All posts by Carol Fenlon

Carol Fenlon is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor and mentor. She also writes short stories and her first novel, Consider The Lilies, the story of a feral child and part of her PhD thesis in Creative Writing from Edge Hill University won the Impress Novel Prize 2007 and was published in 2008 by Impress books. Carol’s short stories have appeared in many small press and mainstream magazines. She lives in Skelmersdale, Lancashire and can be found at www.carolfenlon.com .

Murder Me

THANATOS:  Please, somebody, I just want to be killed.
ABADDON:  Well go on and die, spineless bastard. Haven’t got the guts to do it yourself?  ’ll do it for you.
+++++I pressed the Send button and closed the page. I can’t be doing with the crap people talk on the Net. What kind of a stupid site was that anyway? Autoassass? Not as if I was looking for a site full of sickos like that. I was only browsing true crime and somehow it popped up.
+++++Makes you wonder what goes on behind those blank faces you see on the street. Mostly nothing – half of them barely alive, never done nothing, never thought anything past the next football match, pizza night or mortgage payment and the other half are raving bonkers behind their empty faces. God knows what’s going on there.  You can understand why people run amok with guns, putting a load of them out of their misery. People deserve to die if you ask me.
+++++That night I dreamed about hiding out in the wood overlooking our town with a telescopic rifle, picking off everyone who ever gave me a hard time: school teachers, bullies, Mum, Dad and most of all my horrible brother Brian.
+++++I kept thinking about the dream all next day at college. I’ve had that dream so many times and while the lecturer was droning on about T.S.Eliot and J. Alfred Prufrock, I was thinking that if I had a gun in my desk I could take out half the class before anyone stopped me. I made a list in my head of the ones I hated most and their proximity to the line of sight but it was all just a daydream like the way I imagine sniping at the zombies on the bus and in the street.
+++++I’d forgotten about Autoassass till I got home and went upstairs to log on. There was the URL in my recent history and I couldn’t resist clicking on it.
THANATOS:  Abaddon? Really? I want to die. I mean it. Are you in UK?
+++++This was a laugh. I hit Reply.
ABADDON:  Happy to oblige. I’m in North West. What do you fancy?
+++++The reply was almost instant.
THANATOS:  I don’t need to know. You choose.
ABADDON:  Joker. You almost had me there.
THANATOS:  I’m deadly serious. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always daydreamed about it, hoping someone would kill me. You don’t know how many times I’ve hung around dark alleys, hoping to meet a serial killer. When I read stories of people being murdered or hear about them on the news, I think how lucky they are. No one ever takes me seriously. I thought you might be different.
+++++I didn’t know how to answer that. Surely he didn’t mean it? I was assuming it was ‘he.’ I was getting a creepy feeling; it wasn’t such fun any more. I felt like he could see me, see that I was getting scared. I logged off. Good job because the next thing I heard footsteps thumping up the stairs and I closed the site down quick before Brian burst in.
+++++‘Clear off Ashley, I need to use it now.’ He almost pushed me out of the chair and sat down in it himself.
+++++‘I hadn’t finished,’ I said, even though I had.
+++++‘Use your phone,’ he muttered, already scrolling through his Facebook timeline.
+++++I aimed an imaginary gun at the back of his fat neck and went back to my own room. I played some music, messed about on Facebook and tweeted a few mates. I didn’t really believe Thanatos but I was thinking about it after all. It was stupid to be scared, it was only a game, only a laugh. He didn’t know who I was and I didn’t know him. I brought the Autoassass site up on my phone and logged into the chatroom. It was like something I couldn’t stay away from even though it was crazy.
+++++There was another message for me.
THANATOS:  Well?
+++++I thought about it. Hadn’t I always wanted to kill – ever since I could remember? Every time I couldn’t get what I wanted that rage would rush up and now all the time it boiled in my head. All I could think was how stupid people were and how they all got in my way, none of them deserved to live and spoil life for people like me. Maybe it would make me feel better, going along with it, just playing the game to see where it went.
ABADDON:  OK

