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Copyright Ben Westerham 2018. All rights reserved.
Harry Minch sat in his seventeen-year-old, purple Austin Allegro, the engine running and the heater on full, as he stared out across the frozen wasteland of the empty field alongside him. He had things on his mind. Things he would prefer to do without. The trouble was, they were things that weren’t going away any time soon and needed his attention, like it or not. He pursed his lips and stubbed out the fag end of his cigarette in the tiny, overloaded ashtray set into the dashboard. Ash tumbled to the floor, adding to the little pile already there. He coughed, wound down the window and spat a big, fat dollop of phlegm on to the hard ground, then wound the window back up as quickly as he could.
On the far side of the field he saw a woman and her dog negotiate a kissing-gate, then start to trudge across the invisible track that ran left to right. Idiotic, was the only word that Harry could think of as he looked on; what person, in their right mind, would want to be outside in sub-zero temperatures of the sort they’d had for the last few days.
He was in a bad mood, was Harry Minch, and well he might be. He’d been getting his leg over with Stephanie Feltham, the somewhat more than middle-aged wife of a self-centred twat who farmed nearly four hundred acres of land in the local area. Arnold Feltham never had liked him and he never had liked the farmer. There again, he didn’t much care for farmers, full-stop. It had been another argument over the cost of works done that had tipped Harry over the edge and into a fling with Stephanie in the first place; an irresistible opportunity to get back at her bastard husband.
Not that he’d had to make much of an effort; she’d been chomping at the bit for months, making pass after pass at him until it became an almost daily affair and not worth commenting on. She’d been a bit surprised when, one day, he’d turned round and taken up her offer. Not wanting to give him the chance to change his mind, Stephanie had bundled Harry into her Land Rover and driven the two of them to an empty cottage on the distant edges of the farm’s acres. They’d been there all afternoon, which had been about three hours longer than Harry had anticipated. At one point, he’d even considered the possibility that he might never be let back out, but after he’d tied her up and serviced her for the fifth time, she announced she had to be heading back home, otherwise she’d be late getting the dinner ready.
After that, their visits to the cottage had become a regular thing; days becoming weeks and weeks becoming months. Harry had noticed at one point, how on each visit, Stephanie seemed to have done a little more tidying up or added one more decorative flourish, until the place finally ended up looking as though it was lived in on a daily basis. He wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not, but let it pass. As he sat in his car, lighting up another cigarette, he realised he shouldn’t have done that; he should have asked her what she was getting up to, turning that place into such an obvious love nest. But it was too late by then; much water had flowed under the bridge or, more appropriately, much shit had hit the fan.
Not able to make a decision of any sort, even a bad one, Harry wound the window down one more time, flicked the newly-lit cigarette outside, then slotted the engine into first gear and pulled away on to the road, careful to avoid the biggest of the potholes he’d parked over. It would take him five minutes to get back to the garage. At least there he would be able to take his mind off things for a while by getting on with some work.
Minch and Sons Motors operated out of a ramshackle building on the outskirts of the village of Potterspury, overlooking the main road between Towcester and Milton Keynes. The road, Watling Street, had originally been built by the Romans and some of the locals reckoned the garage must have been put up around the same time. It appeared from the outside to consist of nothing more substantial than heavily-rusted corrugated iron sheets, from which much of the original paint had flaked; though, by some miracle or other, it never did seem to suffer any harm whenever even the strongest of storms blew through.
As dirty on the outside as it was messy on the inside, the garage was a veritable Aladdin's cave, filled with bits and bobs from countless vehicles going back several decades. Indeed, a suitably enterprising individual might have been well advised to buy the place off Harry, lock, stock and barrel, then open it as a motor heritage centre. Always able to fill the nostrils of any visitor with the intoxicating aroma of engine oil, the garage was also relentlessly cold in the winter months and baking hot during summer. It could have passed muster as some sort of torture chamber or, perhaps, overnight accommodation for a management team building outfit.
Their bread and butter work came from servicing older cars and vans for money-conscious clients who had a tendency to run out of dealerships screaming after they’d been quoted a price for work to be done. No job was too little or too big for Minch and Sons, who were ever keen to point out their deep-seated desire to avoid spending their clients’ hard-earned money. Occasionally, they would do up some old car, all but forced upon them by a customer desperate to be shot of the thing for nothing more than a free service for their new vehicle, then sell it on as quick as they could for a small profit. Mostly though, they avoided the buying and selling game and its heavy drag on cash flow, suspect warranties and endless haggling.
