Monday, 31 December 2012

No More Mrs Nice Guy

Having neglected The Feardom for a while I've popped in with the duster to clear out the cobwebs, thank everyone for their support during 2012 and wish you all a happy, healthy and successful 2013.

Oh, and here's a bit of posh, slasher fun to end the year with...


Dear Prime Minister

I would like to know, if my question doesn’t inconvenience you too much, what I am supposed to do now?

My name is Clara Barfington-Thropes, of Tunbridge Wells. I hope you do not mind my calling on your expertise but you are - as I understand is referred to in common-speak these days - The Top Man. I did of course, vote for your party so I trust we have similar leanings and that you will empathise with my plight.

My question, as an upstanding and accountable member of the community is, am I to be arrested for the murder of the two young gentlemen currently dirtying my drawing-room Axminster? Of course, I use the word ‘gentlemen’ loosely. I regret they were not terribly gentle when they attempted to assault me. And neither are they really yet ‘men’, merely teenagers with fluffy facial hair and pock-marked skin.

These lads weren’t known to me, so when I caught them after they’d crawled in through my tiny pantry window, you can imagine how quickly I accused them of trespassing. But Sir, it was to no avail!

They frightened me right from the outset with their rolling eyes, and the way they lolloped from side to side with their thumbs and little fingers poking out. Like apes, they were. I suspected they had been at a public house for their young, pink faces flared red – leading me to suspect they had been consuming alcohol – even at their young age. Now, there’s nothing wrong with alcohol Sir; I enjoy a claret of an evening myself. But with this pair, I felt there was more to it.

I discovered later, after I’d stripped them of their blood-soaked clothes that they had cuts and infected holes in their arms, their necks and even (though I apologise for having to mention it) in their groins next to their little winkies. Sir, I do believe they were “drug addicts”.

Now, I understand you will have some questions for me too before you can fully respond to my enquiry. If I may anticipate:

1. Was my pantry window not locked and secured? A question I would expect you might want to ask for insurance purposes (they did break a selection of my Royal Doulton after all.)

My answer is that I live in a Conservation Area. According to the people at the council we are not allowed to have double-glazing here as it doesn’t fit in with the look or something. Absolute poppycock, of course, but never the less the single-pane – now smashed – of the locked window is how they entered the premises.

2. How or why would they want to assault (Sir, I’m afraid you must read that as ‘rape’) me? 

Indeed - a very good question! I am a 67 year-old widow after all. I cannot imagine the attraction, though I must say I do look after my appearance and have several admirers at the Bridge Club.

I shall set the scene. When I stopped the boys in their tracks they laughed at me and spoke in a colloquialism that I could not understand. I believe they must hail from the other side of Kent.

But I digress. One of them addressed his friend as ‘Tommo.’ I shall refer to him henceforth as ‘Tom.’ They glanced at each other quickly from below their hoods. Tom wore grey, the other’s was black. It was strange to watch the boys’ eyes move independently of each other – one up, one dipping in and out of the side of its socket. That's the drugs I suppose. But when they attacked me, it was fast. Tom grabbed me first. He pulled my hands behind my back and pushed me up against the other boy. This was when the assault happened Sir. This naughty young man forced his hand inside my blouse and into my brassiere; with his other hand he dared tear at my skirt to find - and attempt to enter - my underwear. I could feel young Tom fiddling with his trousers with the hand that wasn’t pinching my wrists together. I am embarrassed to say, Prime Minister that at that moment I did become very frightened and am afraid I screamed a most unladylike cuss-word.

However, although I am of a slim build with - it has to be said - delicate features, I am also rather strong. I rode from the age of four, and am proud to say I still do. I keep a mare at the Hedgley-Bateson’s estate in Tenterden. Perhaps you know the family? I was able to squeeze my thighs tight onto the hand between my legs until the boy yelled and released his attack. He moved sufficiently enough to free me a little so I head-butted him hard on the nose. He roared with pain and before Tom could loosen his grip on my wrists I flipped my head backwards, hitting him in the face. I don’t know what I connected with but he whimpered “Ouch” like a little boy. Quickly I raised my left knee then kicked back into his shin with my heel which I dug in as hard as I could. He screamed, and let me go. 

I was so proud of myself - I had been able to use my powers of recollection from the 1980s when I was judge at the annual local flower show. We had been treated to a packed programme of events, one of which was a self-defence demonstration; how to protect oneself against attack. Well Sir, I was not even aware I had taken all that information in, but the evidence was right before me.

I should have left it there perhaps, and called the police but it transpired I had only given myself a few minutes grace. As the young men shuffled towards me, angry now, I raced out of the kitchen and down the hall. My dining-room doors were open and I almost fell through them, locking them immediately behind me. My heart was fairly hammering Sir, and I admonished myself for selecting a room that contained no telephone. I waited – I don’t know – it may have only been minutes, but it felt like hours.

