This is something I did a while ago and forgot about. Just an amusing little something from a Creative Writing Society workshop.
It was a Dark and Stormy Night
It was a dark and stormy night.
More accurately, it was still a dark and stormy night.
‘All this tension is starting to get to me, you know,’ Dave told his boss.
‘What, after seventeen years your sturdy psychological defences are finally giving way?’
‘I think so. It’s just so damn ominous. So dark. And there’s that bush that I’m sure is moving closer to my bedroom window every night.’
‘They’ve been doing that forever and they never quite reach you. Surely you’ve worked that out by now?’ His boss was cutting some carrots with a knife that kept coming down disturbingly close to his fingertips. He wasn’t even looking as he sliced. ‘Anyway, storm or not, you need to water the garden.’
‘But it’s always raining.’
His boss turned to look at him. ‘Get to work or there will be…’ The pause here as he held the knife was agonising. ‘… consequences.’ He brought the knife down on the chopping board with a thud.
‘Isn’t that an awfully big knife to be cutting vegetables with? And you should really clean it some time.’
‘Get to work!’ his boss bellowed.
‘OK, OK.’ Dave left the kitchen, the enormous gothic doors booming shut behind him.
He stepped out into the downpour over to the hose, which was hidden behind a gallows-shaped flowerpot, and turned it on. Lightning flashed and wolves howled as he watered the sodden vegetable patch and the unusually thorny rose bushes. Would it hurt his boss to trim the plants back once in a while? They were all tangled and mutated. The tress spread their bare branches out like grasping fingers, all trying to get the best spot silhouetted in front of the moon.
He was nearly finished watering the castle garden when the flow of water spluttered and died for a moment. When it started up again it wasn’t water that came out but a dark, putrid-smelling liquid. It spattered against the wall and Dave tried not to retch.
It was blood. Not again.
He returned to the tap, shielding himself against the driving wind and rain with his imposing and yet stylish black greatcoat. He turned the tap off. Behind him the topiary lion growled, making him wince. He turned and shouted at it, ‘you’re looking pretty shaggy today, Lion. Do you want some shears to tidy up that mane?’ The lion retreated, suddenly made self-conscious. The topiary tried very hard to keep themselves neat.
He went back inside, not bothering to shut the doors behind him. They did that by themselves in their own time.
Where was his boss?
He searched the kitchen but couldn’t find him. Something big was cooking in the oven, filling the kitchen with the smell of burned flesh. He half-hoped that it was his boss.
He went into the main hall and found his boss at a staff-meeting. Everyone was hanging from the ceiling, their heads lolling about above the nooses round their necks.
Great, Dave though. They’ve tried that trick again. It didn’t really scare him any more. His nerves may have been eroded by years of sustained horror, but the sight of his boss hanging from the rafters was increasingly becoming one of the few pleasures he could look forward to, made better by the fact that he’d get the television to himself.
And, when he was lucky, they all did it when X-Factor was on. There was some real horror.