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    What happens in your sleep

    He seemed to sleep ok, but Tony has been feeling tired and depressed for many months and sometimes it was so bad it was hard for him to cope with it all. After a day struggling at work, he couldn’t wait to get home and have a nap, although it didn’t help. He’d been to the GP and had a blood test but when he had phoned for the result was just told that everything was fine. The overworked surgery didn’t seem interested in supplying further help and, in any case, he did not want to get into taking pills, he’d read so many bad things about them.

    Friday evening was not great, but he’d make the effort and wander round to the local social club for a drink. His mate Brian was there, and he told him about the problems he’d been having. One of the regulars, Steve, a much younger and rather reclusive chap he didn’t usually speak to, was standing at the bar nearby and somehow got involved in the discussion. He suggested that Tony should try out one of the many sleep monitoring apps on his mobile phone. It could be that Tony had Sleep Apnoea, snoring and interruptions to breathing which could affect your sleep quality without you being aware of it. Prolonged poor sleep could certainly make you feel low. You left your phone next to your pillow and the app recorded noises and movements.

    Tony was a landscape gardener and close to retirement; he didn’t do technology. He had a mobile phone which he only used for phone calls and the occasional email or text message and wasn’t even too sure what an app was. “Don’t worry about it” said Steve, “I’ll do a check for you and email you the details, although it might be a few days as I’m really busy at the moment. You don’t need to pay for it either, I know ways to get around these things, I’ll attach a file to the email, just click to install it” Tony was very grateful. He had not realised that the bloke was such a nice guy under his rather unfriendly exterior.

    The email came a few days later and he sent Steve a reply of thanks and a promise of a pint next time he saw him up the club. That evening, following Steve’s clear instructions, he installed the app on his phone, set it up and put it by his pillow. He thought he had slept ok but was as tired as ever the next day. Thank heavens it was Saturday and he didn’t have to go to work. After lunch he decided to check out what the phone had recorded. Apparently, he had spent almost 7 hours asleep with 45% deep sleep. It didn’t sound too bad. Then he checked a couple of other graphs recording snoring and “other sounds”. He’d done a bit of snoring but not a lot. The other sounds came out quite high, it seemed he’d been talking in his sleep.

    He was curious as to what he’d been saying and, again following the instructions Tony had given him, he scrolled to the first spike in the chart. He’d expected to hear odd mumblings and couldn’t believe what he was hearing, a horrible loud moaning. It didn’t sound like him at all, he had a deep voice, and what he heard was higher, sometimes turning into a screech. It wasn’t very clear, and he listened again, trying to make out what was being said. It sounded like “I’m coming for you. I am going to make you pay” before turning into a string of obscenities. He checked out the other spikes in the sound chart and most were the same, a horrible, hardly human voice making dire threats. Had it somehow recorded a phone call? He had no idea how mobile phones worked but it seemed unlikely, it wasn’t as though he’d ever done anything horrible to anyone as far as he knew. It had to be him acting out his nightmares. But why would the voice be so unrecognisable? He tried to mimic some of the things that had been recorded and couldn’t manage to sound anything like them.

    Now, as well as feeling depressed and tired, he was rather anxious. That night, he wasn’t sure whether he should try the app again. He didn’t want to hear more of those horrible threats, but he was trying to be rational. If it was just some nightmare that he’d had, then it was hardly likely that he’d have the same one again. Hearing nothing untoward tomorrow would be reassuring. If only. He kept putting it off but eventually he reluctantly checked his phone. Panic took over. Things were even worse, that monster he was listening to was promising his end very soon. The end. He would save it the trouble; he’d just had enough of life. He walked to the balcony of his fourth floor flat and saw the concrete below for the last time.

