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Part 4 - Help The Aged? By Fubar Robinson

Number 10 Drowning Street, Part 4 – Help the Aged?

 ‘Is this it? You’re what I should fear the most?’

*

Claspall hadn’t moved since leaving the panic room.  After a quick look around the now decimated country house he loved so much, he had curled up into a ball in the corner of the room and tried desperately to drive the face of last night’s demon from his mind.

A knock at the door jolted him from his demon meditation.  For a moment he thought The Chav had returned to finish him off, until he heard the gruff voice calling him from outside.

‘Mr Claspall? It’s Stewart, from the Swimming Pool Sanctuary?’

They had finally arrived to finish his pool, the yearning for which he remembered…distantly.  He got up and opened the door.

‘Hello?’ he croaked.

If the state of the house hadn’t shocked Stewart, the sight of his tired and haunted client certainly did.

‘Thank you for coming, I could really use a nice, relaxing swim’ Claspall crooned.

‘I’m not surprised, sir.  What has happened to the house?’ flustered Stewart.

‘I was attacked by a demon wearing a black hoodie’ stated Claspall, passively.

‘Them bloody Chavs, they all want stringing up sir!’ spat Stewart.

‘Yes…yes they do’ said Claspall, taking a nervous look around, just in case.

*

Stewart and his workers finished work quickly and got away as soon as possible.  Claspall had taken to walking around them as they worked, constantly circling and muttering under his breath.  He was so wrapped up in his musings that he didn’t notice them leave, and continued to circle the pool until the light started to wane. It was a tinkle of glass that woke him up, something had moved inside the house.

There were no windows left unbroken and therefore, apart from making the house very cold, begged the question as to where the glass had come from. He quickly found it, down the hall was a full length mirror hanging on the wall, which was now cracked at the bottom.  Claspall didn’t consider how it had been broken for very long because a white light seemed to flicker from the mirror itself.  Like when a television is untuned and flickers with static and white noise.  And in the glare from the mirror, dominating the corridor, was the large, black shadow, unfurling and undulating like smoke, but glittering, like liquid.  But it wasn’t reflecting the light of the mirror, light seemed to be absorbed by this shifting mass of darkness.  The shadow then hovered and drifted through the mirror.  The static stopped and suddenly became a green glow, like the TV had finally been tuned and was settled on a channel. 

Claspall was mesmerized by what he had seen, and deep inside of him was a yearning; the likes of which he’s scarcely felt or understood – he had to see what image was being shown on the mirror like his life depended on it.  He shuffled over to it, compelled, and settled in front of the mirror, the cracks at its base seemed to be dripping some fluid from it, they were also lengthening, almost imperceptibly, but again Claspall seemed to instinctively know this to be true.

Then he looked deep into the mirror, past the glass and the cracks, where he saw an old, dingy, mould green room.  It was small, uncomfortable, enclosed, and at its centre was an extremely old man lying asleep in a bed.  The man was dying, Claspall again knew it to be true.  The man was thin, emaciated, struggling to breathe, his skin was practically translucent…he didn’t have long on this earth.

Claspall couldn’t take in what he was seeing.  It wasn’t the fact that his mirror had become a leaking TV, nor that a disembodied, floating shadow had drifted through it, that upset him.  What he couldn’t understand was why he was seeing this?  After the two previous night’s ordeals he had expected far worse than this.  All day he had been torturing himself with possibilities; disgusting, horrific, grotesque punishments that he could scarcely believe his imagination could conceive.  And yet here he was, a dying old man.

‘Is this it? You’re what I should fear the most? Is this to be my future? What say you, oh ghost of “fuck-ups” future?’ he then began to laugh hysterically.  So loud was his screams of manic laughter that the old man’s eyes suddenly woke.  He sat up so he could look straight at Claspall, who stopped laughing at the sight of the old man’s eyes; swirling black depths, absorbing light from the world, drawing in the air and compelling Claspall nearer to the mirror.  Then the old man’s mouth slowly opened, and a grotesque growling voice emerged from the depths of his maw.

‘Do you have fear…of an old man, dying alone?’

‘I do not fear one old fart lying in a bed!’ he spat back at the mirror.

‘But you fear to be the man, dying alone?’

‘As would any man!’ he shouted defiantly.  He couldn’t lie.  The dark shadow was beginning to form behind him.  Claspall couldn’t see it, but for a vague blur in the corner of his eye, but he knew it was there and that it could see right into his mind and soul. 

‘Is this, then, meant to be a vision of my future?’ he shouted at the man in the mirror.

‘Yours, and many others.  All those whom you hold in your hand…will die of neglect, lack, and an undignified, cruel death.’ said the old man, his words emerging from a mouth that didn’t move.

‘How is the death of others my fault?’ Claspall shouted defiantly.

‘A family must have a leader, someone to protect it.’

‘I have no family, I’m all that’s left!’

‘Already alone, but for those whom you are bonded, not by blood, but by responsibility.’

‘I am bonded to no one!’ he screamed back maniacally. ‘I am not responsible for the lives of others!’

‘Which is why you fail them.’

The old mans mouth snapped shut with a disgusting crack! The blood began to pulsate in his veins as he slowly climbed out of the bed and began shuffling towards Claspall.  Claspall wanted to run away, but the shadow was growing larger behind him, it’s hold on him was strong, and frightened him so much that he couldn’t look behind and he dared not touch its dark tendrils.  The old man then held out his arms and his skeletal fingers emerged through the glass and grabbed Claspall by the shoulders.  Icy water began to pour from the cracks in the glass and pooled around Claspall’s feet.  Claspall tried to struggle free, but long, bony fingers held him with unnatural strength. 

The old man’s face was still behind the mirror’s glass.  Like the corridor his room was filling with water, and now his skin was beginning to wither and decay as he pulled Claspall towards him.  His rotting mouth opened once more.

‘You have brought this future on yourself. Come through the looking-glass, and make it so!’

The cracks were lengthening, the water was pouring through and had risen to chest height both in the corridor and the old mans room.

‘No! I will not go through the looking-glass! That shall not be my future, I will make sure!’ he screamed, as cold water splashed his face, and with it came the smell of chlorine.

‘Then so be it!’ growled the old man, now submerged with Claspall in water.  The old man’s skin withered away leaving only a skeleton which still clamped Claspall with ease.  Claspall was drowning, he couldn’t breathe.  He tried to break free when the skeleton came through the mirror, and went for Claspall’s neck, taking a huge chunk with its teeth. Claspall screamed, and with it came the choking water…Claspall’s vision faded to darkness.

*

Claspall was at peace, he was weightless, insubstantial, and calm.  It was quiet, but for a dull rumbling in his head, and a strange pressure against his ears.  He was warm, but then suddenly felt oddly heavy.  His dressing gown was clearly weighing him down. 

Wait…his dressing gown? Do they wear dressing gowns in heaven? What an odd thing to say! Something made him want to see, he opened his eyes. They immediately started to sting.  Everything was blurry, a strange, blue translucent blur.  He tried to call out, but immediately inhaled chlorinated water through his nose and mouth.  He was choking, and instinct made him swim upwards.

He quickly broke the surface, spat out the water, and took a long, grateful breath of the cold air.  His eyesight returned, and he paddled over to the side where he could hold himself above the water.  He held on for dear life; he was exhausted, his nose, eyes and throat stung, his heart was racing, and he was cold, wet and fully clothed.  With some effort he dragged himself out of the pool and onto the damp grass.  He lied on his back, breathing the air into his lungs. 

