Below is a (very) short story (what today we would call flash fiction) found among various bits and pieces belonging to my Mother, Marie T Davies, who died a few years ago. It surprised me on several levels: first because I never knew she had written any fiction at all, and second because it shows a dark, grim side of her character that I was not aware of. In later years she loved Science Fiction (books, TV, film) but there was obviously a morbid side to her interests as well. Perhaps this finally goes some way to explaining my love of horror, which my brothers don’t particularly have and neither did my parents, or so I thought!
The date of this grim little tale is unknown but the other items it was found among and the use of her maiden name, Jelley, would place it before my parents’ wedding, which was in 1950. Talking to my Dad, he is certain it was written before he met her, so in all likelihood it pre-dates 1947. Other than that, no one seems to be able to say and there is no date on the writing itself. Note to authors – date your writing. One day it might matter to someone!
It would seem my Mother wrote very little. I have this short story, one other complete one (which shows another side of her character, a off-kilter sense of humour which I did know about but had never seen translated into fiction before), and a couple of incomplete stories. Of these, one seems to be a straight romantic tale, but of course I don’t know where it might have been heading in her mind, and the other is a children’s adventure very much in the mode of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five type books, with a “haunted” castle and everything else you’d expect. What there is of it is fun. Whether I would ever be tempted to try and finish something so outside my own writing style, I honestly can’t say.
So, anyway, after all that, here is the story for the interest of family, friends or just people who like to read old stories and wonder, like me, what might have developed if the writer had continued writing. I think the style shows promise (remembering the time it was written in). I really wish my Mother had written more. You see sides of people in their writing that they don’t always show in day-to-day living.
Editing note: Only the most basic of editing has been done on this story. It is very much as it was written.
DEATH TAKES OVER
(The Tragic End Of A Girl And Her Mother)
One moonless night, with the wind doing its utmost to throw the few people who were out to the ground, a young girl fought her way along a lonely path. She was on an errand of utmost importance. Her mother lay dangerously ill with pneumonia and a doctor she must have.
The girl sobbed bitterly to herself. Her mother was the only thing she had in the world. Every now and again she would turn and look about fearfully, for was it not only last week a defenceless young girl had been brutally murdered. One can imagine the terror of this poor girl.
She was passing a derelict farmstead, which lies about a quarter of a mile from the village, when she thought she saw a man move away from an outer building. She screamed, and then realised it was but the movement of a tree. Her shattered nerves made her think every movement was a lurking man.
She said to herself, “Nina Grey, get a grip on yourself, or you’ll never get a doctor for mother.”
A quarter of an hour later she stumbled up to the doctor’s house and rang the bell. A maid answered the door.
“Is Doctor Wright in?” she asked in-between gasps, for she had run out of breath.
“No Miss, I’m sorry. He had an emergency call about an hour ago and hasn’t got back yet.”
All Nina’s self control snapped then. She fell against the door post and sobbed. The maid said, “You’d better come in Miss. He should be back in a minute.”
After she had given her something to drink to pull her together, the doctor still hadn’t returned.
“What house is he at?” she asked the maid.
“At Mrs Evans, 43 Hollow Brook Lane,” she replied.
“Thank you,” Nina answered. “I might meet him on the way.”
She left the doctor’s house and proceeded towards Hollow Brook Lane, which was at the other end of the village. She met the doctor half way there and hailed him.
“Nina!” he said. “What on earth are you doing out on a night like this? Is your mother worse?”
“Yes Doctor Wright, much worse. Oh please hurry and go to her.”
“But what about you Nina? I can’t leave you to walk home by yourself.”
“Please, don’t worry about me. Hurry to mother. She might even be dead now!” She choked the last words.
“Now, now, Nina, I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that. But if you’re sure you’ll be all right I’ll go straight away.”
“Yes! Yes! Hurry. I’ll be all right.”
Now you might think, why doesn’t he take her in his car, but he’s only a village doctor and only has a bike.
He rode off at a rate the force of the wind would allow.
Nina retraced her steps, hoping against hope he would be in time.
She had got back as far as the derelict farm when a movement behind her made her turn with a startled cry.
A tall man in a long black overcoat and felt hat advanced towards her very slowly.
Fear held her rooted to the spot till he was almost up to her. Then she gave a terror stricken cry and turned to run. But he sprang with a snarl that would have put any tiger to shame.
She screamed but twice. Then her lifeless body was cast to the ground and her murderer vanished into the night like an evil spirit.
It was on his way home, four hours later, after fighting a losing battle for Mrs Grey’s life, that the doctor came across Nina’s lifeless body. He gently picked her up and took her back to the house. He laid her beside the dead body of Mrs Grey, for she had died one hour ago.
Both were buried in the little village graveyard quietly.
The murderer of the young girls was caught three months later, after killing four other girls.
As he went to the scaffold, he laughed a maniacal laugh. For it was just so. He was a madman!