Such was the enormity of the gape of Mr Pendlington jaw, it would have been no difficult fete for a man to effortlessly ride a horse and carriage right through his mouth, a reactions noticeably mirrored in all the other factory workers who also shared a state disbelief as their boss, maybe even more so, because unlike him they spent 12 hours of the day working alongside Hector and thus merely moments ago they would have described him as a man’s whose entrance into a room was as unremarkable as a candle light held right up against the burning intensity of the mid day sun, who would rather taken on all the words troubles, rather than trouble the air by daring to speak of his own.
To say Hector Orville Mandelstern was a quiet man who liked to keep to him to himself would be an extreme understatement, for Hector was a man whose own shadow could forget his existence, whose very reflection could fail to recall what he look like. But that the way Hector likes it. He wasn’t a man for idle chit chat over the weather or deep, personal discussions over life experiences or loved ones. He and his unassuming facial features and diminutives size would come in everyday at the factory at exactly 6am: no later or earlier and leave at exactly 6pm, no later or earlier. Which made it all the more incomprehensible that such a man, whose eye balls almost seemed glued to his feet, and could probably remember every last detail of every floor he ever shuffled across, would ever dare disregard a direct order from his boss, especially when the boss was a 6ft juggernaut, who could easily crush Hector with a roar of his deep barrel tone voice, let alone a fist.
But everyman has a limit to how far he can be pushed, and telling Hector that his hours were being deducted so they could be given to a much younger, was a step too far. Not because of the audacity of the his bosses actions, which were rather unwarranted, seeing as though Hector was a mere 33 and had plenty of years of tedious underpaid labour ahead of him, but what annoyed Hector the most was the fact shorter hours in work meant longer hours in the omniscient promise of dread awaiting him upon his return home. The idea of such a torture proved too unbearable even for mild mannered Hector. So when Mr Pendlington broke the news to Hector, he could was unable to suppress the fury born from passive aggression built up over the years, and taking this opportunity to implode with me force than a volcano place in the centre of a dying sun, in the form of a series of obscene, vulgar language that would make most sailors blush, nuns clasp their crosses and children cry for their mothers.
“Well if that’s what you feel” spurted out Mr Pendlington, “I feel that it is best that you leave”.
Almost like Jackal and Hyde, Hector returned to his mild mannered self and trudged out of the factory without another word. But that wasn’t the first or the last time Hector had an uncharacterized outburst such as that; something his dead mother wouldn’t disagree with.
Hector knew that it would be impossible to spend longer than a heartbeat, caged in with the cackles of a hyena, the thunderous ungraceful footsteps of the hippo or even the hideous mess that could turn Medusa to stone. If need be by divine intervention, If he were just able to get though the next 24 hours with the wretched creature, tomorrow if need be he will search the entire surface of the planet, may it be highest mountains, the deepest oceans or the widest deserts, he will find a job. The harder and longer job was, and more it kept him out of the house, the better it would be for him.
Before placing the key into the lock, Hector paused careful to wipe away any hint of the day’s previous transgressions from his person. For to discredit Lorraine Mandelstern intelligence, would seem mostly warranted and largely on a whole, if you were to unfortunately find yourself locked in her meaningless gossip and very little else you would see the assumption of her lack intelligence to be rather justified; not to forget this is was the same women who only until last Christmas still believed that the moon was just the sun turned around at night. Hector took a deep breath, turned the key in the lock and gently eased the door opening, hoping with all his being that she finally decided to run away with the milkman, thus would not be at home subject him to another half hour of her pointless moaning. But all must instantly; you could certainly hear her crashing footsteps coming down the stairs, and soon enough this rotund wildebeest caked in the latest absurd skin beauty treatment; was her face plastered in lemon and beetroot or was it cat urine this time? All though it did make a slight bit of difference, but in exchange her face recently started giving off a peculiar aroma, except Hector wasn’t sure if it was a good one of bad, but ever way it made no difference, her vision was still a curse to Hectors eyes.
“Hello dear” said Hector
In what would seem an upbeat tone to him, but to the rest of us would seem like a tone you would use if you had just heard of a passing of a friends relative you never meet, but still wish to appear distraught over it.
“Hector! Look at maaaarvellous! Coat I brought today. All the girls where absolutely jealous as usual.” said Loraine unwaveringly pleased with herself.
“How much did that cost?” Hector bracing himself for the impending heart attack that he was sure his money squandering wife wouldn’t fail to deliver.
“Not that much!” With her best attempt at puppy dog eyes, well the best attempt at puppy dog eyes a small hippo could try. “It was on only 33”
“But that is 23 more than your allowance for the week” Trying hard to restrain himself from another outburst, possibly more server than before.
