Branscombe Hall: Part Nineteen

This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 780 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

The move to the new house went off easily. All we had to take were our clothes and a few personal items, and we had waited until everything else was delivered and in place. It meant paying an extra month’s rent on the cottage to only use nine days of that, but I didn’t care. I had been hoping it would give us a fresh start, and indeed it did. For the first few months we were like any happily-married couple. It was going really well, even better that I had hoped.

Then Gregg lost his job.

He was vague about the reason for being sacked, but I suspected a temper outburst, perhaps even violence. I told him not to worry as I was earning enough to cover us, and he had his Army pension to get by on. I even suggested he invite his parents to visit us to see the new house, but he shook his head.

“Didn’t go well when I was staying with them last time. Dad nagged me like an old woman, my sister kept coming round moaning at me, and only my mum stuck up for me. I told my old man he should have seen some action in the Falklands, then he could talk. After that, he shut up, and I was pleased to come back to you”.

When I went supermarket shopping on Saturdays, he began asking to come with me. I soon found out that was so he could buy beer and vodka. He paid for it out of his own money, but I was worried that he was going to start drinking when I was at work. As the nearest pub to where we lived was four miles away, I doubted he would be happy walking there and back.

Sure enough, I returned from work one evening and found him on the bathroom floor. He had been sick in the toilet bowl, then presumably passed out. Luckily for him he landed on his side, as he might well have choked and died on his back. It took me ages to rouse him, and then he wanted to stay where he was. I tried pulling him up, but didn’t have the strength. I sat downstairs eating a microwave meal getting really annoyed. Okay he had a bad time in the war, but so did a lot of other men. They can’t all have been popping pills and getting drunk, surely?

Determined to go up and have a nice soak in the bath, I found him still snoring on the floor. I managed to drag him out of the way by grabbing his ankles and sliding him on the bathmat. Then I left him on the landing, and ran my bath. As I was getting undressed in the bedroom, he suddenly lurched in and flung himself onto the bed. I asked him if he wanted anything to eat, and he swore at me. I walked past him in my dressing gown and got to the bathroom door when I was shocked to feel a huge impact against my back. That flung me forward and I stumbled, hitting my face against the edge of the bath.

Gregg was standing behind me, shouting. Most of it was impossible to understand as he was so drunk, but he made reference to Julian Branscombe, said some horrible things about my dad, and finished off by calling me a spoiled little rich girl. I didn’t reply, just stayed where I was, kneeling on the bathroom floor. My face really hurt around my right cheek and eye, and I could feel tears rolling down my face too. It was a relief when he stopped shouting and walked back into the bedroom. I waited until I could hear him snoring before I moved.

With some changes of clothes and my make-up stuffed into an overnight bag, I got re-dressed in what I had just taken off, and left the house. My reflection in the car’s interior mirror shocked me. The side of my face was already changing colour, and my nose had swollen to twice its normal size. As I reversed out of the driveway, I already knew where I was going.

To Norma.

She was terribly shocked by my appearance, and poured me a stiff Gin and Tonic. I refused her pleas to let her take me to hospital, and asked to stay the night in her spare room. She was as kind as always.

“Stay as long as you like, but please promise me you will end it with Gregg. The next time he might kill you”.

33 thoughts on “Branscombe Hall: Part Nineteen

    1. Very true, Jude. We had to have my step-daughter and her one year-old living with us for almost a year when something similar happened to her. There were no refuge spaces available, and no alternative accommodation was offered by the Council.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Obviously I don’t know about the law in England, so can she have him evicted? But would it help? Over here it’s as if the law sides with the “perp”. I heard from a good source today that you should bear in mind if calling the cops that you could end up being shot yourself. The world has gone mad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She could ask him to leave, and stop paying the mortgage as a last resort.
      We will see what she decides to do.
      Cops in America shoot far too many people. I think most of them seem to be too afraid to do their jobs properly. I wonder why?
      TOO MANY GUNS, that’s why.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. (1) “Our move out of the garden went off easily. All we had to take were our fig leaf collection and a large basket full of apples.” (Eve, in her book, “Out of Eden”)
    (2) Here’s the math:
    House to pub: 4 miles.
    Pub to house: 7 miles.
    (The difference is staggering.)
    (3) Gregg was vague about the reason for being sacked, but Alicia knew that he’d participated in a potato sack race. Apparently, someone had been called over to help Gregg (drunk on his feet) step into his potato sack.
    (4) Alicia ran her bath. That’s only possible with a claw-foot bath. (Note: To avoid a runaway bath, always put your claw-foot on a leash.)
    (5) Gregg is still living in a war zone. And yet, no man is an island.
    (6) Just imagine the size of Cyrano de Bergerac’s nose after being punched in the face…
    (7) I once ordered a stiff Gin and Tonic. Admittedly, I was thrown out of the pub after I stiffed the gender fluid bartender, Captain Morgue-Anne, but at least I kept a stiff upper lip!
    (8) Norma’s ancestors hail from Normandy. At first, she considered Alicia’s arrival to be an invasion of privacy. But after realizing that what goes around comes around, she offered Alicia a French kiss.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, another terrific story as always….sorry I haven’t been communing but I told you that circumstances took me off social media completely, including posting and commenting for the most part.

    Liked by 1 person

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