The Monster Man of Horror House (7 page)

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
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I stopped arguing so vehemently when this thought dawned on me, but I didn’t
let up entirely. After all, “people will say anything to get out of the car.
Anything.” I now knew this to be true. And so did my father.

has to be the end though father. One more, just one and then we’re finished,” I
insisted. “I need your solemn word.”

father regarded me for several seconds as he rolled my condition over in his
mind before accepting.

well, this one will be the last, come what may.”

held out his hand and as sickened as I was, I took it and shook it all the

is a pact John, from father to son. And it cannot be broken by outside forces.
Take a girl, deliver her to the Lord in the same manner as the others and set
us both free.”

were many things I could’ve said and probably many things I should’ve said. But
in the event, all I said was:




Once again the number plates were already on the side when I entered the
garage. I looked at them with contempt then climbed into my father’s car and
headed out into the night.

didn’t know where my father had gone for the evening, but the first thing I did
was to make sure he wasn’t hiding in the back seat. I’m not sure what I
would’ve done had I found him lurking down there again but I doubt it would've
been pretty.

he’d left for the evening – all dolled up in his finest tweeds –
he’d kitted me out with a pair of black leather gloves, a pair of thick rimmed
glasses that sported clear glass lenses and a silken tie with a pre-tied knot
halfway up its length similar to the one he’d used a week earlier. That first
one was in cinders apparently. Or perhaps my father had lied about that too. I
didn’t know. One silk tie looked much the same as the next to me.

headed across town once more, to the place where women availed themselves, and
waited until the sexual rush hour passed. This town had one hell of a libido it
seemed. As recently as two weeks ago I’d had no idea this sort of thing even went
on. And I’d had no idea just how many townsmen participated. I guess I was learning
more than I’d bargained for these days and weeks.

little after two in the morning, the traffic eased and most of the girls
retired for the night to count their blessings. One or two of the girls still
lingered and I waited until there was just one before I started my engine and
rolled over to her corner of the street.

for business, fella?” she asked, dispensing with her fag with a flick of the
finger and metaphorically rolling up her sleeves.

could scarcely bring myself to answer, so instead I cranked open the passenger
side door and invited her in with a nod. The girl slipped in so I put my foot
down and headed out to the oh-so familiar Lanes.

seen you about before, love,” she commented. “New to this sort of thing are

could say that,” I replied when I finally found my voice.

traffic on the roads was pretty sparse, so I was reasonably confident we’d have
no one going to the police the next day with tales of plateless Oxfords or
similar, though this was the only shred of confidence I possessed.

pressed on, past the lakes, past the picnicking sites and even out past farmlands
until the girl started to shift uncomfortably in her seat and asked me where we
were going.

from here,” I simply replied. “As far away from here as we can get.” I was
admittedly a little sketchy on the details, but then this was because I was
simply too swamped with raw emotions, although I should’ve perhaps tried to
phrase my intentions a little better as my passenger’s alarm bells were now clattering
ten to the dozen. I guess getting picked up by some poetic fruit loop is a
scenario working girls live with every day and some even prepare for it,
because all at once there was a straight razor at my throat and a threat of
violence in my ear.

stop this car this instant, Jack, or I’ll cut you a new grin,” she suggested, although
she hadn’t entirely thought through the strategy.

you cut me,” I told her, “I’ll as likely crash this car and there are deep
drainage channels on both sides of the road.” The girl took a moment to check
and saw the moon flickering off the icy surface of the parallel waterways. Now
the weather was still freezing, the ice might’ve supported the weight of a
person, but it wasn’t about to support the weight of a careening Morris Oxford.
“We won’t be found until the next time they’re dredged, whenever that may be,”
I added, which was perfectly true. These channels had claimed dozens of lives
over the last forty years or so and some of the dead took years to emerge from
the silty black waters.

this car!” she screamed, the straight blade now trembling in her hands.

sorry, I can’t,” I said. “I have to get you away from here. It’s for your own

fucking psycho bastard!” she cried. “I mean it, I’ll carve you up!”

turned to her, my eyes no longer on the road. “I wish you would. You’d be doing
me a favour.”

she’d blown herself out, I decided not to elaborate on the evening’s itinerary any
further and risk provoking a last ditch reaction, instead I gambled on the
uncertainty of silence. We drove on like this for several more miles, me
holding her life in the balance, her holding mine, until a short way ahead the
road turned at a sharp right angle, over a stone bridge and away from the
ice-covered conduits. The girl saw this and she saw that I saw it too. She
must’ve taken it for a “now or never” moment because the blade quickly jammed itself
back into my gizzard before the road found the channels again, but I didn’t yield.
Instead I drove on, into the night and towards the place I’d picked out to dump

going to count to three…” she warned me, the edge of her Sweeney comb already drawing
droplets I could ill afford to spill. “One…”

won’t save you,” I told her.

she continued.

it, and you’ll be dead within days,” I promised.

she declared, but before she could swipe me a new fag hole, I turned off the
road and pulled up at our final destination – Fenwold Country Railway Station.

girl tried to slash me as I stopped but I grabbed her wrist and held on for life,
limb and the upholstery.

