Outwitted #TwitteringTales

The detective stood on the empty platform, casually smoking a cigarette and watching the steam train rolling in through the heavy down pour of rain.

This was the moment he had been waiting for. The carriage doors open, steam billowed and the hunt for the murder was finally over.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/03/12/twittering-tale-127-12-march-2019/ with thanks).

Rumbled

Graveyard, Headstone, Cemetery, Grass, Creepy, Gothic

The game was up and so was his number. Johnny sprinted through the church gate and headed to the large graveyard. He’s swinging arm scrapped against the rough, cold stone wall and he pulled back. Nearly toppling over the raised corner of a moss covered flag stone, he rounded the corner.

Breathing hard, he wondered, Can I stash my leather jacket and pretend I’m an early morning jogger? These black PJ bottoms would just pass as jog pants from a distance…his thoughts trailed as he spotted the small wooden back door of the church.

He hurried over and tried the worn ring handle. The door didn’t move. He shouldered it, thinking it was only stuck, but it turned out to be locked. Grunting, he looked around, mapping a clear run though the graveyard.

Sirens wailed in the distance, echoing through the streets and making it impossible to tell where they were or how close they were. A dog began barking and voices shouted out.

Panic filled, Johnny ran, dodging around the dilapidate headstones. Long, wet grass whipped against his legs and his eyes filled with the sight of a depressed weeping willow tree in the far corner.

If I could climb it… Johnny thought.

His foot caught on something, his toes soaking up all the pain from the hard stone before he tumbled. He hit the ground hard and spread eagle, breathing in grass and dirt. Johnny scrambled up, not wasting time on seeing what he had fallen over nor the throbbing of his foot. He weaved onto what once might have been a path and rushed on.

He reached the tree and began climbing. Fortunately, there were enough branches and leaves to hide him. Stopping on the last thick branch, he spit the foam that gathered in his mouth out. Calming his breathing, he listened and watched, but couldn’t see any movement or hearing anything else other than the police sirens.

Believing he was safe for the time being, his thoughts flashed back to less than half an hour ago. The realization of how luckily he had been sunk in. His insomnia had actually worked in his favour for once. Johnny had been in the kitchen, back door open, holding a mug of almost finished coffee and watching the microwave clock ticking the minutes to five am.

The crashing sound of his front door and the yelling of police had been surreal. Then mug had dropped, smashing to the floor and splatting coffee droplets like blood. Flight had shot through him and Johnny had raced out of the door, over the low brick wall at the back of the garden and into the alleyway.

Running on, he’d stayed in the back streets, not sure where he was going and unable to get his mind to think. He had seen the church bell tower rising above the terrace house roofs like a lighthouse at sea. Guided, he had followed it and found the front gate by chance.

Rubbing his face, Johnny started to mull things over and wondered how he had been rumbled. His small time drug gang hadn’t been working that hard lately, though he knew that the police could have been watching for months.

What about that new guy? He thought, pigs, are great at working themselves in now…  

A dog barking distracted him. Johnny looked out of the tree and saw a German Shepard sniffing the nearest headstone. A cop rounded the corner, black lead dangling from his hand. He spoke to the dog then to someone behind him, but Johnny couldn’t hear what was said. He held his breath and though he wasn’t religious, he prayed they wouldn’t find him.

The dog moved into the graveyard, nose stuck to the ground and the long grass zinging around. There was a sharp bark and a brown flicker of movement to the left. The dog shot off and as Johnny watched, he saw a rabbit bouncing away. He held his breath and bit his tongue as he saw the cops running and yelling after the dog. It didn’t seem like they had seen the rabbit.

The German Shepard darted out of a side gate and out of view. The cops followed with their voices just loud enough for Johnny to hear a few snatched words of ‘dog, scent, got him, West Church Lane.’ The police disappeared and Johnny breathed a sigh of relief. He got more comfy and decided that for as long as he could he would stay in the tree.

 

Johnny guessed it was around mid-morning, going off the bright blue, but cloud hazy sky. He could smell cooking meat from somewhere and it was making him hungry. He stretched feeling the stiffness in his back and limbs. He glanced down and saw the ground looking quite far away. Now, that he had time to think though he knew where to go.