He laid there for hours, his mind blank, hearing only his heart beat and his breathing.  It wasn’t until the first rays of morning sunshine reached his head that he pulled himself back to his feet.  He looked around, and his house was repaired, his expensive array of cars were intact and shining in the sunlight.  The home and possessions he had so proudly acquired were once again intact and untouched. 

And yet, he didn’t care.  Things that he had once so passionately possessed now held no sway over him.  They were, objects, unfamiliar and unnecessary, and full of evil dreams…were they dreams, were they memories? Either way, he wanted to be rid of them.

The next day they all went onto the market, he sold them all.  And the money he made from them he used to pay back the expenses to the taxpayers.  He couldn’t now remember why he had done it in the first place, it seemed so long ago.

Claspall never fully earned back the respect of his constituents, but his sincerity and his renewed efforts for his party, government, and his constituency were appreciated.  For Claspall, every hour spent working was hours spent away from himself, from the images that haunted his dreams and subconscious. Every hour shaking hands with people he has helped was time spent repressing his past, atoning for his sins. 

But every now and them, and ghost of a greedy thought would flicker through Claspall’s mind.  And in those split seconds, Claspall would feel a presence, a shadow in the corner of his eye.

The End?

Fubar Robinson

The Asbo Demon - By Fubar Robinson

Part 2 – The Asbo Demon

Claspall fetched the paper (The Times…naturally) from the village shop amidst scowls and muttered insults from the locals.  Where he might have smiled and ignored them any other day, today he was on edge. 

Last night’s nightmare had seemed so real, more so than a nightmare would normally.  His neck felt tender where the child had sunk in its fangs…what a sentence! He must be going mad!  Regardless he became much more suspicious and left the shop with all haste.

He was somewhat comforted by the fact he was on the front page again; hardly in a favourable light, but there was no such thing as bad publicity.  He looked forward to sitting in his reclining chair with a strong coffee and reading all about himself.  He got into his Mercedes M3 (just his runaround), fired up the powerful petrol engine and began his way down the windy valley roads to his secluded estate.  It would normally be an enjoyable journey, but for the eyes that followed him. One in particular caught his eye, a shadow that followed him.  A tall, strong man in a black hooded jacket, the peak of a baseball cap jutting out from the shadows of the hood which hid the mans face.  He saw no face, nor eyes or mouth, but somehow he knew he was being watched by this, for want of a better word, Chav.   Claspall revved the motor and tore away with all speed of his powerful convertible.

The Chav soon disappeared from view, Claspall glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw that the Chav was still watching, until he rounded a bend and was out of sight.  Yet he got the feeling that somehow the Chav was still watching, ridiculous as it may seem.  He probably wanted to steal the car, but the security around his estate was more than adequate…he hoped.

The day then proceeded quite pleasantly; he read the paper and laughed at the accusations the shadow party was throwing at him, he had a lovely lunch, strolled around his ill-gotten acres without a care in the world, despaired a little he still could not yet use his swimming pool, and then retired back inside for the evening for a plentiful lunch and an evening by the television.  The shivering echoes of last night’s nightmare had all but gone as he began to doze in his chair; Question Time was rather dull this evening.

He was woken by the smash of glass; a window upstairs by the sound of it. Then another, and another, tinkling shards pattering on the ceiling.  The glass should shatter proof double glazing, it would take great strength to cause such damage.  So Claspall jumped for the phone to call the police.  He lifted the receiver to his ear, and was greeted by an odd sound omitting from it.  It was at first the dial tone, then it began to beep rhythmically, like the line was engaged (despite not yet dialling any number) then the tones began to slow, growing weaker, then it flatlined – like a heart monitor – before going silent.

Then came heavy breathing, interspersed with muffled chuckles from a man with a deep voice.

‘Who is this? What do you want?’ He pleaded down the phone. The line went silent, then the smashing windows began again somewhere upstairs.  The landline was now dead, so he reached for his Blackberry.

‘This one’s dead too old man’ growled the voicenow coming from his mobile.

Claspall was trapped!  He threw the useless phone away. He could hear the clang of metal and the smashing of glass outside now.  He run to a window and saw a hulking man in a hooded jacket flit in the darkness, swinging a sledgehammer at his beloved cars in the driveway.  It was the Chav from the village, and was swinging the sledgehammer as if it weighed no heavier than a chopstick. 

‘Stop it! What are you doing?’ he shouted out of the window.  His pride and greed, personified by his rather excellent and expensive cars, overcame his survival instincts for the moment, but soon reverted to normal when the Chav stopped, turned, and began running straight for him with inhuman speed. 

Claspall, naturally, panicked and moved away from the window, he had a panic room installed in the basement and bolted straight for it.  He had rushed only a few feet when The Chav bounded across his gardens in a few seconds and exploded through the wall.  Claspall wasn’t a young man, but he ran with all haste he could muster as he felt the explosions of rubble and tile behind him as his assailant ran through them like they were paper. 

As the corridors down to the basement narrowed The Chav did slow down slightly, giving Claspall enough time to launch himself into the multi-million pound panic room.  He pressed the button and all the locking mechanism’s whirred into action.  And not a moment too soon.  Not a second after the final lock clicked into place an apocalyptic BOOM shook the door and reverberated around the room.  Claspall fell over with the shock of it, and scuffled across to the far end of the room and held his ears, curled up in a foetal position, as the booms continued.  The door hinges were massive, but they seemed to be giving way, it was only a matter of time…

But then it stopped.  Claspall wasn’t certain at first, his heart beat was pounding in his ears; the booming smashes against the door seemed to reverberate around his head.  He tentatively looked up, listening intently.  The door was still closed and locked, the deviant had not yet broken through.  But the mechanisms looked weak, why stop when he was so close?

He got to his feet, peering into the darkness.  He fumbled around the room for the controls.  He managed to get the lights on and saw that he was still alone.  He then activated the surveillance systems.  He had security camera’s positioned all around the property, and when activated here they would be immediately transmitted to the police.  He was saved.

Then a monitor switched on, the camera on the front of the panic room showed The Chav was stood there, Sledgehammer by his side, hardly moving.  Again he couldn’t see his face, but he knew that he was looking right at the camera…and him. Claspall had a microphone here, a way of speaking to every room of the house.

‘T-The p-police will now be getting images of the house.  They w-will s-see the willful damage you have inflicted on my home and will soon be here to arrest you.  I s-suggest you leave now and never return.’ His voice quavered with shock.  And yet The Chav stood still, literally motionless in his vigil against the camera. 

‘Did y-you hear, deviant? L-leave now!’

‘Or what?’ the voice echoed around the room, and not through the speakers, it was like his voice was part of the very air of the room, it was deep, angry, menacing, and hummed in Claspall’s chest.

‘Or you shall be a-arrested. I am an M.P. and I will p-personally see that you spend the rest of your life from a jail cell.’

‘So long spent abusing your power, flouting responsibility, in favour of stuffing your pockets and stomach. It shall not be I that spends life in a cage’ The Chav growled.

‘So you’re a protestor are you? You think violence and destruction are the ways to get what you want, hmm?’

‘I do not protest, only act, and my existence is of greater importance than yours. It shall not be I that suffer if I carry on my current path.’

