Outside: Part Thirty-Five

This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 952 words.

Gillian found the holdall in the wardrobe in her own room. It was her turn to clean upstairs, and she had been careful to do it properly. He obviously hadn’t expected her to dust the inside of the wardrobe doors. It seemed like he was packed and ready, there was even some dirty washing in a plastic bag, and a set of car keys right at the bottom.

Was he planning to leave today? Her mind was racing, so she sat on the bed for a moment, thinking about what to do.

Make him want to stay. That was her conclusion. Look nice, make an effort, don’t mention the holdall.

Hurrying to finish the cleaning, she then ran a bath. The long hair she now loved was carefully washed and dried after, and she chose a nice satin slip to wear. Time was spent doing her best effort at make-up, trying to remember how that professional woman had done it. Then she painted her fingernails and toenails, sitting nervously on the bed until they dried.

Thomas was downstairs preparing a nice lunch for his last day. Saturday seemed to be a good choice to depart, with the area reasonably crowded, and nobody noticing a very average man walking to a car that looked like so many others. He had already unlocked the back door, planning to leave via the back gate, then up the alley behind the houses until he came to the end of the street. His plan was to suggest she went up to the bedroom after lunch, and wait for him to join her on the bed. He would tell her he was just going to use the bathroom, before retrieving the holdall from the wardrobe and quietly exiting the house.

She looked very nice when she came down. Nice enough to make him think about delaying his departure by thirty minutes.

With everything chopped and prepared, he reached into the cupboard and took out the wok he had bought a couple of weeks ago. Gillian had never seen a wok before, and thought it was a very deep frying pan. “The eggs will get lost in there, Paul”. That had made him smile. But she had really enjoyed the beef strips stir-fried in oyster sauce, with the shiitake mushrooms and baby corn. The thick udon noodles had amused her. “They look like white worms”.

Today he would be serving chicken in a black bean sauce, with beansprouts and pak choi, accompanied by fried rice.

Before starting to cook, he sat opposite her at the table. A compliment wouldn’t hurt. Might soften the blow when she found he had left. “You look very nice, Gillian. Beautiful, in fact”. She blushed poppy red. Nobody had ever said anything like that. She knew enough to be aware that she was far from beautiful, but if he thought so, that meant everything to her.

Stir-frying the meal wouln’t take long, so he heated the oil on a high gas, enjoying the strong aroma of the sesame oil he was using. The smell of the food being prepared was making Gillian feel very hungry, so she laid the table with spoons and forks, adding the thick cotton napkins he had bought last week. He had tried to show her how to use chopsticks, but she had just dropped the food on the table, or in her lap.

No sooner had he dropped the chicken pieces into the oil and grabbed the long chopsticks to stir it, the door buzzer sounded.

Kirsty was outside again. Thomas spoke loudly, his voice raised above the sound of the sizzling in the wok. “Just ignore it, or the food will spoil!” When there was no reply, Kirsty stomped off, shaking her head and glaring at the camera. A few moments later, Thomas brought the bowls of food to the table. “Who was at the door?” Gillian didn’t want to tell him, but didn’t want to lie either. “That Kirsty again, probably wanting to complain about the bin bags”. He smiled, and started eating. Then he stopped and looked serious.

“That woman is a real pain. She really spoils my enjoyment of staying here, truth be told. It’s such a shame that she bought the house next door to you”. Inside, Gillian was fuming. Anger, mixed with panic. It was all that bloody Kirsty’s fault. No wonder he had packed a bag and was thinking of leaving. It made it hard for her to enjoy the meal, and she just shovelled it in without tasting it. Thomas stopped for a sip of his Tsingtao beer, the perfect accompaniment to a Chinese meal. Then the buzzer sounded again.

He wasn’t expecting what happened next.

Jumping up from the table, Gillian headed for the door with a speed that belied her bulk. Then she unclipped the chain, turned the key, and flung the door open. Thomas turned to look at the camera monitor as she launched herself at Kirsty, leaping off the front step and flattening the surprised woman. The door rebounded and closed shut behind her, as she raised her fight arm again and again, striking Kirsty repeatedly.

But the fork was still in her hand.

He moved quickly. Grabbing the holdall from the wardrobe, he was out the back gate at lightning speed. By the time Gillian was sitting panting on the front lawn, and Kirsty was no longer moving, a fork handle protruding from her left eye socket, he was in the street where his car was parked.

Wiping a blood-soaked hand across her face to move the hair from her eyes, Gillian smiled. She wasn’t dizzy or scared. Then something else made her laugh.