***

Things went on as always the next day; usual crap at breakfast, Dad reading drivel out of the paper, Mum rushing round dishing out toast and slathering herself in lipstick at the same time, Brian slurping cereal like a pig.
+++++College was boring, boring, boring. I kept my phone under the desk on silent and I kept checking Autoassass. It was like I was the hero of some game designed especially for me; it beat playing Candy Crush any day but hours passed with no message from Thanatos. So, he was just a knob acting stupid after all, then just as the day had stretched its boredom to snapping point in the last hour before home time I felt the phone vibrate and there it was, Thanatos, and there was a photo.
+++++He was old, old as my dad if not older. Dark hair and glasses, he looked a bit like the bloke who had our corner shop but it wasn’t him. He looked like any zombie you could see on the street any day and I thought, why am I bothering? He could be a paedo trying to get me to meet him and then I thought people like that deserve to die anyway. I thought of all sorts of things I’d like to do to him and while I was still thinking about it the class broke up for the day.
+++++On the bus home I got another message.
THANATOS:  We need to talk
+++++I typed, Later and put the phone away.

***

When I got home no one else was back yet. I went up to the study and turned on the computer. I scrolled through family photos till I found a head and shoulders shot of Brian taken on the beach at Pwlheli on last year’s holiday. I brought up Autoassass and posted the photo to Thanatos.
THANATOS:  Handsome lad.
ABADDON:  Thanks.
+++++I really was starting to think he was a perve, a blind one at that if he thought our Brian was handsome. Suddenly the door opened and I jumped.
+++++‘There you are,’ Mum said. ‘Come on, we’re going out for pizza, just us three. Brian’s got his evening class.’
+++++Big deal. She obviously thought so. Boring Pizza Hut full of dickheads and their squawking kids shoving sticky fingers everywhere. I silently machine-gunned the lot and checked my phone.
THANATOS:  Are you up for it then?
ABADDON:  Maybe
THANATOS:  Why would you want to?
ABADDON:  I’ve always wanted to.
THANATOS:  I was hoping you’d say that.
ABADDON:   How do you want it done?
+++++‘Have some more coleslaw,’ Mum shoved the container under my nose.
THANATOS:  I told you it’s up to you.
ABADDON:  I like guns but I don’t have one.
THANATOS:  There are lots of other ways.
+++++‘Stop fiddling with that bloody phone.’ Dad said with his mouth full of stuffed crust. ‘What are you doing anyway?’
+++++‘Just playing a game.’
+++++‘Can’t you wait till you get home?’ He puffed crumbs across the table.
+++++‘It’s boring here,’ I said.
THANATOS:  There are conditions. I don’t want to see you, or know the moment. You must surprise me.
+++++‘Put it away, Ash.’ Mum cut me another slice of pizza. ‘Honestly, you kids.’
+++++I clicked the phone shut. I was thinking he’d get a surprise all right if I turned up instead of Brian. It was really fun, almost as if it was real and the more I thought about it, the more real it got. Soon as we got home I ran up to the study and the computer.
THANATOS:  Are you there? Don’t mess me about.
ABADDON:  I’m not.
THANATOS:  You’ll really do it? I’m desperate.
ABADDON:  What’s your name?
THANATOS:  No names, no info. I told you. How do I know I can trust you?
ABADDON:  I told you, I’ve always wanted to kill someone and it’s getting worse. If it’s not you it could be anybody in the street.
+++++As I typed this I realised it was true and suddenly it stopped being a game. I took my fingers off the keys and for a moment I couldn’t breathe.
THANATOS:  Wouldn’t want that on my conscience, lol.
+++++I couldn’t go on. It was like standing on a cliff. He was serious and it was up to me which way we jumped. ‘You haven’t got the nerve’ a voice said in my head and that tipped me over the edge.
ABADDON:  Leave it with me, I need to think. 

