My eyes slowly open, adjusting to the brightness of morning. I roll over and look at the time on the alarm clock. 8:30. Still early. I can go back to sleep for a little while. The smaller letters underneath the numbers slowly come into focus. Tuesday. TUESDAY! No! I’m gonna be late again. School starts in 15 minutes. I’m never gonna make it in time! I could have sworn it was Saturday. That stupid alarm clock. What’s the point of one if it doesn’t, you know, alarm you? Man, I can’t be late again. Another late and I’m in detention. Again. Another detention and I’m grounded. Again. When I get back, I’m gonna be dead. My mum’s gonna kill me. I race round; shoving on uniform and gathering up everything I can remember. I shove a couple of packets of crisps in my bag, and I’m ready to go. I slam out the door, probably waking everyone else up. My bike is out the front where I left it last night – helmet. Damn. It’s back in the house. I’ll have to leave it; I ain’t got the time (or my keys) now.

If I really hurry, I might just make it – as school’s about a mile away. I’ve still got 5 minutes, so if I’m lucky I’ll probably be ok. Down the drive, down the road, round the corner. Then down the main road even though I’m not really supposed to ride that way, as my mum’s forbidden it. She says it’s too dangerous, but I don’t really see why. It’s a shame I’m in a hurry, really, because its not often I get to ride without a helmet – at least not when my mum’s around. Without a helmet, you can feel the wind whistling through your hair and it just makes you feel freer. Less restricted, almost as if you’re King of the Road. It sounds stupid, and I never tell what I think to anyone. It’s too easy to look like an idiot.

On the main road, I’m getting carried away, pedalling as fast as I can go, racing with the cars next to me. One guy in the next lane is getting seriously irritated. He glares at me; his eyes are really small and close-set. Come to think of it, the guy kinda reminds me of a koala; a really round head, little beady eyes, huge squashed nose and ears that have gotta be at 90 degrees to his head. All in all a funny looking guy. Doesn’t look like he’s got much of a sense of a humour. I pull a face at him anyway, taking my hands off the handlebars and waggling my hands next to my head, still pedalling pretty darn fast.

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The next thing I know, he’s veering over to my lane. Squashing me in next to the kerb. I wave my hands at him hysterically, trying to get him to stop. I put all the strength I have into out-pedalling the car, straining and straining. But I know I’m fighting a losing battle, and that I’m trapped. If I stop, or even slow down, the cars behind me will crush me. Still trying, the last thing I see as the car closes in is the manic, demented grin on his leering face. The agonising impact. The pitch-black rushing in. The silence.

I hate my job. You see so many horrific injuries and deaths that you wonder what kind of a world it is. But, being a police officer, I suppose my job is to try and stop things like that happening.

Take today. A young lad, no more than 15 or 16, killed in a tragic collision along the main road. Name of Joe Green. His body was a sight; twisted and bloody. It’s most likely that he was cycling to school, the Redborough College just along the same road where the crash happened. Probably late, just like a typical teenager. The worst part is, he was only 100 metres or so away from the school. Another 4 or 5 seconds and he would have probably been just fine. Tragic. Simply tragic. And yet…

It’s funny; nothing hurts. There’s no pain, no numbness, no nothing. Guess I’m fine. Somehow, I’m sitting on a bench, in a park. My local park, actually. It’s a nice day; blue skies, sunny, and warm. I feel so peaceful, so calm. Like I’ve been here a long time, and nothing’s worrying me, nothing’s bothering me. It’s a really nice feeling, actually, although there is something at the back of my mind, just niggling there; something I don’t understand. Last I remembered, it was early November – you know, miserable and cold. And now it’s like a foreign country in the summer? I don’t remember going through the rest of winter, or the spring. Come to think of it – I don’t remember anything since…

The accident. We’ve since learned it wasn’t an accident at all. Several people have come forward to say they saw what happened, and what they saw was the kid cheeking a driver in the adjacent lane. This driver then retaliated by pushing the kid into the kerb, so his wheels buckled and he was knocked off; riding in the middle of 70-mile hour traffic! There are some real sick and twisted people out there. So now we are investigating a manslaughter with several witnesses, however no one got a good look at the guy. All we’ve got to go on is a number plate, and by now he’s probably ditched…

The car he was driving. I remember it pretty well, considering. Dark red, kind of maroon Ford Focus. White leather interior. One of those disgusting smelling tree air-freshener things in the front. Arsenal car sticker in the back. That smile….I’ll never forget that smile. It was so…demented. Makes you wonder what kind of life of life some people had when they were