    Steve heard the news a few days later and was initially stricken with guilt. He’d loathed Tony ever since he’d heard that it was his objection that had stopped him getting planning permission for an extension but when he took advantage of the old guy’s technical ignorance by sending him a hacked app with fake ghost noises in it, he’d just wanted to teach the old twit a lesson; he’d never wanted to kill him. He hadn’t realised his depression was that bad. He consoled himself after a few days by telling himself that he was over-reacting. He had no evidence that the bloke had even used the app, let alone that it had played any part in his suicide. Yeh, he probably would have jumped off the balcony anyway. Forget it.

    Yet he couldn’t get it entirely out of his mind, sometimes he’d wake at night and start thinking about it. He decided to try the sleep app himself to see if he could tweak his sleep pattern to avoid waking up at all. In the morning he checked out the records, rather low deep sleep, not much snoring but quite a lot of other sounds. He scrolled across to listen to the first significant sound and it was unrecognisably Tony’s distinctly deep voice, “I will be avenged, you will pay” He flung the phone on to the sofa, then retrieved it to make sure he hadn’t inadvertently used his own hacked version. No, it was the real, unmodified thing, freshly downloaded from Google just yesterday morning. Maybe he really was feeling guilty inside and it was guilt that was feeding his imagination, Anyway, he just wouldn’t use the damn app again, no way. Problem sorted.

    If only. That night he awoke, his phone turned off and in the other room, to hear Tony’s harsh deep voice threatening him with the direst consequences. Tony may have been an idiot on techie matters and had not had a clue how that Google Play Store sleep app worked, but what it and Steve had done to him consumed his spirit and the combination of them drew him towards it.

    Tony’s hacked Google app had pushed him over the edge but, now he was here in the right place, he did not need it to get his revenge.
    Last edited by xoggoth; 1 July 2019, 09:14.

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
    John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


      Return of the carp

      The lady who ran my little story writer's club had to give up due to ill health and there were huge cock ups in getting it going again. Think we're back now, latest bullwarks below.

      PS Some of it is pretty much an autobiography.

      If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
      John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


        Under the Bed

        It had been a nice Saturday out with his lady friend Wendy, visiting an interesting old castle. He dropped her off outside her flat and they said goodbye with their usual little hug before he drove back home to his lonely, over large, house. That was his main female company over for a few days. He poured himself a vodka, settled down with his little puppet parrot on the sofa and started flicking through catchup TV to see if there was anything worth watching.

        He doubted there would be. Nothing grabbed him much these days. He poured another vodka, mainly for the sake of his little parrot obviously, and started thinking about the good old days when he used to sit there with his wife watching all sorts of daft stuff on TV. He remembered watching André Rieu’s classical programs and playing a silly game trying to spot people in the audience who looked like famous people. Her company was lovely, and it was there most of the time. He had one more little vodka with his parrot before heading off to bed. Bed! Ah, the company could be great there too. Pity Wendy wasn’t interested in that sort of thing. Older women never seemed to be in his experience.

        He was slowly decluttering his house with a view to moving to something smaller in a few years. He wasn’t into gardening so that old greenhouse heater could go. He went online to post it on Freecycle; with autumn approaching, somebody would have a use for it. He rarely bothered to look at what was on offer, but something did grab his attention this time, a big collection of short horror stories. No, he wouldn’t. He didn’t want more stuff cluttering up the place.

        Somebody contacted him about the greenhouse heater and came to collect it that evening. He went onto Freecycle to remove his post and the horror story books had not been taken. Ah, sod it, why not? He could always give them away again and they wouldn’t take up much room. When he collected them the next day, he found there were more than he thought, they wouldn’t fit in his bookcase. He took out one to read and shoved the rest into a box under his bed.