***

I thought about it all night. I didn’t have the strength to strangle or drown someone and even though he might want to die surely reflexes would take over to make him struggle at the end. Hit men always did a clean job in the films and I wanted to be the same. I didn’t have access to poison darts or anything like that and it was no use planning to slip something in a drink if I wasn’t supposed to let him see me.
+++++I went into the garage and looked in Dad’s toolbox. Peter Sutcliffe used a hammer but was I strong enough to do the same properly? I looked at the screwdrivers but they didn’t look sharp enough to make a deep thrust, unless I went for his eyes and that meant coming face to face with him too. No, it had to be one of Mum’s Sabatier knives. She kept them really sharp.
+++++I was still thinking about it at breakfast the next morning after dreaming about gouts of blood in gushing fountains. What would it be like to stab someone? Would the blade slip in as if into butter or would the skin resist, a tough layer to be pierced before the knife slid into the organs?
+++++I spent the morning in class looking up the structure of the body on my phone. It wouldn’t do to hit a bone or miss a vital spot.

***

THANATOS:  St John’s Gardens, Liverpool, 9th July, 1 pm. Don’t let me see you. I love you so much for doing this.
ABADDON:  Is this for real?
THANATOS:  Don’t doubt it. Don’t let me down.
+++++Saturday was only two days away. Of course I wouldn’t go – or if I went it would only be to look – but I went down to the kitchen and took Mum’s knives out of the block, testing their sharpness on my finger.
+++++‘What are you doing?’
+++++I jumped when Mum came in. ‘Er – nothing.’ I turned away to the fridge, stuffing the knife under my tee shirt. ‘Just getting a Coke.’
+++++‘You drink too much Coke,’ Mum said. ‘What have you done to your finger?’
+++++I looked down and saw blood leaking out. ‘Cut it on the printer paper,’ I invented. ‘Trying to print my coursework.’
+++++‘Well, don’t stand there dripping,’ Mum said. ‘The plasters are in the bathroom. Honestly!’
+++++I went upstairs, sucking the blood and thought about putting the knife into Thanatos. I might get only one stab, from the back, should I go for lung or kidney? Maybe I should go for the neck, it wouldn’t do for him to survive. The thought excited me. I couldn’t sleep for thinking about it and I knew if I didn’t do it, I would regret it all my life. I would never know peace.
+++++But even on the bus with my mother’s knife in my inside pocket, the blade pressing in my chest, I still didn’t believe it was real. I thought I would go to the gardens and nothing would happen, Thanatos wouldn’t be there, and I wouldn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed.
+++++There weren’t many people in the gardens, it was a dull day. I looked around for a while, thinking he’d been having me on all the time. I even thought maybe he was an undercover cop looking for potential criminals but then I hadn’t actually done anything wrong, had I? Then I saw him, or I thought it was him, sitting with his back to me on a bench down at the bottom end of the gardens, away from the path people used to cut through to the Walker Art Gallery and the museum.
+++++I walked up and down a bit, even walked right past in front of him to make sure it was him. He was expecting Brian, not me, so he wouldn’t recognise me and I needed to make sure, I didn’t want to hit on the wrong bloke. He smiled as I went by and he just looked ordinary like some guy who was sitting there waiting for his wife to finish her shopping or until his train was due at Lime Street station just across the road.
+++++My heart thumped as I circled round to the back of the bench and I wandered up and down still not knowing what I was going to do next. ‘See, you can’t do it,’ the voice said in my head and I took a deep breath and looked round. There were people walking along the path at the top of the gardens but no one down this end. I took the knife out of my pocket and I just went up quickly and slid it into him, making sure I aimed at the right lung. It went in between his ribs like it was just a joke. I pulled it out and it was like nothing had happened, except that the blade was streaked with red. He sort of went, ‘Oof’ and fell forward and I stuck it in again on the other side to make sure both lungs got it.
+++++He didn’t move after that, just slumped down and made a funny, rattling noise. I didn’t dare wait to make sure he was dead. There was hardly any blood which was good, wouldn’t attract attention. I looked back as I headed out of the gardens. He just looked like some old drunk sleeping it off on the bench. I went out of the lower gateway and melted into the crowds round St. John’s Precinct.

