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Short Stories

Mexican Standoff

killer

She looks beautiful - I've never seen anybody more pregnant. She must have been stocking up before she goes to hospital, because she's walking out of the supermarket with four shopping bags, two in each hand. Her doctor probably said to take it easy, but she's the sort that knows what's best. I'm sure she'll not object to a helping hand from my direction, and then she'll find out how much she really knows. I've never killed anybody pregnant before. But there's a first time for everything and I can feel myself getting excited. It's the anticipation of something different. I'm really looking forward to this one.

I'm walking up to her and she looks up at me with big doe eyes. Pleading silently for me to offer to carry the stuff for her. God, she looks knackered. What sort of a husband would let his wife out in this state? Maybe she just got fed up with sitting at home waiting for the baby to come and sneaked out. Maybe she isn't even married. That'd be even better, nobody snooping around.

'Need a hand, love?' I ask. Her face shows a flood of relief. She's only got a few yards and she's sweating already. I ask her which way she's going, while I take the bags off her, hoping that it's towards my place. It is and I breath a quiet sigh of relief.

'You're really kind,' she says, 'most people just look the other way. They must be embarrassed at seeing pregnant women.'

'Maybe they're just too lazy to help a damsel in distress,' I say, and she blushes. She's obviously got herself into the club but there's no bloke to support her. Single mum to be. And she's probably not had a compliment like that since she got herself knocked up. Anyway, that breaks the ice and I get a bit more information off her, like her name and where she works, at least before she had to leave because of the babies. Babies - apparently there's going to be more than one. Even better.

We're getting quite near my place now, so I ask if she wants a coffee while she rests her feet. She's obviously exhausted, even without the bags, so she accepts. I point out that it's only a few doors up and a smile comes over her face. I put the bags on the doorstep while I hook the keys out of my back pocket and let us in. She's thanking me again, but I shrug it off. Nice guy, huh? She'll soon find out different.

I sit her down in the front room while I get some coffee. She looks really relieved at getting the weight off her feet and slumps down on the settee. I come back from making the coffee and give her a cup. She sees a couple of pictures on the mantelpiece and says, 'You're married then?'

'Thirteen years next month,' I tell her and try to look happy about it. She catches what I mean though and laughs.

'I've had my own share of bad relationships,' she says. 'I've about had it with men. They only want you for one thing, and if you get pregnant they tell you it can't be theirs and get lost. Bloody men.'

My eyes are twinkling before she realises what she's said and apologises. 'Didn't mean you, you're a gentleman. Not many that'd stop to help a pregnant woman. Nothing in it for them.' Then she catches the laughter in my eyes and joins in. She looks cute when she laughs. She's still giggling when I clout her round the head with the hammer in my hand, the one I keep hidden under the settee for moments just like this.

It's not too much trouble to get her downstairs into the cellar, even with the weight she's carrying. I chain her up against the wall whilst she's still out, strip her and stuff a gag in her mouth. I hit her a couple of times but it's no fun while she's unconscious. I decide to leave her a while and head upstairs for the phone.


mistress

I'm halfway through watching Coronation Street when I realise there's a ladder in my tights. Cheap bloody things. I've another pair upstairs but I can't be bothered to go and get them. Just wait till the programme's finished. Then the phone rings. Well, if I'm not going to get up because of my tights, I'm not going to get up for the phone. Whoever it is will ring back if it's important.

Two minutes later and it's still ringing. Bloody hell. I guess it must be important then - suppose I'd better answer it.

'What d'you bloody want?' I yell down the phone.

'Surprise for you,' says the voice on the other end, tantalisingly. It's my favourite married lover. My temper calms down immediately. If he's got a surprise, it's going to be something real special. Last time she lasted almost two days.

'Get yourself over here right quick. She's still out, but she won't be for long. Get here before she wakes up.'

I wonder what he's found this time. It must be really special because I can hear the excitement in his voice. Normally he sounds pretty bored, even when he's got a new one to play with. But I didn't get involved with him for that, there's more important things that join us together as one. I quickly slip my gun and knife into my bag and head out down the path.

He answers the door as I'm still walking up the steps. 'You'll love this,' he says, stripping off his shirt, 'even I've not done one like this before.'

I can believe him, because his excitement is showing like I've never seen. I only just get through the door before he's tearing my clothes off as well. We're going right at it and the door's wide open. I manage to kick it somewhere towards shut, but then I start getting into the swing of it and couldn't care less.

It's the best we've had for a long while, I think as we sit getting our breath back. Then I start thinking of the surprise. What's he found this time? Last time he got excited was when he'd found some black girl. Maybe this one's oriental. Or twins. No, he probably couldn't get both of them. Bloody hell, it's time to stop thinking about it and go and see for yourself, girl.

'Let's go see what you've got this time,' I say.

He just grins at me and walks over to the cellar door. 'After you dearest,' he laughs, waving his arm in a mock gallant gesture. He's got his gun in his hand and that's not all that's waving. I grin back and head down the stairs, as naked as he is.

