Archive for November, 2007
‘There wasn’t even a note to tell me where he was going and why. We had been watching vids and then the rugby and at five he asked me if I was hungry. He didn’t want to go out. He said he was feeling tired but put in an order for chicken and fries. It was a shitty night and the football crowd were everywhere, slowing things up. The traffic was like mud and I oozed home. He wasn’t there. He sometimes did this and I didn’t think anything of it. Our relationship had cooled and he had other women. I wasn’t concerned. I put the chicken in the oven on a low heat but ate the chips. Nine, and he still hadn’t come home. I started to feel worried. Outside there were people everywhere. I drove the car to the clubs that we used to visit when we had lived together two years ago. Before he had left me for my best friend who was flatting with us. With her boyfriend. We were both decieved. But I always took him back. Just no sex anymore. He wasn’t at any of the clubs and no one had seen him. In fact, they were surprised to find out he was in town. Most thought he was somewhere in Australia. Or killed by freedom fighters in New Guinea. It was all news to me. The last I had heard from him before he turned up on my doorstep two weeks ago was a phonecall from Timaru saying he didn’t have enough money for the rest of the cabfare from Christchurch and could I either come and get him or send up some money. When he said two hundred I smelt a rat so I drove up and picked up this ragged bundle from the railway station. Shivering in the cold. The memories got me mad as hell and after a couple of hours I went back home and angrily parked the car in the drive. The garage is right next door to my bedroom and if I put the car in there I can smell the car smells for the rest of the night. I tried sleeping but the afternoon and the evening kept running through my head and every little sound made me jump so I ended getting little sleep. I must have dozed off because I jerked awake and the clock said 4.56 and I was so wide-awake I got up and made coffee. There wasn’t much I could do until after eight so I just sat, huddled over the heater if you can huddle over an oil heater. I thought of our happier times together but it was hard to filter out the images of seeing his bare ass going up and down on my best friend or him arriving home with bags of CD’s and clothes when he had borrowed fifty off me because he said he was skint. My best friend had told me to get rid of him. That he was a liar, a thief and a criminal and that he was only using me. Lydia was still my friend but that comment has changed the way I saw her. It changed something in me too. Made me a little harder but I couldn’t throw him out. We had a history and I had been bought up to believe that history is important.
Around eight I started out again. It was all a bit aimless really because I had no idea where he might be or with who. I just drove. I remember stopping for a while at a park that overlooked the city and just sitting there and feeling sorry for myself. And getting mad. Then sad. .
I got home about eleven. I was really building up an anger now. This time I wouldn’t give in. Tomorrow, or as soon as he could back on his feet, he was out of here. I thought he might have crept home while I was out looking for him and worrying about his useless skin. I thought he was probably sleeping so my plan was to drive the car into the garage and give it a good rev and scare the shit out of him. I was so angry. No more running around after you boyo. I used the remote to open the garage door. He was swinging from the crossbeam, a deep stain across his trousers. His tongue, swollen, arms at attention. I touched him. He was so so cold.’
I am so, so sorry. I hadn’t actually thought that I would kill myself. I was just playing around and I thought you would come back from getting the food and come into the garage to put the car away and you would be frightened. I know I am always doing things like this but trying to live up to your expectations is so hard and I just seem to fuck it up all the time. Forgive me.
I heard a noise in the kitchen and opened the door. She was sitting at the table with cold grey shapes sticking every which way. Mum had stabbed herself with every kitchen knife she could lay her hands on
You knew that eventually I would do it. This wasn’t the first time and you knew the pain that I suffered. The first stab hurt but after that it was just like jabbing yourself with a really big needle. I was/am no use to you and you are better off without me. Make me proud.
We forced the door open. He was hanging from the coat hanger by his pyjama belt.
The voices, the voices. They told me to do it. Screaming at me, night after night. Eyeless corpses, teeming with insect life, touching me Making me smell their foetid breath. Telling me to join them.
She was propped at a grotesque angle to the wall. Grey and red matter dripped down the white surface, harsh in the fluorescent light.