She was finally outside.

The End.

84 thoughts on “Outside: Part Thirty-Five

      1. Pete, my wife and I stumbled upon a “captured footage” film from a decade or so ago called “Creep”. A guy hires a videographer to film his last days, but there is so much else going on…your story unpeeled layers just like the film did, getting creepier by the minute!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t read this series yet. I always wait until all parts are posted. That way in case I finish one part I won’t have to wait for the next. I get impatient lol.. I look forward to starting this tomorrow. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) If it hadn’t been for the nicely painted fingernails, the deadly fork incident would have been unbearable to see with the mind’s eye.
    (2) “He had already unlocked the back door, planning to leave via the back gate, then up the alley…” While he’s at it, can he please do something about those two stinky bags that Kirsty threw over the back gate into the alley in Part Fifteen?
    (3a) When preparing a stir fry in Cairo, you should always wear bangles and wok like an Egyptian.
    (3b) Did you hear about a chef de cuisine / orchestre named Mancini who cut baby elephant meat into strips? He stir fried them in a baby elephant wok.
    (4) Overheard:
    Falstaff: “I will not lend thee a penny but rather a wok.”
    Pistol: “Why then mine oyster sauce shall I use, which bottle with my teeth I will open.”
    (5) The thick udon noodles amused Gillian. She jokingly referred to the wok as the lair of the white worms.
    (6) Gillian blushed poppy red. Poppies are an ancient symbol of death. Was Gillian still blushing when she killed Kirsty?
    (7) “It was all that bloody Kirsty’s fault.” Actually, Kirsty won’t be bloody until Gillian pummels her face and jabs her in the eye with a fork.
    (8) “He wasn’t expecting what happened next.” Join the club, Thomas! We didn’t expect that either!
    (9) It took a lot of harassment, but Kirsty has finally learned her lesson. Too bad she won’t benefit from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You did well with the Henry IV Part One reference, though I confess I was expecting The Lair Of The White Worm. After all, I fed you the Udon Noodles. Hang on, no. That was Thomas feeding Gillian.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh goodness, not expecting that. We will miss all those delicious meals though. But real life is stranger than fiction; if you saw that woman found guilty of killing her husband on the news last night. Footage of her arrest could have been one of your stories Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, no! Well, I’m not surprised at the ending. It fits, and you always have a great way with stories and their endings. This one was appropriate for Halloween. Secretly I was hoping It was Jim at the door.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah there it is!! Unexpected but still wonderfully gruesome. Also noticing “By the time Kirsty was sitting panting on the front lawn, and Kirsty was no longer moving”, I think the first Kirsty should be Gillian 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the mistake was pointed out and corrected. The sun was shining on the PC monitor when I was reading through, and I could hardly see the text. Glad you liked the fork in the brain through the eye!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Such a shame Thomas got away, though he might consider it a lucky escape! I was kinda hoping that Gillian might stop him from leaving – permanently. Instead poor old Kirsty was on the receiving end. And Gillian’s freedom won’t last for long, neither will the food she has become accustomed to be as good. Great serial Pete. I enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Well Gillian will certainly be spending a considerable time inside at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. And she will find it not so pleasant as her time in her own home … Great (and unexpected) ending, Pete. Will you be consolidating the episodes into one document on your blog? I’d like to send the link to friends, hence my question. Best. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there will be a Complete Story post next week, Kevin. I’m happy the ending was a surprise, and you of course got the irony that she was finally outside, minutes away from being locked away for decades.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Perhaps a detective picks up on something Gillian (now in jail) lets slip about Thomas to her cell mate. He/she then does some digging and finds unsolved instances of a similar nature. A woman PC sets a trap (maybe creates a fake profile) and things develop from their. Of course thing might well go awry, which would make the story even more interesting. Incidentally I guess a clever lawyer might (with the help of a mental health specialist) find mitigating circumstances to lessen Gillian’s time in jail. Best. Kevin

            Liked by 1 person

                  1. Thank you. I shall do that, but it will take me a while to write it, and I’m not convinced that I have your gift for writing the character of Thomas, as I’m a poet rather than a story teller. Best. Kevin

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Don’t feel under any pressure to do it, Kevin. But perhaps you can explore his background further, using your poetry skills to delve into the darkness within? Maybe his father speaks to him in his mind? Lots of possibilities. I will leave it to you, but if you decide not to write it, that won’t be an issue. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

      1. I apologise for my strange sense of humour. I just saw the irony in it. I often laugh at things other people might not laugh at. Maybe Ivam strange! X

        Liked by 1 person

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