Double checking there was no one around, he slowly climbed down the willow. His grip felt numb and his body ached with the movement. He almost lost his footing. Reaching the floor, he rubbed his hands on his pants and looked around for another way to leave the graveyard. Spotting a large black gate, he walked over and through, not noticing the white ball of light that seemed to be following him.

He walked casually down the streets, trying to look normal. There was no way he could go home. And even if they hadn’t taken his girlfriend in for questioning, someone would be staking out the place. Maybe, they were watching the streets too? He almost picked up his pace, but decided it’d look odd. Anyway, his friend’s wasn’t that far from here and he could hide in the cellar’s priest hole again.

When he arrived it didn’t take things long to get sorted. Heading down into the cellar, on the wobbly wooden steps, Johnny wondered how long the all clear would take this time. He helped his friend remove somethings that were up against a small boarded up hole in the wall. Then they ripped it open. Dust motes rose in the torch light and the faint smell of damp tickled their noses.

‘Home Sweet Home,’ Johnny muttered and chuckled.

He took the torch and crawled into the tight space. His friend put the board back then Johnny heard him moving some of the stuff back into place.

Pressing his head against the icy cold wall, Johnny shut his eyes. He dozed, just like he’d done in the tree. Black patterns swirled before his eyelids then a white figure started to form. It was tiny at first, but grew and grew until it took the shape of a young woman in a white floaty dress. Johnny didn’t recognise her.

She reached out her arms as if to hug him, but a loud knocking vanished her away. Johnny opened his eyes and listened, but the sounds were very muffled. He rubbed his head and tried to remember where that girl was from. Nothing came to him. He put his head back again and let himself doze off.

 

She haunted him for days. Every time he shut his eyes, she came to him in that white float dress, arms out reached, a begging look on her face. Countless times he had asked her what she wanted, but she didn’t reply. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but what else could she be?

‘I think it might be a ghost…’ he announced to his friend one afternoon.

The heat had almost died off and they were sat in the living room together drinking beer. In the background the TV was showing a football match whilst the sound of children playing outside could be heard.

His friend eyed him.

‘I don’t know…but what else can it be?’ Johnny added.

‘You know, my old gran use to tell me this thing…’ his friend trailed off.

Johnny nodded and took a drink off his beer.

‘If you don’t leave a graveyard the way you came in spirits can attached themselves to you when you leave.’

Johnny scratched his cheek and thought.

His friend shook his head. ‘She way lost it in the end though…thought birds were spying on her.’

‘What she say about getting rid of it?’

‘You had to go back in the way you went out and then go out the way you came in the first time. Sounds crazy don’t it?’

‘Yeah, crazy! Totally!’

Johnny laughed and finished his beer, but his mind was already planning.

A few days later he left and headed home. Almost a month had past and there was no way the cops were still watching his place. They had better things to do, he was sure. Walking home, he headed straight for the church. The woman in white had even been coming to him during the day now out, he had seen her out of the corner of his eye.

Spotting the graveyard gates, he hurried in. The place looked just the same though it was now under a darkening evening sky. He went to the willow tree and stared up at where he had sat for most of a morning. Then he looked around at the silent graves and wondered if his friend’s gran had been right. Slowly, he walked on and up towards the church. The dry grass crunched under him and the birds sing in the background.

He walked passed the church, along the path and to the gates he had entered by. As he got closer he wondered what was going to happen, but when he walked through them he felt nothing. Letting go of the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding, Johnny went home.

His girlfriend was gone. A note on the table told him so. He shrugged it off and took a shower. Then went to bed and for the first time in years, he fell fast asleep.

Cut Trees

The trees had been cut down. Their naked stumps blotted the sloping landscape like a murder scene, whilst their upper bodies and heads lay together in arranged piles. It was deforesting on a tiny scale with no one seeing or hearing anything, yet all wondering who had done it.

Sycho

Dr. Guylian, the psychologist, consulted his appointment list and with a slight shake of his head crossed out the third name on the list. His eyes flickered to the newspaper next to him on the desk and he saw the same name: Margaret Dales printed on the open page. There was a photograph of a young petit woman with curly hair under a headline of; Suicide Verdict For Depressed Mother Of Six.