The doctors told me that I had about three months to live. They had known some patients who lived six but given my age and my other medical conditions I was not a good prospect. I couldn’t face the weeks of chemotherapy, my hair falling out, throwing up even more than I have been. I had the gun since that burglar. It was your fathers from the war. In time you will see its for the best. I am just sorry that it had to be you who found me. I thought it would be one of the nurses. Try to forget the now and think what I was like before Jesus decided he wanted me.
Rope, gas, tree, knife, syringe, razor, bath, kitchen, garage, tight, gasp, slip, lost, gone, forgive me, remember, jump, foetid, putrefied, taken. End.
Mr Wright edged his short, wide frame through the narrow door of the sleeping compartment. His eyes widened as he saw the six empty seats. A whole carriage to myself, he thought, as he sniffed the air for stale farts or, worse, lingering tobacco smells. Although he was a non-smoker, he always travelled smoking class. Since the decade long war against tobacco, smoking class was cheaper. He was pleased that all he could detect was a not unpleasant new-car smell. He briefly wondered if there was a range of products that simulated these smells. He pulled his notebook that he took everywhere with him, from his inside jacket pocket, and wrote in bold black letters FIND OUT ABOUT SMELLS-AROMA IN A CAN.
Putting his pen and notebook away he saw a discarded newspaper pushed down the side of a seat and he was pleased to see that it was todays, although his pleasure turned to disappointment when he saw that the feature page had a piece torn from it. He huffed – he could not stand those people who tore bits of newspaper, or folded book pages to mark the spot, or were careless with personal articles – then he settled down to read the headline (TRAIN KILLER CLAIMS THIRD VICTIM – SUSPECT) when the door to the compartment loudly opened.
At first, M Wright averted his eyes and hoped that the interloper would move on. Then, when it was obvious that she was not going to do that, he looked up from his paper and, half grinning, half scowling, too on her visage. She looked to be around her mid thirties. Her face had sharp features and her hair was tightly wound around her head and held in place by a large bone needle. Indeed, as she twirled into the carriage, Mr Wright was afraid that some part of his anatomy might become impaled on that piece of bone. She wore a purple shawl wrapped over a floral summer frock, as if she couldn’t decide whether she was hot or cold. Her legs looked swollen and were encased in thick green support hose. Mr Wright inwardly giggled because he had the image of a cob of corn, tassel end up, and the new arrival reminded him of two of them, side-by-side. She carried a large green canvas bag, which matched her hose, from which knitting, a bread stick, and an umbrella handle, protruded. She smiled at Mr Wright and he instantly felt guilty for the corn image, and, arranging her canvas bag on the seat next to her, she noisily sat down and started quietly humming to herself. Mr Wright concentrated on his paper and mentally added quite hummers to his list of things he disliked. He was again distracted by the door sliding open just as he scanned the first paragraph of the train killer story. Something about a piece of clothing with a distinctive heraldry sign on it being spotted at the scene of two of the crimes.
The new occupant glided haughtily into the compartment, the silk of her stockings squeaking as she moved from door to seat. She looked at the two other occupants of the compartment as if they were creatures in a zoo. She dusted off the seat two away from the green canvas bag lady, sat down, crossed her expensively clad legs, and, with a quick expansive movement dragged a cigarette and a gold cigarette lighter from her large leather purse. She then placed the purse down on the seat where it promptly fell against the green canvas bag as the train lurched into motion. The green canvas bag lady looked form Mr Wright to the new occupant, and back to Mr Wright again, smiled and noisily clicked her needles as she finished an arm of what looked like a child jersey. As she smiled, the new occupant raised her head and turned up her nose with an aristocratic sniff. Mr Wright settled back into his newspaper and saw to his delight that pork belly futures were up. He also noticed that the torn section of the front page had contained a police identikit sketch of the train killer. All Mr Wrights paper showed him was a vague outline of a shoulder.
