(I’m aware this story has its faults and I’m not sure what they are! Any feedback is welcome :))
He roamed through the woods. He needed to find a shagpad for him and his girlfriend. Their current arrangement was not panning out. Tree branches hung over his face, booing shadows at him and he pushed them aside as he stepped onto leaves and logs, which lay like crocodiles in a swamp at his feet. He stepped over those to only land in a puddle of steaming muck.
The ground began to drop and all around him were whispering trees. He was aware they had secrets and he knew enough to leave them be. He had never much liked these surroundings. His boy Scout days had been numbered after the first camping trip, not that he minded. Bunch of do gooders. He liked the boxing training classes that he took years later. They didn’t teach you to be a sissy but to use your fists.
Barry Innocence had one purpose this afternoon, which caused him to have his blinkers on. He had walked the perimeters of the wood and hadn’t seen any cars in sight. He didn’t want a witness. Not that the wood wasn’t large enough and he doubted death made a noise. He strode into the dense shade of the trees and glanced back, once, at the cottage. Good luck to whoever had to kip there next. He had taken the steps out with him and the rope wound around his arm. He marched on regardless of his fears and tripped on the odd fallen branch. A rabbit darted in front of him and he remembered the rabbit he had caught a few days ago. It hadn’t been bad tasting either. He faced his tree, a solid oak, and, ultimately, his death. He placed down his steps, wedging the metal legs into the soft mud. He tested the noose that he had tied. Thank the Lord for Scouts. He then climbed onto his steps to fix the end of the rope to the arm of the tree that hung gamely. He patted the rough bark, almost sentimentally, and checking his tie was neat, Barry Innocence stuck his head through the noose and knocked away the steps.
He stopped, as if he had been held back by a force field. A man was dangling from a rope. He questioned- was it a dummy, joke?
He stepped forward and then turned back. He didn’t want to be a part of this. He didn’t want to.
He ran past the man, who wore a red suit and yellow tie. Loose straps of hair clung to his scalp. That wasn’t a dummy. He thought he might vomit. The eyes of the man flickered and he pissed himself. He continued to run, right onto the cottage.
The wind collided with his scattered breaths. He clutched the picket fence, scouring his palms and bruising his forehead with smeared sweat. He glanced at the cottage. It was compact, like one square of a Battenberg bake – a dull pinky colour, his girlfriend would have picked off the marzipan. He walked into the garden, which was pickled in weeds, slugs and rubbish. He rolled the wheel on an abandoned tricycle and shoved over the rotted washing machine, exposing the open grave underneath.
The door was nondescript, the windows obscure like lidded eyes. The thatch on the roof had wasted away. It was coming up to summer. It could be open topped. This was a perfect shagpad.
He walked in on a hard stone floor and embers smoking in the chimney grate. There were takeaway cartons in the kitchen and excrement in the sink, which gurgled at him and he leapt back. There was damp here and there. The whiff of it was strong but it was like a sea breeze. It was pleasant and earthy. Only had to spray some Febreeze. If he also bought blankets, cushions, then his girlfriend would love this. A rug that what was also needed and lamps.
He hurried away, needing to immediately tell his girlfriend. He passed the man again. This time he stood closer, and prodded him. He wasn’t stiff yet. He went through the pockets of the suit, and kept the twenty that he found.
‘Barry Innocence’ he read from the national insurance card. ‘The death of Innocence’ he said. ‘I hope you’ve gone somewhere better, sissy or not. Cheerio’
When he was on the bus home he rang the police and tipped them off. After that he did not spend his time thinking about Innocence.
He took his girlfriend shopping to buy what was needed to furnish the house.
‘It’s a shithole, Damien’ She told him as she viewed the place for herself.
‘I love it’ She hugs him.
‘It’s a shithole but you like that?’
‘Lets fuck’ She unzipped her coat.
Music to his ears.