The corners of Guylian’s mouth give a slight flick up as if to grin, but then became straight. He had work to do. He glanced at his laptop clock and saw it was a few minutes to nine. Mr. Kingsly was in the waiting room having checked in according to the computer.

There was a soft knocking at the door.

‘Come in,’ he called sounding like a school headmaster.

The door opened and his P.A, Miss Tibet, waddled in. Her chubby arms were loaded with brown paper files and her huge breasts were spilling out around them almost as if they were eating the files. Her stomach to floor black skirt threated to trip her up and did nothing to hide or support her bulging belly. Her dark cream blouse looked loose enough, but had one button too many open at the top. Her face, acne and pockmarked covered, was masked by makeup that unfortunately still showed what was underneath.

Dr. Guylian tried not to cringe and kept a blank face.

Miss Tibet dumped the files down on a small desk to his right and began fixing them, ‘Everything is in order,’ she stated loudly, ‘I’ve removed Mrs. Dales from your appointment list. I’ll sort out her files for the police- if they want them- later on if I get a chance. Is that okay with you, Doctor?’

‘Yes. Thank you. Please send Mr. Kingsly in,’ Guylian responded with his eyes fixed to the computer screen.

‘Of course,’ Miss. Tibet said gruffly and left.

The door didn’t click back into place behind her and Guylian growled. He got up, straightening his black suit and white shirt. He tweaked his tie and patted down his short black hair. Then balancing his black framed glasses on the end of his nose and picking up his notepad he went to the comfy leather chair next to the red fabric sofa.

There was knock and Guylian welcomed his client in. Mr. Kingsly shuffled forward, quietly closing the door behind him. He was wearing a rumpled old suit and looked as if he had just come from a funeral. His face drooped with heavy wrinkles and tiredness. Kingsly settled onto the sofa, laying down with his legs together and his arms over his chest and his fingers linking.

‘How are you feeling today?’ Guylian asked.

‘Tried, Doc. So tried. I didn’t sleep at all last night nor the night before,’ Kingsly rasping voice answered. ‘I tried hard. Pills and everything like you said. But it was no good.’

‘Why do you think you couldn’t sleep?’ Guylian let the question roll off his tongue.

‘Stress,’ Kingsly answered with a slight shrug, ‘the debt collectors are gonna get me.’

‘I’m sure they aren’t,’ Guylian cut in, ‘that can’t be all that’s troubling you.’

Kingsly eyed up and swallowed loudly.

‘You are safe here, remember.’

‘It’s…her,’ Kingsly muttered.

‘Her?’ Guylian asked after a few moments.

‘It doesn’t matter. It’s nothing. Nothing, I’m sure.’

Guylian tapped his pen against his pad and watched his client shifting on the sofa. Kingsly was really nervous. Guylian waited for him to go on.

‘Can you give me something to sleep, doc?’ Kingsly spoke.

‘Did the last stuff not work?’ Guylian questioned, ‘I guess we could try something else….’

‘Like what?’ Kingsly asked with a slight rise to his voice.

‘I have another client who likes to smother herself. She claims it’s the only way she can sleep. Of course, I don’t advise that. It’s dangerous,’ Guylian explained.

‘Why does she…? No, I don’t want to,’ Kingsly rushed and got up off the sofa.

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.’

‘It’s okay, doc. I need to go now. Thanks,’ Kingsly turned and walked to the door.

Guylian kept his head low and wrote across his pad. He heard the door open and close softly. He carried on writing for a few moments then let out a sigh. Getting up, he went back to his desk and woke up his laptop. He began typing up his notes whilst his mind ticked over.

His phone buzzed and he picked it up.

Miss. Tibet’s voice crackled through, ‘Mr. Meta has arrived. Shall I send him in?’

Guylian’s eyes flickered to his computer clock, ‘give me a few more minutes,’ he said and hung up.

He finished up the notes then dug out his next client’s file. He flipped through the pages and decided to see how hard he could push Meta. The man seemed close enough to the edge now. A lick of anticipation acrossed his face and Guylian picked up the phone and called Meta through.

‘Mr. Meta. How are you today?’ Guylian called, getting up from his desk as the door opened.