A loud commotion outside the compartment door made all three occupants look up. A young bearded man, backpack perched high on his shoulders, was arguing loudly with the train guard who seemed to want him to get off the train. The young man pulled the door open and flung his pack in the space between the two women as the guard announced that the young man would have to get off at the next stop and return to where he had got on. With a whirlwind of activity and some dark language the young man sat down beside Mr Wright, leaned forward to his pack, and removed a walkman with headphones and a notebook. Mr Wright couldn’t help but notice that the young man’s notebook was impressive. It had a marbled cover and was gilt edged, altogether grander than Mr Wright’s blue vinyl model. The train entered a tunnel and the lights flickered painting a stroboscopic wash over the four occupants of the carriage.
As they entered daylight again Mr Wright looked at the jumble of bags and luggage on the seat opposite him. His eyes widened in horror as he saw the distinctive dragon and crossed swords monogram on a white shirt that lay in no mans land between the three others bags. He looked at his newspaper again, the shirt, the paragraph about the clothing, the shirt, the young man. The bag lady smiled sweetly and humming, pulled a piece of the bread stick and stuffed it into her mouth and started chewing, turning the hum into a grind. The haughty women snapped her compact loudly, sniffed, and looked away as the young bearded man mumbled to the sound coming from his Walkman. He scribbled something in his notebook. When he saw Mr Wright staring at him, he hastily drew the notebook to his chest so that no one could see what was written on the pages. He then placed the book back in his pack and withdrew what looked like a short walking stick from the frame of the pack just as the train entered another tunnel and intermittent darkness. Mr Wright felt his sphincter tighten as the flickered light from the compartment lit the soot-covered walls of the tunnel.
As the train entered the daylight again the door slid open yet another time and the same guard who had argued with the bearded youth repeated his message that the passenger was to alight at the next stop and make his own way back to where he had come from. The young man started protesting and waving the walking stick around but he calmed down when the cigarette-smoking woman said that she was getting off at the next stop, driving part way back along the route, and she would be willing to take him. There was something else in her tone that Mr Wright could not quite put his finger on but his contemplations were forgotten as the young man agreed to the ride. Mr Wright looked out the window at the countryside which was increasingly lashed by rain and wind. The young man glared at the guard, thanked the woman, and popped his headphones back on and continued to play with his stick. Mr Wright could see now that it was an altogether grander thing than he had first imagined and that it was either telescopic or pulled apart into something metallic, and, alarmingly, sharp. Mr Wright returned to his paper and started to think.
It suddenly came to him as an epiphany. The heraldry on the shirt, the telescopic stick, the anger. This was the train killer. Here in the carriage with Mr Wright and two defenceless women. The instant the thought formed he looked up and saw the eyes of a killer looking back at him. How could he warn this innocent young woman that she would soon be alone with an insane killer?
Psst! Psst! Mr Wright hissed between tightly pursed lips. Psst! She looked up, as did the elderly lady, her mouth stuffed with another morsel of food from her bag. Mr Wright held up the folded newspaper and pointed over the top of the page to the headlines. He then gesticulated toward the young man who sat low in his seat, eyes closed, immersed in his music. The old woman frowned, the young woman looked disapprovingly at the newspaper and Mr Wright then hunched her shoulders and turned away to look at the rain lashed fields that sped by outside their warm environ. Mr Wright was perplexed. The young man suddenly grunted, his eyes opened, and he shook his walkman. Mr Wright hurriedly pulled the newspaper back and glanced down at the headlines. Why couldn’t this stupid woman understand what he was so desperately trying to tell her? He looked and did a double take. To his horror, he saw that he had shown the wrong side of the folded newspaper. Instead of the train killer story he had been frantically trying to draw the young woman’s attention to XXX DO YOU WANT QUICK SEX ????? XXX, and a picture of a scantily clad young woman crouched before an eager looking older man. Mr Wright’s face turned puce and he quickly busied himself with re-arranging his paper. The train slowly drew into the station, came to a stop, and the young man and woman alighted in animated discussion. Curious, but also embarrassed at his blunder, Mr Wright watched the young man buy a newspaper as the woman backed a foreign sports car from the stations day-park. He looked at the front page, then scanned down to the bottom of the paper. His mouth suddenly formed a small O and his eyes narrowed. Mr Wright tried to look away, his failure to save this poor girls life swimming through his head. The young man started stumbling back to the now departing train. Mr Wright thought that he might just make it and perhaps kill him and the old woman before alighting to claim his sixth victim. A gust of wind suddenly lifted the newspaper from the young mans hands and it flew toward the departing train and the window that Mr Wright now looked tremulously out of. It stuck, front page first, to Mr Wrights window. He saw the vivid headline that had haunted him since he had entered the carriage. His eyes were drawn to the picture of the suspect that had been missing form his copy. He only had an instant to register the unmistakable face of the woman now sitting next to him, the kitting with the dragon and sword; then the train entered yet another tunnel. This time, the lights didn’t come on.