***

I was on a high that I’d actually done it. I was different to everyone around me but I’d always known that.  At tea-time I couldn’t eat for excitement but there was nothing on the news so I felt a bit deflated and had to keep telling myself it was real, not something I’d imagined or dreamed.
+++++‘Have you had my vegetable knife?’ Mum said to Dad.
+++++‘Me?’ He looked at her across the kitchen table.
+++++‘You’re always taking my knives to tinker with things in the shed.’
+++++I’d forgotten about the knife, still in my coat pocket. I went upstairs and washed it clean in the bathroom sink. Watching the bloody water swirl down the plughole I felt so important.
+++++It was on the late night news but only on the local bulletin. I guess murder isn’t so unusual any more. It didn’t say much, just that a man had been found dead with stab wounds in St John’s Gardens. A few hours had gone by before someone found him and no one had come forward to say they’d seen anything suspicious.
+++++I switched off my TV and lay back on my bed. How clever I was; how easy it had been. I burst out laughing.
+++++‘What’s so funny?’ Brian came clumping in my room. The knife was on my bed and I covered it quickly with my pillow.
+++++‘Get out! Don’t you come in here without knocking.’
+++++He hung in the doorway so I pretended to scroll through my phone messages, ignoring him and after a minute he went away. Later I took the knife downstairs and put it in the dishwasher with the rest of the cutlery. I slept like a baby. All that tension in my head had gone, just as I’d hoped. From now on I would be happy.
+++++The next day everything was normal except that I carried the secret inside me like a hidden jewel. At lunchtime I went into town and treated myself to a cheeseburger. I went window shopping to Curry’s, looking at laptops and tablets and wondering if Mum and dad might get me one of my own for Christmas instead of having to share with Brian.
+++++All the TVs in Curry’s were on the news and I stopped dead when Thanatos’s photo flashed up on the screen. His name was Andrew Wilmslow, a nerdy name that suited him but the photo of a hard-faced blonde took his place and the newsreader announced that his wife Shirley was being questioned in connection with the murder. I couldn’t think what he meant, it didn’t make sense.
+++++‘Everything all right?’ I opened my eyes. A sales lad touched my arm. I saw everyone in the shop was looking at me. I realised I was clinging to the shelf at the edge of the counter and I was shaking all over.
+++++‘I’m fine.’ I pushed him away, went outside and walked till my head cleared and then I started laughing. It was perfect for me if they hung it on her. No wonder he wanted to die, hitched to an ugly cow like that. In all the crime programmes I’ve watched the partner is always the main suspect but of course this time they were barking up the wrong tree. They’d probably soon realise that.
+++++Why was everyone on the street staring at me? I realised I was laughing out loud, so hard that tears were running down my cheeks. I felt light as a feather. I gave them all the finger, all the stupid sods, and made my way back to college.
+++++I was right about the police. When I got home there was a cop car outside and at first my legs shook but of course they’d come for Brian, not me. One of the plods had Brian in handcuffs. That was awesome. My heart swelled. Not so big now, I wanted to laugh in his face but instead I put on a concerned expression.
+++++‘What’s going on?’
+++++‘This is my daughter, Ashley,’ Mum said. Her blue eyes looked black against the white of her face.
+++++‘What’s up?’ I said but she just shook her head and Brian looked like a cow that’s been hit with a stun gun.
+++++‘I’ll have to go with him.’ Mum dragged on a jacket. ‘Your dad’s on his way home. You’ll be all right love.’ She pulled me into a hug. Over her shoulder I saw another cop coming down the stairs with the computer wrapped in clear plastic.
+++++I went upstairs and looked at myself in the mirror. I was grinning from ear to ear. I brushed out my long blonde hair and practised a demure smile, a bit tremulous and fearful. Who would ever suspect me?

