This is the thirty-first part of a fiction serial, in 770 words.
Thomas looked at the monitor, and could see a man aged around fifty standing outside carrying a small bunch of flowers. When the man didn’t leave and pressed the buzzer again, he rushed upstairs to the bathroom. The tone of his voice was menacing as he spoke. “Get your dressing-gown on and get downstairs now. There’s a man at the door. Get rid of him, and make it fast”.
Gillian did as she was told, with Thomas following her down before she got to the door intercom. She could see he was carrying that horrible knife again. He stood on the bottom step as she looked at the CCTV monitor. “That’s Mister Bell, from where I used to work. I didn’t know he was coming, honest”. Jerking the blade of his knife, he snarled at her. “Don’t let him in, and don’t make him suspicious. Or it’s this for both of you”.
She pressed to speak. “Hello, Jim. Sorry, I was in the bath. I’m not feeling well, and thought a warm bath would help”. He sounded disappointed as he replied. “Sorry to hear that, Gill. I was just popping round to see how you were on my way to a meeting. I have half an hour yet, if you want to invite me in for a cup of tea”. Gillian hesitated. It had never once occured to her that Jim might fancy her, but that was before she had met the man standing on her stairs.
Now she could see that Jim might be trying his luck. After all, he had brought flowers.
“Sorry, Jim. I’m not dressed or anything, and I have a thumping headache. You can leave the flowers on the step, and I will get them later. Thanks for thinking of me”. He gently placed the flowers on the front step, then turned away looking suitably dejected. That made her convinced her suspicions were correct.
As she turned around, Thomas slapped her face so hard, the shock and the pain made her start sobbing immediately. The he grabbed the collar of her dressing gown and dragged her back up to mum’s bedroom, pushing her onto the bed. Without speaking, he dragged the dressing gown off of her, and secured restrants to one arm and leg. Pulling the commode over next to the bed, he finally spoke in little more than a whisper.
“So, that’s your lover is it? The best you could do, a sad-looking man like him? No wonder you enjoy it so much with me, he looks pathetic. Well that’s not good enough. Not at all. You can stay in here today, and use the commode if you need it. There is water in that bottle next to the bed, but no more food for you today, young lady. If I hear so much as a murmur, I will be back up to restrain you completely, and you get the gag too”.
Still sobbing, she never heard him leave.
Pausing the recording on the CCTV, Thomas opened the door, picked up the bunch of flowers, and put them into the large Biffa Bin. He sneered at the cheap bouquet as he did so, imagining that the man had bought them from a bucket on a petrol station forecourt. All he needed to get his way with the simple woman upstairs, presumably.
Raging inside, he climbed onto the exercise bike and did twenty miles on a steep gradient setting. The weather was really warming up, and he would have to start opening some windows soon. Once he had completed the cycling task, he got all the cleaning materials he had bought, and began to clean the house from top to bottom. Everywhere except the bedroom of course.
Four hours later, he was feeling calmer, and very hungry. The wine he opened was a delicious Gevrey-Chambertin, and it went well with the selection of charcuterie and cheeses that he ate with some previously part-baked baguettes that he had heated up. Gillian could smell the aroma of warm bread wafting upstairs, and lay there hoping he would bring her up something to eat. He had to believe that she didn’t know about Jim Bell coming round, but it seemed he had thought she was lying.
Two hours passed on the old digital clock next to the bed, and Gillian wondered if she had been dozing. Then she heard him coming up the stairs, and the door was opening onto the dark bedroom. She was delighted. He was bringing her food after all.
But when he walked in, he was naked, and was not carrying any food.