“Yes that’s why I had to dip into the savings, gosh Heckky poo”. A nickname that makes Hector’s skin crawls anytime her lips dare utter it in her ridiculous high pitched voice. “You should know for a woman to look her best at all times, and she must spend. Beauty is not free”. With that she tuts at disappears up the stairs to presumably admire herself in the mirror for another hour or so. Leaving Hector glumly look at his life had to become in disappear.
But it wasn’t always this bad, and he wasn’t always so revolted by his wife, before that he actually hated her with a passion, now he was just able to stomach her. But why marry her if he disliked so much? Well to work that out, you merely just have to look at his mother Christine; a women who was almost a clone of Lorraine, except larger, more vulgar and whole lot more controlling and manipulative, a luxury afforded to her by Hector’s rich uncle Malcolm; which his mother ran off with a fortnight after getting married to Hector’s father Ralph. To say Hector hated Malcolm would be an understatement, Hector despised every last once of being that was Malcolm; a man who made his mother look like a saint. However luckily for Hector a series of unfortunate accidents, evolving a fire destroying the family home, with the only other person in the house being Hector, but of course quiet little Hector had nothing to do with it. Malcolm died leaving all his money to Christine, who herself was on the verge of a similar fate, but on her death bed proclaimed that Hector could only receive the money if he married Lorraine the daughter of a family friend, who she thought reminded her a lot of herself and thus was the perfect match for Hector and should get married, proclaiming their undying love for each other for the rest of eternity; despite what his wishes were on the matter. But even before the ink could dry on the marriage certificates, Lorraine found more and more ingenious – or should I sad stupid, ways of spending the inheritance. May it be a house that was too big, a mountain of clothes she brought two sizes too big, so the lady in the store wouldn’t think she was fat or cart full’s of food she devoured each day and because of this they were now broke.
Rain began to pour down from the sky as if it were one of god burst pipes, coupled with a series of lightning strikes and furious winds, and outside proved to be nomad’s lands. Whilst Inside the grandfather clock struck 10pm and just as the usual humdrum routine dictates, Hector and Lorraine converged at the dining room table for their 500th consecutive serving of fish pie under a single solitary candle light. But it was certainly not a romantic atmosphere, there was something in the air that night, Hector was extra heightened to every last irritating action that Lorraine did, was it the astronomically expensive coat, that surely meant that they would soon be living on the street seeing as now he had no job – no it wasn’t that. It was that same feeling he gets when he can’t restrain his anger in a little box at the back of his head anymore, and just like that night when his uncle died and this morning at the factor, he felt the anger slowly seeping out.
“So I was doing my hair, the price went up, but it’s okay she is the best in town, I’ll spend whatever it cost as long as I look better the Clementine, that old fat which – she’s gained weight don’t you know, the girl look like a elephant, but the way she talk about herself as if she we’re goods gift to men; you would think the poor girl didn’t own a mirror! Anyway when I was I overheard the girls talking about an escaped prisoner, who has already killed a couple down in Watford. I tell you it’s another Jack the Ripper” Said Lorraine. “Dear you haven’t touched your dinner”. She looks towards Hector, who is passively playing with the sharp end of his knife.
“Stop that dear, you’ll hurt yourself”
The weather seems to grow intensity, the loud roars of thunder carpet the scene. Hector seems almost deaf to her voice as his attention is split between the sharp end of the knife and the grandfather clock. The clock now reads 11.59 pm and without another word something behind Hectors eyes suddenly changes, as if he were just replaced by an exact double, except this one had something sinister lurking behind his eyes. As the minute arm slowly reaches the 12.00, the mid night chime begins to resonate around the room, seizing his opportunity suddenly Hector lunges forward like a shark with the smell of blood thick in its nostrils. The scene was the stuff of nightmares, despite her screams that were cleverly muffled by a combination of the thunder and the clock, Hector is relentless, with each thrust almost appearing surgeon like in its precision. With blood splattered; walls, floors and ceiling and a lifeless corpse laying before him, all of a sudden Hector was again resumed his persona as the mild mannered man. But strangely he seemed horrified now by the sight of his dead wife, as if he just walked into the room and found her in that state, he begins to panic; his arms are sweaty, knees weak and his heart is racing and in almost unison with another clap of thunder, there is a knock at the door.
Fear begins to fill his entire body, causing him tremble uncontrollably. He tries to compose himself and mute his squirms of panic in hope that the person would grow tired and leave, but his prays go unanswered; the knocking continues, each time in exact unison again with the thunder and lightning that continues their angry rant. There is no choice now; he must hide the body, but where?