‘It’s crazy.’ Mum looked bewildered. ‘Our Brian’s never heard of this chap. But they say his photo was on the man’s computer. They say he’s been sending messages to him on the internet, on a site for people who want to be murdered.’
+++++‘What?’ Dad roared. ‘Is it someone’s idea of a joke?’
+++++‘The police say he told this chap he wants to kill someone. He must have thought it was some kind of game.’
+++++‘I never heard such nonsense,’ Dad shouted, ready to explode. ‘I don’t believe it. Our Brian wouldn’t do anything like that. Ashley, do you know anything about this?’ They both looked at me. I decided it was time to let fall a few tears.
+++++‘Oh, love,’ Mum said. She sat down and put her arms round me. I leaned into her, felt her body shaking and the next thing I was sobbing against her chest.
+++++‘He has been a bit strange lately,’ I murmured when I got control of myself. I looked up at Dad through my tears. ‘And he never lets me near the computer.’
+++++It was pretty awful listening to them crying and moaning so I went up to my room and thought how much better life was going to be, just the three of us, without Brian. We’d have to go and visit him of course but I could put up with that, in fact I would rather enjoy it.
+++++The phone had been ringing all night, all the stupid aunties and uncles, nosy neighbours who’d seen the police at the door. I was watching the ten o’clock news to see if there was anything about Brian being charged with the murder when Mum walked in my room without knocking. I put on my sad smile.
+++++‘Ashley – Janet next door’s just been on the phone. She said you must have had a lucky escape.’
+++++‘You what?’ I took my earphones out, wiped my eyes as if I’d been crying for poor Brian.
+++++‘She said she was in town yesterday, saw you coming out of St John’s Gardens. She said it was just about the time that poor man was killed.’
+++++‘She’s a dirty fucking liar,’ I snarled and it was only when I saw the shock on Mum’s face that I realised what I’d let slip.

***

That was it really. I couldn’t believe my parents would grass me up like that. Well, I could because they’d always really preferred Brian to me, I knew that. Dad took my phone and even though I’d deleted everything the police soon found all the messages.
+++++Dad kept shaking his head at the police station and saying, ‘I can’t believe it,’ while Mum just seemed too stunned to say anything but the one who got the biggest surprise was me when they accused me of plotting to kill Wilmslow with his wife Colleen.
+++++I’d refused to speak until then but my mouth just opened of its own accord. I barely recognised my voice. ‘What?’ I shrieked, ‘I never heard of the woman.’
+++++‘Come on Ashley,’ the detective leered at me.’ She’s already confessed. She was having an affair, common knowledge apparently. She might have got away with it otherwise.’
+++++‘I don’t get it,’ said Dad. Neither did I.
+++++‘She pretended to be her husband on the internet, put up a photo of him saying he had a death wish and she waited to see if someone would come along and oblige. She says that Brian agreed to do it, said he had a compulsion to kill, but of course it wasn’t Brian, was it, Ashley, it was you?
+++++‘She arranged the meeting with you, told her husband she had a hair appointment in Liverpool city centre and arranged to meet him afterwards in St John’s Gardens so they could have lunch together. He fell for it and there you go. What we need to know, Ashley, is, did she set you up too, or did you know it was her masquerading as her husband and went along with it?’
+++++I shut my mouth up then and didn’t say anything after that.  I couldn’t believe I’d been so easily taken in and I certainly wasn’t going to admit it to anyone else. Of course they let our Brian out and he, Mum and Dad went home to play happy families.
+++++All the time I was on remand I only kept going by thinking of a hundred and one slow and painful deaths for them and our Brian. Mum came to see me once but she looked at me like I was dog shit – as if I cared.
+++++‘How could you, Ashley?’ she kept saying and I got bored and told the warder to take me away. She didn’t come again and Dad never came at all
+++++But the one I had it in for the most was that witch Colleen Wilmslow. I thought if I could just get at her when we stood trial…
+++++Thing was, I never got to court, instead they sent me to this place, hospital for the criminally insane, it’s called.  Me! It’s all of them should be in here, I’m the only sane one. But it’s not too bad in here and I’m only young. When I get out I’ll go for that witch first and then I’ll take care of my loving family.

Ann’s Test

Listen instead!
Listen instead!

