The Monster Man of Horror House (5 page)

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
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hauled myself out, screamed a silent scream into the night, but ploughed on
nevertheless, ripping off my soaking jacket and jersey and laying them out on either
side of the hole to mark it for later. I did the same with a couple of twigs
and a brickbat I found on the surface, and laid them all out, thirty feet in
all directions. I wasn’t going to lose this hole again, of that I was sure. But
it was only then, at this moment of minor triumph that I realised my problems
had matured with interest.

now lost the girl.

been so intent on finding the hole that I’d done the exact same thing all over
again and left her somewhere out there on the ice assuming I’d be able to find
her again.


time was now a quarter to seven and the fog was starting to thin. This was something
of a mix blessing as it meant I’d be able to find my charge faster, though it
also meant the curtain behind which I was operating was lifting.

skidded across the lake in great sweeping arcs, almost going out of my mind
with frustration and now convinced more than ever the girl had simply upped and
walked away, when a cold terror knocked me onto my knees. Somewhere out there in
the soup a car door slammed shut.

stilled my breathing and strained my ears, turning this way and that as I tried
to hear more and soon a couple of voices drifted across the ice.

out there… on the lake… … some sort a… … … really loud banging…”

God,” I shuddered, the shock of my discovery twisting the fear around my neck
like a noose.

all-but threw myself at the fog, skating across the deadly surface with nary a
care for my safety as time was suddenly cut short, both for this task and on
earth. Oh it could be argued that I hadn’t actually done the deed, that I’d
merely been trying to cover up after the fact, and I couldn’t be hanged for that,
but I was shrewd enough to know that even if my father stepped forward and took
full credit for his night’s work, the notion of a father taking the rap for his
wayward son fitted the charge sheet so much more snuggly than anything
approaching the truth. Especially when that father was the famous Reginald Coal
VC QC and all round good egg.

next sound to rile me was the sound of a dog. It barked like fury and came
hurtling out of the mists to skid right past me. The sight of this black mutt
almost sent me into a fit but the beast just gave me a cursory sniff before lolloping
on his way.

came the renewed cries, now barely a football pitch away from me. “Jupiter boy,
where are you? What have you found?”

realised they’d set the dog off the leash to find whatever was amiss out here
on the lake, so I turned and followed the dog myself, drawing closer to its
excited barking until I could see it bouncing up and down on the spot over the
body of my father’s former confidante.

kicked the dog aside, bundled the girl up by the arms, only to have to kick the
dog some more as it joined in the fun, yanking her in the opposite direction by
the ankles.

have you go? What is it boy?” came the excited voices, now closer than ever.
That was when I decided to do as my father might in this situation, pulled the
belt from my trouser loops and strangled the dog where it bounded. Within
thirty seconds it was dead, or at least no longer in contention for Crufts, so
I fixed the belt to my waist again, grabbed a couple of ankles and dragged the
girl towards the hole.

pursuers found their dog before I found my hole and they hollered in anger and
despair in equal measures.

God, no!”

bastard! You fucking bastard! We know you’re out there somewhere and we’re going
to kill you!” they pledged, but I’d already found my soaking jacket and the
hole was now just a short lug to the left.

had originally planned to say a few words before committing her to the depths,
but my newest companions had soured those noble plans so I simply threw her
into the crag headfirst and stuffed her legs in after her.

was that?”

in the drink. Over this way, come on,” came the inevitable responses, but my
night’s work was now done and evasion was most definitely the order of the morning.

grabbed my jersey and jacket and struck out for the shore. Obviously I’d now
lost my father’s bleeding car to the fog as well, but I reasoned if I could
lose so many other important things on such a perilous night, I shouldn’t have too
many problems losing the ex-dog lovers on my trail.

hit the shoreline after a few seconds and scoured the clearing mists for
familiar landmarks. Nothing sprang out at me, so I sprinted along the water’s
edge, tumbling and gliding as I went until I fell arse-over-tit over a
protruding tree root that the ice hadn’t managed to swallow.

over there the bastard!” echoed the voices again, but the good Lord finally cut
me some slack when I looked up and saw my father’s Oxford jutting out from the

threw myself at it with a renewed purpose, only to have a minor heart attack
when it took me a full ten seconds of frisking to locate my keys, but finally I
was thumping the pedals and wheel spinning away without a thought to the poor
suspension. I bounced over every frozen rut and dip before my front wheels
finally found some semblance of evenness, then clutch, gear and accelerated
away like a bat out of the broom cupboard. Shapes were running out of the mists
and across my rear-view mirror but I dared not look back, I just ground my
right foot into the foot-well and shot myself up the track and towards the Lanes
as if the world behind me were plunging into the abyss.

you know what?




