Tag Archives: carol fenlon

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.”