Something I will not say, well not to any one I know of course, but to a stranger; which is why I must leave this book for someone to glance over and read my tales of woe.
I suppose it all started when I was invited to attend Lady Rusholmes garden party. All the city folk would be there and I sought it best to make an appearance and mingle.
No … I’m getting ahead of myself, let me back up, I do apologise, I am new to this confession lark so forgive me.
It really all started when I got a telegram from a Mr Cushing. He was a dear old friend but a wicked current one. We grew up together and treated each other like brothers. I remember one time in school he saved me from some wretched bullies. He fought them off and took one hell of a black eye I tell you; from that moment on we were inseparable.
Needless to say it was all going well, with life in general, until we stumbled upon Miss Peavey that is.
We both worked together, Mr Cushing and I, we were partners in a company that dealt with industrial matters, I won’t bore you with such superfluous details, needless to say, It was very successful and saw us wealthy men and at the risk of repeating myself, until we stumbled upon Miss Peavey.
She came into our lives rather by accident and in the most unfortunate circumstances. Mr Cushing and I were having a walk along the bridge when we saw the damsel about to leap from it, she was stood on the ledge, arms stretched out wide as if to say goodbye to this wicked world. I remember seeing the dame looming herself over into the swallowing sea. She looked beautiful and from the glint in my friends’ eye he thought the same. Her hair was silkily swaying in the air, cheeks perfectly round and bitterly rosy and with her eyes filled with such desperate determination. If she wasn’t to keen on jumping off bridges I would have thought her quite the catch.
My chum however rushed over to her and whisked her down. I stood by the side and watched him attempt to save a life. From my view she didn’t look happy. The girl gave my dear friend a stinging scarlet face for his efforts. What a trifle I thought, It was turning out be such a strange day.
But where was I? I do forget and I mustn’t ramble, there is little paper in this book and I don’t want to run out … Ah yes the telegram! I shall come back to the relationship with Mr Cushing and Miss Peavey later.
So I received this telegram on my busy office table, merely stating the plans Mr Cushing has to dissolve the partnership and for him to start his new business without me! Why I thought this was absurd, he has no right to do so and also he would fail miserably, everyone else seems to be doing so at the moment. We had a solid business foundation and to throw that away merely just to spite me was simply absurd.
I suppose I better get back to the Miss Peavey narrative a bit sooner that I anticipated.
It turned out the jumpy lass was rather wealthy, well her father or uncle was anyway, to be honest I never really listened whenever Mr Cushing was telling me all about her. They had begun courting, apparently saving ones life and being briefly assaulted is grounds for a stable relationship these days.
I cared little for her, she was trouble, and I felt it within me. While she sat with my friend her mind looked far too empty to be giving serious thought to anything my adopted brother was saying, yet clapping enthusiastically after he finished telling one of his many stories. Despite him telling the story on he used to work in a zoo taming lions. He led an extraordinary life and like most of his anecdotes this one captivated everyone in the room, expect Miss Peavey who looked viciously vacant towards him, despite there apparent love.
Soon after when Mr Cushing announced to me that they were set to be married, that was when I let my true feelings be known.
He seemed shocked at my denouncing of his plans. Appalled that I hated Miss Peavey and how her lips would form a crooked hidden smirk only for herself whenever Mr Cushing brought up his wealth in general conversation, which annoyingly turned out to be quite a lot, so I had gotten used to seeing that malicious smile over time.
I’m not just being paranoid; I have put a great deal of research into my hatred of this woman I shall let you know! So I hope you are not reading this and judging me!
Okay, maybe it was unwise to say that instead of saving her he should have pushed her off the bridge and instead saved us the trouble of having this wretched conversation.
Well needless to say that undoubtedly vexed him.
He stormed out the room, married the witch and never spoke to me again.
So that was that and now fully for the destruction of the business.
I won’t bore you my random reader in the intricacies of the deal. All that should be said on the matter is that Mr and the now Mrs Cushing started there own industrial empire and also started my downfall. Any contacts we had were being poisoned against me, no one wanted to work with me, not after being treated to grand banqueted evenings in which luxurious lobsters, truffles and vile rumors of myself which was also on the menu.
Hopefully this is the last time I mention Mr Cushing in this pitiful tale, but since I have no idea what the next sentence shall consist of, I doubt it.
Since I didn’t have the means to start up my own enterprise I was living off my halted wealth which wasn’t that much. I lived like a king for a month and a pauper for the rest of my life up to the point in which I sit here writing this tale for no one in particular.
Yes a man of my grace was now living in the slums. I found it quiet charming at first, like a novelty holiday. It did grow tiresome after a while until I just simply gotten used to it. I was working on the docks, loading cargo to and fro’ boats, very hard work indeed and for such little money.
However one day I happened to be moving boxes addressed to a Mr Kingsley at 132 Archerway Avenue. I seemed to remember such a name living at such an address from my industrious days. He was a good man and owed me quiet a few favors that I suddenly seemed to remember. I hastily quit my job which the grubby looking foreman annoyingly looked at me like he didn’t even realise that I had been working there.