The first day I saw just one, an advance scout. Ann had been gone for two weeks. The next morning there was a whole line of foot soldiers, pointing at yesterday’s squashed body like an accusing finger.
+++++I had to get past them. The birds were waiting to be fed. I edged round the door. Nausea rose up my throat at the sight of their shiny black bodies and waving feelers. The pain hiding in my leg bloomed like fire as I limped to the end of the garden to fill the feeders. The ants were from her of course, she’d sent them but why?
+++++I went back to the house. Pain muttered. The ant line was thicker. There was a hole at the bottom of the door through which they were pouring. I bent as low as my hip would allow. Ann’s test was under a paving stone by the back step.
+++++I hadn’t any ant poison. I got the fly spray from the kitchen cupboard. Ants had never invaded before so I knew she had definitely sent them. They didn’t die at once, but the spray seemed to clog them up. They began to run in all directions, even up my trouser leg.
+++++I screamed and danced, ignoring my screeching hip. A jar of PanYan pickle on the kitchen worktop shouted to me, “PanYan, pay Ann.” Oh yes, Ann, you will pay! In the bathroom I tore off my clothes, scrubbing my skin under the shower to get rid of crawly ants’ feet and feelers.
+++++I went down to where Ann lives now but Richard came out and told me to clear off.
+++++“BADRATS!” I shouted, waving my crutch. “BADSTAR!”
+++++“If I see you again, I’ll call the police,” he shouted back.
+++++“All right for you Mr Two Legs, wife stealer.”
+++++“Clear off!”
+++++“RAWKEN! BADRATS!” I started to limp away. I thought I saw Ann’s face, white against the upstairs window.
+++++“PANYAN!” I shouted up at her, “PANYAN!”
+++++The next day they were back and I knew Ann wasn’t going to give up. There was no fly spray left. Boiling water – I remembered my mother used to use it, but as I filled the kettle, I had a better idea. I used to like Westerns and there was something I’d seen once in a film, or had I read it in a book?
+++++It nearly killed me, lifting that flag. Even with the crowbar, my hip screamed protest and when I saw the horrid, wriggling mass, I nearly fainted. By midday I was exhausted but it was done and every thing was ready. Now all I had to do was wait until Ann finished work and Richard got up after sleeping off his night shift.
+++++It was four-thirty when I turned into Ann’s street, just starting to go dark. Richard came to the door looking groggy. I tried not to think about what was in my back pack; instead I concentrated on what I needed to do. I had the hammer ready up my sleeve and as soon as his ugly mug peered round the door, I hit him hard.
+++++He staggered back and I followed him in. He looked like a great ugly insect with his eyes bugging out at me, so it wasn’t difficult to keep on hitting him.
+++++I dragged him into the front room and shut the door. He’d made a bit of a mess on the hall floor, so I laid a trap for Ann, dipping my scarf in the blood and dripping it on the cream-coloured carpet up the stairs. When I’d finished, I hid behind the bedroom door.
+++++It worked like a dream. I listened to the noise of her key in the lock. There was dead silence as she saw the trail of blood on the stairs. Suddenly she gasped and cried, “Rick!” then I heard the drumming of her feet up the stairs and she burst into the room. I already had the noose in my hands and she was trussed like a turkey before she even realised what was happening. Once I had her immobile on the floor, I could relax and take my time. As I sat on the floor resting, she began to gabble.
+++++“Where’s Rick? What have you done? Mike, why are you doing this? Let me go. You’re hurting me. Please, Mike.”
+++++I got more rope out of my bag, just to be safe. I rolled her round and round, tightening the knots. “Ann’s test, nest, test, sent, sent ants,” I explained between gasps.
+++++“What are you talking about? Let me go!”
+++++I got the roll of masking tape. “Pity me oat. O pity me at. Meat o mate o pity me. TIME TO PAY!” I hissed at her as I wound the tape round her head. I left her nose clear and her eyes so I could watch her reaction when I opened the box.
+++++The pine floor was firm. The nails gave a solid thunk as I hammered them through her hands. Her face looked like it would burst through its sticky covering. It was harder to get the nails in her feet. Luckily she’d fainted by then, but I had to wake her up for the grand finale so I went and fetched a jug of cold water to bring her round.
+++++I opened the box with a shudder of horror, watching Ann’s eyes widen. I tipped the box and the squirming mass fell on her face. I fished out the tin of syrup and dribbled it all over her body. That would keep them busy for a while. I went home, savouring Ann’s punishment.
+++++I never meant to kill her. I just wanted to make her stop tormenting me. I was going to go back after a couple of days and set her free but my hip was so bad after all my exertions that I had to stay in bed for a week and then people broke in and brought me here, where at least it is clean and safe.
+++++This place is called after St Anne. If you put in a hero, myself of course, you get ‘no ants here.’ Funny that, isn’t it?