Malcolm and Steve, the two full-time mechanics, gave each other a knowing grin as Harry walked back into the garage. They had long since got used to his unscheduled and usually unexplained disappearances. Rumour had it he was seeing Stephanie Feltham. Rumour, they both agreed, was right. They’d both seen the old trout flaunting herself for his benefit in the tight, little office tucked into the far corner of the building. They didn’t begrudge him the fun he had with the woman, but neither did they pass up the opportunity for a bit of a gossip and a laugh every now and again.
“He’ll do his back in with that woman, he will,” observed Steve as Harry closed the door of the office behind him. “Bloke his age should have retired from that sort of thing years ago.”
“Speak for yourself. I’m only ten years younger than him,” replied Malcolm, as he reached for his bottomless mug of tea. “If I can get my leg over with a woman, any woman, as often as he does when I’m that old, I’ll be over the moon.”
“Here he comes. Heads down.”
Harry re-emerged briefly from the office, looked around, then at the floor, only to retreat once more to the safety of his centre of operations, ensuring the door was properly closed behind him. He tidied up a scattering of papers waiting on his fifty-year-old desk; its surface scored with a thousand cuts, bumps, scratches and general wear and tear. Having sat down, Harry immediately got back up and wandered across to the small window, peering out through the dirt-stained glass at the yard behind and at the traffic passing on the main road. When the phone rang, he nearly jumped out of his skin.
“Bloody woman. Leave me alone,” he said to the room, trying to resist the need to pick up the handset. But he knew the bell would be ringing out in the workshop and the two mechanics would think it odd if he didn’t answer, so, filled with dread and overflowing with reluctance, he reached out with his right hand. “Minch and Sons.”
It had seemed inevitable to Harry that the voice he heard on the other end of the phone should be Stephanie Feltham’s. After all, she’d warned him and she wasn’t a woman to speak lightly. The call had been a brief one. Now he was back outside, re-starting his reluctant Allegro, the vehicle clearly having come to the not unreasonable conclusion that it was going to spend the rest of the working day taking a well-earned nap in the shelter of the garage building. Eventually, it gave up the resistance and Harry pulled slowly out on to the main road, drove a couple of hundred yards north, then turned right, down a narrow, pothole infested country lane that twisted its way in a generally north-easterly direction. The cold started to attacked Harry’s extremities as he waited impatiently for the heater to creep into life.
Secretly, Harry had been hoping that Arnold Feltham would eventually find out about his sex-crazed affair with his wife. He realised early on in the matter that simply giving her a good seeing to every now and then wasn’t anything like enough if he was to get one over on Arnold. No, Arnold needed to know he’d been giving Stephanie one if he was to enjoy the pleasure of insulting and belittling the twat. Of course, if Arnold had proved to be too dim-witted to see what was going on right under his sizeable nose, then all it would take to enlighten him would be a carelessly misplaced love letter or such like. Yep, have a few weeks’ fun, Harry had thought, then rub the bastard’s nose right in it. The prospect had been mouthwatering.
Only, things hadn’t gone according to plan. For one thing there was the sex. The woman was insatiable and talk about being adventurous. If he had filmed any of it and made it available for public consumption it would have needed to be ‘XXX’ rated. He’d been around a bit over the years, but a woman who liked to be tied up and taken advantage of was a first for him. No, that wasn’t right. She didn’t like to be tied up, she demanded it. That did briefly seem to undermine the whole arrangement in Harry’s mind, since shouldn’t he have been doing the demanding in such a situation, but he didn’t dwell long on the matter; it hardly seemed worth pointing out. Why on earth Arnold Feltham hadn’t been taking full advantage of what was so clearly on offer was beyond him.
He’d also become rather fond of the woman; or perhaps that should be fonder. She’d been nothing more than an occasional friend before they’d started the affair, despite her repeated attempts to seduce him. He certainly couldn’t say he’d ever got to know Stephanie. But, as the days and weeks passed, he started to find her easy-going sense of humour and down-to-earth view of the world distinctly appealing, even to the point where, deep inside him, he began to feel a little jealous of Arnold Feltham. That, he well knew, was not part of the plan.