I wrote this story as New Zealand tried to come to grips with it’s biggest challenge since the inception of the anti-terrorism laws after the September 11 problems in the USA. Fourteen prominent radicals had been abducted from their homes in the early hours of the morning and were currently awaiting to see under whichb section of the law they would be tried under.
Wellington airport is the capital cities airport and is notorious for winds so strong that citizens often have to literally hang on to powerpoles to stay upright. Wellington airport is one of the most exciting airports to land at in all weathers but particularly in a breeze (the euphemistic term for a gale)
She sat there in her little metal backed chair looking like the roaring in her ears was getting louder and louder. It’s all very unsettling for me. As if I could hijack a plane with a tinfoil strip carrying four Cataflam. And what did she mean by that crack that the little, perfectly formed orange pills bore a remarkable resemblance to Viagra? I can see the frustration on her face and the faces of my fellow passengers as they wait impatiently for this fool to clear security. First it’s the change in my pocket, then my inhaler within its metal container, then my car keys, and still that damn bleeper is still going off. I expect they thought that I should have known about all these little metal items. I feel hamstrung and a large amount of disbelief that I could not have anticipated the effect of terrorism on air travel. It hadn’t crossed my mind that the tinfoil was metallic, and that my inhaler, which I had always perceived as plastic was, in fact, metal. My hands are now shaking uncontrollably which has further incensed the now, team of women, who was scouring my body with a passion that only matches the frantic bleeping of their instruments. Glass case with metal hinges, metal frames on my sunglasses, a paper-clip lodged in the deep recesses of my money pocket (one of the peculiarities of men’s trousers). Finally I, as a gibbering wreck, make it to the comparative safety of my seat. I quickly scan the plane for dark skinned people with flowing robes and turbans but, Flight 450, on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning, is Taleban free.
Then, not five minutes into the flight, a smiling stewardess hands me two beautiful, sharpened, metal weapons to slice pilots and passengers throats, poke eyes out, or cut vital pneumatic hoses.
That swarthy male steward is not fooling me at all! He has an Arab look about him with that pointed nose and sandy stare. The name Anil Prasad on his identity tag is not dissuading me from making him out to be a member of a tiny terrorist faction intent on capturing the plane and flying it into the Beehive. Why, just this morning, on National radio I heard a security expert say that NZ is a prime target as security tightens up in other countries. Terrorists will pick on weaker countries and repeat the lessons of 9/11. I bet, even now, that Mr. Prasad is secretly sweating inside his little green uniform as he anticipates that vital second to seize control of the plane and fly it into the American embassy in Wellington, or maybe an expensive visiting yacht, or maybe a KFC outlet.
And what about that tangata whenau in the beanie, black Levi’s and dirty dogs with the barbed wire tattoo around his neck. Has he been brainwashed by Tania Turia and is now intent on copying his Arab cousins?
Now the intercom is calling out for anyone who has left a set of keys behind in security. Suddenly its upgraded to a pair of Mazda keys. Is this some secret code that only Mr. Prasad can decipher. ‘We have control of the aircraft, Anil. Break out the metal cutlery and overpower the flight crew in the rear of the plane. Anil seems remote and distracted, as if maybe, he’s forgotten the code. Another announcement. ‘Congratulations to the Northland hockey team on their runner up placing out of 24 teams at the National Champs.’ Does this mean that the plan is aborted and will be run again in 24 hours? Or is it that target 24 is to be chosen? My palms have gone all sweaty and I can feel the world starting to spin as I come to the realization that this may be the last moment of my life. Why did I choose to fly? Knowing that I could be brutally plastered against a US made building somewhere hundreds of miles from my own home. I try some cognitive reconstruction but it all sounds like psychobabble.