You Were Made For Me

She’s here again. I knew she was coming. My computer told me. When I switched on, I got the message right away. PC, Pat Connors, perfect cunt.
+++++And here she is. Banging on the door. She won’t go away, even though I’m hiding behind the curtains, not moving a muscle.
+++++She’s shouting through the letterbox. Her words rattle on the vinyl floor, bumping against the walls – big words that crash in the small space.
+++++“LEAVE HIM ALONE.”
+++++That makes me smile. I know what that means. LOVE HIM ALWAYS. I know she doesn’t really want him. She wants me to take him away.
+++++There’s a little silence. She rattles the letterbox.
+++++“I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE YOU BITCH.”
+++++She must be bending down now, peering through the flap, looking in my hall to see where her words went. I wish I had a long, hot poker to shove in her eyes, or, better still, to stick in her shouting mouth.
+++++In the kitchen, I switch on the radio to drown out her noise. I’m fed up listening to her. I don’t care anymore if she hears me. I know Chris will go mad when he finds out she’s been coming here, causing trouble. I know this because on the radio, Cilla Black is singing, ‘You’re My World.’ It’s a message from Chris. The words are beautiful and the title is my initials, Yvonne May Waterhouse. See? It’s too much of a coincidence, isn’t it?
+++++I like the old records. That modern stuff, it’s all dance music, loud, toneless sex, sex, sex. I like romance. 10cc is one of my favourite groups. There’s another coincidence, cc, Chris Connors, and its ten years since we first met.
+++++I always knew he was made for me, although I kept it to myself for ages. It was only three years ago that I plucked up the courage to tell him, but all that time, I never changed, I never wanted anyone else.
+++++All my life there have been little messages, in songs, in things people say, objects I pick up or look at.
+++++She’s gone away now. When I think of all the trouble she’s caused, trying to keep me and Chris apart, it’s a miracle I can restrain myself from running out and killing her.
+++++It was all her fault that I had to leave a good job at the hospital. I’d been ward manager at the general for three years and when Chris came to work on my ward, he was the best staff nurse, I’d had. I knew, that first day, that he was the one, but I didn’t let that interfere with my work, whatever they say.
+++++There had been other men before, of course, but I knew someone special was going to come. I was sorry to find out that Chris was married, he hadn’t waited for me the way I’d waited for him, but I knew everything would turn out all right in the end.
+++++He was shy at first, but gradually we got to know each other well as we worked together and I just bided my time until one day it happened just the way I’d always known it would.
+++++Even then, although we couldn’t get enough of each other, Chris was always a gentleman. Those filthy things she said, still says, make me sick – things Chris would never do. Ours is a pure love.
+++++We spent every spare minute together. Until she started to cause bother and that’s when it all went wrong. Oh, the lies that woman told. She made Chris lie too. I knew he didn’t mean it, he was just no match for that scheming bitch.
+++++I could see the longing in his eyes, even when he told me he didn’t want to see me any more. I went off shift that night devastated but as I was getting in my car, I heard two women talking in the car park.
+++++“He doesn’t mean it dear,” one said to the other. I knew it was a message for me and as I pulled into the town square, I saw the lights of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, (Kisses From Chris) and the car radio started playing Freddie Mercury singing, ‘Carry on, carry on, nothing really matters.’ What could I do?
+++++I only went round to Chris’s house to try and talk to PC but that woman is just so unreasonable. She just wouldn’t understand how fate had brought Chris and I together. I knew it wasn’t Chris who sent the police round to my flat, I knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. It was Pathetic Cow, and that policeman, Detective Constable Devil’s Claw, Clever Dick. He said I threatened her with a knife. It was just a letter opener I found in my pocket. I had to use it to stop her jamming my fingers in the door.