And then it had happened. He’d opened his big mouth and, just when he’d been thinking he might let things carry on indefinitely, they’d blown up in his face. A nuclear bloody explosion couldn’t have made more of a mess in his world.
An Audi, travelling at close to the speed of light, launched itself off the bend Harry had just negotiated, pulled across the road and hurtled past, causing the Allegro to wobble. Harry swore and gripped the steering-wheel more tightly, worried about losing control. With any luck, considered Harry, the driver would have an unexpected encounter with a patch of ice and find himself having an unplanned rendezvous with a ditch.
The windscreen of the Allegro began to show the first signs of freezing up on the inside. Harry reluctantly diverted some of the air from the heating system on to the windscreen. The nascent ice made a steady retreat, while Harry’s toes got colder.
It had been just the day before when he’d failed to spot the warning signs and well and truly put his foot in it. They’d taken a pause during another sex marathon, Harry having been instructed in yet another exotic technique he’d never before encountered. Where the hell Stephanie came up with her ideas was a constant source of amazement and speculation. Either she’d had a far more adventurous upbringing than him or else had an imagination that made Walt Disney look plain boring.
Eyeing up a china doll that had appeared on top of the bedroom dressing table since they’d last been there, Harry had casually asked Stephanie what she was up to with all the re-decorating and furnishing of the formerly rundown cottage. She had hesitated before answering, fixing him with an iron stare. He should have made his excuses there and then, after a look like that, but he’d been feeling relaxed, dozy even.
Her initial words could have been seen as innocent enough, nothing to worry about. They could have been, but he knew now that thinking so had been a mistake of gargantuan proportions. She had responded by asking him if the doll was not entirely to his taste. He’d shrugged and replied he didn’t much care either way; a doll was a doll and very much a woman thing. And did he have issues with any of the other improvements she had made to the house, Stephanie had gone on to ask. In response to which, something prehistoric and buried deep inside Harry’s very being had twitched into life. Just a little prompt at first, but Harry recognised the sign, one he’d encountered on more than a single previous occasion. The bedroom door seemed a long way off, but perhaps he could make it before she got to him. Perhaps.
As he struggled to piece together a rescue reply, sitting himself up against the pillows, his previously fully compliant and entirely satisfied partner had begun to unwind a side to her character she must have kept in her handbag for emergency use only. Before he’d had time to pull on even one sock, he had been accused of insensitivity and selfishness. By the time he’d got as far as digging his pants out from under the bed sheets, Stephanie was warming up nicely, speculating on his parentage and wondering what the hell she’d seen in him in the first place.
Possibly a little over the top, Harry had suggested, worried he couldn’t find his trousers. And then it hit him, right where it hurt most. In a voice that contained a genuinely unsettling note of fear, Stephanie had asked him if he had not been looking forward to their moving in together. For a moment, he froze, unsure how he had managed to miss the signs that must surely have been there for him to see. It was, he decided, time to extricate himself from what he had considered a wholly temporary arrangement.
“Jesus Christ, woman. What the bloody hell gave you the impression I was looking to move in with you?”
“What?” Stephanie paused, open-mouthed. “Do you really think I’d do… this kind of thing with any man?” Harry didn’t answer. “Well?” she snapped.
“Er,” Harry slowly eased a leg into his trousers, confused and clueless as to how to proceed. “I thought… well, I thought I was doing you a favour. You seemed to want it all… kinky.”
“Of course I want it kinky, you idiot. But that doesn’t mean I’d do it like that with just any man who happened to come along.”
“But… what about Arnold? You’re married.” pointed out Harry as he got his second leg into his trousers.
“Bugger Arnold. He’s been screwing his accountant for years. The last time he screwed me was yonks ago. I should have got rid of the stupid man long before now. I’ve been wasting my life far too long.”
“Do what?” Harry wasn’t entirely certain he had heard Stephanie correctly. “He’s been screwing his accountant? But he’s… Do you mean Arnold’s… bent?”
“No, I mean he shits carrots. Of course, I mean he’s bent. God only knows how the whole world hasn’t noticed after all this time. I often wonder if people walk around with their eyes half-closed.” She slipped out of the bed and took up station right in front of Harry. “So?”
He looked at her. “What?”
“Sod Arnold. He can rot. I’m a free agent as far I’m concerned.”