        He told Wendy about it when they went for a drink at the local pub and she was horrified. “What? you really shouldn’t be putting horror story books under your bed, the bad vibes from those will have a really adverse effect on you” He grinned. Ah, here we go again! He really liked her company, but they were like chalk and cheese on some things. She was into all sorts of mystical stuff and he was a devout rationalist, if science couldn’t prove it, it didn’t exist. They had a little argument over it and then moved on to more mundane topics but, after their little goodnight hug, she briefly raised the subject again. “Honestly Joe, you really should move those horror stories from under your bed, they won’t do you any good at all”

        He read a couple of the horror stories in bed before turning off the light, quite unconcerned that most of them were still inches below the mattress. He found it difficult to get to sleep but that happened sometimes, nothing to do with horror story books. Silly woman! They couldn’t be anything to do with the nightmare he had that night that caused him to wake up quite anxious, either. Coincidences happen.

        But do coincidences keep on happening? It was a horrible week. Night after night he kept waking up feeling anxious with vague memories of terrifying dreams in his head and they wouldn’t go away. He felt tired all day long and couldn’t stop thinking about them. It was daft but he couldn’t ignore it, those books would have to go. He took the lot out and put them down the shed well away from his sleeping self. It was crazy, it made no sense, but it worked. That night he slept well, and everything started getting back to normal. After a couple of days, he didn’t feel tired and had stopped thinking about those horrible things that had now almost disappeared from his memory.

        He told Wendy he’d moved the books but said it was just a tidy up, he didn’t want to hear “I told you so” Maybe she wasn’t wrong on some of these things. After all, with all the millions of strange beliefs there are out there, was it not possible that a few had some basis in fact? It's impossible to totally disprove anything, so it was rational to at least accept possibilities.

        Anyway, they had another nice day out which ended in their usual hug. Ah! Wouldn’t it be nice if they could go further? He hadn’t had a bit of nookie in years, fat chance with her! A funny idea crept into his head as they said goodbye. That evening, sitting with his puppet parrot and their shared vodka, he thought more about it. If horror fiction could release some unknown vibes that affected the human mind and made you scared why would other sorts of fiction not have an effect? Would a lot of violent crime novels under your bed make you violent? Would romantic fiction make you feel more romantic? Or, going on from that one…

        Wendy was going to stay with her daughter in Wales for a couple of weeks and, as the weather was very hot, she asked if he’d mind calling in at her flat and watering her house plants. He was happy to do so, but even happier that he had the chance for his big experiment. He looked up “women favourite erotic novels” on the internet and purchased a bunch of them, including Fifty Shades of Grey, on eBay. The day before her return, he went to her flat to water her plants again and then did what he was really there for. He lifted up her mattress and posted all the naughty novels between the slats. For good measure he shoved all his old men’s magazines and porn books and CDs there as well. Now he’d see if lots of fiction under a bed could really influence the way somebody thought and felt.

        He would be going to her flat for dinner tomorrow evening. Perhaps this time he’d get more than a little hug.
        Last edited by xoggoth; 18 October 2019, 19:47.

        If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
        John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


          After we've read out our prepared stories at the writers' group, we are given 5 minutes to come up with a brief tale. This month's title was Good King Wenceslas. The story present a more accurate picture than the carol of what powerful people are really like:

          __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______

          Good King Wenceslas looked out. There was nothing to see. He shouted "Hither page! What day is it today?". "It's the Feast of Fred Flintstone, my king" replied the page. "Oh well, that explains it "said the king, and he went back to watching television.

          He couldn't be arsed to look out the window for a few days, just stayed in bed, watching his favourite soaps on catchup TV and eating doughnuts. The next day he looked out, still didn't see anything and shouted again "Page! What day is it today?". "It's the Feast of Sonic the Hedgehog, my king" replied the page. "So when is the Feast of Stephen?" said the king. "That was three weeks ago my king, when you were in bed all day watching old comedies on Netflix"

          Darn it , thought the king, It's Christmas and I'm supposed to look charitable so maybe I should go and see how that poor man is doing. He wasn't going to walk in this deep and crisp and even snow. "Servant! Get me my carriage!. And bring me flesh and bring me wine to feed the man."