Kids. Sometimes so stupid, yet sometimes cleverer than people think they are. Like today. A little kid – can’t be any more than 6, saw the number plate we are asking for on a car stopped in the petrol station that his dad owns. So of course he told his dad, who then immediately gave us a call; said he’d been headed towards the east side of Leeds, roughly towards the football ground. We organised a whole load of officers and squad cars, and headed off to the ground. We saw the car alright. Smashed into the wall of the stadium; mangled, wrecked and utterly destroyed. Smoke rising from the bonnet. Smoke rising from the hood. Hubcaps lying on the floor, almost still spinning. And no sight of the…

Man. I still feel really weird. Like I don’t NEED anything. I’m not hungry, I’m not thirsty. I don’t need the loo. Come to think of it, I can’t really feel anything. But I can move; nothing’s paralysed. I get up, slowly, gingerly. I guess I’m expecting some huge twinge of pain to come along any minute. But…

Nothing. Still nothing. It’s been 5 months, and the case isn’t progressing very far. As time goes by, the hope of finding a realistic, helpful witness gets slimmer and slimmer. And the likelihood of solving the case gets less and less. We did have a man call us today, claiming to be a friend of the driver. However after a few minutes of talking to him, it was easy to see that the guy was a nutcase. Rambling on about Michael Jackson and peanut butter in between telling us facial descriptions and features. Our only hope, really, is if the driver himself comes forward, or the kid can somehow hear us up there and sends us some sort of clue – anything that can start the process of…

Figuring it out. That’s what I’m trying to do. Walking along, it’s almost as if my feet aren’t touching the ground. Like I’m floating; gliding across the ground. Everything around me doesn’t quite seem real – I mean, I know things are there but there not as vivid as I remember them. Everything’s out of perspective – things that appear far away are much closer than I think. The colours are dimmer, the sounds echoing and far away. When I touch things, it’s more like I’m imagining I’m touching them, rather than really feeling them. When I actually touch something or push it, nothing moves. It would seem like I have no effect on the world around me. It’s almost as if I’m in some sort of bubble – like there’s something between the outside world and me. Take this flower for example: I know it’s a tulip, so it would usually be yellow, or red, but the usually bright colours are dim and dull. I don’t have any explanation for what’s happening; I really don’t understand. I know, I’ll go home. Maybe someone there can explain it to me, someone…

I know. I know. It’s pathetic. We’re not doing enough, etc etc. We’ve had the family here in the station today, asking why we haven’t done more, saying that we should have found forensics on the car, found CCTV of the driver. But the reality is, it’s not that easy, and I think, deep inside, the family know that too. It’s not just a simple task – there are rules and regulations we have to follow. We can’t just go charging in, accusing anyone and everyone and hauling people into the station. You feel for the family, of course you do, but situations and…

Things change. I though I’d be at home forever, following the same old boring daily routine. But this is far from routine. I reach my front door, left on the latch just like it always is. For some reason, the door has been left wide open. Stepping inside, it hits me just how different this place is.

Stepping straight into the hallway, everything is covered and coated in dust. It would appear no one has been there for months and months. The carpets are filthy, and the walls covered in cobwebs, with spiders hanging in every corner. Stepping through to the kitchen, yet strangely making no noise, I see that the situation only gets worse. Piles of uncleaned dishes and cutlery are heaped in the sink; with remains of dinner from goodness-knows-how long ago. All the surfaces are filthy, dusty and messy with splatters of sauce.

The weirdest thing is; it’s silent. There’s clearly no one here, and the only noise I can hear is the TV blaring in the living room.. I reckon I’ve not been home for a while, yeah? So people must have missed me – they must have known I wasn’t here, so why isn’t the house busy; filled with frantic phone calls and leaflets with my face on them? They should all be looking for me…


“Yes Sir, we’ll try our best.”

That was my boss. There have been fingerprints obtained on the car, apparently, and so now it’s up to us to try and find the guy. The media have taken a huge interest in this case, which is the main reason why it’s a big priority to my boss. I have no idea how I’m going to tackle this one. What can I do? I can’t walk round the streets of Leeds fingerprinting everyone I see. I’m gonna have to really…

Think. Think Joe, think! There must be some sort of explanation for all this. Maybe I’ve got the date wrong; maybe it’s just a freak day in winter. I know, if I look at the TV, the news will have the date on the screen. Walking back through the hall to the lounge, carefully ducking to avoid the cobwebs, I have to stand really close to the screen to make the image bright enough to read. Right, Sky News says……. the 15th June. I’m right! It is summer!