“Well...” Harry was not always the best at thinking on his feet and he struggled to come up with anything else that might provide an escape route. “What about the farm? Doesn’t Arnold own that? And all the money? You’d be chucking away your upmarket lifestyle.”
“Bollocks to that. I’ll demand a pay off. I own this place, so he can’t take that away from me. And there’s always the earnings from your business. We’ll get by.”
“No,” stuttered Harry, visibly nervous. “No, no, no.” He reached down and grabbed his shoes from under the bed. “I never said I’d move in with you and I’m not the settling kind. That’s not for me. No way.”
“You little shit!” The words hit him with such force they almost knocked him off his feet. The punch to his chin unquestionably hurt. “After all I’ve done. You selfish fucking bastard.” More blows rained in.
Harry turned tail and ran full pelt out of the room, down the short hallway and out the front door, a torrent of invective following him all the way. Fortunately, his car keys were in one of his trouser pockets and, joy of joys, the Allegro started up first time. As he slotted the car into gear and began to pull away along the curved gravel drive, he looked out of the side window. Stephanie stood there in the doorway, wearing nothing more than her stockings, her mouth moving rapidly, though over the sound of the car engine he couldn’t hear a thing she said. Just as he began to turn his head away, Harry noticed her right arm arc out and up, over her shoulder. A solid looking object flew through the air towards the car. The hallway phone crashed through the passenger window behind him, sending glass in all directions, and landed on the seat. He hit the accelerator pedal and the Allegro kangarooed forward and on to the lane.
Shirtless and minus a window, Harry’s journey back to the garage had been an unpleasant one; the feeble heater unable to counter the bitter cold that tumbled into the car. By the time he pulled up in the lee of the garage, Harry was shivering and feared hypothermia was a certainty. She was psychotic. A total nutcase. What the bloody hell had he let himself in for? Arnold was bloody well welcome to the woman. Jesus Christ, he wasn’t going anywhere near another woman, no matter how bloody sexy she was.
Steve and Malcolm were gone, a helpful state of affairs that would avoid the need for Harry to explain what had happened to his shirt and, for that matter, his coat. He let himself in and went straight to his office, where he knew he’d find a spare shirt he kept in one of the cupboards.
As he waited for the kettle to boil, Harry fingered his aching chin, impressed by the power Stephanie had managed to deliver. Bruises were, he noticed, starting to appear on his left arm. Could have been worse, he mused. Well, at least that was all behind him now. Best to be optimistic and forward-looking; don’t dwell on the past, he told himself. The kettle finished boiling and Harry reached for a mug.
She had called two days later, had Stephanie. She was all sweetness and light, which made Harry deeply suspicious. Never trust a woman you’ve just dumped was a strict rule of his. But she insisted she was over their little contretemps and, be it reluctantly, accepted that he didn’t want to commit to a permanent relationship. Best to get that out in the open up-front, she had added. But she really couldn’t leave things on a bad note, not after all the wonderful times they’d shared together. And there were his things; his shirt and coat. Why didn’t he call round to the cottage for a nice cup of tea. They could bring a proper, civilised end to things and he could collect his clothes. They agreed on 12.00 o’clock the following day, though Harry wasn’t entirely convinced it was a good idea.
The temperature had dropped even more overnight and had showed no signs of climbing during the course of the morning. Harry’s breath turned instantly to a drifting, wisping steam every time he exhaled and the ground was coated with a thin, unbroken layer of glistening ice that crunched underfoot. He’d had to leave the Allegro ticking over for a full twenty minutes, the windscreen slowly de-misting, as he worked his way round the outside of the car, scraping away the thick layer of white ice that had coated the windows overnight.
The main roads had been gritted, but the lanes were a different proposition altogether, every bend a potential accident. Harry drove slowly, hands rigidly at ten-to-two on the steering wheel, his right foot resting gently on the accelerator pedal. The twenty minutes it took to get to the cottage felt more like an hour.
He’d woken early, restless and uncomfortable at the thought of meeting Stephanie. He realised he could have phoned and made up some excuse for being a no-show, but that would only have put off the inevitable and the longer he left it, the more time he’d spend worrying about it. Best to get things over with. Move on and don’t look back.