The pilot’s voice comes on as we descend into thick fog. ‘We are about eighty kilometers south of Wellington and there are a number of planes waiting to land in front of us so we are going into a holding pattern.’ I look out the window and we are indeed flying in thick white soup. Motionless, it feels as though the plane is hanging suspended in a moment of time. I start to think of other scenarios. A nuclear device exploded above-ground or a new electromagnetic type bomb that can be built with bits from Dick Smith and can wipe out all machines and vehicles with electronic monitoring systems. Like large 747 aeroplanes. Maybe this has happened and we are suspended in limbo. A kind of time warp. My mind starts spinning around all the possibilities.
Gradually I forget about terrorists, bombs, Osama bin Laden, and mad dog Bush. Suddenly, another announcement as the plane jerks violently in the air. ‘Ladies and gentlemen we are now descending into Wellington airport. Conditions on the ground are not good. Strong southwest winds, heavy rain and very cold temperatures with very poor visibility. I will approach cautiously but I may have to power up and abort the landing if conditions are too bad. I’ll have a second go and if that fails we have enough fuel for thirty minutes flying so we will have a go for Christchurch airport where conditions are much better. Things could get bumpy, so hang on.’
A collective hush falls over the cabin. We are all confined in the same small tin coffin. We are to be incinerated in a sudden ball of fire or worse, drowned, as helplessly we try to find the flotation device so thoughtfully hidden beneath our seats. Suddenly all thoughts of hijacking by angry Arab terrorists fade into the background as we pitch from side to side and then descend rapidly with a thump. I look below and a cold angry ocean peers back at me, and then I see gloomy Wellington streets as we round the point at Oriental parade and descend toward the airport. The plane drift sideways and then shudders and shakes. I am aware that my knuckles are white and I have worn a groove in my armrest. My sphincter muscle is working overtime. Clench, unclench. The runway seems to scream up at me and then we are down. A perfect landing and the passenger compartment breaks into prolonged applause and I even notice a small smile of relief on the face of the obviously Indian Anil Prasad.
October 31, 2007. The anniversary of his wife’s death. Ted has managed to get through the day without turning into the gibbering wreck he was in the weeks that followed Jeans final descent. He had woken this morning and looked around the shabby bedroom of the house where they had lived for thirty-two years. There were still pieces of Jeans clothing around the room and a miniature picture of her stood on the night-table. He hasn’t touched a thing since her death twelve months ago. The sun tried to penetrate the thick curtains but Ted had kept this part of the house dark as a sign of respect and a sign that he was still in mourning. He forced himself out of bed, bumped his way to the spacious kitchen, and brewed his morning cup of tea. Outside, the morning chorus was reducing in volume and it sounded curiously incongruous with Ted’s mood. He carried his cup of tea to the sunroom and sat and drunk it while he watched the world slowly coming to life outside. The volume of traffic increased as first 7am then 8am rolled around and he must have drifted off to sleep as he sat there because all of a sudden, the sun had left the room and he felt cold. He dressed, and then wandered out into his garden.
She woke much later. Halloween day. She had waited for this for a while. A chance to knock on a few doors and case a few houses out. The house was silent. The bitch must have already left for work. She reached over for her mobile and dialed her friend’s number.
Mid morning and Ted was starting to feel tired from his labours in the garden. He was finding it hard to know what to plant now that he was only feeding himself. The children, well they were in their forties now, sometimes came to visit and took away produce, but they had been principally attached to Jean. He was her second husband and they had no children of their own. When Jean died, their interest in Ted and his welfare was perfunctory. He had his first thought about Jean. He saw her, as she was when they first met. She was radiant in a bright summer dress as she came down his garden path. She had been selling kitchen products to make ends meet after her first husband died. They had a flirtatious half-hour where she sold Ted fifty dollars worth of mostly worthless junk and they agreed to meet at a later date. That started a romance, which blossomed over that summer and eventually they married in the spring. Ted marveled how a chance meeting could have turned into so many years of happiness. His thought drifted into the holidays and the travel and his eyes closed at the memories. When he opened them she was gone. The garden was empty.
