Murder At St Marmaduke’s

To read the first seven chapters, please go to my website: http://www.colin-z-smith.com/masm.html. For the first two sections of chapter eight, please see the posts below.

Chapter 8

Monday 4th November 1985: 17.20 – 18.00

Section (c)

Spiky Simmonds hurried along Policemorgue Avenue on his way to the Pig and Truncheon. As he went, he checked over his shoulder every few seconds to make sure no disembodied voices were following.

He was well aware that he looked a prat, but this evening, he couldn’t give a toss about style and his reputation. If he saw anything remotely invisible behind him, he was going to run like buggery and stuff what anybody thought.

He’d have rather stayed in, keeping to his bedroom with a packet of Players and the Mills and Boon romance that nobody at the post office would ever be allowed to know was one of his secret vices. But his mum wanted the place clear for a seance; she’d been asked to call up Ivy Baxter’s husband Wilf, and once that old sod had been in, the whole house had to be cleaned of dripping ectowhatsit afterwards.

He’d never been scared of the dead bods his mum conjured up. The thing was, at least they said what they wanted to say through his mum. Their voices didn’t jump out at you in the Gents without so much as a cough to let you know they were there.

Another check. Nothing. He passed an alleyway that separated a couple of buildings, and glanced down it, his heart thumping. The darkness from it leapt out at him like a panther, and not a hilarious pink one like in the film he’d watched the other night.

Thank God the lighting was good in this street. He supposed that here, being one of the areas the Filth had a presence, the council was bound to overlook the fact that electricity cost money; unlike in places they could actually use it – like the local dementia hospice, where twice a week staff, and volunteers like himself, had to pretend to residents that the war was still on and they’d all gone down the shelter to stay safe from bombs.

Another alleyway loomed. He made ready to run past it.

‘Excuse me, young man,’ a voice quavered from behind him. ‘Could you possibly tell me the way to Diamond Crescent? I seem to be a little lost.’

Shit!

He’d been partway through an in-breath, and now it stuck in his throat, uncertain whether to continue down or come straight back up again.

How the hell had somebody managed to sneak up on him? He’d only looked…

The last alleyway. They must’ve come out of there!

These thoughts chased each other round his head, and called down to the sweat glands under his arms to let a flood commence. Then, another more reasonable one interrupted their game of Tag. There was something about this voice which wasn’t quite the same as the other Voice; the one with a capital ‘V’.

It was that of a little old lady. Not a bogey-monster invisible man.

The stuck breath exploded outward in a surge of relief. He turned.

Indeed, it was a little old lady, and she was lurching towards him with a curious kind of shuffling motion, like one of the extras from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

Lots of old wrinklies had funny walks. So there was nothing weird about that.

The next thing he noticed was the white coat she was wearing. Like some kind of doctor; or maybe one of those bods who worked in a lab somewhere.

She might be one of either of them. So there was nothing weird about that, either.

She was almost up to him now. Lots of people came close to him on a daily basis. So there was certainly nothing weird about that.

She didn’t have anything on her feet.

Wasn’t there something just slightly weird about that?

She had a small tag attached to one of her toes.

That was a bit weird.

She reached him. He looked at her face.

At her left eye.

That was very – Oh, shit!

‘I’m so sorry; I’ve been told to do this for someone called Bill Johnson,’ she said.

Although her lips didn’t actually move while she was saying it.

That was reallyOh, shit, shit, SHIT!

He tried to scream as she dragged him into the alleyway, but by then her hand was clamped over his mouth.

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