The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | The Murderer
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The Murderer

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

A cold blanket of frost fell subtly across the small village of Graines. A child not older than eight sat in the playground watching the swings slowly push back and forth as a sharp breeze pushed its way through the village. The child got up instantly as a soft voice called over, “Tommy we’re off, hurry up!” Tommy ran to his elder sister Angela and held onto her arm sternly. “Let go!” she screeched before shaking him off her arm viscously.
“Behave! Both of you”, their mother exclaimed in a sharp tone. Tommy strolled over to his mother and held on to her arm, his eyes distracted by something behind the trees. Tommy watched like a hawk, trying to understand what it was that caught his attention.

A man appeared from behind the trees, this had distracted Tommy. Tommy clutched on to his mother’s arm even tighter. Frightened, scared, fearful he watched this man stand tall and give him an unusual smile. The man dressed in a black fur coat with big bulky boots scanned the playground to see if he could make eye contact with any other child. Tommy, still amazed by this man stood with his eyes peeled back, watching him closely. His mother strolled out of the park with his sister and him on both sides of her, not realising that her son was being watched.

That evening, Tommy sat comfortably on the sofa watching television. His sister Angela in the kitchen helping her mother bake chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen. Tommy’s mother walked into where Tommy was relaxing, moving him over she flicked through the TV channels and stopped on the news. Breaking news, it had in big bold writing. Murderer in Graines! A news report was being recorded in the playground that Tommy was playing in that afternoon. Tommy’s mother called for her daughter.  “Angela!” she continues to yell before a messy Angela with cookie dough between her fingers and flour smothered all over her face appears. “Angela come here” said her mother. “Sorry mummy I wasn’t trying to make a mess”, she said whilst picking at the dough between her finger nails.
Her mother gently grabbed Angela’s arm and held both her children close to her as she wept away. “We’re safe” she told herself.  “We’re safe kids.”, Tommy looked up closely at his mother.  “Mummy what’s wrong? why are you crying?” He asked with his childlike voice. Tommy’s mother looked down at him with her puppy dog eyes. “Nothing my baby, nothing”, as she wiped away her tears from her eyes.

Tommy stayed seated on the sofa that whole evening, still confused about the day’s events. He slowly pushed himself from the sofa and walked over to the bathroom where he got himself ready for bed.

Tucked into bed, Tommy pictured the man he had seen at the park earlier on that morning. His mind blurred with an eruption of questions, Tommy questioned his thoughts.
Was mummy afraid of him? Is he going to hurt mummy? Tommy nestled himself under his duvet.  Suddenly a light struck through his bedroom window, like a cat Tommy’s attention was caught by a red beam of light, and he turned around immediately losing control of his thoughts. The red beam of light disappeared and a brave Tommy crawled over to the window to peep outside. As he lifted the curtain, an unusual smile he had witnessed that morning looked straight back at him. Tommy’s little body fell back hitting his head on the heater behind him. A strong Tommy picked himself up behaving like he is ready for war.

The next morning Tommy’s mother poured milk into two bowls of cereals.  Angela sat up straight at the kitchen dining table completing her homework in excitement. Tommy however was still distraught of last night’s events. He was still puzzled and could not understand how his family was so calm about the whole situation when he unfortunately had such an eventful night. Throwing on his coat he headed out to school. Tommy scanned his surroundings thoroughly on his journey to school. He watched every male that walked passed him and noted their facial expressions.

An afraid group of mothers huddled around one another speaking of the events of the day before. Tommy’s mother proudly boasted about how she was at the park the day before where the television news report was being filmed. Unaware that they were being watched, the mother’s spoke over one another trying to get their versions of their stories into the intense conversation that was taking place.
The man looked from afar, waiting for the group of mothers to disperse. One by one they slowly left the playground. Not too soon later the school gates automatically started to close. The man who now was much closer to the school gates rushed his way in and hid behind a climbing frame which stood tall not too far from the main office.

Tommy sat in class messing around with his friend. As the two of them giggled away their teacher constantly told them off. Tommy and his friend carried on giggling away and behaving like typical little cheeky lads. Soon enough the teacher had enough and at once order Tommy to leave the classroom. Tommy left the classroom feeling very much like he had achieved a medal for being sent out of class. He stood outside for a good couple of minutes pulling cheeky faces to his class mates making them all giggle whilst the teachers back was turned. Soon enough Tommy started wondering the school halls, until he noticed something quite unusual hovering around the playground. Tommy creeped towards the glass paneled double doors. He watched carefully, and was now fully aware of who he was spying on.

The man suddenly rushed through the double doors pushing Tommy aside. Unaware of the fact he had pushed Tommy to one side, he leapt into a class pulling on a trigger. A deafening cry of screams filled the air, a river of blood ran through each class, and the school bells rang viciously in order to evacuate the school building. Tommy still hiding behind the double doors held himself together. He covered his ears and held his knees closely to his body. His eyes now filled with tears, and a heartbeat that was thumping so fast that even he was struggling control.  Tommy had now realised that he was living his worst nightmare. At once the school bells switched off, and nothing but a wave of cries filled the air. Tommy bravely picked himself up, he walked towards the classroom which he had been sent out from. As he approached the classroom a red substance like paint was spilt throughout. Tommy picked up a pair of scissors from the floor. He peeped through the door way to see the man in the middle of the classroom kneeling on the floor sobbing his eyes out. Tommy creeped slowly towards him trying to avoid the bodies that lay lifelessly around him.

As Tommy walked closer to the man who was now questioning what he had done, a voice from outside shouted


It was Angela, not realising the man was still on the floor, Angela witnessed a gun being raised at her brother and nothing but a single shot piercing through his innocent soul.

Kinza Rafique

Kinza, a third year English with Creative writing student from Essex. Now studying at London Southbank University, Kinza found her love for books during her primary school years. Her love for Roald Dahl and his children's books caught Kinza's attention from a very young age. Diving into almost all of his books Kinza spent most of her time flicking through his books with excitement. Her favourite definitely having to be The Twits. Kinza's love for books didn't die after primary school, in fact she carried on indulging herself into good reads throughout high school. Eventually Kinza realised during A levels that Creative Writing was one of her favourite subjects. Being able to scribble down fun stories was something she made into a hobby. She carried on with this hobby into her university life as picked English as the course she wanted to study. Kinza would like to share the greatness of authors like Roald Dahl onto future generations, and hopes to pursue a career in primary school teaching.