not going to hurt you,” I finally got around to telling her. “You’re safe here with
me. Open the glove box and see for yourself.” I even demonstrated my sincerity
by letting go of her wrists, affording her a free swipe across my kisser if she
so desired, but the flicker of hope I was offering was too tantalising to
dismiss. “Open it,” I urged. She hesitated for a few moments before reaching
for the latch and pulling open the glove box. Inside was an envelope full
pounds, shillings and pence and a clean white handkerchief.

for you,” I told her, and she fingered the envelope without taking her eyes
from mine to find there was close to a hundred pounds inside.

is all of this?” she demanded, shoving the blade back into my face. “What do
you want from me?”

want you to leave town, disappear and never come back,” I told her.


it look like you’ve disappeared, like you’ve come to some harm, you know?” I spelt
out. “You’ll have to leave all of your things behind but at a guess I’d say
I’ve more than compensated you for your troubles.”

hundred pounds?”

the hanky,” I reminded her.

girl had neglected the handkerchief in the presence of so much folding money, but
now she pulled it out and took a look at what I’d wrapped inside it.

is it?” she asked, none-the-wiser.

a medal, a Victoria Cross,” I told her. “The highest military medal you can get.
It’s worth a lot of money, at least a few hundred, maybe even more. You could
set yourself up very nicely if you hocked it to the right collector.”

is it? Because I know this much, love, it ain’t yours,” she somehow guessed.

a relative’s,” I semi-fudged.

stolen more like,” she concluded.

but it’ll never be reported, I can guarantee you that much, and I’ve included
all the proper documentation so you can get a good price for it with absolutely
no comeback, I promise.”

about my friends?” she said.

some new ones,” I suggested. “Make some better ones. Make a new start away from
all of this.”

where exactly am I meant to go?” she asked.

first train to Cambridge passes through here in a little over three hours. From
there you can get to anywhere you like. Just don’t come back here, not for at
least ten years anyway. Please, it’s for your own good. And the good of your

could see from her expression that my proposal made no sense whatsoever and it
troubled her. Well, we all need our explanations, no matter how thick the
envelopes we’re given are.

why?” she asked.

figured I had to tell her something, and it had to be an approximation of the
truth as there was simply too much to lose risking everything on a bad lie, so
I told her as much as I dared. “I need someone to think I’ve done something bad,
something to you, to a girl of the night, if you know what I mean, and this is
the only way I can do it without…” I trailed off. “Please, trust me, it’s really

girl stared at me hard in the darkness, her mind racing but her razor now
ramrod still. It eventually flickered when she came to a startling conclusion.

this about Juney? Are you the bastard who done Juney in?”

no no,” I assured her. “I’m just the poor bastard who’s trying to stop it from
happening again.”

How does this help?”

can’t say. It’s for your own good. Just trust me when I tell you that it will.”

should report this,” she said. “And if you know something about Juney then you
should report it too,” but deep down she knew I couldn’t. She didn’t know why,
but she knew enough about living on the fringes of society to know there were no
blacks and whites out here, only murky greys, and they all overlapped in ways
honest decent folks could never comprehend.

couple of hundred, you say?” she finally said, folding away her blade and looking
at the VC again.

even a thousand,” I blarneyed, clinching the deal. There was just one final
condition from her.

got some letters, from my mum, back at my room. I want them. Send them to me
and I’ll catch your train, they’re all I want,” she said, handing me a single brass
latchkey. I agreed and scribbled down my name and phone number on the back of
the envelope, then did my utmost to drum into her the importance of only
talking to me when she phoned, not my prostitute-murdering dad, and she seemed
to understand without me going into the small print.

then, John Coal,” she said, shoving the money and handkerchief into her bra
before climbing from the car. “I won’t say it’s been a pleasure meeting you,
but it’s been memorable. Stay lucky.”

you too, er…” I faltered, realising I didn’t know her name despite making her a
gift of my own.

she told me.


what they call me, because I’m half and half,” she explained, adding, “I dig
girls as well” when the fog refused to lift from my face.

see,” I pretended, fully five years before I actually did. “Well take care then
Shandy. Don’t come back. And if anyone asks…”

know, I know,” she replied before I could say the words myself. “If anyone
asks, I’m dead.”



I snuck into Shandy’s bedsit, found her letters right where she’d left them and
picked up a few undergarments too. The night was fast turning to dawn, but I
had just enough time to get back out to the Lanes to sow the seeds of another
disappearance before fleeing the scene.

I got home the house was quiet. My dad’s bed had not been slept in and there were
no signs of him lurking behind any fixtures or fittings so I thanked the Lord
for small mercies and collapsed into bed, falling into a deep sleep before I’d
even finished bouncing.


I came to four hours later. The house was still quiet, but there was evidence
that my father had been and gone. His tweeds were back in the wardrobe, a cup
and saucer sat on the sideboard and the number plates were back on the Oxford.

him being my beloved father, and despite our having slept under the same roof
as each other for more or less the last eighteen years, I couldn’t help but
feel uneasy about being asleep while he’d been creeping about the place this
particular morning.

BOOK: The Monster Man of Horror House
7.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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