Meta stumbled in. He was short, bald and his stubble beard unshaved. He was wearing dirty jogging pants and a t-shirt. Meta collapsed onto the sofa like a rag doll.

‘Mr. Meta?’

‘Bad,’ came the raspy voice.

‘Please go on,’ Guylian pressed trying to hide a hint of a smile.

‘The voices are still talking to me. Yesterday, they told me to jump from a bridge,’ Meta declared, ‘I got up on the railing, but I just couldn’t do it.’

‘Don’t you want your pain to end?’ Guylian said pleasantly.

‘Yes, yes,’ Meta sobbed, ‘I’ve nothing left now. It’s all gone.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that…maybe it’s time…you moved on?’

Meta took in a deep shaking breath, ‘how?’

‘Perhaps, you should listen to the voices and do what they say?’ Guylian suggested, hiding his Cheshire cat smile behind the notepad.

So It Is

The teenagers liked to hang out in the entrance to the supermarket and he had often seen them there. Today, though was the first time he had approached them. His old wrist watch said it was half past eleven, but there was a steady stream of people still because it was a Saturday night and this supermarket had twenty-four seven opening hours. Coming out with a light plastic shopping bag dangling from his left hand and his other hand in his deep coat pocket fingering the edges of the business cards inside there, he went up to the group of ten mixed girls and boys.

‘Any of you need a place to stay?’ he asked in his croaky, old man voice, interrupting their boisterous conversations, ‘I’ve a boarding house, not far from here. Got nice bedrooms, hot water, food, drink, whatever you want,’ he said and handed the business cards out.

The chatter died down as a few hands reached out to take them and then whispering broke out, as they studied the cards and questioned what to do.

‘Come whenever you want,’ he added before turning away and leaving.

He went home, taking the fastest route and hurrying against the howling wind and stinging rain. Arriving, he unlocked the door and left it that way. He put the light on in the hallway and the one in the living room, before taking off his coat and boots. He took the bag into the kitchen and spilled out the contents on to the old butcher’s kitchen table. There was a packet of biscuits, a small carton of milk and a loaf of bread. He put these away and went to sit in the living room, watching TV and getting warm again.

The doorbell ring an hour or so later, starting him out of a doze. Getting up, he answered it and found two teenage girls and a boy on his doorsteps, each clutching his cards, looking wet and frozen.

‘Come in, come in,’ he said brightly and stepped aside from them, ‘take your coats and shoes off there, please,’ he asked and they did so, ‘come into the living room and get warm.’

He headed back in and sat on the sofa. Nervously, they come into the room and glanced around with worried, darting eyes.

‘Please, make yourself at home. Perhaps, I should go and make some tea?’

Without waiting, he got up and went into the kitchen. He left the doors open so he could hear them talking, but if they ever said a word he didn’t hear it. When the tea was made, he came back in with it and a plate of biscuits. He had to encourage them to eat and drink. After they had done so, they seemed a bit more relaxed and he suggested showing them around his house.

The tour didn’t take long and he invited them to choose their own bedrooms and get some rest. He went back downstairs, watched some more TV and listened for their movements to become still. Then he went into his own bedroom, which was next to the living room, due to his bad knees and back he claimed, and from a locked bottom draw took out a rag and a bottle half-full of clear liquid.

Slowly, he went up the stairs with these items and gently opened the door to all the bedrooms of which there was six. He found that the girls had decided to share a double bed in room one and the boy had taken the other double bed in room six. It couldn’t have worked out better for him!

Going into the girls’ room, he unscrewed the cap on the bottle, held the rag to it and so wet it. Then he pressed it to each girl’s sleeping face for a good few minutes. Screwing the lid back on, he left the bottle and rag on the bedside table and throwing back the duvet, slapped the first girl in the face. She didn’t even stir. Smiling, he scooped her up out the bed, no longer the frail old man he was pretending to be, and carried her out of the room. He took her downstairs, along the hallway, into the kitchen and then in the cellar.

He placed her inside one of the special holding cages he had made and went back for the other girl. She turned out to be heavier, but he still managed to carry her and put her in the other cell next to her friend. A part of him wished he didn’t have to take them both, but things had been so slow lately. He went back into the kitchen, collected a bin back and carefully placed all the things they had left in the bedroom and hallway inside, also he remembered to pick up the bottle and rag. He placed them inside the cellar too, before turning off the light and locking the door.

