, running over in panic. “They’re locking the doors.”

Running over, Xavier and Sasha heard the doors being closed themselves, and turned to the others and nodded in confirmation.

“What are you doing? Please let us out!” said Xavier, shouting through a small gap in the door.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” said the girl quietly.

Turning back to the others, with a panicked look in his eyes, Xavier still tried to remain calm. Taking Sasha’s hand, he walked back over to the Sid, Mr Stewart and the others.

“We need to try and find another way out. There’s got to be a way out through the kitchen right or an emergency fire escape?”

“Good thinking Xav,” said Sid. “Everyone split up and try to find a way out of here.”

So each of them began to search, but then, not long after they had split up, Xavier heard a loud scream from the kitchen. Running out Bianca and Liam fell to their knees and began coughing madly.

“The kitchen… they’ve set the place on fire,” said Liam, as he managed to rise to his feet, supporting Bianca with his arms.

“Ok well, let’s not everybody panic,” said Sid, as he looked around at the now anxious guests who were watching them suspiciously. “Run over to the bar and tell Brax and Heath to give us as much water as they can.”

“Sid, they’ve cut off the water supplies,” said Brax as he and Heath joined the group. “The only liquids we have left our alcohol and that won’t do any good.”

“I took a look around for fire extinguishers, they must have been here before we arrived, they’ve cleared us out of everything we could use.”

“Ok..ok, let’s not panic,” said Roo, coming to stand beside Sid. “We need to make an announcement, informing the students of what is happening. We have tablecloths from all the table; when the fire poses a threat we’ll just cover it with them.”

“And what about when they’re all gone!” exclaimed Xavier. “There’s no signal out here to call for help… face it guys, we’re dead!”

“Keep your voice down Xavier,” said Alf sternly, looking around at the others.

"...And so Roo and Sid stood up on the podium and told every what was going on. Everyone knew as we listened to her that we were in serious trouble.

We had nothing to protect us from the fire. We knew that it would eventually eat away at us all.”

There was a long pause.

“So what happened then?” asked Sergeant Watson, reluctantly, seeing the pain in Xavier’s eyes as he recanted everything.

Taking a deep breath, Xavier thought back again.

As the fire spread from the kitchen, everybody began to panic. Roo’s encouragement for everyone to stay calm disintegrated in a matter of seconds…

“Xav, what are we going to do, we have to get out of here!” cried Sasha, gripping his hand tightly as everyone gathered in the farthest corners of the room, trying to stay away from the fire.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” cried Xavier, who could already feel the brilliant heat of the fire as it came closer and closer to them.

Seeing a potential spot for them to take cover, Xavier grabbed Sasha’s hand and pulled her over to the doors. Telling her to sit down, he heaved one of the heavy tables over to where she sat and curled up beside her. They relaxed momentarily as the metal table protected them from the heat of the fire.

“… I remember she was so scared. It was horrible. We could tell the fire was coming closer and closer. I knew soon we would have to run as the fire would overheat the metal and we would be in even more danger.

From our hiding place, we could hear the screams of people as the fire caught them and began to burn away at them. There isn’t another feeling like it, hearing people slowly dying. We both just wanted to close our eyes and getting away from it.

As we felt the table begin to heat up, I pushed Sasha out first but if inside the table was bad, outside was entirely worse. The screams were dying out but at this stage the fire had completely taken over the room. There was nowhere for us to go.

I heard Sasha scream out to Sid, who was lying on the ground, but as she ran forward something swung down from the ceiling and hit her head.As I saw her grab her head and fall to her knees, I tried to run to her. But then I remember not being able to breath… that is something I’ll never forget.

It’s the most unnatural feeling, you’re body instantly fails on you. I saw Sasha collapse just infront me and soon I was on the floor with her too…”

Sergeant Watson looked down at the table, uncomfortably; as she saw Xavier’s eyes well up with tears.

“And then, she stretched out her hand, and I grabbed it. I thought we were going to die. In that moment, I wasn’t afraid. My whole life meant nothing to me in that moment because I was sure it was over anyway.

I remember her face… she was so beautiful...but she was so scared, so frightened. I could see blood dripping from her head, she could barely keep her eyes open. Tears ran down her cheeks and she sobbed as she looked at me, as I held her hand. And then… and then she closed her eyes...”

...and then Xavier burst into tears, and his laid his head in his hands and cried. Morag reached out her hand and rubbed his back supportively.

“Thank you Xavier,” said Sergeant Watson, as Xavier cried into his hands. “You are free to go home now.”

As Watson stood up to leave the room, Morag patted Xavier’s back supportively, and whispered in his ear for him to sit back. Hugo and Martha then came into the room, and seeing him in tears, Martha bent down to hug him tightly.

Xavier’s tears were relentless; this was the first time since the accident that he had properly cried. All the emotions came flooding back, all the horrible memories were now as so vivid he could forget them. He could still hear the scream, he could still feel the terrible heat of the fire as it drew closer and closer, and he could remember the tears that cascaded down Sasha’s cheeks as they lay on the floor, helplessly.

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