Sue Harding has a very mischievous side. Her writing is often tinged with a unique humour, and her second Femmes Fatales piece, Frosty Relations is no exception.
I love the matter-of-fact delivery of this story as it unashamedly details Mandy's gruesome acts, making me laugh out loud.
With no further ado, wrap up warm and turn up the heat...
Frosty Relations by Sue Harding
Mandy couldn’t close the freezer. Each time she tried a hand or foot popped out. Exasperated, she snapped them off.
“Damn you, Kevin,” she thought, “Fighting to the last!”
She slammed the freezer lid down defiantly. It popped up again, just an inch or two. Finally on the third attempt it clicked shut and stayed that way.
She heaved a sigh of satisfied relief and waddled out of the garage and back to the kitchen, defiantly turning the key in the lock as if to underline the fact that Kevin was very much a part of her past.
Frizz, the cat, weaved around her ankles, raising a delicate pink nose and sniffing the air. Her eyes were big and bright as a familiar aroma teased at her nostrils. Mandy bent down and gathered the adoring feline to her more than ample bust, sinking her nose into the black, silky fur.
“Hmmm,” she whispered. “I know you’d like to see Daddy again, but it’s just not going to happen!”
She thought back to the last time. She’d been out to the freezer a few hours later to see how Kevin was doing. A few judicious prods had told her that although the body was cold, it wasn’t quite solid. She’d turned aside to pick up the bucket of ice cubes she’d gathered from the domestic freezer in the kitchen, intending to add them to speed up the process and when she’d straightened up she’d seen that Frizz had found her way into the garage. The cat had jumped up into the open freezer and was gently chewing on one of Kevin’s toes.
Holding the cat closely to her, Mandy walked back into the lounge and sat down. That had been six weeks ago. Kevin, minus the last inch or so of one of his left foot toes, was now much more friable, evidenced by the fact that she’d been able to snap off the offending appendages with relative ease.
She’d been putting off the question of what to do with Kevin’s body for a while now. At least storing him in the freezer had taken care of the odour issue, even if it had been a marathon event to manoeuvre his body down the stairs and haul him into his frigid sarcophagus. She’d surprised herself with what she could do when she put her mind, not to mention her own considerable poundage, to removing him from his initial resting place in the bathroom.
His prone position, with his head down the toilet, had made his demise all the easier to achieve. As he’d been bracing himself with his hands on the rim of the toilet bowl, throwing up the delightful meal she’d spent all day carefully preparing, it was not an arduous task for her to push his head down with the toilet lid and then sit on it.
True, his retaliatory bucking had had made for an uncomfortable ride as she’d tried to maintain a balanced posture but his already weakened state, from the debilitating reaction to the emetics she’d concealed in the spicy cuisine, was combined with the physical crushing on his windpipe and all she had to do was sit tight and wait and try not to breathe through her nose.
Finally dragging his body to the top of the stairs, she’d sunk to her massive haunches and sat down with her back braced to the wall. Pushing for all her worth, her feet made contact with the small of Kevin’s back and forced his body forward over the top step. She’d watched as the momentum carried the dead weight of his body to the foot of the stairs, falling over and over like some strange rag doll, to land in an untidy heap by the front door.
From there to the internal door that opened into the garage, it was a matter of pushing, dragging and rolling until she’d managed to reach the freezer. She’d propped him against the tumble dryer, letting the top half of his torso bend over into semi-repose, whilst she opened the freezer and stared briefly into the icy, cavernous opening. It had given her a few seconds to catch her breath, then she’d grabbed hold of a handful of Kevin’s shirt and propelled him sidewards into the waiting cabinet.
Although the disparity between his lean athletic figure and her more rotund curves had been the spark that had ignited the rift had driven them apart in the first place, she’d been glad that he’d slimmed down. Even if he had suffered some sort of mid-life crisis and found her ample figure less appealing as he’d shed several pounds acquired by her good home cooking, it had at least made the job of moving his body a little easier.
Now, as she sat still stroking Frizz, her thoughts came back to the present. Tracking down his ‘bit on the side’, that skinny girl he’d met at the gym, had been difficult. Only when Mandy had finally cracked Kevin’s password was she able to access his emails and there the full treachery of his betrayal was sordidly set out. It had taken her a full twenty-four hours to regain her composure after reading the cruel things he’d said about her. They were more hurtful, it seemed, than the sleazy details of his affair.
However, this was her only way to ensnare Miss Stick Insect and so she had entered into a fabrication, pretending to be Kevin. With email contact substituting for the real thing she’d had to invent a reason for his physical absence from the gym. That had been easy: Mandy simply detailed the same lie she’d fed to inquisitive neighbours – Kevin had undertaken some short term contract work abroad.
She’d strung Miss Waif-like along for a while before finally reeling her in. Yesterday’s email message had announced Kevin’s arrival back in the UK. It was a simple matter for ‘him’ to arrange a quiet, romantic meal for the two of them, especially as his ‘lard-tub’ of a wife was away visiting the dragon, otherwise known as his mother-in-law. So, he’d meet her at the house and they’d go on from there. Or maybe not, depending on how the mood took them. Mandy physically retched as she typed the last words, full of innuendo.
Miss Stick-thin had arrived on cue and having received no answer to her insistent doorbell ringing, had found the key in the planter by the front door as per Kevin’s instructions.
Mandy had lain in wait, concealing herself awkwardly in the folds of the heavy door –curtain. She savoured the startled look of disbelief that met her cold, hard gaze before despatching her love-rival with one of Kevin’s fitness dumbbells. The smack of weighted rubber making contact with teeth and bone had been like music to Mandy’s ears but it was merely the overture to a lengthy performance. It had reached its crescendo when her fury had abated and she’d looked down at the pulverised and eviscerated flesh that lay at her feet. It resembled well-tenderised steak, with a hint of blonde streaked hair splayed out like a rough halo around what had once been a dainty little face with a charming snub-nose and sensuous lips.
Mandy stroked Frizz again, as she recalled how much easier it had been to remove Miss Rake to her final resting place; she supposed there was something to be said for all this dieting lark. Still, it had been quite difficult making room for her. Manipulating Kevin’s limbs had proved awkward, but she’d finally managed to get the lid closed and then left the garage. It had seemed appropriate to let the two lovers have some time together on their own.
Sitting in the lounge with Frizz purring like a little generator on her lap, she lifted the travel brochure from the coffee table beside her and flicked through the pages. A nice long holiday was what she needed. Somewhere nice and warm. After all, she thought, imagining the icy repository in the garage and its occupants, two’s company and three’s most definitely a crowd.
Sue Harding worked in public libraries for eleven years. Her great joy was introducing customers to new books and authors and also discovering them for herself. Having taken early retirement the intention now is to knuckle down to serious writing. Perhaps one day her colleagues will be shelving her books!
Sue blogs at http://irefusetogoquietly.blogspot.com