I wonder what’s happened in the past few months; maybe that’ll help explain. The only story I can see at the moment is some balding man reporting from a really dull, grey prison-like school. The camera pans round, showing the ground and walls. Slowly it dawns on me; that’s my school! That’s my…

School. I never liked it much as a kid, the constant nagging and droning got on my nerves no end. Plus, being the fat kid never helped matters. Nowadays kids get more of a chance to bunk off – what with parents being at work earlier, and getting home later, never having time to talk to their kids about their day, how they are getting on etc etc. I had to go to the lad’s school today, just to see if anyone knew if he had arguments with anyone, didn’t get on with them. I know it seemed as if it was a one-off thing, but you never know, right? Anyway, no one knew anything. Only thing I could find out was that he was a bit of a budding artist; very talented, loads of friends – you get the picture. Why is it always the good ones that get taken? That’s why I don’t believe in karma – you’re supposed to get what you give…

Apparently, there is a report from my school because of some great tragedy. I only caught the end of the report; hopefully the people in the studio will elaborate a bit now. I can’t quite hear what they’re saying, need to turn the sound up. There we go…. Oh My…

God. We’ve finally got a suspect. After 6 or so months, someone’s put themselves forward; saying they did it. Unfortunately we still have to obtain hard evidence that proves it. Personally I don’t see why, I mean why would someone confess to a crime if they didn’t do it? It’s not as if anyone can make the guy confess, is it? But if I don’t nail someone for the crime soon…

I’m dead. Dead! No, I can’t be dead. It must be some sort of wind-up. Yeah, that’s it, a wind-up. I mean if I was dead, I wouldn’t be able to see, or hear, or smell. I just…wouldn’t be here, right? But on the other hand – that would explain a lot. It would explain why everything is different. It would explain why I can’t really feel anything, why I cant touch or push. I stand up, looking around for some way to prove I’m still alive. I know, the mirror! That’ll be able to show I’m alive, ‘cos I’ll have a reflection. Ghosts don’t have a reflection. Walking over to the mirror, I should be scared. But – my hearts not racing, and I don’t feel nervous. I take a deep breath, and step into the line of the mirror. I’m not there. I really am…Dead. For some reason however, I don’t feel worried. I still feel really peaceful, and really calm. But the whole thing should be…

Really frustrating. I’m trying to interview the suspect, but I’m getting nothing out of him. All he’s saying is “No Comment”. “No Comment”, and yet I’m asking all the usual questions. Where were you, why’d you do it, how’d you know him. And nothing! We’ve been here for 20 minutes now, and the guy knows he’s winding me up. An annoying little smirk has started to spread across his face. I change tactic.

“So, Eddie, how come you suddenly confessed?”

“No Comment”

“Gone all soft? Guilty conscience?”

“No Comment”

“Can’t say I blame you, really. I mean, if I had killed a poor, innocent, child, I would have a guilty conscience too, but-”

“It was a CHILD?!”

“What do you mean, it was a child? You knew that, you killed him, right?”

“No…No Comment”

Something’s not right here; something’s fishy. Why did he act so surprised that it was a child? I wonder, I wonder…

I wonder if they found the guy yet. I sure hope so; I mean a maniac like that needs to be locked up before he kills someone else. And I want justice for what he’s done to me. Wait. The door just slammed. Someone’s home. I creep into the hallway – and it’s my mum. She looks terrible: tired, scruffy, miserable, and just generally – older. To me it seems her hair has gotten greyer, and her face is more wrinkled than ever. I walk over to her, and say “Mum”.

She doesn’t respond. “Mum. Mum. Mum”. Still no response. Why can’t she hear me? I can hear her. I scream “MUM!”. She twitches, as if she heard something, but I know it must be my imagination. I’m dead. No one can hear me anymore. The overwhelming realisation of everything I’ve lost suddenly sinks in. I’ll never grow up, never learn to drive, get married, have kids. I’ll never speak to my parents again. I’ve lost friends, family. I’m all alone. Everything I took for granted. Everything. Gone – just like…

That idiotic suspect is still here. We’ve only got two more hours to question him, and then we either have to charge him or release him. And if we release him, God knows where he’ll go. Actually, I have a pretty good guess, on a plane to the furthest destination possible. Then if we do get evidence, we won’t be able to find the guy to convict him. And pretty much the only two words he’s saying is “No Comment”. The only other thing he has said is what we got out of him the other day, a comment that I still can’t understand. The only way he couldn’t have known it was a kid was if…