+++++There was a big stink at the hospital after that. They made Chris say he couldn’t work with me any more. They said I was sick. They told me to take some time off. Everything was hushed up of course but they wouldn’t let me back on my ward. In the end, I resigned and ended up as the matron at this grotty little nursing home.
+++++I couldn’t see Chris at the hospital and I couldn’t go to the house but I had to let him know that I was still there for him so I tried to ring up instead but PC changed the number after a bit and Clever Dick came round again. Lucky I’d always used a call box so they couldn’t prove it was me.
+++++The last few days I’ve waited for him outside the hospital or outside his house but he won’t talk to me because she’s always watching. That’s why she’s been here today, trying to get me through the letterbox.
+++++Time goes better for me at work. Even though this job is a bit of a come down, we’re always busy and I can almost forget about not seeing Chris and having to put up with PC and her trouble-causing. I’ve always loved my job, holding people’s lives in my hands. I don’t know how I’d manage without it.
+++++But today, just in the quiet time after lunchtime medications, just when I was settling down for a quick cup of tea and a sandwich, the police came – here, to my place of work. How everyone stared. And a detective inspector no less, smooth in a dark suit with a soft, round face.
+++++He said someone had tried to kill PC – pushed her in front of a car on the High Street. At first I was so excited that I didn’t really think about what he was saying. All I could see was Chris and me together and an empty space where PC was no more, but his next words crashed into my brain.
+++++“Luckily she wasn’t seriously injured, broken wrist…..bruises…..shock.”
+++++I looked at DI. His eyes were cold and flat like a lizard’s, like the Devil Incarnate. He reminded me of that day, the one I never told about. The suit…it scratched my skin… and the smiling face with the flat, cold eyes….just like this. Funny how a complete stranger can just come up dressed in a suit and a smile and take everything away from you. It was hot that day. I got off the train, cutting through the fields to Aunty Rita’s house…the tall grass scratching my legs, then the smile and the suit scratching…then he took the smile off and I saw his real face… so close up….later it was the only thing I remembered.
+++++DI wanted to hurt me too, make everything dirty, everything that is sweet and good between me and Chris.
+++++“What’s all this got to do with me?”
+++++He laughed tonelessly. “Perhaps you could tell me where you were this morning, between say ten thirty and eleven o’clock?”
+++++“My shift started at nine.” I squared my shoulders.
+++++He was disappointed, I could tell. The staff nurse and the auxiliary backed me up. They’d been so busy they hadn’t noticed when I slipped out. It took so little time. I knew what time PC left for work and the route she took. I wanted to laugh out loud when I saw how his face fell. He got up to leave, looked at me like he wanted to call me a liar but I just looked right back. There wasn’t a thing he could do.
+++++After he’d gone, I went into the staff room to make a fresh cup of tea. The room was empty. My hands were shaking as I put on the kettle and got my cup. The trailing rhythms of a blues song flowed out of the radio. I listened to the suffering in the voice, in the notes and chords of the guitar and suddenly, I knew I’d had enough.
+++++“That was ‘Killing The Blues’ by Blind Boy Williams,” said the DJ.
+++++Killing the Blues – it was a message for Detective Inspector Lizard Eyes, DI – Death Instantaneous.
+++++“Mrs Smith needs her insulin,” the auxiliary called me from my reverie. Was it tea-time already? I went into the stock room, unlocked the medicine cupboard, started drawing up the injection. I looked down at the syringe – DI – Death Instantaneous. My eyes slid over the rows of vials – Cubic Centimetres – Chris Connors.
+++++I took two vials. Enough was enough. DI and PC. Their harassment was about to end. PC was still in the hospital. I would have to be careful. Careful and quick. DI first, then PC. After that Chris and I would be together always. I knew I wouldn’t get caught. After all, look at this morning. I could get away with anything. I picked up the phone and called the police station.
+++++“Could I speak to Detective Inspector Pearson?” I asked confidently. “There’s something I need to see him about.”