He went to bed and in the morning, lied to the young man about the girls and showed him the front door. Laughing, he went down into the cellar and found the girls staring up at him with tear stained faces.

Perfect In Death

She was dead on the kitchen floor. I was lying beside her, staring at her from the angle that my head was at as it lay on my arm. I could see the sharpness of her jawline, some of the veins in her neck and collar bone, because her head was twisted upwards, facing the kitchen window.

I went to play with her hair, using the arm I was laying on to reach out my hand and tangle it within her sun drenched locks. I wonder if that was her natural blond shade or if she had dyed it? The hair was soft under my fingers and seemed to shimmer when it caught the sunlight coming in from the window.

I didn’t want to get up, but it was time to move. Slowly, I pulled away, careful not to disturb the position she had fallen into. Sitting up, I folded my legs and rested my hands in my lap. Her dress had rode up, revealing more than it should do, not that the tight red dress had left a lot to the imagination anyway.  I pulled it down, pinching just the edge of the silky material as I did so and covered her up.

That done I cast my eyes down her slim, tan legs and noticed that her shoes had come off her feet. Kneeling across her, I pushed the shiny red heels back into place. I licked my dry lips and moved to sit by her head. I had shut her blue eyes before, but I could still feel them staring up at me. They had been a light shade of blue, like a spring sky or crystal waters of a calm sea. Happiness had shone out of those eyes, life had shone, youth and so many other things which she was now robbed of. I noticed her lipstick was slightly smeared at the bottom edge which was closest to the floor. I wanted her to be perfect, perfect in life as in death, but to fix that lipstick smear would mean moving her head…..

I left it and traced the curve of her neck downwards. There was a thin sliver chain around her throat at the end dangled a small flat heart. I remembered it sitting in the hollow of her throat before. She was on her side now and I doubted that the heart would stay there again. I pressed the heart between my fingers and put it into the hollow. Luckily, the bones were raised and the heart rested on one of them.

Did that mean she was un-weight? I hadn’t seen any other bones sticking out…..I dipped my hands to her chest and pressed down, I felt a slight stickiness on her skin and a faint tingle of the perfume wafted over to my nose. I had forgotten that smell, it had faded somehow. No bones raised against my fingers, so I guessed she was okay. My eyes moved down, the neckline of the red dress dipped very low and it was now clinging to her skin. I pulled it out a little.

There she was almost perfect….but the scene was not. I shuffled back and stood up. I had to leave her and the kitchen to gather what was needed. Around her, I arranged the small, thin glass candle holders I had taken from the bathroom. There were six of them, one at her head, and another at her feet and then two on each side of her, spaced so that an oval shape was created. I had put in fresh candles- vanilla scented- the only ones she had left and they were a cream colour in the glass holders.

There was a box of matches on the kitchen top. I opened the box and struck the first match, it flickered out.  The smoke rose and I could smell burning. I knelt down and struck another. The flame sparked and caught this time. I lit the first candle and then lit the rest using four matches in all. I threw the used ones in the bin and then replaced the box.

How peaceful she looked, almost like she was sleeping only there were no movements and the kitchen floor shattered the image of her being comfy. The light from the candles was a gold halo on the floor and the smell of vanilla drifted upwards, covering up the scent of death which had settled on her before. She looked nice in all that red and was another satisfactory offering to the Reaper.

A noise outside drew my attention away; the low rumble of a car engine as it slowed down. There came a slight squeak of the wheel as it hit the curb. Time to leave. I went to the backdoor and after a last glance around I stepped out into the sunlight, a smile on my face.

***

I saw it in the newspaper the next day; it must have been Thursday because it was a free newspaper that got delivered through the door. I flicked through the paper over a late lunch, until I found the article; a photo of her caught my eye. A quick read of the small article showed me that everything was still fresh and the police were giving nothing anyway. I threw the paper into recycling after I had read the ads for jobs page.

I stayed inside that day, watching TV and staying away from the news. I could no longer bear hearing the reports about the murders and watching the sobbing family members begging the public to help them. Instead I watched cartoons, recalling fond memories of my childhood and wishing to be back in that innocent state.

