Like Frosted Leaves on a Driveway

A bundle of them were found crammed into a cereal box that had been stuffed down the back of a well bled radiator. Along the side of it lay a kitten that found its way down there also with its body mangled against the grills. The stench clung to my nostrils as I breathed in the nauseating vapors that crept and trickled down my neck. 

We had been driving for what felt like the best part of two hours but we arrived eventually. Inside resembled very little of the life that Christopher and I had once shared together. The walls, vacant of life screamed out through torn wallpaper and exposed cavity. I reached inside the wall and withdrew the blackening sludge that worked its way up the sleeve of my arm. Shocked, I withdrew it and it slapped hard against Samuel’s face. 

‘Samuel?’ They turned to each other with faces of well-rehearsed reactions of mockery. 

This is not the first time I have seen this played out. I remember when Christopher and I had first seen it displayed last year when we first tuned in. It was much different being there facing it head on. It is difficult to place into words how I felt to feel the bash of the audience’s jeers with the overhead studio lights beaming brightly against my face. The howls of laughter. They cried out for Justice. I have no doubt that we will be appearing on it in less than a weeks time. 

‘Could that, by any chance, be Dr Samuel Holland to whom we have with us today?’

A camera feed from his cell was projected on the stage around me. His face was now a mural of bruises. I had difficulty recognizing this fractured face which loomed over from all corners. He was shaking and the audience whistled. I nodded to them, gazing down at my feet. Tears streamed down my face to the bottom of my chin and blinded me with a hazed reality. 

‘Crying won’t save you now, Mrs Bridger.’

Christopher’s copy of Dante lay inside one of the walls. Mold had taken a hold of the pages which curled inwards and were held together by a broken spine. The scent of urine soaked carpets lingered in the corner of the living room which now house a series of dead rats. One was caught in a trap that had snapped the creature’s head clean off its shoulders.

A magnitude of flies flew around our ears. We ran into a wall of them which caused Samuel to scream out in frustrated discomfort. They felt like wet leather crawling across the skin.   

‘Do you want to stop for a while?’ Samuel asked, his hand grabbed my shoulder tightly before I turned round to bury my face into his shoulder. 

‘Lets just do what we came here for.’

The studio lights burned with intensity. 

‘What ever are we to do with you?’ One of them asked. ‘The more you cooperate with us, the better it will be.’

‘How about a little dance?’ 

‘Wh-what?’ I asked with disbelief. 

‘What do you guys think?’ 

The audience erupted into more howling. I discerned one voice screaming to let the bitch hang. 

‘Dance, or else Dr Holland receives a little more TLC.

‘This isn’t right!’ I screamed out. ‘What has happened to you?’ 

The screams drowned me out. The louder I pleaded to them, the more it seemed to excite them. 

‘This could all happen to you!’ 

‘Yes, Mrs Bridger. They know. That is why they are there and you are here.’ The central one spoke. He turned slightly to the audience. ‘Don’t any of you forget that.’

I must have realized then how pointless it was. Our home has been abandoned now for quite a while judging from the mold formed on the dishes in the kitchen. Yet another breeding ground for decay. 

‘That’s fucking disgusting.’ Called Samuel with his torch pointed down the back of the radiator. 

I walled over to him, making sure to avoid one of the rats that the flies infested with their young. There I saw it. The kitten wedged between the grill and the cereal box. Samuel clutched the box as best he could and attempted to remove it. All the while we heard the sickening cracks of the felines body as though they were frosted leaves being removed from the drive way. Dust flew up into our faces and after a fit of coughing, he withdrew the cereal box.

‘Well Mrs Bridger, where is your husband?’ 

‘I don’t know.’ 

‘Now, now, Mrs Bridger, do we have to give him the once over?’ 

‘I told you, I don’t know! I’ve been trying to find him myself!’ I pleaded. How pathetic I must have sounded. ‘I’m telling you the truth, I don’t know now please don’t hurt, Sam. Please.’

They pauses for a moment, doing a similar glance at each other like they did before. The audience let out a stretched moan. Like a fucking pantomime.

‘We know that you know where to find him, Mrs Bridger. You’ve know him for’ They glanced at their prompt cards. ‘Sixteen years.’ 

‘He’s a very dangerous man, Mrs Bridger. You must know that now.’

‘Help us, Mrs Bridger, it will be better in the long run.’

‘He will be before us soon enough, now Mrs Bridger, save us a lot of time and yourself a lot of misery.’

We fished out the contents onto the matted carpet now riddled with shards of glass. I remember when we bought this. Christopher always hated it. They were illegible in most parts, just scribbles on crumpled paper, but we’d found them. We had found what we had come here for. We sifted through the rest of the house for any traces of more of them until we had enough to go one.

‘What are all these, Jane?’ Asked Samuel, his eyes still stinging from the dust. ‘What are we looking at?’

‘Something wonderful, can’t you see it?’

He stared at me blankly as though I had gone mad. But soon he will see that all this was worth it. 

 

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