Sunday, 6 February 2011

The sun always shines on Lou Treleaven - February Femme Fatale

February Femmes Fatales - February 6th

Back in early 2009 when I decided to stop leaving scribbles hidden in drawers and do something with them, I really had no idea where I was going. I joined Talkback, the private online forum of the UK's leading writers' mag Writers' News and Writing Magazine. I can now safely, and happily blame TB for what I have become.

Lou Treleaven is a fellow Talkbacker who has offered her voice of experience, her support and opinions over the last couple of years. And she's just... lovely! She writes dark fiction for children, young adults and big grown ups like us. To be able to gear your writing to those specific age-groups is a true talent which Lou has perfected.

I am proud to share space with Lou in horror anthologies Caught By Darkness and Daily Bites of Flesh.

Lou's February Femme Fatale story Fun With Derek is indeed a lighter-hearted tale with a determined humour, perfectly suited to a Sunday. I hope it tickles your fancy.

Fun with Derek By Lou Treleaven

“I suppose you’d better come in now you’re here,” I said, reluctantly opening the door to my ex-boyfriend.

“You’ve done all right for yourself, haven’t you?” he remarked cheerfully.

I narrowed my eyes at him as the thick wooden door slammed shut with a bang, rattling the grubby chandelier on the ceiling which released a shower of dust and a couple of plate-sized spiders. “You think so?”

Derek brushed the dust off his brightly-coloured jumper and followed me into the kitchen. “I never thought you’d be able to afford a decent place of your own.”

“I don’t think I’m ever really on my own here,” I said, pulling two mugs out of the cupboard. Above us, thumping noises and the rattling of chains announced there were still things in the attic I hadn’t managed to purge, but Derek didn’t seem to notice.

“I thought you’d come running back to me. I guess I was wrong.”

I handed him his tea. Behind him drawers started opening and closing of their own accord, but he didn’t hear them and walked over to the kitchen window. He took a hanky out of his sleeve and cleared a little peephole in the grimy glass. “Interesting.”

“The statues? They seem to change position every day. It’s like they’re acting out some bizarre play for me,” I said, joining him at the window.

“Not them. The stones. Is that a –“

“Graveyard, yes. It’s the previous occupants. You do realise this is a Dark Neighbourhood, don’t you? I mean, you saw the signs, the gibbets? It’s not ideal, but the rent’s dirt cheap and it’s handy for –“

“Rachel, won’t you come back to me?” Derek cried, putting down his mug and grabbing me by the shoulders in an uncharacteristic fit of passion.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a statue outside pretend to vomit. I tried to ignore it. “It’s not that simple. What about my job? You don’t like it and I do, and I’m not going to give it up for you. I’m doing okay now, better than ever before in fact. Being in a Dark Neighborhood suits me. Now if you could consider moving to Unhallowed Acres as well…”

Derek looked sulky. “Are there any good gastro pubs?”

I considered. “There’s the Hangman’s Noose, but the food’s a bit ropey. The Cannibal’s Arms do a nice pie though, if you’ve got the stomach for it.”

“I’m serious, Rachel! Okay, I’ll try. I’ll even put up with your stupid job if I have to.”

My phone beeped. “Talking of which…” I glanced at the text and sighed. “Dr Chilling’s transformed again. I’d better get over to the surgery before there’s another bloodbath.”

Derek slumped. “Here we go again.”

“All right.” I put the phone down. He was doing his big puppy eyes. The ones that had got me into trouble the first time round. “Dr Chilling can wait a few more minutes. Go and sit on the sofa.”

I pointed him towards the living room. A shabby velvet chaise longue was the only furniture. Tall stained glass windows depicting macabre scenes looked on. Derek sat down awkwardly.

“I’m just going to fetch my silver dagger,” I called lightly.

“Your… what?”

“My dagger.” I was back with it already. I prided myself on always keeping the tools of my trade close at hand. I advanced on him and raised the weapon ready to strike; immaculately clean and polished to perfection, it shone prettily in the purple and red light coming through the window. What a lovely tableau we made at that moment.

“But – but you only kill vampires and… and werewolves and… horrible unnatural creatures!” Derek cried, putting up his arms.

“That’s right,” I said. I wrinkled my nose. Derek had lost control. How disgusting. “You are a horrible unnatural creature. Look at that jumper! And you keep hankies up your sleeve!”

“That’s not a crime!” Derek sobbed.

He was dribbling now. I sighed. Vampires were much more fun to kill. And that was the whole problem. I enjoyed my job so much more than I enjoyed spending time with Derek. In fact, I loved killing full stop.

“It is a crime, Derek. You are a crime.”

I shoved the knife into Derek’s chest, deliberately just missing his heart a few times before hitting the target. Outside I could hear the statues scraping along the ground towards the windows, pushing each other out of the way to get a look.

“Now this is fun,” I said, shaking a blood-stained strand of hair out of my eyes, but Derek seemed to have stopped listening.



Lou Treleaven writes speculative fiction for adults and children, and can be found on the web at
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.