He didn’t do it. Watching the news, they’ve shown a photo of the guy they think it is. And he’s not the right one. He didn’t do it. So unless something miraculous happens, the real guy is gonna get off scot-free. But what can you do? I can’t tell the police they’ve got the wrong guy; they wouldn’t be able to hear a word I say. Wait. I wouldn’t be able to tell them who it was, but what if I was to show them? There must be a way! But I’ve got to be quick, otherwise it’ll be…

Too late. It’s too late. We’ve had the two hours, and we’ve got no evidence on which to charge him. We’ve got to let him go. I guess this case will be publicised as more shoddy police work. No suspects, no leads – we are back to Square One. It’s been a bad week. A very bad week. I was assigned to drop the former suspect off, and I’m now…

Arriving at the police station, I finalise the idea in my head. I have no idea whether it will work or not; but I don’t think I have any other options. I pass through the heavy doors and walk past security. According to the news, the officer in charge of my case is Chief Inspector Mark Williams. If he’s Chief Inspector, he should have an office of his own, right? Walking through the corridors, it strikes me how organised this place is. Rules and regulations that all help to solve the chaos of the crimes outside these walls. I think I’m in roughly the right place now.

I’m walking down a large corridor, with lots of different doors on. I see a door with “Chief Inspector M Williams” on in large, bold, black letters. I look through the glass, and he is sat in his chair, slumped, looking utterly depressed. I make to push the door open, but my hands just pass straight through. I give a little chuckle, realising the irony of the situation: I always wanted to be invisible. I walk over to where the guy is slumped in his chair, and taking a deep breath, I crouch down to his level and step into where he is sat. Looking down, I see that the plan has worked. I see his legs, his feet, his hands, and am looking out of his eyes. I’ve taken over his body – but it won’t be for long. Then…

* * * * * * * * * *

I begin to search through his desk for a pencil and a piece of paper. Happening upon them in a cupboard, I rest them on my knee and begin to sketch. I start to draw the last face I saw when I was alive, the face of the maniac in the car. Let’s see – I remember the small, round head, the huge, sticking out ears. Yeah, that’s it. And there were the tiny beady eyes, and the squashed nose. I draw the haunting, manic smile that I last saw on his face. He was covered in pock-marks, and had huge, bushy eyebrows which both had rings in them. I draw on the high hair-line, the bags under his eyes and the wrinkled forehead. Holding the picture far away from my eyes, the image brings back terrible memories. But I think it’s a good likeness.

I spend 10 or so minutes putting on final details, tear out the page and jump to my feet. I place the paper in the centre of the desk, so no one can possibly fail to see it. I realise that now could be the last moments I ever see, as I have no idea what will happen to me when I leave this body. I don’t imagine I’ll be how I was before – I changed myself and all the atoms that made up my….ghost….are probably disintergrated. Funnily I dont really mind, as I hope that I have done enough to help them catch the guy who killed me. I take a deep breath to calm myself and take one, giant step backwards…

Out of it…..I can’t remember anything from the last twenty minutes – I must have blacked out ! The pressure on me to get this case solved must have finally got to me. The last I remember I was sat in my chair, slumped, utterly depressed. I realise I’m standing up, and catch sight of a piece of paper left in the middle of the desk. Picking it up, I see it is a very well drawn picture of a man. A message left on the back reads:

“This is the man you are looking for in the Green case. He is the one that was driving the car. Please, please find him”.

I don’t know whether to believe this or not. You see, this is the man with the little boy, the man that owns the petrol station. He was the one that told us he’d seen the car with the number plate we were looking for. Funnier still, the handwriting looks unmistakably like mine. Ignoring that smaller detail, I immediately pick up the phone and call my boss.

* * * * * * * * * *

Having consulting my boss, we gather up five or six officers, and head for the petrol station. Arriving there now, I pray that this is the right guy, more for the family than anything else; so they can have closure. We send a couple of officers around the back, just in case. Entering the shop, we see the owner behind the counter. He sees us, then, registering who we are, jumps over the back counter and out through a door at the back. Lucky we had officers there, isn’t it?

* * * * * * * * * *

After 4 hours of questioning, justice has been done. We convict the suspect on charges of manslaughter, after matching his fingerprints to the ones obtained on the car. It’s now believed he’ll get life in prison: the very least he deserves. After working non-stop on this case for 5 or 6 straight weeks now, I arrive back at my office and collapse heavily in my chair. I almost feel a soft breeze whistle past my ear, and I imagine I hear two faint words….


I'm Niki!

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