I arrived home shortly after eight, stashing the Oxford in the garage and
locking the doors behind me. I hung the tools on the wall and spent the next
thirty minutes wiping the car out with white spirits before I was so spent with
fear that I crashed out there and then across the front seats.

awoke a little while later. I wasn’t sure of the time or indeed where I was until
the events of the previous night before came crashing back to me like a
terrible dream. But the night had been no dream, as my father standing over me
with an anxious look on his face testified.

he prompted.

done,” I confirmed, causing my father to blow out his cheeks and shake his head

have pity on us, your wretched servants,” he lamented, before offering me his
hand. I hesitated at first, because it was such an alien thing for him to do, but
I eventually accepted it with solemnity. “It is a terrible thing we’ve done
tonight, John, but you were right, it was a necessary evil. As God is my
witness it was so. And therefore I now propose this pact, that we put the
events of this hellish night behind us and swear to the grave that we shall never
hitherto reveal a detail of what befell that poor unfortunate creature to any
persons outside of this handshake.”

father had a lifelong habit of fancying-up the vernacular but I think what he was
getting at was “I won’t tell if you don’t”.

father,” I agreed, only to turn white when I remembered my companions from the
ice. “But wait, I was seen!”

father jumped two inches to the left. “Up close?”

as I drove away. They’ll have the car’s regis…” I started to panic, only to stop
mid-fret when I rounded the back of the Oxford and found it was already missing
its plates.

all right John, I took them off last night,” he told me. “Just as a

accepted this explanation for what it was; simply relieved that he’d had the
forethought to do this when I myself hadn’t, but a few days later I did start
to wonder when he’d taken off the plates.



There was nothing in the papers about ladies in lakes or murderers on ice, just
a small piece in the local rag about a gamekeeper’s dog being killed by an ice
fishing poacher. The gamekeeper was distraught, not least of all because the
poacher had shown him a clean pair of heels, and there was a phone number at
the end of the article together with an appeal for information.

breathed a sigh of relief and gave thanks that this whole sorry ordeal was
behind me but this relief didn’t last long, for within days of our inaugural father/son
activity night the old man was at it again.

John, John!” he cried, shaking me from my nightmares for the second time in a
week and wearing his now familiar expression of panic. “Wake up, wake up, we’re
in trouble again!”

previous adventure had been, hands down, the worst experience of my life, so
you can imagine my reaction to this latest development. If you can’t, there was
an old joke doing the rounds back then that summed it up: The Lone Ranger and
Tonto are out on the plains when all of a sudden they are surrounding by a war
party of angry Sioux. The Lone Ranger turns to his sidekick and says: “Looks
like we’re in trouble, Tonto,” to which Tonto replies, “What’s all this
shit, Pale Face?” My response wasn’t
quite on a par with Tonto’s, although this sentiment did pop into my head.

done for, we’re done for,” he sobbed, and once again I couldn’t jog any sense
out of him until I’d first lubricated his chords.

saw me! She knows!” he kept saying, dangling tantalizing fragments of our
predicament in front of me.

saw you? Who knows?” I pressed, topping up my father’s glass and pressing him
as much as I dared.

friend,” he finally said. “Another harlot. She must’ve been with the other one
the night I picked her up and she says she saw me. Phoned me at the office she
did. Phoned me just like that.”

did she say?” I gulped, the ground disappearing beneath my feet like a Tyburn cellar.

says she’s going to tell unless I pay her five thousand pounds,” he said,
screwing up his face in disgust. “It’s always money with these whores, isn’t
it? If she were out for justice, or wanton to avenge her friend then I could at
least understand that, but money? Why is it always money with these people?”

we have five thousand pounds?” I asked.

not unless we sell the house, the car, my medals and the shirts off our very backs,
and even then we’d probably still come up short,” he totted. “But you can
forget about bargaining with these villains, even if we had the wherewithal to
pay her, she’d simply demand double the next day and tell the police once she’d
bled us dry regardless. No John, I’m afraid we’re done for this time.”

allowed these thoughts to thoroughly deflate my spirits before risking my
father’s wrath.

does she know about me too?”

father looked at me thunderstruck and all but choked on his fury. “Of course
she knows about you, you stupid boy! Who do you think I’m worried about? Myself?
Good God boy, you’ve got a pretty low opinion of me to even dare ask that!” he

no father, I didn’t mean… ”

my father was in no mood to write off the insult and continued to wail about
how he’d happily lay down his life if it was up to him, and how he regretted
ever letting me talk my way into this sorry situation before I was finally able
to get a word in.

course father, of course. I didn’t think, please I’m truly sorry,” I pleaded,
and my father said he should think so too. He glared at me with glassy contempt
before the indignation finally crumbled to leave me with the sting of a
faux pas
as well as a death sentence hanging
in the air.

this has gone far enough already,” he concluded. “We must go to the authorities,
offer ourselves up and make our peace with this world.”

was amazing, that this same bloke who couldn’t pass a noose without sticking
his head through it was the same bloke who’d won a Victoria Cross at Monte

surely there’s something we can do?” I beseeched.

don’t see what,” he obstinated.

us at least go and see this woman and try to reason with her. We can surely do
that, can’t we?”

have it known that we were trying to wriggle out of our responsibilities even
when the game was up? I’d rather hang,” he hawed, which was the sort of
Victorian attitude that saw many a good Captain go down with the ship when
there were rubber rings and lifeboats to aplenty to spare, but one to which I
found hard to relate. So, at the risk of further enraging my father, I pleaded
with him to be allowed to go and see this girl for myself. Just to try.

all, you did say it was me you were concerned about,” I snivelled. “I’m not
ready for this, father. Please, not me father, please?”

father sucked his gums for a moment or two then frowned with supreme

you must, John. If you must,” he finally relented, before turning his back on

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
4.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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