It is hot. All of the windows are open to allow any cool air from outside into the house. The flyscreens are doing their best to keep any flying insects out. The mosquito bites on their ankles and toes tell them that they are still getting inside the house somehow.
Joanne and Richard are relaxing on their lounge after a long day at work. Their empty dinner plates sit on the coffee table and they are both now enjoying a glass of wine. In fact they have just finished the bottle. The wine is cool and refreshing on this hot February evening.
The house is dark apart from the flicker of the television screen. The television is humming the tunes of a brainwashing commercial about junk food when, all of a sudden, they both hear a noise coming from their back door. The unlocked screen door is being opened.
Startled, Joanne and Richard both look at each other. “Who’s that?” whispers Joanne.
“Sssh!” hushes Richard as he gets up quickly, but quietly, from the lounge. His glass of wine, which was sitting on the coffee table, is knocked to the floor. Joanne, startled by the noise, screams out as the glass smashes to the floor and sends the liquid flying.
For a moment their attention is diverted to the spilt wine and glass now covering the floor. Richard’s bare feet dance delicately over the broken pieces of glass. They threaten to pierce his skin.
Another noise takes them both by surprise. A gurgling noise. Liquid splashing. The potent smell of kerosene. The smell of smoke.
They can see the fire take hold quickly from over near the kitchen. From it a figure emerges. A male figure. Strong. Tall. Menacing.
Richard grabs hold of Joanne and pushes her towards the front door. “Go!” he screams after her. They both head towards the front door. Confused.
The figure grabs hold of Richard around his neck and he crashes to the floor. “What do you want?” screams Richard.
Thomas holds Richard down on the ground. He knows he is stronger. Richard doesn’t stand a chance against him. He holds Richard down and begins strangling him with his huge hands. The fire in the kitchen has taken hold and explodes behind him. “You ruined everything!” Thomas is angry.
“Tom?” Richard chokes.
“You ruined everything!” Thomas bellows again.
Without warning Thomas is knocked to the ground. A strike to the back of his head sends him off balance, releasing his strong hold. Joanne throws the cricket bat down as she rushes to help her husband to his feet. “Rich, are you okay?” she cries.
There is another explosion from the kitchen. Joanne helps Richard to his feet. Thomas isn’t going to give up that easily, though, and grabs at Richard again. “Why?” screams a petrified Joanne.
In the firelight, Joanne can see a stream of tears flowing down Thomas’ face. “I loved you, Joanne. You were mine.” Thomas cries as he begins to throttle Richard again. “You were mine!”
“Tom! That was years ago!” Joanne’s tears are flowing as she tries to grab the cricket bat again. “So long ago!”
In fact, it was years ago. Their families were close and Thomas and Joanne grew up together. They went to primary school together and were best friends and spent many afternoons after school together. During high school they became even closer. Everyone commented on what a great couple they made. Until the night that changed it all.
It was an accident that left Thomas in a coma for months. He was at the wheel of his father’s car with Joanne as his passenger. They were both 18. The car swerved to miss a kangaroo that bounded from beyond the bushes and went careening down the bank into the river.
Thomas was trapped, unconscious in the wreckage. Joanne fought to free herself and struggled to make her way to the bank of the river. It was dark on that stretch of road and Joanne could see no other car in sight. No help in sight.
Joanne had only one decision to make that night. A decision to save her boyfriend. Her best friend. She plunged herself back into the dark cold water. The car was slowly sinking into the river and it wouldn’t be long until the car, along with Thomas, would be gone.
“Tom, that was so long ago!” Joanne screams again at Thomas. She lifts the bat to swing at Thomas. Thomas grabs it and throws the bat aside. “I loved you!” he roars, as he rushes towards her. “And now you have to pay!”
“Pay? Thomas, I don’t understand,” Joanne cries. Thomas stops and starts brushing away the tears on Joanne’s face.
“You should’ve loved me. You should’ve loved me like I loved you!”
“But Tom! I did love you!”
“Love me now Jo.”
“Tom, I can’t. Things are different now. I’m with Rich now.”
Thomas’ fingers stop brushing away the tears on Joanne’s cheeks. He slaps his palm across her face. “And that’s why you have to pay!”
Joanne could see the water rushing into the broken windscreen. Thomas was trapped inside. His forehead was covered with blood from where his head had smashed into the windscreen. “Tom!” she cried as she tried to wake him. She could see the water pouring in and covering Thomas. It was dark and the water was cold. She was struggling to move around in it.
The car was almost fully under water and she felt helpless. There was nothing she could do for Thomas without being dragged under the water herself.
It was then that she saw the angel arrive. It came from out of nowhere but she knew it was sent to help her. “Help!” she hoped the angel could hear her.
Joanne is awoken by the smell of smoke. It is making it more difficult to breathe and she can’t see through the thick air. She finds herself lying on the floor but she can’t see anything around her. Her face is sore. She tries to move but her legs cry out in pain. She tries to scream but the thick smoky air just makes her cough instead. The cricket bat sits splintered next to her feet. “Richard?” she struggles to sing out. There is no reply.
There is another explosion as Joanne hears objects crashing down around her. She can’t see. She can’t speak. She can’t move. She summons all her strength to call on her angel.
Next Episode – Monday 26th January