          When they got to the poor man's house underneath the mountain it was too late; he'd been dead from starvation for at least a week. Sod it, thought the king, I couldn't have helped him anyway; I ate all the flesh and wine as well as the Christmas pudding on the way here. May as well get back. Wonder if there's any good films on Amazon Prime tonight.
          Last edited by xoggoth; 23 December 2019, 11:20.

          If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
          John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


            Past Life

            He had spent most of his working life in the garage business, initially as just a mechanic fixing and servicing vehicles and later as the manager of a small local branch of a major dealership. It had been ok as careers go but, now that he was retired, he was rather glad to get away from it all and find something more interesting to do with the rest of his life. There were so many things, both big and small, that he had always wanted to do.

            The trip to the Amazon he had always dreamed of had been amazing, but he couldn’t afford to splash out on expensive adventures like that too often, he needed to find cheaper little things he could do to interest him in between. One of them was looking at his heritage. It was something he had started doing a couple of times but had never got very far due to work and family things getting in the way. Now, with all the online guides, it should be a lot easier, especially as he had quite a lot of information among his late mother’s large collection of old documents which would probably tell him who his great grandparents were at least.

            Like many people who get into it, he had been rather hoping to discover he was descended from someone famous but, after fiddling about for some months and spending rather more than he had expected on those online services, he was disappointed to find that those ancestors he did manage to trace were somewhat unimpressive, mostly farm labourers, servants, builders and other manual workers. The only professional he could find among them had been a solicitor, and it seems he had been struck off for dodgy practices. Also, no matter how hard he delved into it, he could not go further back than five generations, his further searches drew a blank. He decided not to waste any more time and money on it and gave up looking.

            Why did it matter anyway? Not as though your ancestry really says anything about what you are today. Maybe what you yourself used to be is more relevant. That was an idea, perhaps it would be more relevant and interesting to try and find out who or what he had been in past life. He wasn’t totally sure he believed in it, but neither was he a total disbeliever. Like so many young people who look for meaning he’d gone through a bit of a Hindu stage in his youth and had never quite shrugged it off. It might be interesting to check it out anyway.

            Was there any proof that past lives really existed or any means of finding out just what that past life had been? The evidence online was not exactly convincing. A number of cases were cited where people supposedly recalled details of their previous existences yet, when their recollections were checked against the known realities, the correlations were poor, with some supposed memories shown to be based on fiction or common incorrect ideas about historic events. However, there were also many with very different opinions who cited various proofs and they were not all mystics who got paid for providing past life regression sessions.

            He’d give it a go anyway. It was something to do to fill his time, give him something to talk about with his drink mates at the village club and it was supposed to be quite relaxing and therapeutic anyway, regardless of any success in finding past life events. He found a fairly local past life therapist who wasn’t too expensive and booked a session. It was all a bit odd. He had to lay back on a soft couch wearing glasses with tiny lights in and low music playing to help him relax while the therapist guided him with relaxation techniques and suggestions of things to imagine. On his way out another man who was just leaving nearly bumped into him. He seemed rather curt and rude, just glowered and walked off. Maybe his session hadn’t gone too well.

            Thinking about it back home, he was glad he’d given it a go as it had been quite interesting, although he didn’t think he’d had any past life experiences. Probably not anyway, there had been just that brief moment when he had felt a stabbing pain in his side and had a momentary vision. Like the memory of a dream, it had quickly faded into near oblivion, but it was some sort of open space in the sunset with a lot of movement around him. That was a little strange. He occasionally got very brief pains just there although he had no known medical problems and they were surely too superficial and short lived to indicate some significant undiagnosed problem. His online searches had told him that brief, unexplained pain could be a sign of injuries suffered in a past life.

            He’d give it another go anyway. On his next visit to the therapist he passed that man again who scowled at him. What a miserable git the bloke was. At the end of his own session he wasn’t that happy either. This time the memory of that open field in the sunset was still brief but not so vague. He was standing opposite another tall man and they were both waving something, although he could not quite see what. Then there was that brief stabbing pain in his side.