‘And who are you? What is your name? Pull back your wretched hood and let us see your face, so all my know of you and your wanton destruction…little more than a terrorist.’

‘I have no name, and I’m far worse than any terrorist.  Your police cannot contain me.  For I am everything and nothing-‘ each monitor in the panic room switched on to images of rooms being smashed by hooded figures.  ‘- I am both one and all, and I do as I please and as I am instructed.’

Claspall was confused and frightened, understanding none of this creatures riddles.  It seemed The Chav was far more eloquent than any hooded reprobate he’d yet encountered.  And he seemed to have a gang, and yet, something was amiss, they all looked remarkably similar.

‘And you wanted me to lower my hood?’ growled the voice.

All the hooded figures stopped to stare at the camera like their leader in the basement, and at the same time they lowered their hoods to show the most awful, horrific, grotesque and obscene face Claspall had ever seen or imagined.  Fangs, dead skin, decay, blood, sinew, black, soulless eyes.  Each then darted straight at the camera.  Claspall screamed as the security system exploded.

*

Minutes, maybe hours passed, with Claspall curled up on the floor, haunted by the horrific face etched indelibly onto his memory.  He rubbed his eyes, covered his head with his arms, but nothing would shake the image. 

Hours later he would walk from the panic room in a daze, barely registering that his house was almost completely destroyed.  Everything that he prized was either smashed or spray painted over.  He would then trot outside, into the morning light to find a message burned into his pristine garden.

The Ghosts of Fuck-Up’s past and present have now paid their respects…until tomorrow night.

Fubar Robinson

 

 
 

Number 10 Drowning Street

 

The Nightmare Junior – By Fubar Robinson

Scandal once again surrounded Rev. Langford P Claspall.  As he was now not only paying for his new swimming pool with taxpayers money,  but the two men digging out the hole of injustice had been missing for a few weeks now.  The last place they were know to be was in his back garden, so naturally the morons he was supposed to represent accused him.  What good would killing two grunts do him? Pparticularly as he’d needed to get someone else to finish his pool! 

But he answered the police questions, he didn’t see the two men leave that night  so assumed they’d just gone home when they felt they’d done enough of a sub-standard job and gone home for the evening! He suspected that the were not convinced of his innocence, and the local and national press certainly weren’t.  This is the thanks he gets from his constituents, he thought, and this above anything made him more determined to stick to his guns.  He was a victim and he was getting what he deserved.

He was getting what he deserved…

*

That night he settled into his opulent, king-sized bed at the new country estate.  The new bed had arrived that afternoon, the pool was merely waiting for the various pumps and cleaning equipment before putting the water in, and Rev Claspall was more than content with his replies to the various press and paparazzi devils that came at him, yes very witty and biting he thought them; he’d often thought of himself as the Oscar Wilde of politics.

He cocooned himself in his large, uterine, duvet, and yet suddenly felt a chill pass through him.  It was like a small breeze blowing through a crack in the wall, seeping in slowly.  He looked around to the only window in the room; a large double patio door that opened up onto a beautiful balcony that gave him a perch to survey his acres – but they were certainly closed now.  He got out of bed to double-check.

‘You pay a fortune for the best double glazing and the cowboys allow…a…draft?’ he changed tone mid sentence as he looked around the patio doors, he held his hand but could feel neither breeze or draft.

He surveyed the magnificent gardens through the glass, with a smug smile of contentment, and looked achingly at this empty pool which he so looked forward to basking in.  He breathed a sigh, he had achieved this, this was all his, he had bought this…or the tax payers have, he chuckled at the thought.

It was then that he saw something out the corner of his eye.  He turned quickly, but saw nothing but the fluttering of a curtain on his four-poster bed.  He brushed aside the notion in favour of his magnificent, warm, bed.  As he was once more swallowed by the duvet he quickly panicked, fighting with the quilt which now seemed to want to swallow him.  Eventually he threw it off and looked at the fluttering curtain, all of a sudden realising what was wrong with the picture.

‘There is no breeze in here, how can you be moving?’ he breathed.

He tiptoed around the bed  to see the curtain better.  He soon saw that although it appeared to flutter, at the curtains base was a child, or to be more precise, a baby.  It was on all fours, drooling, gurgling as is a child’s wont, it was buffeting the curtain with its pudgy little hands.  It grabbed on, trying to lift itself, clearly trying to walk.

‘What are you doing here?’ he asked, then quickly realised how ridiculous a question that was.  Was the child going to answer back “hey Rev, just I’d have a bit of a tug on the old curtains, how are you?’ It was ridiculous, utterly ridiculous. But how did a baby get here?  He was notoriously a bachelor, and hated kids; little snot-nosed reprobates that were merely prisoners in training.  It was eminently possible that a few children out there could be his, but he had remained celibate for the last two years, not by choice, but most people hated him, even prostitutes. 

He approached the child that was apparently tugging at his embroidered curtains with glee.  It then took a tassel and shoved it into the slimy chasm that was its mouth.

‘No, no! Don’t do that.’

He ran over and pulled the curtains away from the child, and it began to sob, screwing its face in a way which meant it was going to blow!  And blow it did; mighty screaming bellows that were remarkable for such a small being.  Claspall didn’t know what to do, should he pick it up? And if he did, then what? He had no milk, no breast (sadly) he had no experience working for children, except kissing the odd nasty smelling one on a campaign trail. 

‘No, stop crying, there, there…Jeez shut up!’

The child cried louder.  A whiff of poo reached Claspall’s sensitive nose.

‘Oh no, I’m not changing you.  Damn I must call someone! Although…how do I explain a child suddenly appearing in my bedroom…my word that would be a scandal too far. What do I do?’ he pleaded to the ceiling, as if hoping for some answer.  Was he hoping for God to answer? No, of course not! Such an idea was ludicrous. He only became a Reverend as it made becoming a Tory M.P. so much easier. 

Then something materialised out of the shadows in the corner of his room.  Something small, almost as if it had walked through the wall itself.  It then padded slowly into the moonlight; a grotesque, filthy and torn teddy bear.  One eye hung from a thread, the other whirled around like  dervish as it shuffled one step at a time towards the crying child.  It wasn’t until then that he realised that both child and teddy bear were oddly luminescent – the baby glowed pearly white in the darkness, and the bear was almost see through, like the darkness itself lined its fabric. 

The bear trailed a leg as it moved, like it had lost the use of it – a wounded soldier determined to do its duty.  It also trailed some sort of sludge, like it had crawled from the sewers.  And it was going straight for the crying child which only howled louder at the grotesque toy.  A rational person with some parental or maternal instinct might have moved the child away from such a putrid object – whether it was apparently moving independently of itself or not.  But Claspall was beyond body function, and his self-preservation instincts were more highly attuned than the common man.  He stood, unable to move, as the teddy stopped next to the child, now on its back and bawling.  It looked down at the crying child for a moment, its spinning eye stopping, and then it laid a grungy paw on the child’s forehead.  It was almost a loving gesture, a moment of sorrow, that left a nasty splodge of sewage on the child’s pristine head.   The sludge then seemed to sparkle, or rather it caught the moonlight as it seemed to bubble and undulate on the child’s head.  Then it separated and poured into the child’s mouth, ears and eyes.  The child stopped crying, it coughed and spluttered…it was choking.  Still Claspall could not move, deep down an instinct told him he should pick up the child, to try and save it, but he was rooted to the spot, holding onto the bedpost for dear life.