So I met up with Mr Kingsley who put me on to a Mrs Fairfollow who forwarded me further to her second cousin Mary Grimelton who was in very tightly with a Lady Rusholme and she was having a relatively elaborate garden party out in the country that weekend, of which I got an invite to.
I desperately looked forward to it, to be back with my own kind after several solid months. I whipped out my Sunday best which was looking more like my Wednesday worst, but either way I was excited.
And back to the beginning of this useless tale. Lady Rusholmes garden party.
The country air does something to city folk, they seem to breathe easier and it makes them less stupid.
It was a challenge for me then, to convince these fools that I am a perfect fool for them to hire. While they breathed in air that was not clogged with soot and took the utmost of pleasure in Lady Rusholmes company, I would seize the opportunity and maybe get a house that did not share its wall with the local butcher.
Oh my word that butcher is a horrid fellow, I won’t even bother going into that sinful character, maybe another time.
So yes, I was about to walk up to Lord Cravisham, one of the cities most favored industrialists. I knew he was more focused in overseas ventures so I thought it best to charm him with my delightful wit, despite me wearing my aforementioned Wednesday’s worst. As I placed down my glass of sherry I was about to set upon the fat fellow when a familiar face struck my eye.
Miss Peavey, or should I say Mrs Cushing, however Mr Cushing was nowhere to be seen.
Darn it, I did mention him again after all in this woeful tale, oh well on with the story.
She waltzed in and I kept my distance, she was talking to a group of people taking in their company, working her way along the garden.
Well I wasn’t about to let her turn this crowd against me. They were lovely; they gave me cucumber sandwiches when I didn’t even ask for them, such a delight.
So if I was about let this cruel witch ruin everything she was sorely mistaken, all I had to do was avoid her for a while. So I mingled for a bit, took in some more of those wonderful cucumber sandwiches and drank many more merry glasses of sherry. It wasn’t until after my seventh sandwich in which I decided to sneak up behind Mrs Cushing and snap her neck when no one was looking. It was all over rather quick, it briskly broke and I managed to stuff her body under this delightful table filled with all sort of confectionary if only you could have seen it. Although the cakes where more to look at, they didn’t taste all great. It really irks me when beautifully displayed food tastes so bad, I feel tricked … Anyway where was I.
Ah yes, so now the room was mine, free of poisonous spouting’s of repugnant rumors which would have been aimed directly to me. I just had to catch the ear of this well to do fellow and be on my way, he might offer me a job in the Far East or somewhere else exotic. I have the experience for it at least.
So there I went, walking towards him and striking up excellent conversation with him, even I was surprised we were hitting it off so well, the country air must have been doing a number on my new fat friend.
After around thirty minutes, give or take, we finally got around to discussing his business.
Needless to say, he liked the cut of my jib and offered me a job in one of his plants just on the outskirts of town, not laboring not at all, I would be helping run it! I could already feel my old Sundays best being wrapped around my physique as we continued to speak.
Annoyingly he wanted me to meet his friends and also to introduce me to his niece who had just been married. It took me a few moments to recoil in horror at this revelation. It would have been most unfortunate if it happens to be the same niece I stuffed under that tricky cake trolley.
After a few moments of trying to make excuses to leave he grabbed me by the arm and stated that I simply must meet her. It was tiresome hearing him garble on about how she is the most exquisite of people and lucky to have had found a loving husband. I did my best to bite my tongue; hopelessly nodding seemed to work as a response so I spent the next few moments doing exactly that.
The more he looked for her, the closer we got to the side of the Garden where her confection tomb lay. I just wanted to leave and prepare for my new job and wonder what will be my first roast dinner I’ll buy with my next wage slip.
But it was so vexing, being dragged around the party like a puppy on a lead to meet this woman who I knew to be wicked and who I knew to be crammed underneath the very tablecloth that is now brushing against the fat mans shoe.
I watched with great care, I was just waiting for a gust of wind to blow over and thwart the whole thing, but alas no. It would be a stray cat that would prove to be my undoing as it jumped from nowhere onto the table and taking half its contents away, including the tablecloth as it was batted away, exposing the late Mrs Cushing underneath, her head flimsily hanging onto her body. Everyone stood in shock as my chubby chum finally let go of my arm, just about time as well since I was starting to worry I might lose all feeling there for good as he ran to pick her up. He started to cry and I started asking for my coat.
I waited a few moments first of course, I didn’t want to seem rude in asking to leave to soon after the discovery of Mrs Cushing, I felt eight minutes was sufficient time for waiting before asking one of the servants to fetch my shabby tweed overcoat, I’ll need it after all. I start my new job on Monday.
So that is my tale kind stranger whoever you are, I shall leave this book on this northward bound train to be read by anyone, for it is a story that I feel I should tell. I am growing old now and each winter. Maybe now after saying something that must not be said I can finally get that one last decent night sleep, that I’ve not had in a long, long while before I retire from this world for good.
© Copyright 2016 Jonathan McQuillan. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Horror
Short Story / Thrillers
Short Story / Horror
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