Everywhere was white, despite a total lack of snowfall, and any living thing, man or beast, with a temperature above zero gave off a thin, rising cloud of steam, as was the case with a herd of cows he passed in a field shortly before arriving at the cottage. They seemed to reflect his own downbeat mood; maybe he should park the car and join them.
Stephanie was waiting at the front door, which she held wide open as he hurried across from his car, all the while being careful to keep an eye out for patches of ice.
“There we go,” she said, with not a hint of malice, as she closed the door behind Harry. “Let’s get you into the lounge where it’s nice and warm. The tea’s brewing. I don’t think it’s been this cold in years.”
Harry dropped himself into one of the big floral patterned armchairs, directly in front of the electric fire, the bars on which glowed a bright, welcoming orange. The heat folded over him in pleasing waves and he felt the numbness begin to leave his fingers.
Stephanie returned from the kitchen with a tray, laden with a pot of tea, cups, saucers, milk and sugar jugs and a plate of biscuits of several different sorts. She placed it carefully on the rectangular table between the two armchairs.
“I’ve put your things in a carrier bag and left it by the front door,” she said, as she began to pour two cups of tea. “Don’t forget to take them with you, will you?”
“I’ll do my best,” he replied, taking the cup that was offered to him. The tea was piping hot, warming his insides wonderfully as it worked its way down into his stomach.
Stephanie sat on the front edge of the other armchair, one hand holding her saucer, the other her cup. Neither said anything for a while.
“So.” Stephanie broke the silence. “This is it, then? We’re a former item, are we?” She gave a little flick of her head as she spoke, as if she was trying to dislodge hair from in front of her eyes, except her hair was already flawlessly held in position well away from her face. Harry might, if he had been observant enough, have noticed a slight wobble in her right hand as she brought her cup up to her lips.
“Well...” Harry tried to respond, failed, coughed, swallowed more tea, then made a second attempt at a reply. “It’s just that… I wasn’t expecting things to, well… you know… get serious. Permanent like. Thought it was just a bit of fun, as it were.” He scratched at his head and looked at the mantelpiece.
“I see.” Stephanie sipped more tea, then looked at the carpet. After a moment’s pause, she added, “Just a bit of fun.”
Harry coughed again, then uncrossed and re-crossed his legs which reached out in front of him, towards the fire. “It was bloody good while it lasted, mind,” he added with what he considered to be an appropriate degree of enthusiasm. “Bloody good.”
Stephanie looked across at him, a thin smile on her lips. “Well, that’s nice to know.”
“Er, yes,” added Harry.
“So, you’ve not changed your mind, then?” asked Stephanie, placing her cup back on its saucer, then returning both to the tray. “You don’t want a full-time commitment?”
Harry felt his cheeks grow warm and was certain it had nothing to do with the fire. “No. That kind of thing’s not for me.” Bloody heck, he thought to himself, let’s get the rest of this tea down my neck and get out as fast as possible. He hadn’t felt so uncomfortable since his mum had told him all about the birds and the bees when he was eighteen years old. He’d lost his virginity long before that.
“I see.” Stephanie turned her face towards the fire and didn’t say another word.
Harry briefly considered legging it right there and then, but as he finished rest of his tea, he found his mind wandering. Images from the many energetic encounters he’d had with Stephanie began to fill his mind, one after the other, like they were on some kind of carousel. He was even able to re-experience the warm, soft touch of her flesh and smell the not entirely delightful scent of her favourite perfume. It was, considered Harry, not a wholly unpleasant experience.
As his eyes began to re-open, Harry realised with surprise that he must have nodded off. How long for, he had no idea. He struggled at first to adjust to the glare of the bright light that filled the room and, as he did so, he became certain the room was one he hadn’t seen before. It was small, tiny even; as he looked forward and sideways, he saw there really was barely enough space in which to swing the proverbial cat. Odd, he thought, wondering how he had got there. There was an open doorway in front of him, though it was difficult to make out what lay beyond, hidden, as it was, in darkness.
His mouth tasted dry, he had a bit of a headache and his limbs felt stiff. He went to raise his hands to his face but they wouldn’t budge an inch. In fact, he quickly found that he could neither move his arms nor his legs, nor get up out of the chair. As he looked all about himself, he saw that he was held in place by a series of leather straps across his arms and legs, each one of them tight enough to be pinching uncomfortably. What was more, when he went to open his mouth to shout for help, Harry realised he had also had tape across his mouth. Any remaining blurriness in his mind disappeared in an instant. He was a worried man.