The bear then looked up at him, and Claspall was helpless.  He had to surrender to the bears gaze, he could not blink.  The bear then shook its head, as if disappointed, and stuck its paw inside the child’s mouth.  The child didn’t move, it laid still as the grotesque bear climbed inside the mouth of the child.  How it was possible Claspall couldn’t tell, it should not have been possible, yet somehow, with some effort, the bear twisted and turned and shifted it’s disgusting body whole into the child’s mouth and disappeared.

Claspall grabbed onto the bed post tighter, he was now able to close his eyes and felt the cold tears streaming down his face.

‘This isn’t real, this isn’t possible. When I open my eyes the child will be gone, and I shall be back in my bed waking from a ridiculous dream.’

He breathed heavily, feeling like his childhood asthma was returning.  He calmed his breathing, and his sobbing gradually, and opened his eyes.

The child had gone, there was no tail of slime on the floor, no demon teddy bear to be seen.  Phew!

And yet…

There now seemed to be slime in the bed sheets.  He followed the trail, and found the baby, stood on two legs, staring open-eyed at him.  One of its eyes popped out, then other began spinning like a dervish.  And then it growled and bore fanged teeth.  Before Claspall could run for his life the child sprang and sunk its teeth in his neck.

And then he woke, screaming.  It was still dark outside, the moonlight formed a beam right onto him as he fought with the covers surrounding him on the bed.  He had tears in his eyes, panting and crying like a small child.  But it had been a dream, after all.  He curled himself into a ball and sobbed into his knee’s.

Then he heard something shiver in the corner of the room.  He looked up quickly and darted to his feet.  He stood in the moonlight, which only threw the shadows into darker obscurity.  But there was unmistakably a presence in the room.    It was tall, a faint outline of a man, but insubstantial, like it was altering form in subtle ways. 

‘Who are you? What do you want?’

There was no answer, no movement but the undulations that seemed to ripple around its form.

‘I will call the police! They will be here and they will arrest you.’

The figure stepped out suddenly, it moved from the wall and faced him.

‘Argh! OK, look you’ve had your fun, this can stop now.  You’ve frightened me, you’ve got your revenge on me, or whatever.  Please just leave, and that’ll be the end of it.’ He pleaded.

A hiss emerged from the darkness.  A long hiss that seemed to crawl like a spider underClaspall’s skin.  No mouth could be discerned from the figure, but a voice emerged to pierce the silence.

‘This is just the beginning.’

 

To be continued…

 
 

Fubar Robinson

 

Part 1 – Prologue – By Fubar Robinson

 The sun is setting over the green countryside.  Deep in the remotest part of the country is an old, Gothic Revival estate, recently purchased by the ‘Right Honourable’ Reverend Langford P. Claspall, M.P. for a district a good few miles away and that he prefers not to think about.  As he lounges in his delectable front room waiting for the news report about himself, two workmen toil deep into the evening.

‘Bloody hell my back aches’ said the tallest man, rubbing his lower balk.  ‘Politicians!  It’s bad enough they’re using our money for their own benefit, now they want us working all hours as well!’ he moaned unheard by the smaller of the two operating the Cat 325C Excavator, digging out the pit that will eventually become a new swimming pool.

‘What did you say?’

‘I said that, I said…switch the bloody thing off!’

He turned the motor off, leaving the scoop immersed in the sludge.

‘What?’

‘I said that he’s using our money to pay for this swimming pool, no scruples that one!’

‘Careful I might hear you!’

‘So what? He’s in the news today, you know?  Saying he’s not paying back the expenses he’s claimed. And to top it all off he’s making us work late just because we were late and couldn’t find the bloody place!’

‘Well, he’s paying us for the work, so he’s paying our taxes back in’t he?’

‘Yeah so the money we lose on taxes goes straight back to him, what kind of argument is that?’

‘I don’t care mate, Sylvia’s got a bun in the oven, I need all the money I can get.’

There’s a huge CRAAANNNNG! of wrenched metal that seems to lift the whole Cat off the ground for a moment, before suddenly dropping back down again.

‘What did you do? said the tall one with backache.

‘I didn’t do nothing, did I!’

He pulls a few levers and lifts the digging arm and with it the scoop.  As it squelches out of the mud it shines in the setting sun, and the two workmen are lost for words at the sight of the scoop; mangled, ripped, and twisted, like a grotesque flower blooming out of sludge, the scoop is rent apart as if it was merely paper.

‘What the…’

‘How the bloody hell…?’

‘Did you hit the foundations or something?’

‘Mate, that scoop is made of solid steel, I hit the foundations I bring the whole house down!  Besides we’re a good, what…twenty metres from the house.’

‘Well it’s hit something hasn’t it! Mud doesn’t twist 24 inches of solid steel…jump in and have a look.’

‘Balls! I’m not going into the mud! You jump in!’

‘I’ve ‘urt me back ‘aven’t I?’

‘Argh, bloody hell!’ He scowled as he grudgingly moved over to the pit.

Night had fallen fully now, the last vestiges of sunlight didn’t reach this part of the country.  They were surrounded by hills, completely cut off from civilisation; one of the perks of the house – the constituents couldn’t find their villain incumbent. As the smaller workman shuffled over the ledge and landed into the dark pit.  His feet immediately squelched into the mud and disappeared from sight.  It was difficult to move, as the mud seemed to have grabbed his feet, and he could see no sign of anything that could reshape such heavy-duty equipment.

‘There’s nothing here!’

‘Stop being a bloody great Jessie, you’re going to have to get your hands in.’

‘Bloody hell’ he sighed as he dipped his hands into the cold, stinking sludge. He sifted the sludge as best he could, then plodded slowly over to another part of the pit.

‘It’s just filth mate, it must be a defect in the metal or something.’

The smaller man attempted to turn, but was trapped.

‘Ah crap, I’m stuck, come in and help me!’

‘Bugger off!’

‘Get in here you wimp! You’re back’s not that bad  and I’m not staying here all bloody night.’

Mr. backache looked around the site, as if hoping someone might relieve him of this duty.  But he was to have no saviour tonight. He gingerly sat himself at the edge of the abyss, and jumped in with his cohort.  The smaller man could feel himself sinking a little as the taller man landed and began trudging across.

‘This is minging this is!’

‘Shut up moaning and get me out.’

He twisted slightly as he said it, doing his best to free himself to help his ailing workmate.  As he did so, if only out of the corner of his eye, he saw something shift in the darkness.  He turned quickly to see what it was, but saw nothing in the pit. 

‘You alright?’

‘What…yeah, thought I saw something?’

‘Massive earthworm?’

‘No, it was more like-‘

As he said it a cold touch seemed to brush past him, an icy grip that made his whole body stiffen.

‘What are you doin’, shift man, I can’t do it on me own!’

‘I can’t move!’

‘I know you can’t that’s why I’m helpin”

‘No, seriously! I’m paralysed!’

As he said it he saw the shadow shift again, some dark shadow swirl in his peripherals.  Whatever it was darted upwards out of the pit. 

‘Get me out! Gemmie out right now!’

‘I’m trying my best, lad!’

‘Get me out, COME ON!’

