Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Death and Derek by Lou Treleaven - February Femmes Fatales

Lou Treleaven is back in the February Femmes Fatales basement ready to tease us with her unerring humour and the continuation of the Derek saga.

Although Death and Derek stands alone, may I recommend you take a quick peek at the first episode from 2011, Fun With Derek to fully set the scene. I defy you not to giggle.

Lou has a wonderfully quirky view of life, which makes her an ideal author of children's books. She really gets inside kids' heads and has them laughing, and preferably screaming too - but not too much. Try Lou's very handy tips for dealing with useless parents and school bullies on the Horrible Hints page of her blog. Wish I'd thought of them!

Here we have the lighter side of horror, and it's a side I simply love.


“So lovely to see you, Rachel!” Derek’s mother crooned, embracing me tightly. A rather inappropriate greeting, I thought, as this was her son’s funeral and I had killed him, but then she wasn’t to know that.

“Sorry for your loss.”

“Oh, you too darling. We were all sure you’d get back together and even get married. I feel I’ve lost a daughter as well as a son.”

“Mmmm, well.” I tried to pass her into the church but she grasped my arm. “You must sit with the family. At the front.”

“Love to.” I grimaced and took a deep breath before making my way to the front of the church, where I was soon pressed up between Derek’s Auntie Sandra and his Uncle Bernard.

“Tragic,” Auntie Sandra whispered to me, breathing heavily in my ear.

“Terrible,” Uncle Bernard agreed, putting his hand on my knee and leaving it there.

They were right – it had been tragic. I could still see Derek’s green and brown jumper soaked with his surprisingly vivid red blood. My favourite silver dagger had taken ages to clean. My chaise longue had taken a real beating, but I had managed to get the worst out of it with a liberal application of Dr Daemon’s Gore-Be-Gone.

To my surprise I featured heavily in the funeral service, which was interlaced with speeches from Derek’s family about their dashed hopes for the future, and the now impossible prospect of the patter of tiny Dereks courtesy of yours truly’s womb, which quite frankly was locked and bolted with no chance of Derek or anyone else, dead or alive, breaching those defences thank you. (I was working on a booby trap that would cause considerable personal intimate damage, but it was still in beta.) Occasionally the vicar would get a word or two in, something about tragic death, sorely missed, ashes, dust and so on, but mostly it was just Derek’s family droning on while Uncle Bernard’s hand crept further up my lap.

I was relieved when Derek’s mother interrupted the vicar’s final summing up to invite us all for canap├ęs at her lovely home. A glass of wine and a handful of twiglets and it would all be over.

“Tell us what happened again,” Auntie Sandra crooned, squeezing herself into my chintzy armchair and trapping me.

“Well, I did toy with him for a while, but in the end I went for the heart and put him out of his misery,” I confessed, taking a swig of wine.

“Oh darling, she doesn’t mean how you broke up. She’s talking about the terrible murder of my sweet boy.” Derek’s mother pressed a ritz cracker into my hand. “We don’t know who did it, Sandra, but the police are saying it was a crime of passion.”

“Absolutely not,” I insisted. “It was just the way the evening was going.”

“Come and sit on my lap,” Uncle Bernard suggested, patting his beige slacks.

It was time to go.


As I drove back to Unhallowed Acres my mind whirled. Had I done the right thing? I knew I’d done the right thing ending Derek – no one who kept used tissues up their sleeves deserved to live – but should I have confessed? I’d tried to tell them the truth but nobody wanted to listen.

The road turned into a track and soon I was entering familiar territory. The sky went dark, bats flitted overhead and pairs of red eyes blinked through the sinister shapes of bare trees. Home sweet home. What worried me was that I was becoming happier here than I was in the ‘normal’ world.

My phone suddenly gave a manic laugh, my text message signal to tell me there was another undead creature waiting for my attention. I began to relax again.

After a long evening’s work – a banshee trapped in an airing cupboard, the killing of a vampire who’d been hosting a late night television arts review show, and yet another exorcism at my local, the Hangman’s Noose, I returned home tired but happy. The menacing statues that normally stood around my house in ghastly tableaux had shifted about and wittily spelled out Welcome Back with the entrails of dead animals, and I heard the ghosts in the attic clanking out a supportive rhythm with their chains as I unlocked the door with its huge rusty iron key.

“Well?” The ghost of Derek drifted down the hall towards me, looking emotional.

“It was fine. They all waxed lyrical about you.”

“But what did they say? Who cried the most? Did Mollie Bishop from school turn up? I know she secretly fancied me for years –“

It had been a long day. I reached into the kitchen cupboard, turned swiftly and sprayed Derek with Dr Daemon’s Ectoplasm Repellent. It would break him up for a few hours and by the time he drifted back together again he’d be exhausted.

Okay, so I hadn’t got rid of Derek entirely, but now he was dead he was so much easier to manage. And, even better, the patter of tiny feet was going to be absolutely impossible now.

With a sigh of satisfaction I went to my display cabinet to make room for Uncle Bernard’s severed hand.

_________ The End _________

Bio: Lou has written this piece as a sequel to her 2011 Femme Fatale entry, Fun with Derek.  She calculates she will finish the story if February Femme Fatales continues for another 80 years.

You can find her at


  1. This was so much fun, I don't even know where to begin commenting. Overall, the MC's voice is just brilliant, and so darkly funny. Great story.

  2. Heartily agree on Valentines' night with my esteemed colleague Mr Allinotte ...

    SO MUCH OF A RAUCOUS ROMP was on a roll here. From: A rather inappropriate greeting, I thought, as this was her son’s funeral and I had killed him ... through the 'colours-full' chaise scene needing Dr Daemon's Gore-be-Gone I was grinnnin ... all as the storyline flowed ... so satisfyingly rich at each turn, Ms Lou.

    Speaking of satisfying ~ no more underhandedness for Uncle Bernard. Great finish!

    ~ Absolutely*Kate, realizing the desire to delve into DEREK-1.

  3. Lou, your writing is so vivid that the moment I began this I recalled the first Derek story completely! The sweater, the tissue, oh yes! And this is a lovely continuation, very funny and oh so dark. Lovely way to start my morning!

  4. Fun and dark. My favourite combination. :)

  5. Now I need to know much more about Rachel and her nifty talents. Plus her other "conquests".
    Thanks for the story.

    Marietta Miles

  6. I loved the humour in this tinged with just enough darkness!

  7. Ah yes, Derek, I remember him! Lovely to have Rachel back again too, Lou. As Helen says, a dark story with a light touch - magic.

  8. Dark and delicious Lou, love the way the humour weaves through the narrative. Well done.

  9. Oh this is perfectly delightful. A pleasure to read and I'm hungry for more.

  10. This was so much fun! Such an enjoyable read, and so inventive.


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.