her young neighbours’ marriage would not last. Call it feminine intuition.
She had never
warmed to her neighbour Carol with her short skirts, high heels and hydraulic
chest. When Mavis’s husband
Charlie had passed, three
years ago, the hussy had turned up at his funeral wearing a skirt so short if
she’d sneezed you could have checked her tonsils. No respect, Mavis had been mortified.
however, was a lovely man. He reminded Mavis of Charlie, quiet and considerate.
A gentle giant with puppy dog eyes. Mavis adored him. When Charlie passed, Sam had helped her sell his
car and regularly checked in to make sure she was okay. Every Friday, he would drive
Mavis to Morrison’s in Jarrow so she could do her weekly shop. Insisted on it,
saying it was their date night. Mavis looked forward to the couple of hours
they spent together, enjoying his company. She didn’t feel so alone in the
world knowing Sam was just next door. The man was a saint who lived with a
had been good enough to run her down to the local garden centre to buy some
plants to finish off her borders. Carol had answered the door, made up to the
nines as usual, wine glass in hand and sarcastically called to him. “Sam your
embarrassed and had apologised profusely for the comment. Grabbed his car keys
and pushed past his drunk wife and helped Mavis into the car.
known down in the village. Especially their
local pub, the Dog and Parrot. When
Charlie was alive, they would call into the pub every Saturday night to play bingo.
Carol and Sam would already be in the pub.
Carol would be two sheets to the wind, sucking
away provocatively at the straw in her drink, flirting with any bloke who
happened to be in her vicinity, while Sam would be sitting drinking his pint
with a face like thunder.
under her spell. “Why don’t you just leave her be,” he would say, “She’s just
having a bit of fun, woman.”
thought, she was like a cheap whore looking to turn her next trick.
came as no
surprise, just days after their trip to the garden centre, Sam called round.
His eyes puffy and red, sobbing his little heart out.
him inside, “What’s happened?” she asked, ensuring he removed his muddy shoes
before guiding him into the kitchen.
Brown. I don’t know what to do.”
my lovely?” Mavis asked.
me. Told me she’s met someone else, and they are planning to move to New
Zealand. Said she’s had it planned for weeks.” Sam rubbed his massive hands
through his hair. Mavis noticed the deep scratch on the side of his neck and a
blood stain on the collar of his shirt. He let out a cry like a wounded animal,
from his soul. “Oh, what have I done. I loved her, really loved her. What should
I do, Mrs Brown?”
Mavis’s resolve not to say, “You’re better off without the little whore, son.” Instead,
she gave him a hug. She had heard them arguing the night they came back from
the garden centre. The shouting had gone on for some time. When Carol began
to scream, Mavis had turned
the television up.
so, Sam rose from the table. “I better be getting back home, Mrs Brown. Carol
will be….” and he stopped himself. His
eyes filled with tears. Mavis hugged him. Looked into his dark eyes and said, “You
listen to me Sam, you’ll get through this. You need to keep busy, keep your
mind occupied. You know where I am if
you need me. It will all work itself
out, you hear?”
know what I need to do”, and he had left.
following morning, Mavis was woken by a noise outside. She checked her watch,
it was 5:48am, the sun was just beginning to rise. She got out of bed and crossed
to the window.
It was Sam, down at the bottom of his garden. Mavis pulled on her house coat
and went down to the kitchen. She made two cups of tea, checked he was still
out there and made her way down to where he was stood. The Blow Flies hit her
before the smell did.
said, trying to brush the flies away. “I’ve brought a cuppa for you, love.”
a trance, staring off into the fields that surrounded their properties. Flies
crawled across his wet cheeks, but he
paid them no attention, more covered the dark stains on his t-shirt.
cups down on the lawn, brushed at the flies that were now feasting on her bare
didn’t mean for
it to happen,” Sam said. “She just wouldn’t stop. When I close my eyes, I can
see her face. I can’t erase the memory of it all.”
Mavis touched his arm and
spoke gently to him, “Course you didn’t, son. But sometimes we must bury those
memories so deep we can begin to forget them. Or at least deep enough so’s the
flies can’t get to them.” Mavis took the spade from Sam, pulled her house coat
up so it covered her nose and began to dig. Deeper.
Jon Park lives
North East of England and loves to write. His story “Too Tough to Die,”
appeared in Gabba Gabba Hey, an anthology of fiction inspired by the
music of the Ramones published by Fahrenheit Press in 2021.
He loves loud
and plays guitar badly. If you meet him, you will need to shout.
If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard
child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped
by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when
he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He
is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school
art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only
during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s
strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at