Above them the Cat roared into life.  The lights flashed on and the last thing the men saw was the mangled scoop plummeting towards them.

Twenty metres away Rev. Claspall was lounging in his reclining chair and enjoying the broadcast on himself, beaming with pride at the new suit he wore, his spectacularly parted hair (a real handsome devil), caring not a jot about the roars of outrage.  He worked hard for hsi position, and no one was ever happy no matter what he did, so he might as well be well paid for it.  He had earned that swimming pool.

He was so immersed in his own greed and vanity that he didn’t hear the distant screams of two men, nor a shift in the darkness, a shadow that was now giving the politician its full attention.

Fubar Robinson

‘Mum? Why is this happening?’

‘You are to be punished, before you are taken.’

‘Taken where?’

‘Taken to your final judgement’

‘Oh…is that all?’

*

Flakey sat in the corner of the boat, his arms wrapped around his knee’s, tapping the back of his head against the hull.  The sun had been setting for what felt like years.  He was preparing himself for a confrontation that was completely contrary to his character (he was in real life a big, lazy wuss-bag!), but he’d been hearing the scrapes of metal inside of his head all day.  He had a headache and was loosing his marbles.  Did you ever see Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Jaws’, when Quint runs his nails down the blackboard during the council meeting, and everyone turns round holding their ears.  Imagine hearing that noise for weeks on end inside your head, then you’ll begin to understand how messed up Flakey’s head was right now.

Darkness had fallen, and despite not sleeping for the past four nights, Flakey was not sleepy.  He was wired and on edge.  Almost as if The Reaper knew what was in store, the boat had been creaking and bumping against the Bankside.  He had chosen this room deliberately.  The corpse sisters and corpse-Mum haunted his bedroom only, so he had chosen to confront the creature out here.  He stood up as he heard the patter of small, clawed feet on the roof, and the gentle grate of the Canal shark against the side of the boat.  The two had been working together every night, merely taunting him while he stayed awake, and burned and ate him when he fell asleep (what was the lesser of evils?).  He soon realised that they weren’t dreams, as such, but he wasn’t yet sure if they were merely hallucinations.  Either way his brain wasn’t working with him and he needed to confront this creature that was here to punish him.

Flakey sprang to his feet and stood tall.  The familiar scratching, creaking, smashing and slamming began at lightning pace, as expected, and Flakey finally let loose.

‘IT’S NOT SCARY ANYMORE, COME DOWN HERE AND FACE ME!’ he screamed, sounding braver than he felt.

The movements stopped.  Outside the black dorsal fin glided by, it had also decided to stop its taunts as it circled outside.  Flakey stood to attention, his body wired for an attack.  He looked at the roof small footfalls scratched along the length of the boat, it was moving to the prow.  The time had come.

All the lights on the boat went out.  Outside the stars seem to go out.  There was not a soul nearby.  Then the front doors opened slowly.  Flakey tried to point his torch towards the open doors, it tried to flicker into life, but then quickly gave up.  Dark smoke unfurled in the doorway, like kindling smoke, that grew larger, sending a putrid stench around the galley that brought tears to Flakey’s eyes.  He wiped them away, he needed to see for what he was about to do.  He knew that this was his chance, and he pounced. 

He dived at the smoke, knowing the creature was at its centre.  He reached in and grabbed on hard to the scaly little body.  A barrage of tiny claws attacked him, and realising its friend was under attack, the Shark began to smash against the boat to try to knock him off-balance.  But he held on despite the skin being flayed from his hands.  High pitched growls emerged from inside the smoke and was literally fighting tooth and nail to get free.  Flakey dragged it out of the smoke to find the ugliest little creature he’d ever seen.  Like a doused Mogwai, but with an extra clawed arm, covered in black slimy scales, that suddenly burned white-hot.  Flakey had expected it, but his body reacted against the heat.  He threw the creature against the flatscreen with all his might.  This was a bad idea, far from knocking it out it only made it mad.  And now it was free, and began darting around the galley at incredible speeds, tearing at his flesh as it darted by him.  Flakey was panicking now.  His hands were burned, his clothes were tattered, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, without the dignity of looking tough. The Canal Shark was circling nearby, and was surely going to eat him for real this time.  But that was only if he didn’t fall to the death of a thousand claw swipes.

Chunks of flesh were being torn from his body.  He was freaking out, and despite trying to swipe back the thing was too quick for him.  Each slash at his body was like a jab with a serrated knife, or, ironically, a tear of a shark’s tooth.  And now he was bleeding copiously and bone was being scraped.  He needed to focus, he took a breath, enduring the sharp slices that were slowly killing him, and calmed himself.  He somehow managed to drift away from his pain, numb to anything but the creature darting around the galley, spraying his blood. 

And there was the key, the creature moved so quickly that it left trails of blood in the air and there seemed to be a pattern to its movements.  Flakey took a breath, and timed his attack perfectly.  He swiped the air and managed to grab the creature by the neck.  It swiped and slashed, but Flakey wasn’t going to let go this time.   And this time he was ready for the next stage.

As he predicted the creature grew white-hot as it snarled and screamed.  Flakey’s skin turned crispy very quickly, and was pain beyond anything he’d ever felt, but he wasn’t about to let go.  The Canal Shark realised its friend was in trouble again and hit the boat.  Flakey fell over, bringing the struggling creature so close to his face that it slashed at his eye.  Flakey screamed out in pain as he lost sight in the eye.  But still he kept hold and got back to his feet as another plan formed in his mind.  He kept the burning creature at arm’s length.  Fortunately the nerves in his hand had been burned away, his hand was pretty much fused to the creature now, so it wasn’t getting away as he darted towards the prow. 

‘Come on, come on, follow me!’

Sure enough the Canal Shark moved with them, clearly determined to help its friend. He jumped onto the prow and held the struggling creature high.  It was then that the Creature suddenly burst into flames, the shockwave burning the skin from his face.  But it somehow unfused his skin from the creature’s as the Canal Shark burst from the water, teeth first! Flakey, feeling very Chief Brody, and threw the ball of flames into the Sharks mouth.  It snapped its mouth shut, shook its head; destroying most of the prow as it did so, then retreated into the water with smoke unfurling through its teeth.  The dorsal fin disappeared below the water, and somehow Flakey knew it wouldn’t be back. 

Flakey cradled his arms, burned and unrecognisable as arms at all, but the cold night air soothed him.  He breathed a sigh of relief…it was finally over, he was free.

It was then that he realised that the breeze had got up, and the boat had come free of the bank and seemed to be driving itself down the canal.

‘What now?’ he spat. He didn’t know how the boat could be steering itself, he hadn’t prepared for this.  He got up gingerly, as he couldn’t put any weight onto his hands, and raced down through the boat. In more carefree times he might have been more devil-may-care and stepped down the gunwale or hopped up onto the roof.  But he had nothing to grip with anymore, so he staggered onwards towards the stern.

He had to charge through the bathroom area, slamming into the door with his shoulder. He walked straight to the steering arm to slow the boat and direct it back into the bank, but the arm would not move.   He didn’t know how long he struggled, but nothing he could do would turn the boat, and his strength was waning.  Blood was pouring from his wounds and he was starting to black out.  He didn’t notice the soundless corpses crawling out of the water.

They climbed onto the stern and lifted him to his feet.  Their icy grip woke him from his stupor, and with what little strength he had was sapped in the effort to break free.  Then Corpse Mum slithered out of the water and stood slowly in front of his wavering vision. 