She rolled out of bed. They had agreed over the phone that neither of them were going to school today and they were to meet outside Victors after twelve. The beauty of having a mother who didn’t care is that you were pretty much your own boss. Occasionally the police would pick you up if they recognised you were a truant, but lately they had given up on Juanita and Cathy. When you’re twelve years old, it’s easy to fall between the cracks.
Time for my afternoon nap thought Ted. Maybe a little medicinal whisky. The gardening had made his joints ache and the memories had finally run from good to bad. He sipped a large glass of whisky and settled into his favorite chair that overlooked his view of the harbour and the road. Before long, he was asleep. A thin trickle of drool appeared on his chin. Ted dreamt of the war. He had fought in the big one. WW2. He had seen front line action. He dreamt of the young German soldier he had shot and who had refused to die. He dreamt of fixing the bayonet before the push forward and he dreamt of raising the bayoneted rifle over his head as the young German lay moaning on the ground. Ted jerked awake as bayonet penetrated flesh. He poured himself a large whisky and noticed how he trembled. Time to think about eating.
“So! What are we going to do tonight?” asked Cathy.
“I figure we put on makeup and costumes so that we won’t be recognised and play the Halloween game. We can case out some of these houses without raising too much suspicion and if anything looks good we’ll go back later in the week and do a proper job.”
“ Halloween! It’s so babyish. So 20th C. Cathy had lately been calling everything either 20th or 21st C. It was one of the things that Juanita liked about Cathy. She was always up with the play. All those silly little kids wanting candies and gifts. I like the other part though. Sounds like a good idea. I’ve got to do the tea thing with Mother but I’ll be out of there by seven.”
Cathy and Juanita looked out of place as they sat in the coffee shop, making their cokes last an hour, so they couldn’t be thrown out. They met here most days, if they were at school or not. In the last term, they had only managed a cumulative total of two weeks at school. At twelve, their futures are already being decided.
Ted has finished his evening meal. The steak had tasted like rubber and the mashed potatoes had left a cheesy taste in his mouth. The salad from his garden was largely untouched but the whisky bottle had lowered by a good six inches. Ted poured himself another large glass and splashed a thimbleful of water into the top of the amber pool. He drained it in a solitary gulp and poured another. It was starting to get dark outside and he noticed children in costumes skipping down the street as he drew the heavy curtains against the harsh streetlights.
Cathy and Juanita were almost ready. Juanita had raided her mother’s room and she had caked mascara and then liberally applied eyeshadow and lipstick to her not-so-angelic twelve-year-old face. Her finger and toenails were now a brilliant blood-red. She had also purloined dangly earrings and one of her mother old slips that she wore over an old velvet curtain she had fashioned into a dress. Her outfit was completed by a pointed witch’s hat she had found in the old playroom. As she placed it on her head, she suddenly flashed back to previous Halloweens when her intentions had been less ominous. She shrugged and adjusted her hat. Cathy had not really got into the spirit of the occasion and had been liberal with the makeup but had stayed in jeans and T-shirt. Her only concession was a gaily embodied pillowcase in which she intended to collect her booty. She wondered to herself what this all meant anyway. Why did people dress up this way and why did adults give out sweets and presents to complete strangers? Something to do with harvest and giving thanks for crop protection. Or was that Thanksgiving? She had vague memories of when she first did it and an image of a hollowed out pumpkin with a candle inside flickered through her mind but left, just as quickly. She was keen to see inside some of the properties in Kings Heights. There would be bound to be open windows and forgotten locks. Normally they would never have a chance to get near places like that but tonight the world opened itself to all children. They set off.
At first, they didn’t find much of any interest. Too many other younger kids had been before them and they found some of the people to be surly and not into the spirit of the occasion. Cathy made a mental note of two likely properties where a working couple would leave them unattended for a day and she particularly noted the collections of video and computer gear that flickered through half opened doors. They moved on to Kings Heights.