            It was not pleasant, yet he was fascinated and had to carry on with it. On the fifth visit things took a turn for the worse when that strange memory burst through some barrier and for a minute, became like reality. The open area was a battlefield of two huge armies locked in violent conflict, with the red of the setting sun on the surrounding trees and the red of spilled blood on the grass. He was battling a tall man facing him. He almost managed to dodge it but his opponent’s swing caught his side, triggering that pain he had often felt, although this time it was much worse. Then he lunged his own heavy sword at his opponent and drove it deep into his chest.

            Fortunately. the memories, or were they just fantasies, were very brief and he was soon back into today but this time they did not fade away as quickly. As he left the building, he could remember it all in detail, including the face of his deadly opponent. It did not look much like him but for some reason, he could not help but link him to that guy he had seen coming and going from these same sessions. Ah, that was silly, he was letting his imagination run away with him. He’d just forget about it, and he wouldn’t be coming to any of these daft things anymore. They had been relaxing and interesting but now they were rather stressful.

            He walked out of the door and there was that guy was standing near the entrance, holding a heavy iron bar. He swung it up high and came forward. in a deep heavy voice, he said "I’m going to get you for what you did to me"

            If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
            John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


              False Memories

              It had been a very good few years in Richard’s career. At long last it looked as if his company, in cooperation with the NHS and with the help of many volunteers, was close to finding a solution to the growing national problem of Alzheimer's disease, and it was progress that he had played a major part in as the senior researcher. An effective drug treatment was one factor. The other was a new type of brain cell stimulator, which drew on the technology of different types of radiology similar to those used in body scans. When used for a sufficient period, the drug had significant effect on regenerating the affected brain cells. The scanner was then applied at intervals using safe, low dose, levels with fluctuating patterns of intensity and was found to have a measurable effect in stimulating those same brain cells. What was especially ground-breaking was that it succeeded in restoring lost memories, some of the volunteers could remember things they said they’d forgotten about for years.

              He was very proud of his achievements; the current project was not the only major advance he’d been involved in during the course of his career. Some people say that success in life is determined by your heritage and upbringing but that certainly wasn’t the case in David’s family. While he was a renowned pioneer in medical research, his younger brother Simon had never been anything but a truck driver. Oh well, adults make their own decisions in life and Simon was happy enough and didn’t seem to do too badly financially, having managed to buy a decent flat on the other side of town. It was surprising that he had been able to afford it in a rather expensive area but, as Simon kept telling him, he’d managed to save because he did a lot of overtime and was very frugal with his money. Anyway, they got on very well despite their differences. Simon was as intelligent as he was, he just lacked ambition. They always found interesting stuff to talk about on their regular meet ups. They were getting together for a drink at The Rose and Crown later.

              When Richard arrive there that evening, he saw Simon sitting alone at a table, gazing down at a full glass of beer, and almost immediately he knew something was wrong. “What’s up Simon?” he asked. Simon looked at him and then burst into tears, got up and walked out into the garden. It took a while standing out there in the freezing cold before Simon calmed down enough to tell him the full truth. His relative affluence was not solely down to lots of overtime and a frugal lifestyle as he had told Richard before. He had been making money illegally on the side, transporting drugs in his trucks for a major local gang. Now something had gone, really, really wrong and he knew it would not be long before he was in jail for a long time. “Good god, Simon, how could you get involved in something like that? I would never have thought it of you. I think for dealing class A drugs you could go to jail for at least five years” Simon shook his head and was silent for a minute before he blurted out “No, it’s far worse than that, I.., I..., I killed somebody. Some bloke from a rival gang found out what I was doing and when I’d picked up the stack, he tried to take it from me. We got into a fight and, well, I stabbed him. I’m not the murdering sort, it was self-defence, but I’m not sure they’d believe me. I’m just a dealer to them. Please, please, tell me you believe me Richard” Richard just stared at him. His own brother, a man he loved… He didn’t not know what to say, he turned and walked away.