‘Your judgement is nigh’ she gurgled, black water dripping from her mouth and nose.

‘But I killed him, I killed the creature’ he sighed, struggling to breath with the icy grasp enveloping him.

‘The creature, and it’s pet, was but a servant.’

‘What? A Servant to who?’

‘To The Reaper.’

Flakey turned to her, his eyes wide, the boat was behind it all; it was alive and had been playing with him.  The Reaper was his judgement.  And as he stood in the grip of those that had died, because of his recklessness, The Reaper turned out into the Thames and towards Tower Bridge. Flakey watched as the entire bridge burst into flames, and where the river normally flowed under the bridge became a vortex, a black abyss, and The Reaper was driving right for it. Flakey found his strength again and he managed to fight off the corpse sisters grip.  He didn’t know where this boat was going, but he knew that black abyss scared him more than anything he’d yet seen, and he was damned if he was going to stay on the boat.  He threw off the corpse sisters, then dodged a lunge from Corpse Mum and landed a satisfying punch that literally knocked her jaw off.  The steering arm then turned sharply and knocked him onto his ass. He was winded, but he just rolled over the side and fell into the icy water.  He treaded water as the boat flew on into the Tower Bridge abyss. 

Flakey treaded water for a moment, but was struggling, with no hands, bleeding body and no strength he kept taking mouthfuls of the vile Thames Water, and the current was taking him under, and towards the abyss. He couldn’t fight anymore, he blacked out and let the current take him…

‘Mate? You alright geezer?’

Flakey felt a few nudges to his arm, and felt his eyes beginning to open. 

‘Thank gawd for that, where is that ambulance?’ said a shrill voice.

‘Dunno mate, I’ll radio them again.’

Flakey’s eyes adjusted to the light, and he saw two dark blurs looming above him.  He jerked up in fright, ready to fight again, but he was immediately overpowered.

‘Woah mate, you wanna calm down, ambulance is on its way.’

‘Ambulance?’

‘Yeah, big white thing, makes a noise.’

‘How you feeling son?’

‘Feeling? I’m feeling…wait’

His eyes adjusted, and he was being looked after by two policemen.  He wasn’t in pain, he could feel his fingers moving, his bones were no longer aching, he was tired, but his skin appeared to be intact. He looked up, Tower Bridge showed no sign of ever being on fire…he had sight in both eyes.

‘…I’m…feeling good.’

‘Yeah? Well, you’re lucky, we thought when we pulled you in you were a goner.  It’s a miracle that the Thames didn’t swallow you mate.’

‘Miracle, yeah!’ He couldn’t help smiling, he was alive, he had survived.  Maybe it was all a dream after all.  He started to chuckle.

‘Something funny lad?’

‘Yes officer, I’m alive.’

‘What were you doing in the river anyway?’

‘I was…’ he stopped as he had noticed a boat moor up across the other side of the river.  A long, black boat, with a red blur of writing on its flank.  On the bank tying up the boat was a man in a hood, and on his shoulder was a black, three-armed creature.  And as he looked back to the confused-looking police, he saw the Corpse sisters stood behind them.  One of the officer followed Flakey’s gaze over his shoulder, and looked back even more confused. The police couldn’t see them.

‘Everything alright mate?’ asked the nearest officer.

‘No…no I’m not.  Officers, I need to be taken to prison.’

‘What lad?’

‘I’ve been hiding out on a Narrowboat for the past month or so, because I’m massively in debt and can’t pay them back, and I stole my mum’s car.’

The two cops looked at one another confused, unsure whether they were having their leg pulled.

‘Well, that’s not something we’d put you in prison for, not without some sort of reported missing vehicle.  I think you’re parents might just be happy you’re safe.’

‘No!’ he pleaded, he had seen the dorsal fin gliding around the boat. The corpse sisters were closing in, and Corpse mum was standing behind them. ‘I killed my mum, and four other girls, I dumped their bodies in the canal, they all had their heads cut off. Check the Thames and Severn Canal ways’  He realise it had all been real, even if he could only see them, and he knew they wouldn’t stop until he was dragged into that abyss.  Prison was the safest place for him, it was where he deserved to be. The two officers looked at one another again, but this wasn’t something they could ignore.

*

Flakey laid back on the lumpy, flat prison mattress, breathing a sigh of relief, there was a special solitude to the cell, even with Muffy, the tattooed convicted rapist in the bunk above him.  He wasn’t free, but in a few years he would be, this was definitely the lesser of evils. Here he was getting what he deserved, here he was safe.

Outside two prison officer shut off the lights in the corridor and locked the prisoners in for the night.  They were at the end of their shift and looking forward to a cheeky pint together.  They put on their coats, handed over the watch to the night shift, and made their way outside.

‘Thank crunchy it’s Friday’ said the taller officer.

‘”Thank crunchy?” You’re a geek!’

‘Piss off.  Hey, what…what’s that?’

‘A canal, what does it look like?’

‘Was…was there always a canal there.’

‘Well…erm…yeah I guess so.’

‘How have I never noticed that before? Why would a prison need a canalway?’

‘I dunno! It can’t turned up over night, could it?’

They both laughed, but then stopped, both unsure.

‘What’s the boat’s name?’

‘Erm…where are my specs? Erm…The Reaper.’

The End

The Narrowboat Nastie – Part 2 By Fubar Robinson

Flakey dumped the body of his hefty mistress into the canal, and then tossed in her head. He’d chosen the most secluded section of canal he could find. Then he was going to haul-ass as far down the canal as possible, he was all too aware of the trail of bodies he was leaving behind; given he could never get the bodies to sink. He approached a bend in the canal and began to breathe a sigh of relief, but not before he chanced a look back at the ample carcass. He immediately wished that he hadn’t when he saw big girls head float directly into her own exposed arse crack…nose first.

These events were becoming too commonplace for Flakey, he was all too aware how used he was getting to waking up to a naked, decapitated corpse. There was never any blood on his bed, the wounds were always cauterised; it was like their heads were removed with a burning blade or a laser! Whatever was hiding on The Reaper had some crazy skills, and this didn‘t pacify Flakey in any way. You may well question why he didn’t simply stop bringing women back onto the boat? Well, believe it or not, this was the lesser of evils…

*

On his fourth night on the boat life was pretty sweet, He had successfully left behind his life of debt and parental disappointment. He enjoyed his crystal clear TV reception to keep up with his shows. He’d watched ‘Avatar’ on his Blu-ray at least three times already, and he took every opportunity of the slower pace of life; he would frequently moor-up earlier to read his fantasy novels by the sunset. He could masturbate without ever being disturbed, he eat at pubs as often as he liked, and could go wherever in the country he wanted. He was at peace…until that night.

He came back from the pub very full on his healthy cheeseburger and chips lunch (they’d used Cathedral City cheese for the burger…it was a masterpiece!) He’d already had a steak dinner earlier on, but screw-it! He was free to eat whatever he wanted, when he wanted. Plus a pub toilet was much more effective at dealing with solids then the chemical toilet(And he had been eating a lot of pub lunches!)

It was only a short walk from the pub, but his mooring was very overgrown, dwarfed by the huge tree’s arching over the canal. It was dark here, despite the setting sun still being fairly bright. But he liked this level of solitude, no one was going to find him, no one would hear him.