I didn’t kill for days after that. I went out once to buy food; readymade meals, some fruit, some snacks and a bottle of blackcurrant juice. I liked the young woman at the till who severed me, she kept smiling at me- I must have looked good that morning. I didn’t want her to be next, but I had a feeling she could be. I had killed enough of my long distance friends and family members now, I had started on friends of friends and girl/boyfriends, but I knew the police were clever and would figure out who was at the centre of that circle.  I had to start on strangers and take up a different method.

It was raining. The sky was a dull grey colour and the wind was tossing around some rubbish in a corner. I was shivering in my coat, but I had to stay hidden. She must have been working a late shift, because there was no why she could have sneaked passed me. From this angle I could see the staff door and the main door. I didn’t want it to be her, but it had to be someone……

The staff door opened and into the rain she stepped. I watched as she shook out the umbrella and started walking away. I followed her, pacing slower behind her. The car park was empty, but for a line of cars and it was to one of these she was heading. I couldn’t let her get into that car. I had to take her now.

I crept up behind her and slipped the knife from my pocket. She had stopped by a small green car and was fumbling for keys. I swung my arm around her neck, she struggled and went to scream, but I drew the knife quickly across her throat. I hear her choke and felt the warm blood pouring down and across my arm. I pushed her away, but she twists around as she falls and I see her wide, brown eyes staring into mine.

I have to wait till she dies, but she’s still struggling for breath, maybe the cut wasn’t deep enough? The knife is shaking in my hand, I can’t cut her again. It was a mistake to kill her in this way….it’s not a perfect death. All that blood gushing, her struggle, the pain and fear in her face. I reach out for her with my other hand, but before my fingers can touch her warm, wet skin, a door bangs shut.

I shoot upwards, my eyes fix on the staff door and the two men walking over. I clutch the knife in my hand and flee the scene, but they see me and start yelling. I run on, my feet pounding the wet tarmac, blood dripping off the knife and the edges my coat hitting me. I hear feet pounding behind me, someone gasping for breath too closely! I get out of the car park, hit the street and take the turn off into the woods.

***

It was early in the morning and someone was banging at my front door. The sound vibrated through my head, causing a headache to fire up in my skull. I struggled out of the bed and went to the door.

“Police! Open up!”

I froze at the voice and words….Why had they come for me?

I went to the door and the voices yelled the same thing again. I peered out and saw at least four policemen on the doorstep. I opened the door and stuck my head out, “Is there a problem?” I asked.

The officer asked me my name and when I give it to him, he kicked the door in and grabbed me, shouting, “I’m arresting you for murder!”

“Murder? What? I’ve done nothing!”

He turned me around and clipped the handcuffs on telling me the normal arresting lines as he did so. I echoed the part about the lawyer and then they dragged me off into a police van. I sit in the back, eyeing the cage interior and listening to the police radio announcing things. The cuffs were tight on my wrists. The police sirens were on, so clearly they were in a hurry to get me back to the station. I had too much time to think and as a crime investigation van pulled up, I had already worked out that telling them the true just wouldn’t cut it.

I was quiet as an officer took me from the van and to the desk. I had to fill out some forms and have all my things taken from me. Then came the interview…..I lied and denied everything. It seemed my innocent act didn’t work though and as I sit before a spread of photos- staring at the dead bodies just I had left them-I decided to come clean about my actions.

It wasn’t to be believed of course.

A shaft of moonlight peered in the cell window. I shifted my head to cast I look up at the full moon as it bathed light across the sky. The jail was still echoing with voices and though I had a cell to myself I just couldn’t sleep. This was my second night and I knew time had run out for me. There was no way I could carry on my killing spree in here. So I was just going to have to face up to the fate I had been dodging for years.

As the moon disappeared behind a cloud, the cell suddenly got colder, freezing almost. I looked around, trying to see through the pitch blackness and then I was aware of a black figure appearing out of the wall. I stood up and braced myself for my last audience with the Reaper.

“I can’t kill any more,” I whispered.

He was silent.

“The pact is broken…..there can be no more deaths to allow me to keep living.”

The moon appeared, hitting the scythe he held with a bone hand as it swept downwards to my chest.