              He had the weekend to think over the options. Should he turn in his own brother? Should he pretend he’d never heard the confession and just let fate take its course. Or should he try and help him somehow? Can you really turn your back on your own flesh and blood? He made the decision on Sunday and went to see Simon. He’d wanted to reassure him, to do what he could to help his defence, perhaps pay for a decent lawyer. Simon was quiet and subdued, it seemed as if he’s accepted his fate. He told Richard that the gang he served was part of a powerful multi-national group with some people in influential positions and it was in their interests to protect Simon from prosecution in order to protect themselves. They were working on eliminating real evidence and creating false evidence to point to another gang but that could take some time. If the police acted quickly enough, it might not be long before they came knocking and he could be doomed to a life sentence.

              He was back at work, but Richard found it hard to concentrate on his job. He just couldn’t stop thinking about what Simon has told him. If only the police could be distracted long enough for the evidence against him to be destroyed, he might stand a chance. A distraction! Maybe… As the main driver of the work on tackling Alzheimer’s disease he knew quite a few things that the other workers didn’t and had been doing some research on the side into the results of the radio therapy method. He had had doubts that all of those memories that the volunteers claimed to recover were actually real as some appeared rather unlikely given their background and may have been false memories. It only took a little testing on a few volunteers to determine that some memories could have a more mundane source and could be triggered by recent events. While the machine was working on their partly sedated brains, they were encouraged to relax with soothing music and computer images of slowly moving lights and tranquil scenes. He made changes to the computer program so that it subliminally whispered certain things while showing them faint related pictures. Once the tranquiliser had worn off, he asked them about things they remembered and discovered that his fictional stories had become facts in their minds, things they were sure that they had really experienced.

              Simon was his brother and he had to help him out by distracting the police from their pursuit. The last elderly volunteer of the day came in and Simon gave him the sedative and helped him into the machine. Then he replaced the usual relaxing video with the one on his memory stick. After he came fully round the old chap seemed rather uneasy but said he couldn’t think why. It was in the news a couple of days later. An elderly male had walked into a police station and confessed to stabbing the man his brother had killed. That should distract them for a while, maybe sufficient time for his brother’s gang to get shot of the evidence against him. He hoped so, his brother would escape justice.

              It was several days later, and it was in all the news headlines. Numerous older people has walked into police stations in his area and confessed to the same killing. What the hell? He thought he had, but he must have made a mistake and failed to replace his subliminally suggestive video with the normal one. One old person who volunteered at his research centre making a false confession was not significant but, over twenty of them and many of them women, how long would it be before the police made the link and came calling?

              Oh well, maybe there was a plus side, he and Simon could still be together.
              Last edited by xoggoth; 17 January 2020, 09:47.

              If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
              John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)


                A Lack of Space

                As far as Julie was concerned, they had the nicest home possible for them. It was a little cottage with a garden in a lovely area of countryside, well away from any noisy roads or neighbours, yet not too far from a small town with all the shops and things they needed. She and Bill were in their mid-fifties and they might have to think of moving to somewhere less remote in about 20 years but, for the moment, it was perfect.

                For her anyway. Bill was not so content as the cottage did not have the space he needed for his various weird hobbies. Their only spare room was taken up with his workshop and his model railway, which had got bigger and bigger over the years. A major problem was that there was nowhere for their children to stay on their occasional visits. Their single younger son had to use the couch in the front room, while his brother and his wife would stay in a B&B a few miles away.