The moon soon appeared, casting scatterings of light through the tree’s; The Reaper’s dark sentinels. Flakey was tired and settled into his bunk for a long well-earned sleep(doing nothing but floating and eating really took it out of you!) He was dropping off easily, until there was a ‘tap tap’ at the porthole. Flakey sat up, waking from his daze suddenly. He looked around, but his brain wasn’t letting him know what he was looking for, so he dropped back onto his fluffy pillow and curled under his duvet.

TAP. TAP.

He heard it properly this time, and looked up to the curtained porthole, someone was outside the boat. He’d picked this spot carefully, he knew there would be no one around for miles, and was hidden from any patrons of the boozer. He was concerned because if there were people walking amongst the tree’s, they were surely of the butt-raping variety. And what type of person taps a man’s porthole in the middle of the night? Flakey tentatively raised a hand, he wasn’t a brave man but The Reaper was something he had to protect, and he quickly drew back the curtains…

No one there.

He settled back down, but he was freaked out, he didn’t know how much strength he had to repel a rapist, and he’d seen ‘Deliverance’ he didn’t fancy his chances. He was now on edge, and was ready to kick, scratch and bite if the occasion called for it.

TAP! TAP!

There it was again, but louder this time. And he wasn’t sure but the tapping seemed to have come from the porthole on the other side, the water side…
‘Crap! They’re on the boat.’

TAP! TAP! BANG!

Whoever was there was on the roof, now on the sides too, and somehow on the hull underneath the boat. The tapping was getting faster, like hundreds of hands, scraping, scratching, tearing, clanging on all sides if the boat – either that or it was one person moving extremely fast…he didn’t know which he preferred, one fast sonofabitch, or a hundred rapists in a tapping frenzy. He was on his feet, the clanging was on all sides, terrorising him to the point of madness. He covered his ears, but it didn’t drown out the sound.

But then it stopped suddenly. He took his hands away from his ears, listening intently. Were they coming for him now? He looked outside through the portholes, through the window that overlooked the stern and steerage. There was no one there.

Then he collapsed to his knee’s as an icy grip clenched his shoulder, and then seemed to rip through his nervous system. His knee’s slammed into the floor with a sickening crunch, but all that concerned him was the rotting hand that gripped his shoulder. He turned slowly, the grip as tight as ever, to see the remains of a familiar face…his mother. He knew his mother wasn’t dead, but yet here she stood, naked, eyeless, a gaping hole where her heart should be, rotten and decaying like she had been lying on the canal floor for months. The holes where her eyes should have been were trained on his face, unmoved and her mouth agape. Even if Flakey not been frightened beyond bowel control he wouldn’t have been able to break her icy grip, which was strong despite the frailty of the sinew and skin attached loosely to what was left of her skeleton.
‘M-Mum?’ he sputtered.
‘You left me…you left me to die’ she gurgled. Canal water dripped from her gaping mouth as it formed whispers that reverberated in his head.
‘Who killed you Mum?’
‘You did!’
‘What? N-No I didn’t, I was here!’ he pleaded as her grip tautened, and her rotting face became severe.
‘You left me, and I was taken. You must pay.’ she hissed.
‘Don’t kill me!’ he squealed.
‘He shall come to punish you!’
‘What?’
‘The companion and his pet…they are here!’
‘Companion? Pet? I don’t understand!’
‘You shall be punished!’
The tapping began again, louder and faster. Each slash and creak was like a splint under his finger nails, another icy grip tearing at his heart.

BANG!

Something hit the boat and knocked Flakey to the floor. Corpse-Mum stayed upright, oblivious to the shunt into the boat, somehow defying the laws of gravity. It was a hell of a hit too, the boat tipped so much that the porthole dipped below the surface of the water. It was a miracle the boat hadn’t capsized.

BANG!

Another hit, a massive hit that nearly overturned the boat again. Flakey gathered himself quickly. Corpse-Mum was standing still, ignoring him now, as Flakey moved out into the galley. He needed a waterside window to see what was hammering The Reaper. It could only be another boat, or maybe two.

BANG!

He was thrown into the kitchen area, a knife left uncleaned on the side slicing his hip, his face slamming into the wall that made his nose explode with blood. He cried out in pain, but got up quickly, he had bigger fish to fry. He bounded over to the waterside windows and ripped back the curtains. He looked around but saw no boats, he could see nothing that could create such a hit on the boat!

At least, not on top of the water.

He had seen it and turned away before his brain could begin to process what he‘d seen. It was ludicrous. He looked back as it moved passed the boat. A large, black, serrated Dorsal fin glided past the window. The canal was too murky and too dark, but the undulations in the water suggested that whatever was moving the dorsal fin wasn’t some fat kid with flippers and an unusual sense of humour (and he wished more than anything for a really fat kid with flippers right then! A wish he‘d never thought he‘d make.) The fin glided up the canal away from the boat, slicing through the murky waters. Flakey hoped against hope that it was swimming away, but he knew that it wasn’t, even before the fin turned in the water. Flakey knew what was coming next, whatever you call a run up when the creature has no legs, and Flakey wasn’t about to stand around and wait for it. He bolted for the door on the prow and struggled to unlock it. Suddenly the tapping began it’s maniacal rhythm’s again. Flakey couldn’t concentrate, his hands didn’t want to turn the key. He looked out, the dorsal fin was gaining in speed. He fumbled open the doors, ready to break for the bank, but flames exploded on the prow and the force knocked him back into the Reaper. He got back up again, but it was too late…

The dorsal fin smashed through the glass, and with it the car-sized head of a shark. It’s many rows of teeth burst through boats hull and wrapped around Flakey’s helpless body. They tore through his stomach as they clamped down and dragged him into the canal.

He woke up, dripping in sweat and tears, and had to wrestle his tangled bed sheets off of him. He fell to the floor, panicked, and looking around the room. Corpse-Mum wasn’t there.
‘It was a dream’ he sighed, half laughing, half crying.
He wiped his nose, and saw blood on his hand. His nose was bleeding.
‘What the? No! It was a dream!’
He had dreamt of his nose slamming into the kitchen wall. He tried to convince himself he had done it thrashing in his bed during the nightmare, and to be sure he looked down at his stomach…where he found the scars around his stomach. Like the perforation lines you get on letters (tear here) were rows of teeth marks.

*

This “dream” reoccurred every time he was alone, every time he fell asleep. The tapping, clanking and tearing reverberated around the boat every time he was alone on the boat whether he was asleep or not. It was driving him to madness, and he was wired from all his attempts to stay awake – turning to coffee and whatever he could get at a chemist – he was scratching his arm nervously, leaving a deep gouge on his forearm.

He tried leaving the boat at night and stayed in a hotel, and, aside from the money he had to spend, Corpse-Mum would follow him, along with the rotting corpses of all the decapitated women he had dropped into the canal. He couldn’t escape these hallucinations, and the longer he stayed around other people the more noticeable his psychosis would be. He had to stay away from prying eyes.

He was at the end of his tether now, he wanted his freedom that he had enjoyed for only a few days. And now every time he tried to run from the ‘Shark’ (it was ridiculous to say the words) he was trapped by an explosion at the doorway that threw him back onto the boat. And every time the doors shut on him, he caught sight of a presence inside the inferno.

A small shadow…and fierce black eyes.

