April 2014 – too long – Death in the Family by John Pilling

Death in the Family

By John Pilling

When I awoke that morning, my first thought was that things just couldn’t carry on as they were. The problem had been slowly approaching for weeks and still nothing had been decided, we had been arguing for days, all to no purpose. So, much as I hated the idea, it seemed that it was going to be down to me to take action. If I wanted anything done, I was going to have to do it.

Lying back with my hands behind my head I replayed the conversation we’d had over supper the previous evening when things had finally come to a head. As usual, my partner had started it.

“I simply don’t see why we can’t just leave her be, she’s not doing any harm. She obviously likes it here, she seems very happy.

“I’m sure she is, lounging about all day eating us out of house and home and, so far, not a penny piece to show for it”

“What do you expect her to do? After all it was you who was so keen to have her.”

“You know very well it was a short term thing, she’s been here too long now, apart from anything else we need the room.”

“Well, why don’t we compromise then? There must be some sort of retirement place….”

“I’m sure there is” I interrupted. “At an ongoing cost.We simply can’t afford that sort of thing. We all have to pay our way here, you know that.”

“Surely there must be another way…”

“There isn’t.”

“Well then, I want no part of it. I’m having nothing to do with it”

“That’s typical of you, fine as long as things are easy but as soon as any hard decisions have to be made you run away.”

“I can’t believe you mean it, you’d actually go through with it?”

“Believe it.”

The conversation had come to an end at that point, my partner grim faced had simply got up and left, no doubt for the spare room as I had obviously slept alone. Lying there I started to plan.

Firstly, I would need some sort of weapon. The only thing I could think of was a knife, we did have an air rifle for the odd rat that came in the garden but that was obviously no use for anything bigger.

Secondly, I would have to sedate her in some way. Despite being so overweight she was very strong and there was no way I could deal with her if she was conscious, particularly if she spotted the knife. Finally, there was the problem of moving the body. I would definitely need some sort of lifting device.

Three days later I had it all organised. A visit to our local doctor with a sob story about insomnia had yielded a weeks supply of strong sleeping tablets. I reckoned that crushed up and mixed in with her food they would be enough to sedate her long enough. The body moving problem had been neatly solved by borrowing a hydraulic hoist from a friend who had a bedridden Mother. I didn’t tell her what I really wanted it for of course.

For some strange reason, I found myself unwilling to use any of our own kitchen knives so I spent several hours filing down an old bread knife I found in the workshop until it was as sharp as the proverbial razor. I didn’t want to have to make any second cuts, one was going to be bad enough.

My partner had said no more on the subject but after watching my careful preparations decided to attend a three day residential cookery course. Typical.

The following day, I mixed the powdered sleeping pills in with her lunch and after making sure she’d eaten it all sat down to wait in the kitchen. That was the worst time and I cursed my partner more than once during the next hour. However, a couple of stiff drinks of the cooking brandy from the dresser helped and eventually I plucked up courage and picking up the knife from the table went to listen outside her door. I couldn’t hear anything so I quietly opened the door and peered in, she was lying on her bed fast asleep. Gripping the knife tightly I tiptoed across and knelt just behind her. She was on her side facing away from me with her head slightly back so I could clearly see the big veins corded on the side of her neck. I hesitated, but just then she grunted deep in her throat and terrified she would wake I leaned forward and drew the knife blade across her throat cutting as deeply as I could. It was so easy, the blood just flooded out soaking the bedding within seconds.

She gave a couple of gasps but didn’t really struggle and within a few seconds it was all over.

Shakily I stood up and took a few steps backwards. I was still standing there, mesmerised by the gradually spreading pool of blood, when the burly figure of our local policeman appeared in the doorway. For a few moments he looked at the bloodstained knife in my hand and the body behind me then his face broke into a broad smile and he said.

“Afternoon Mrs Forbes, Tom said you might be killing the pig today, I just wondered if you needed any help.”


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