He didn’t know whether the crash that woke him had happened in his dreams or reality, but Nick was awake none the less, wide awake. He sat up in bed listening to the stillness of the night, his room pitch black, only a faint trickle of moon light breaking the darkness he couldn’t hear anything. Deciding it must have been in his dream Nick laid back again and shut his eyes, hoping he had not slept to much that day already,
Nick sat up again, that had certainly not been a dream, and it hadn’t come from outside either, someone or something, was moving in the pub,
“It’s probably just Mary” he scolded himself, “go back to sleep, idiot”, he closed his eyes and tried to remember whatever he had been dreaming about,
This time Nick actually got out of bed, he pulled his jeans and shirt on then opened the bedroom and door and stood out in the hall, listening, he could hear scuffling in the bar, then a creaking above his head, if he was the only guest, and Mary was upstairs....who was in the bar?
Nick went back to his room and fished around in his shoulder bag till he found his temperature reader, he went back out to the hall and climbed down the stairs very slowly and very quietly. When he reached the door to the bar, Nick paused and turned his reader on, the radar like display showed several small cold spots around the inside of the bar, if Nick remembered accurately, these were the locations of the pub windows, he was however, picking up one, large hot spot, located behind the bar itself, Nick pushed the door open a little, and peeked in.
The bar was dark and gloomy, the two tall standing fridges behind the bar were the only sources of any light, but this was just enough for Nick to be able to see the figure of a man, standing behind the bar. He was squat and large, the top of his head was void of any hair, just a thick rug running round past his ears, he had a thick moustache and wore thin wire framed glassed. Nick had not seen this man before, and was a little concerned about what he was doing in the pub so late after closing, deciding to go in under the pretence of needing some milk for coffee, Nick pushed his way through the door and walked to the bar.
“Hi!” he said cheerfully, the man turned and smiled at him,
“Well, hello there, where did you come from?”
“I’m Nick Jessop, I’m staying here for a whilst doing some work in town”,
“I’m Roger, Roger Cunnings, pleased to meet you, mister Jessop”
“Please, call me Nick, I didn’t realise Mary was married?”,
“She’s not, I’m her older brother we run the pub together”
“Oh, I see, sorry, you weren’t working tonight?”
Roger looked confused for a second, then said,
“So, what sorta work are you doing in town?”
“I’m a paranormal investigator I’ve been hired to look into some complaints from local residents”,
Roger’s mannerism changed almost straight away, he turned his back on Nick and scoffed,
“Well, I haven’t got all night to stand here talking to you, mister Jessop” and with that, he stalked off, through the bar door,
“Well done, Nick, managed to tick off the landlord on the first night........not really sure how, oh well”.
Nick walked back out the bar and headed back up to his room, he did not see Roger again on his way up, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching him. He climbed into bed and closed his eyes, suddenly feeling very tired again, but his brain was too active to sleep,
‘Funny notes, strange brothers, Jenny, no, not Jenny, think about the job in hand, maybe I’m being wound up?’
Robert ‘Old Bob’ Carson, was laying in his bed, trying to ignore the savage pain of arthritis in his joints, his medication was not helping anymore, the joint disease was too far gone to be eased by modern medicine, instead, he had come to spend most of his day very drunk. The Black Boar had become his home from home, although the nice lady who brought him a meal once a week did often stop at the off licence and buy him a bottle of scotch.
His head was pounding from the alcohol, the effects wearing off and a hangover was settling in, he wanted more, just a couple more scotches, just to ease the pain. Bob pulled his duvet off and carefully swung his legs over the edge of the bed. It took him a few minutes to get to his feet, he needed to give his knees time to get used to the stress of holding him up. Putting his dressing gown on, Bob walked to his bedroom door, and twisted the handle, wincing at the pain that shot through his knuckles, he stepped through the door, out onto the landing and flicked the light switch on, then climbed into his stair lift and pushed the down button, the journey was long and tedious, he could still remember a time when he could have jumped the whole flight and landed perfectly on both feet, a long time ago.
Bob reached the bottom of the stairs then slowly got up, he picked up his walking stick from its resting place at the bottom of the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. He kept as clean a house as he could maintain alone, his late wife, Elisabeth had been very house proud and Bob had wanted to keep it so in respect for her. Yet the washing up was mounting up, pots and pans, plates and cups, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to wash up, he just could not stand at the sink for the time it took to do.