If he was going to be free he was going to have to confront this creature…The Companion.

He had never been much for confrontation…

 

Join us again in a weeks time  for the conclusion of Flakey’s harrowing tale.

 

Fubar

 

 

 

The Reaper

 

The Narrowboat Nastie, Part One – By Fubar Robinson

Flakey woke, the morning sun piercing through the rattling window – the wind was a shaking the boat and the pane had come loose once more – he opened his eyes slowly then closed them again as hangover’s anvil-hand proceeded to crush his brain. 

‘Argh, not again!’

He shifted in his small bed, and felt flesh to his right; a thigh, and not his own. He looked over to see the a brunette sleeping on her side, her back to him and her dirty brown hair hiding her neck.

‘Oh, not again!’

She had seemed much…well, slimmer, last night.  He put his hand on her shoulder, hefted her considerable naked bulk onto her back.  The problem was, her head remained on it’s side, severed at the neck.

‘Oh! Not again!’

*

ONE MONTH EARLIER

First notice!

Second notice!

Pay now or collection agencies are getting involved!  Flakey didn’t know how many times he could tell them he didn’t have any money. 

Flakey was a tall young man, he was intelligent, but had no common sense. 

His problems began when he discovered his clean credit report, and took out a fairly hefty loan to buy the love of his life (no, not a Thai bride or anything like that! Get your head out of the gutter!) an Eric Clapton signature Fender Stratocaster.  It was beautiful.  And so impressed was he to discover that the bank was only too happy to keep giving him money, he took out another loan to buy a nice, meaty, Marshall Amp stack and a Jimi Hendrix signature Crybaby Wah pedal. It wasn’t long after he lost his job; working in call centres are beyond hell-like, and he told a customer to F**k off!  So he lost his means of repaying his loans.  He already lived with his parents, who did not understand concepts such as ‘Borrowing Money’ and ‘Unemployment’ and were they to find out he would surely be kicked out on his arse with nowhere to go.  So he did what any good son would do… he lied! (what did I say about his common sense?) But he couldn’t afford rent, he couldn’t tell them he was in debt or unemployed, and living a lie was hard. Most recently he’d only narrowly avoided them finding out when a couple of debt collectors turned up one evening, and somehow Flakey managed to get rid of them without his parents finding out in the next room, it was fricking genius! So he decided he’d had enough, and he had an escape plan…and F.Y.I…it wasn’t a good one!

He was going to live on a Narrowboat! (Didn’t I tell ya?) He had a boat picked out, that was for sale on eBay.  It meant that he had to do the unthinkable and sell his beloved Marshall stack and Clapton guitar – but he decided his need to run away was marginally more important.  The money would easily buy him a decent boat, and he would have enough left over for food etc for a good few months…sure he may struggle later on, but one problem at a time!

So he ‘borrowed’ his mum’s car and set off for the boatyard.  It took him till dusk to get there, as he had no real sense of direction, making sure to park the car a few miles town the road to throw the filth and debt collectors off course. 

Storm clouds were beginning to form as the sun retreated.  The Marina was quiet, not a soul to be seen.  The various moored boats floated quietly, buffeted slightly by a building wind, bobbing; like corpses, Flakey thought.

He then saw the boat of his dreams across the way.  Painted black, dirty, covered in cobwebs and small scratchy inscriptions of Latin and other languages Flakey didn’t understand.  And in red writing was the name of the boat proudly emblazoned…

The Reaper.

If a retarded Hells Angel had smashed his head a few too many times, had got confused, and tripped out a narrowboat instead of his Harley Davidson, it would have looked like The Reaper. Flakey dropped his effects and ran up to look through the Starboard window (or was the port side? Flakey could never remember) and inside was exactly as the eBay page had said.  Plush black and red leather interior, very Gothic but definitely comfortable.  Shiny kitchen area, Sky TV and satellite link up to make phone calls, Flatscreen HD TV, Blu-ray, top of the range engine too apparently.  Flakey had wondered before now how this boat hadn’t been snapped up already.  It looked creepy, sure, but it was pimped to the hilt and surely wouldn’t take much to repaint.  Yet this had been listed on eBay for some months, the price gradually dropping ever since he was fired from work. 

‘Enjoying The Reaper are we?’

Flakey jumped and cried out, startled by the slimy voice.  A man in an overlarge black hoodie had suddenly appeared behind him.  He was skinny, rubbing his bony hands together repeatedly, and the shadow of the hood covering all but a long pointy nose. 

‘You are not the first to revel in the delights of such a vessel’ he slimed.  This guy immediately creeped Flakey out, it’s like his voice was made up of the shivers that run up your spine, and then it gurgled out of his mouth to form words.

‘Y-you’re the owner…I p-presume?’ Flakey asked nervously.

‘Owner? No. The Reaper has no owner.’

Flakey had literally never heard a creepier sentence, every cadence, punctuation and pause was measured to maximum make-you-pee-your-pants-ness. 

‘Oh…I see…well, you placed the listing on eBay, then?’

‘I have never heard of eBay’ Flakey detected a hint of laughter from the voice sliming from the shadow of the hood. 

‘But I do have to pay you for it, right?’ He asked, clutching at straws, he was sure this guy was about to try and rape and murder him at any moment.  He was like Norman Bates’ retarded cousin. His bony legs were bent, his back arched, to most he would appear to be a crippled old man, but as the minutes passed and the darkness grew he seemed more an more like a panther ready to strike.

‘Surely you wish to inspect The Reaper before such a transaction’ he uttered, the chuckle becoming more pronounced with every passing second. But grateful of an excuse to get out of Creepy Hood’s stench, he nodded his head and ran inside – feeling Creepy Hood’s gaze on his ass as he quickly sprang on board.

He was somewhat more relieved when he got inside.  The boat was beautiful, adorned with pictures of Angels and Satyrs (he hoped they were Satyrs!) and it was remarkably high tech.  The boats he’d been on as a kid on holiday with his family were like floating logs in comparison.  This was definitely home, his saviour and his solace.  While the filth, his parents and the debt collectors were trying their best to find and bleed him dry he would float off into the sunset.  Which he was reminded was happening as he spoke, as he saw the darkness dimming outside.  Despite this, he could still feel Creepy Hood’s eyes running from his thigh to his groin, like the dude could see through the wood lining. 

‘Time to be free Flakey’ he said to himself ‘just pay off the rapist and sail away to freedom.’

He took a breath and made his way to the bow exit.  As he climbed out he spoke

‘Looks great, I’ve got the money in cash if that’s…’

Flakey looked around. Creepy Hood was nowhere to be seen.  He had disappeared, as if into thin air(!), and what was more he’d left the keys in the ignition.

The opportunity was too good, fortune was favouring him, he could leave with the boat without paying. Flakey quickly made up his mind.

‘Well, I’m going to hell anyway’ he smirked.  He fired up the engine, untied the mooring lines, looking around as he did to make sure Creepy Hood wasn’t ready to spring.  Then he pushed The Reaper off.  The steering arm rumbled gratefully at his touch, the engine purred like a lazy cat as he steered out of the Marina.  A gust of wind picked up around him, and there was a dim echo of laughter carried with it. 

Flakey looked back nervously, but there was no one to be seen. The perfect crime, he thought, as he floated towards the darkness…

Come back next week to find out Flakey’s horrible fate (inset your own scary laugh here!)