Comedy Of Terror

Entry by: Olivia

5th February 2016
Comedy of Terror

Her brother had always had the upper hand. It was always he that had leapt out of the various nooks and crannies of their sprawling Victorian house and terrorized her. No matter how often he did it she had always run away screaming, filled with the delicious terror of his attention. John’s friends would come round, mysterious boys, even their words were different to hers, laced as they were with in-school words and ideas. They smelt different, a cloud of deodorant and a whiff of anxious sweat. Sometimes her friends would be round too, nut mother got distinctly twitchy then, so the occasions were few and far between.

The boys often played pranks on her back then. Hiding her things, teasing her about her lisp, pulling her hair. But as they all got older the atmosphere changed. The teasing changed to a more sexual tone, they began to weigh up possibilities and asses her availability. It all came to nothing, it was all talk and bravado. University and jobs came along and the long hot summers disappeared.

‘Rachel? Its John’, when, she sighed again, would he realize that she knew who it was, that’s one of the joys of mobile phones. ‘Rachel, a few of us are getting together, will you join us? ‘ She knew what he meant, a boozy weekend when ‘the boys’ all ate and drank and she did the cooking and clearing up. She was about to refuse when she realized she hadn’t laughed or had any fun at all for a very long time. Since she had split from Richard she had kept her head down, not feeling confident enough to enter into any sort of event or situation. She knew all of John’s friends and had met them over the years, mostly they worked in some totally incomprehensible jobs ‘in the city’ or were in an obscure academic post, teaching subjects she didn’t understand. They were harmless enough and it might just be fun. She told John that she would come to his house on the Friday and although she knew what he would say, asked him if he wanted her to bring anything. ‘Rachel, you’re such a good sport’. He still spoke in that old fashioned way, trapped between his inherited wealth and the hippy influence that he had never quite been able to embrace. ‘Just make sure you get Mrs B to give everywhere a good clean and get the beds ready, I’m not dong everything ‘ said Rachel softly, already composing a list in her head of everything they might need.

She was surprised to feel the stirrings of enjoyment wash over her. To feel needed was always a powerful emotion. She packed carefully, even risking a couple of new items, things she had been keeping of best. She called into the local shops on her way. They were always pleased to see her, remembering when she, too, had lived in the ‘Big House’.

Driving to the gates had the same effect as always, a combination of apprehension and comfort. The lights were on so she guessed that John had arrived and maybe some of his friends. She thought of tonight’s supper and mentally checked that she had everything. The house was quiet and she used her own key to let herself in. She called out, ‘John, I’m here, please give me a hand with the groceries and started to unload the car. It was a big house and she wasn’t surprised when he didn’t appear straight away. She walked backwards and forwards several times, dumped her overnight bags in the hall and took the groceries through to the kitchen.

She sorted out as much as she could and went back to the hall. Although the house was warm, she was cold and went to take her bags up to her room and to get a cardigan.

She felt unusually apprehensive, the house didn’t feel right, it was creaking far more than normal.

Opening her bedroom door unleashed a waft of male smell and the enormous shout of ‘surprise, surprise; laugh, we are here to amuse you’. The old familiar mix of fear and surprise shot through her. Her last thought was that she should really have warned John that her heart was nothing like as strong as it used to be and the doctor had warned her against too much in the way of sudden surprises.