Bob fished a dirty cup from the sink and ran it under the tap for a moment, then, went to the kitchen cupboard above the small fridge in the corner and took a small bottle of cheap whiskey down. Pouring himself a very large helping, which finished nearly the whole bottle, Bob waddled back to the kitchen door and turned off the light, walked back to his lift, replaced the walking stick and made his way slowly back up the stairs.
He walked back to his bedroom and took off his dressing gown, reaching the bed, Bob groaned in agony as his knees clicked, the pain was unbearable, he took a huge mouthful of scotch, then popped couple of strong painkillers from the packet by his bed, swallowing them both with another swig. Bob looked through the gap in his bedroom curtains, thinking about happier days, when he and Elisabeth had walked through the town in the evening, happy and healthy, not arthritic, drunk and lonely.
Bob drained his cup, then laid down and lifted his legs into the warm bed, he closed his eyes, a tears welling in them that had nothing to do with the pain in his joints,
“Elisabeth” he wept, “I miss you, my love”,
“And I miss you too, my darling”,
Bob lifted his head, opening his eyes and staring into the darkness, he had heard her voice, no, he couldn’t have. He was just feeling the effects of the medication and whiskey, loneliness and old age playing tricks on him.
“Oh, my sweet girl, I wish you really were here”,
“I am, I’ve come to get you, my love”,
Bob sat up again and this time he saw her, standing in front of his wardrobe, a perfect image of pure white, a heavenly glow surrounded her whole naked body, her eyes were blue and bright, her hair locks of gold, not the grey-white he remembered,
“Elisabeth, is it you, is it really you?”,
“I am here, my love, I’ve come for you, you want to be together again, don’t you?”
Bob cried out loud, eyes streaming tears,
“Yes, oh yes my love, I want to be together again”,
“Then let me in, my darling boy, and we can be together, forever, I promise”, she smiled sweetly at him,
Bob pulled the duvet off, still half sure that when he reached her, she would simply vanish, nothing but a hallucination. He walked across the room, and stood in front of her,
“I am ready, my love”,
Elisabeth put her arms around his shoulders, pulling herself towards him, she seemed to weigh nothing, like a wisp of smoke. Bob watched her arms go round him, he smiled, then frowned, the glow had left her body, the pure white of her skin was turning brown and green, a vile smell of mould was filling his lungs, making him want to heave. Bob looked back at his beautiful wife, then cringed and opened his mouth to scream as he looked into her decaying, maggot infested skin, her toothless mouth had no lips left, just a ghastly spit in her face, her nose had almost completely rotted away and her ears were missing. Her eyes were black and red holes in her head and her hair was black and slimy, it flopped and curled around her head like a snake,
“Time to go...” she cackled at him in an inhuman, evil voice, “my loooooooooooooove!”
Nick hit the button his alarm, cancelling the horrible dance music blasting out from his radio. He sat up and looked out through the window, being the night before had been so dark, he hadn’t even noticed the curtains were still open, he checked the time on his watch, 9:30, he was starving. Nick grabbed his towel and wash bag then headed for the shower, returning ten minutes later, he dressed and walked out of the room.
Nick arrived in the bar to find it quite as empty as it had been the afternoon before, Mary was busily wiping glasses and did not see him come in, Nick coughed politely,
“Oh, hell dear, breakfast?”,
“Please, and some coffee too, if it’s not too much trouble”,
“Course not dear, you have a seat and I’ll go fetch it” and she walked into the back of the bar, out of sight.
Nick found a stack of newspapers on the bar top and took one to the table he’d sat at the night before, he sat down and examined the head line on the front page,
Mysterious Death Of Security Guard Still Baffles Police:
Nick read on, apparently, a security guard at London zoo had been mauled to death, late the night before. The last anyone had heard from him, was when he had contacted the zoo’s head keeper to inform him the resident baboons had begun acting very strangely, the police report that they are still unsure what killed the guard, but as far as the zoo was concerned, none of their animals were missing,
“Here we are then, dear” Mary had arrived back carrying a plate, toast rack and a whole pot of steaming coffee. She put the plate down in front of Nick,
“Um....is someone joining me?” he asked,
“No dear, why?”,
“Because there’s enough here to feed the five thousand”,
Mary laughed, “Well, I do enjoy cooking, and you probably have a busy day ahead of you”, and she walked off back to the bar.
Nick looked down at the plate of eggs, bacon, sausage, fried potato, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans and black pudding,
“Heart attack at forty, here I come” and he dug in.