I heard before I saw the handle slowly turn on the interlinking door between the dining and drawing rooms. What a fool; I had neglected to lock that one. I ran towards it, reaching it just as it opened a tad and an arm shot through the gap. I slammed the door repeatedly on the hand until it retreated and my final slam closed the door once again. I stood with my back against it, panting by now – I can tell you. I rested my ear against the panel to try to hear was going on on the other side, but could make out nothing. All of a sudden something huge crashed into the door and I was forced to the floor. I looked up to find myself staring at a gaping hole between the two rooms.

They both ran in, wielding kitchen knives. Heavens! What was I to do? Before they could get to me I flew to the corner, to the dresser where I keep the important cutlery. I pulled open the drawer and took a bone-handled carving knife from its bed of blue velvet, and grabbed a sharp bread knife for good measure. I spun around just as they reached me. To their surprise I parried them with both hands. Their simple lunges were nothing for St. Judith’s School for Girls fencing champion (1957 and ’59). Now, I must admit, my precision is not what it was, but with the awakening of a dormant thrill of combat I must say that I turned into a wild cat! What would you have made of me, I wonder as I slashed and cut, dancing around the room on nimble feet. Tom fell back from a daring thrust at his face – I caught one of those rolling eyeballs and flipped it from its socket, severing the nerves as I did so. Tom wailed like a baby, tears spurting from his remaining eye and collided into the dresser, causing the aforementioned Royal Doulton to crash to the parquet floor.

“Get her of me. Get her off me,” Tom cried.

His friend, cowardly thing, made for the window. His bloodied hands tore desperately at the handle of the sashes but it wouldn’t open. That’s because I’d had it sealed years ago when the council wouldn’t let us have the wretched double-glazing.

“You’re a fucking nutter,” the boy shouted at me. I use the expletive in full, Sir to demonstrate his terrible attitude and language. The lad still grasped his weapon but had apparently forgotten it was there. I brought the heavy bread knife down and neatly sliced off his thumb. His blade fell to the ground, as did the thumb. He screamed in both anguish and pain, I shouldn’t doubt, and didn’t object when I took him by the hair (I knocked that silly hood off first – what a shame – he would have been quite a nice looking lad if it weren’t for the pustules around his mouth) and dragged him over to the dresser where I pushed him down onto the shards of porcelain. He fell easily and lay there, pressing himself tightly against Tom. They whimpered, the pair of them.

Well, Prime Minister, I wasn’t done with them yet. I sat at their feet, twisting the knives around in my hands. I told them it wasn’t right, what they had done. I told them they did not have permission to enter my property, and nor did any man have the right to assault a woman. I asked them what they wanted – what they had come here for – and when they didn’t answer I swiftly sliced each of them across the cheek.

“Money,” they screamed together.

“We need the money,” Tom said. He broke into a full-scale, one-sided sob.

“What for?” I asked. “To buy drugs?”

They nodded like a couple of guilty fools. And it made me cross.

“My father worked hard to give me a good upbringing. My husband too. We didn’t have children, but by God, if we’d had two boys like you we would have loved them and cared for them and would never have let them turn out the way you have.”

Tom’s friend wept uncontrollably, not for my sad tale of a childless marriage, but for himself. My heart, despite my rage, fluttered with a touch of sympathy.

“So,” I asked. “What do you want to do?”

“Stop,” Tom replied, his voice breaking. “I just want to stop. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

I looked at his friend.

“Do you feel the same young man?”

He nodded, wiping blood and tears on a grubby sleeve.

And then Sir, I feel there was a misunderstanding. In retrospect I realise they were probably telling me they wanted to come off the drugs, perhaps be something more like the boys I never had. But of course that would have been impossible. And at that moment, I didn’t even consider it.

I bent towards the young men. They must have thought I was going to embrace them, for they both edged forward, very slightly. I reached out and tousled their hair. I still held onto the knives so as I stroked the greasy locks on each of their heads it was with the edge of my hands.

It was very hard, but it seemed the right thing to do. I’m sure Tom knew it too, as he stared at me through his reddened eye.

I did it quickly, so it wouldn’t be too bad for them. Indeed for Tom’s friend it took only seconds. His throat seemed to gush more profusely than Tom’s, whose own jugular spouted for a while longer before his body gave up its life with a judder.

And so, Prime Minister, I am sure you appreciate my concerns. What will Dame Justice make of this poor widow, defending herself in her own home against invading thieves and rapists?

I am sure, as a gesture of goodwill, you will arrange for the matter to be dismissed before it reaches the courts.

I would however, be most appreciative if you could ask the county Police to put me in touch with the boys’ fathers. I promise I will not condescend to judge them – it is simply that my income and savings are not what they were – and these gentlemen’s sons have left me with a considerable cleaning bill. Someone should pay for it, don’t you think?

Sir, I look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.

Yours, most sincerely

Clara Barfington-Thropes (Mrs)

___________  THE END????____________

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.