Monday, 4 October 2010

Dug an old one up - Slideshow

This mild little thing first appeared on the bleedin' marvellous Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers over a year ago. I was reminded of it today after getting stuck in a queue behind a jolly hockey sticks old bat clad in moss-green and mustard-yellow faux-hunting plaid. She was haranguing a poor woman who'd inadvertently started a conversation while they waited.

"Don't believe in all this digital hoo-haa" she boasted, as loud as loud can be. "Bring back the old slideshows, that's what families love. Mine were quite the thing, you know!"

Click click.


‘So that was my trip to Windsor. Lovely gardens, aren’t they? Now, here’s my world falling apart. Look. See, you can just make out my husband’s feet sticking out from behind the sofa.

‘And look at this. That’s her. That’s the one he was doing it with. Even now, I really don’t understand what she had that I didn’t. Oh well. It doesn’t matter now, does it.

‘Oh, sorry. They’re a bit out of order. You’ll like this though. It’s him looking in his wardrobe – before it happened. Good job we had separate bedrooms. Just look at his face! It was hilarious. I’d filled the pockets of his best suit with prawns and cat food three days earlier, when he went off with her to Cardiff. Absolutely reeked. He’s not happy, is he!

‘This one, is… Let me see. Ah, it must be half-an-hour later because his blood’s all over the parquet floor. All over me too, for that matter. I slipped in it after smashing his skull against the wall.

‘Now where are we? Oh yes, back in the lounge. I remember I had to turn the camera off to drag him down the stairs. He wasn’t quite dead then. Just suffering.

‘So. This is me phoning the whore. This is him hanging onto my legs after he crawled across the carpet to try to stop me. This… Now this is the whore arriving at the front door, screaming at me, demanding to see him. What a sight she is.

‘Um. OK. OK. I know what this is – it’s me strangling her with the tie-back from the curtains. The timer on the camera was a bit dodgy and she wouldn’t keep still so it’s a bit blurred. You can’t quite see him, but he watched me do it. He was crying.

‘She had a good kick on her, I can say that for the woman. Nasty sharp nails too. Red they were. Scarlet. Hah! How appropriate!

‘Here we’ve got a few of him dying; I’ll just flick through those quickly. It only took a couple of days. I didn’t bother to feed him or give him anything to drink. Not much point really.

‘And… Here we are back at the first slide. You can’t see her in this one because I was sitting on her when I took the snap. But you remember, do you? He’s behind the sofa. I hid him there because he was in the way, putting me off while I tried to think about what to do with the pair of them.

‘Now wait. I thought I had another one. No, no. Of course. It was a photograph, not a slide. It must be here in the box somewhere. Yes, here it is. Take it, Sarah, would you? And pass it round. It’s me bricking them up in the cellar. I am rather good with my hands when needs must.

‘What? Yes Ella. Here. In the cellar underneath the vicarage.

‘That’s right Nathan. I used to live here.

‘Oh, come on, Daisy. Don’t cry. It was twenty years ago now. Water under the bridge. The church is better off without him. It already knew about the affair, I was told. So it was better all round that they’d "run off to Australia together".

‘What’s the matter? Are you worrying about what happened to me? Well, I couldn’t stay here, obviously. The church kindly let me have the cottage next door, and I’ve been there ever since. Reverend Charleston came here not long after. Lovely man, isn’t he? Shame he’s leaving us next week. I didn’t think he would do that to us. I’ve given so much of my life to him.

‘Oh my dears, it’s so sweet of you all to weep for me; but I’m fine, I’m completely fine.

‘Now, my little sillies. Off you pop. I’ve got the older ones coming along to Sunday School at eleven. They’re going to see the slideshow too. Jordan, you can stay and watch it again, if you like. Your brother Luke’s coming in; you can sit with him.

‘Get your coat, Joshua.

‘No. Hang on, wait. Ooh, children. I’ve just thought. I still have a key to the cellar. Would anyone like a tour?

Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.