With immaculate timing, the answer to the many questions that battled for space in his head appeared in the doorway. Stephanie stood there silently, arms folded, watching him, her face a blank. Harry tried to talk through the tape wrapped across his mouth, but the inevitable mumbling appeared to have no impact whatsoever on Stephanie, who continued to stand and stare. His head tipped forward, his chin coming to rest on his chest. Harry had no idea what he was supposed to do.
“Did you honestly think I would let you walk away after all I’ve done for you?” Stephanie’s voice had an unfamiliar and unpleasant tone to it as it reached Harry’s ears. He looked up at once to find a pair of flame-filled eyes burning into him. He mumbled some more.
“Oh, do shut up, you stupid man. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
Stephanie unfolded her arms and stepped into the room, reaching out one hand to stroke it gently across Harry’s right cheek. It felt tender, loving even, a complete contrast to the look in her eyes.
“You silly, silly man,” she went on. “I really can’t allow you to treat me like that.”
Without warning, she slapped him hard across the face. It stung; a lot. She took a half-step back, her eyes still fixed on him.
“I really have had enough of men like you. Think you can have whatever you want, then just walk away whenever the mood takes you. Well, not this time, my dear. And not ever again, either. I’m going to put an end to your little games.” She sounded triumphant, a development that had Harry struggling madly to break free, the mumbling reaching gigantic proportions. He felt sweat forming on his forehead and beginning to run down his temples.
“No need to struggle like that, my dear. It will all be over soon.”
She looked at him a little longer, her face an odd mixture of pity and delight, before turning off the light, stepping out of the room and closing the door. Harry was left in total darkness and silence, terrified at what Stephanie was going to do next. Surely she wasn’t going to leave him there to stew in his own sweat; he was sorry already for what he’d done and more than willing to say so. God, he’d be prepared to give things another go. Come back, you stupid cow, he thought to himself, come back now. But there was absolutely no sign of that happening.
Outside, Stephanie huddled as deep inside her thick cotton coat as she could manage, attempting to hide herself away from the worst of the freezing cold air. Her nose began to take on a red hue in response to the drop in temperature. She had retrieved the keys to Harry’s Allegro before she had led him, stumbling and half-unconscious, to the hidden store room at the back of the garage. She now used them to open the frost-coated car.
As she slipped behind the driver’s wheel and got to grips with the almost worn out starter motor, she felt pleased with the way things had gone. The speed with which she had managed to carry out all the necessary preparations and then put her plan into action was, she congratulated herself, exceedingly impressive. She doubted anyone else could have made a better job of it. By now that little shit of a man she had thought was to be her love for the rest of her life would be worrying about when she would be coming back. Would it be one day or perhaps two? What if he needed the toilet? With any luck he wouldn’t like the total darkness. As the engine fired into life, she put the car into reverse gear and backed it up towards the rear of the garage.
She’d known other men like him. Selfish bastards who gave more care and attention to their choice of socks than they did to the women in their lives. Every time she thought she had found the right one, he would throw her on the rubbish heap and walk away, never mind the pact they had made, the commitment they had shown each other. Well, things were going to change now, she reminded herself as she pulled on the handbrake and climbed out of the car, its engine idling erratically.
She stepped across to the garage and picked up a long coil of plastic hose, one end of which she then attached to the car exhaust and the other she poked into a small hole in the rear wall of the wooden garage. Having made sure both ends were securely fixed, Stephanie got back into the car, closed the door, so as to keep out the worst of the cold, huddled herself into her coat once more, then let her right foot rest gently on the accelerator pedal. The rise in the note of the engine was only just perceptible, but there all the same. Thick, choking fumes made their way out of the exhaust, down the pipe and into the building, where the small room in which you couldn’t swing a cat began to fill quickly.
As she waited there, looking out over the garden hedge at the white coated field beyond, Stephanie reminded herself that once she was finished there she would be heading straight home, where another vile man who had helped to ruin her life waited unknowingly for her to put into practice another well-prepared plan. She smiled to herself and pressed the pedal just a little harder. After all, she didn’t want to keep her husband waiting.
* End *
Shorts in the Dark
Every month you will find a new short story here, always with a darker criminal theme. Below is August's story. Enjoy!