Hector search desperately around the room for a place, but as the clock gives its last chime, the idea strikes him. With great effort he heaves the body towards the grandfather clock, under normal circumstances there would be no way he could ever dream of moving this whale even a millimetre, but under these panic situation he gathers almost herculean strength and places her inside it. But closing the door over her swollen gut proved to be a greater challenge, after a good few minutes he is just able to close the door over it; now with the body safely hidden away, he quickly removes his over coat and hurriedly wipes down any traces of blood, in the background the visitor seems relentless. Hastily he thrusts the coat into the clock and rushes over to the door, pausing to collect himself he then proceeds to slowly ease it open.
Standing there in the rain was a set of piercing blue eyes, attached to a devilishly handsome face, with perfectly chiselled jaw and check bones that you wouldn’t be surprised to find out they were hand crafted by Michelangelo himself, all of this sat on top of a tall slender frame. But hanged on his face was a stern expression that in the eyes of Hector seemed rather accusing.
“I’m sorry, we were not expecting any visitors” Spat out Hector in between fast shallow breaths
“I do beg your pardon, interrupting you at such a time as this, but I carry in my hands rather unfortunate news that I feel you and your wife would care to hear, is your wife here” He tries to look past Hectors shoulder, but Hector purposely steps into his line of vision.
“What are you, and what news do you have?” Said Hector
“I do apologise to you sir, my name is Harland Silas, pleased to meet you” He offers his arm out to Hector, who hesitating meets it with a sweaty palm. “But now we are acquainted, my I please step inside, I’m not sure if you have noticed, but the weather hostile tonight”.
“I don’t think so it’s getting late, maybe you can return tomorrow or another day” Hector says this whilst trying to close the door, but Harland stops it with a large firm hand. “I’m came such a long way sir, and the news would be of great concern to you and your wife, I must insist”.
After contemplating the situation for a while, it is obvious to Hector that if he is to remain nonchalant he must appear as normal as he possibly can, so not to draw to much attention to himself, he reluctantly allows Harland in. Who with so much confidence strides into the room, inspecting every last detail of it with scrupulous precision, a fact the greatly troubles Hector.
“Can I take your coat” Hector reaches for Harland coat, but strangely Harland jumps back as if he were coming eye to eye with a cobra. “No I never take my coat off, when I’m in the present of … company” Said Harland.
“So what is the news?” Hector sits down on a chair in the dining room table, but he fights to maintain his attention fixed firmly on the visitor, as avoid the fact that his eyes keep on darting back towards the clock.
“Yes of course, well your aunt has died, and it was put to me break the news to both you and your wife” Harland takes another sweeping glare around the room. The dwindling candle light, cast strange shadows around the room.
“Oh.. How treble, I haven’t seen her in so long, how did she die ” said Hector getting up, which almost acting like a cue signal a quiet shudder originating from the clock. Followed by Hectors worst nightmare, the door blurts open and out drops Lorraine’s body to the ground with a loud thud. Instantly Hector reaches for the candlestick, he won’t go to prison over this.
“It’s not what it looks like, it was an accident honest, I loved my wife, I still love my wife, or did” stuttered Hector.
“It’s okay, you said it was an accident right” Calmly states Harland. Which completely baffles Hector, but ultimately saves him the trouble of finding another place to now store two bodies.
“Yes! I’m not a murder!”
“No I wouldn’t dare think so, you don’t seem the type, but the police won’t see it like that, do you have a basement in case anyone else comes here tonight, just to buy you some time, so you can plan your next move?”
“Yes your right I can take her there” said Hector as he beginnings to calm down
The bad weather intensifies, throwing an even bigger tantrum than before. Hector leads Harland to the very back of the house, between them they can just about left the mass of Lorraine just a mere few inches into the air, making the journey that would usually take a couple of seconds, now seem almost like a expedition on account of the extreme load they were carrying. Hector dumps his side of his wife’s body, freeing him to open the door, which it does so but with a slow creaking unnerving sound, similar to fingers going down a blackboard. The basement at the foot of the steps is cold dank and dark, a large sucking black whole for any light that dear tiptoes anywhere near it, even under the candle lights illuminating from the corridor, anything in the basement is still barely distinguishable.
“No one will ever look down here once I lock this door” Said hector
But as he turns back around to once again help move his wife, Hector find himself prompt up by a large knife protruding from the hands of Harland.
“Why?” Said hector with a mouth slowly filling up with bucket filled of blood
“I guess you don’t read the paper much” Said Harland, with disturbing pleasure. He lets go of the knife and allows Hector to fall backwards into the basement. Now just another part of the darkness; he then pushes the body of Lorraine to the bottom. Retrieving a spade from a tactfully hidden space behind a bush, he returns and uses it to play upon the floorboards but ramming the sharp end of the shovel in between the gaps. With enough space, he places the bodies under the boards and the places the boards back, any residues of the night’s indiscretions effortlessly engulfed into the impenetrable blackness. Harland makes his way back up the stairs; he searches the rooms and returns with a key to lock the door. Casually he makes his way out of the house and once again disappears into the anonymity of the night.