My mind is still wondering when I see what he's got chained to the wall that I know so well. I'm thinking, �Shit, this one's fat,' when I realise that she's actually pregnant. My heart skips a beat. I don't know what to think now. A bit of torture and murder I can stand, I'm even starting to enjoy it as much as him, but unborn babies - the poor little things can't even struggle. That's no fun.

I realise I'm still stood on the stairs, so I walk down the rest and look at the woman again. She's woken up and she's looking at me with angry eyes. I guess she knows what's coming, what with two naked people standing over her chained body. I just don't know what to say. Then he walks past me, still as excited as when he asked me over and slaps her round the face.

I'm standing here dumbstruck and he's belting the crap out of her. She's still got some fight in her, because she's struggling. He starts to laugh, and kicks her in the belly. That brings me to my senses. 'What the hell's this?' I shout at him.

He's so excited that he doesn't catch my meaning. 'Two for the price of one,' he says, not even looking back at me. 'Actually more, she's got more than one snapper bouncing around in there.'

I don't realise how the gun gets into my hand, but he hears me cock the trigger. He turns round and stares at me. That bloody woke him up. The woman looks at me as if she's lost the plot. She's trying to work out why I'm here. I'm starting to wonder the same thing.

'I don't kill babies,' I say, in a calm voice that surprises even me, pointing the gun in his general direction. He's more surprised than I am though, but he starts towards me to take it off me. He's still got his gun in his hand, but he hasn't raised it yet. When I raise mine to his head, he stops. He can see I mean business and yes, I'm thinking clear, dangerous thoughts. I'm thinking I've come here for a bit of murderous fun, but maybe it's even more fun to kill your lover.


wife

'Hold it right there, bitch!' I'm standing at the top of the stairs looking down at my husband and his slut of a mistress, both in the nude, and she's pointing a gun at him. 'What the hell's going on here?'

I've come home to an open door, a floor full of hurriedly discarded clothes, and I realise that it's time to put into effect what I've been planning for six months. It was harder than I thought to get hold of a gun but get one I did, and now I'm pointing it at the whore that's been screwing my husband. I haven't felt anything for him in years, but I've still never felt so angry as now. It's the first time I've seen her, and I know it's going to be the last.

'Put that thing down. I'm going to kill him too, but you're first, slut.' At least that's what I mean to say, but I only get halfway through when I see what's behind them. I quickly change the rest to 'Jesus Christ!'

'Guess you've found our little secret.' My lying bastard of a husband is actually laughing at me. I knew he'd been screwing this bitch, but this ...

My legs falter and I almost fall down the stairs, but I regain my balance and my gun's still pointing at the naked slut. She's still pointing hers at him and the poor woman chained to the wall can't believe what the hell's going on.

He's carrying on. 'I was afraid you'd find out one day,' he says, lifting his gun to point at me. 'Guess this is my way of divorcing you.'

I can't believe it. There's three of us, we've all got guns and we're stood in a triangle, pointing them at each other. There's a tension in the air that I've never felt before. I don't think any of us want to make the first move, we're all waiting for somebody else to start. I look at my husband and he looks back. I realise that I'm wasting my time, I should have just left him. But I can't now. Not with what I know. I look at the slut. She's looking at me and she's starting to smile. I don't know what's going through her mind, but I'm starting to get scared. Why the hell am I here? Couldn't I just leave him to his mistress? Why did I have to plot to kill them? I don't even love him any more. What the hell have I got myself into?


victim

It all happens so quickly I don't even see who shot first. Maybe they all did it together. There's just one great bang as all three guns go off and then the blood spurts everywhere. I cringe backwards as far as I can, instinctively, and shut my eyes.

When I open them I look at the scene and almost go mad. The blood's still spurting through the air. It's coating the walls and the floor. It's all over me as well. I didn't even feel it hit. It's a shade of red I didn't expect, darker than I'd have thought. It looks like paint. The bodies hit the floor and their heads have gone, blown to unrecognisable bloody bits.

I shut my eyes again and really squeeze them shut. Maybe when I open them again it'll all be a dream. Maybe none of this ever happened. Maybe I'm just trying to kid myself. I keep them shut as long as I can and then look back out into my prison. Nothing's changed.

My head's swirling like the worst migraine possible and I'm just lowering it down to cry - I think I'm too far gone to find tears, but I'm going to cry anyway - when the spasm hits. It feels like a lightning bolt jumping around inside me. I've nearly blacked out with the pain when I realise that I got kicked in the belly. My babies. They pull me out of this and I start to come back into myself. I must have been nearly insane. But my babies brought me back. My babies. My poor babies.

I concentrate on what I should be doing. I'm in the right position chained to this wall anyway, all I have to do is push. It doesn't need much, I can feel them coming anyway. I wasn't far off before and this has just brought it to the edge.

I look out at the room. There's three bodies lying on the floor as my babies join them, one, two - and three. Triplets. They say for everybody that dies there's somebody born. They were right here. Three dead bodies, three live babies, my babies, crying and howling. My hands are still chained, I can't cuddle them, I can't give them my warmth and my love but I feel for them. They keep me sane.

And I think about what they'll grow up to be.


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