                Bill's models looked fantastic, she had to admit, with a beautifully crafted landscape, tiny buildings and people but she always wondered, seriously, why did a grown man still want to play with toys? She and Bill had become more and more detached over the years. Once they had had a good social life, now all he wanted to do spend his time with tools creating a little model world. It was becoming a real source of tension between them. He wanted more room to expand his models and had suggested they could move into the spare room so he could use their larger bedroom, but she had put her foot down. There was no way she was abandoning their bedroom with a nice view and moving into that dark little room at the back.

                They had quite a few savings and could afford to move somewhere bigger, but she didn’t want to move somewhere else just to accommodate his hobby, she loved their current home. Bill suggested looking at the possibility of an extension, but she wasn’t keen on that either, as it would reduce the size of her garden that she cared for so much. Then there was all the hassle of it, like getting planning permissions and having to put up with noisy builders working for months.

                Bill suggested another option a few weeks later and he had obviously been meticulously planning it. Maybe he could dig out a small basement underneath the garden and use that as his workshop. That would leave quite a bit more room to expand his railway. It did not need to be anything fancy; about 6 feet wide by eight foot long would do to start with and he could slowly expand it as required. If it was six feet high and just a foot or two below ground level no major structure would be needed, light breeze blocks and some wooden struts with a corrugated iron sheet on top for a roof would be quite adequate. The entrance from the house could be narrow and just behind the middle of the garage door so the structure of the house would not be affected. He could do it all himself and keep it secret so there was no need for planning permission and all that stuff.

                She wasn’t keen but if it meant they didn’t have to move she could put up with it. Bill started working on his latest project and became as obsessed with it as he was usually obsessed with his railway. She didn’t see much of him except at meal times, he was either down there digging away, moving the soil to an old pit in the neglected woods behind their house or off in his little van buying a few more breeze blocks and things at the shopping centre at the edge of the nearest city. It wasn’t as though she wanted to see much of him anymore anyway. She had to accept they had nothing in common anymore and she kept on going out with others in her social circle without giving him a thought.

                It was at a girls’ night out in the pub, that she met somebody else and he rekindled a spark that was still inside. Casual friendship soon became a love affair. She never thought that Bill would notice but clearly he had not become entirely lost to the world and he started becoming suspicious of her late comings and goings, of her sudden interest in buying new clothes and the increased time she spent doing her hair and makeup. He kept questioning her until she pretty much gave herself away and he became really hostile and unpleasant. What could she do? She had to be honest with herself, she didn’t really give a damn about him anymore and yet, what were the options? No way was she going to ditch her new lover but she couldn’t put up with Bill’s animosity which she was afraid could turn to violence, and she did not want to go through a messy divorce when that might mean losing the little cottage she loved.

                If only there was some way to get him out of the way. Or maybe there was. His little underground workshop had been finished some weeks ago and it all looked very solid. The walls and roof were all firmly concreted and Bill had covered it over with soil which was already becoming covered with the wildflowers she had seeded. She waited until he went off shopping at the local DIY centre, then went down there and removed all his tools so he couldn’t use them to break out. When she saw his van return she waited until he went down into the workshop, then rushed out and slammed the heavy door, then dropped a length of heavy timber she had cut to size against it so that it would not open. Ignoring his shouts and bangs, she started filling up the entrance with all the spare breeze blocks, bags of sand and other heavy stuff that was lying around the garage and garden. There was no chance that anyone would hear him down there unless they were in the garage as she was, and she was not expecting any visitors for a few weeks. All should be silent by then.

                Over the next two weeks, ignoring his increasingly faint calls, she finished off filling and cementing up the entrance and put back the stone slabs that he had removed from the garage floor and planted more flowers above the roof so nobody would readily spot that his secret workshop had ever existed. She put all his tools back in the spare room, so that it looked just the way it always had. Would she get away with it? Would they search the property properly or would her husband join the list of unexplained missing persons? Only time would tell.

                He had wanted more space and he had got it. Give it a couple of years and she could get rid of that damn model railway and have a bit more space for her own stuff.
                Last edited by xoggoth; 24 February 2020, 21:23.

                If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
                John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)