Short story – Colin Devonshire
‘I am a lucky boy. We have a strong Wi-Fi connection today. I can watch my favourite series.’
‘That’s great, you enjoy it. Do you want a cup of tea?’
‘Thanks, mum, I’d love one, with a biscuit or three?’
‘One biscuit, watch your weight,’ mum said.
‘Ow, go on, let’s agree on two?’
Since my accident, I had played no sport. I did watch the football. Does that count as exercise?
Five minutes later she carried in a tray with a plate of biscuits. She expected a smile. Instead, I smashed the teacup, saucer and cookie piled plate. Knocked cleanly from her hands.
‘Christ, Patrick what are you thinking?’ mum fought to keep her temper. I chuckled to see the colour change on her cheeks.
‘Netflix has taken my series off. There were still two episodes to watch.’
‘Look at the mess you’ve made.’
My mum was not happy, I was furious. She came back with a bucket, mop, and rags. Bending down, she scrubbed the floor.
‘You stupid git. You should be made to help mum, instead, I have to do all the work around here,’ Sarah, my darling sister, said.
‘Yeah, right, how am I supposed to do that?’ I answered her. She kicked the wheel of my chair. We never got on, now it was worse.
‘Just because you’re stuck in that, doesn’t mean you can get away with everything,’ she snarled.
‘Leave him alone, go up to your room,’ mum ordered.
Sarah made a face, a gargoyle would be proud of her.
‘Why does he get away with everything, and I’m the one in trouble?’ she said, plodding up the stairs. She gave me a middle-finger salute.
My mum pointed to the top of the stairs. I cheered slightly, hunting for a new film to watch.
‘I’ll make you a fresh cup,’ mum said, clearing away her stuff.
I would have liked to kick myself. My temper seems shorter each day.
The Exorcist wasn’t on Netflix, but I did have a copy. Where was it?
I hunted through the shelves around the tv. There it is. But I couldn’t reach.
The remote flew across the room and smashed against the far wall.
Mum rushed in, ‘What’s the matter?’
‘Why is my film out of reach?’
‘But darling you watch the telly, I thought you wouldn’t need it. And you only had to ask.’
‘I want it now.’
My mother collected the broken plastic. ‘I’ll have to go to the shops to get you a new one. Is there anything else I can get you?’
‘How long will you be? Not long I hope?’
‘I’ll be as quick as I can,’ she said.
The front door closed behind her. I could hear my sister mimicking, ‘But darling you watch…’ Her middle finger was flashed down the stairs.
I was flicking through a magazine. I sensed her behind me, turning; she stood hands on hips in the doorway.
‘Now brother,’ she stepped closer, pin in hand. Ducking left and right, she dashed behind my chair. The first stab caught my thigh, then again, the other thigh, another duck, she flicked the pin, aimed at my face.
‘Don’t worry brother I won’t scratch your angel-like face. Mum will see the blood.’ She laughed and moved behind me. The pin stabbed my waist, just above the hip bone. I reacted. My elbow caught her jaw.
She ran upstairs as the front door opened. A flustered mother poked her head in.
‘Here you are, please don’t break that one.’ My mum handed me a neatly wrapped remote.
‘Where are the batteries, it feels too light,’ I said, judging its weight.
‘Here you are, please give me a chance,’ she said, searching her coat pockets.
‘Now pass that CD, not that one, next to it,’ I said.
Reagan and her Priest were slotted in the player. I knew the script by heart. Every bit of action, especially with the crucifix. A brilliant horror film, a true classic. Why was I not enjoying it today? I needed something else. Something new, invigorating, something I could learn from? The latest Netflix films were advertised, I studied the choice.
‘Come on, come on, there must be a good one?’
I hunted down the goriest movie I could find.
‘After checking out some American crap, I found a subtitled Spanish film. ‘Veronica.’ Google said it was good. Yes, darling lady, you will do nicely. All I need now is our old ouija board, and a willing sister to play with,’ I said to myself. ‘Sarah, do you want to watch it with me?’ I called up the stairs, ‘And please bring the Devil’s game, we can play, when the film finishes?’
‘What are you after?’ Sarah asked.
‘Nothing, I thought you might like this one. Your best friend is called Veronica. Is she like the nun in the movie? Then we can play with the ouija? Maybe ask about Veronica?’
‘Yeah, why not, I can rib her at school.’
The picture was not scary, we both laughed at it. Then we set up the board.
‘When will our parents die?’ Sarah asked the upturned glass.
It started sliding up, towards the numbers. Two, zero, two… Sarah giggled.
‘When will Sarah die,’ I asked.
Two, zero, two… We were both laughing and high-fiving.
Sarah stopped moving, she froze. Not a sound came from her. She hadn’t seen me stand for years, not since my accident. I love surprising people. I ran behind her and slid my blade across her throat. Another surprise.
I put the knife in her right hand, wrapping her fingers tightly around it. I tipped my chair and positioned myself in the upturned vehicle. Checking there was no blood on me, I shouted, ‘Mum, Mum, come quickly.’
I explained, ‘Sarah lost her temper pushed me over and then cut herself. Will she be okay?’
‘Give it time,’ I thought to myself, ‘I should cheer mum up by gradually regaining the power in my legs.’ I had to hide my laughter with tears as the ambulance took Sarah’s body away.
‘Thank you, Devil, for making me what I am. Giving me the intelligence to get what I want, and when I want it.’
I roared with laughter as mum’s car followed the ambulance.
‘About my legs, well… Thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot.’