Ted tried to concentrate on the television but the noise from outside distracted him. Why were all these children out after dark? A banging on his front door interrupted his ruminations. He staggered down the hall and pulled the door open to the length of the safety chain. Four small children dressed in rags and pointed hats laughed back at him.
“Trick or treat,” they screeched in unison and held out paper bags.
Halloween. Of course. The day the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. Their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. He had not made the connection with Jeans death.
“Sorry children but I don’t have any children of my own and I don’t have any sweets in the house.”
“Thanks mister,” they uttered in chorus and skipped off down the path to search for more generous patrons.
Ted thought how nicely the children had taken his rebuff and he reminded himself to have stocks of sweets for next year. He walked back down the hall with a slightly bigger bounce in his step and a lot more on his mind.
Juanita and Cathy were making more of a task of it. Maybe it was because they were a little too old but they kept getting very nasty people answering their doors and not getting much in the way of gifts. They were also seeing that many houses in Kings Heights had extensive security. Juanita’s plans were not working out the way she had thought. They came to No49 Kelvin Heights. A long path led down, through a beautiful garden, which still showed much colour in the fading light, to a green door with a large brass knocker. The house didn’t have any security at all and Juanita could see the flicker of a television set and an unlocked shed out the back of the property with garden utensils and a chainsaw clearly visible. There was also an unlocked garage with an early model car, which piqued her interest. They knocked on the door. An old fogey who reeked of drink, and swayed back and forth as he peered through the barely opened door, grumpily told them that he had already told them that he had no candy. The door was slammed. Cathy instantly lunged out and kicked the green panels. The door swung open to its full extent and the man waved a walking stick at them.
“Clear off-or I’ll call the police you little monkeys,” he screamed as spittle flew from his mouth. Cathy reeled back but Juanita held her ground.
“Hey! Old man. Easy does it. We are only trick or treating. What’s with you grandpa. And keep that spit to yourself. You could have all sorts of diseases. And don’t call us monkeys, you old fart.”
“Off with you. Get off my property.”
The door slammed hurriedly and Cathy, now ashen faced, looked at Juanita.
“The old twerp isn’t going to get away with that,” she spat and she walked down the drive and started pulling out handfuls of flowers. Juanita, initially stunned at the old mans response, suddenly had a rush of bravado, and joined her friend. She picked up a handful of freshly turned clay and hurled it at the front window of No49 Kings Height. The window shattered and the sound of the glass breaking served to inflame the pair to greater destruction. Cathy savagely attacked the front gate and within a few minutes, the gate lay shattered across the footpath.
Inside Ted rushes to the back door and locks it, fearing for his safety as the level of noise from the front of his property increases. He hears sounds as the two mannequins come down the side of the property and he can hear them hurling abuse at him. Then they are in the garage and he can hear sounds of windows breaking. He goes to the study and peers out from behind the curtains and one of the little monsters is jumping up and down on the bonnet of his beloved Wolseley. He hurriedly draws the curtain shut as they see him peering out and they rush toward the window.
Fingers, painted bright red, claw against the windowpane. Cat like noises screech through the night as they repeatedly draw, up and down, on the window. A hideous cackle accompanies the screeching and Ted’s ears are assailed by the cacophony of noise. He puts his hands over his ears, tries turning up the volume on the small television, tries anything to blot out the noise.
He sees the two girls as they stand in his front flower garden. The garden he has kept the way Jean had it. The beautiful flowers, now crushed and torn from the ground and scattered over the path. They are laughing and jumping up and down. The taller of the two is swinging the wing-mirror of the Wolseley around her head in preparation to throwing it at his front window. Ted sees the young German soldier, then the girls, the torn flowers, and there is Jean, beckoning to him from the postbox. He lifts the heavy service revolver and sights down the twin crosshairs. Juanita forms a perfect transit from eye to sight. Ted squeezes the trigger and the upward jerk of the revolver is mirrored by the backward jerk of Juanita. He sights again and Cathy now dominates his attention. He squeezes the trigger for a second time.