A Skulk – Part V
by Timothy J Jarvis
Part V of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.
One Saturday night, some time after he saw the young woman and her boyfriend fucking, Waclaw stayed in alone, rented a horror film, Littleblood. He sat down to watch it with some beers, rolled himself a joint. The film began well – a bizarre, brutal opening – but then palled, settling into stale stalk-and-slash. A little drunk, a little stoned, Waclaw found his mind drifting to other things. He thought back to the morning Melanie had appeared on his doorstop and fell into a reverie in which, instead of making bizarre romantic declarations and obscure threats, she stripped off her clothes, closed her eyes, began swaying, dancing, to some music in her head. Then his thoughts turned to the woman whose flat he could see from his window.
Roused from his lewd musings by a report from the television set, he returned his attention to the film. He couldn’t work out what was happening. Though the setting was contemporary Paris, the screen showed the nubile protagonist hunkered down, stagnant water around her ankles, in what appeared to be a First World War trench. She was dressed in a brown woollen uniform, a shrapnel helmet on her head, a rifle clutched in her right hand. Waclaw peered at the television, unsure what he was seeing, wondering if he’d fallen asleep and was dreaming the scene.
The heroine raised her head to look over the parapet, but cringed back as another shell landed out on the corpse-strewn waste before her, throwing up clods and gobbets. A vivid image in Polish came to Waclaw then: ‘Death has squatted here and voided its festering bowels.’ He smiled at that; a nice piece of phrase-making.
On screen, the heroine clambered out of the trench and ran across the miry no man’s land, flinching at mortar bursts, heading for a stand of charred, mist-swagged trees atop a knoll. As she neared it, something clambered out from a hollow off to her left, and loped at her, growling. A bear! She raised her rifle to her shoulder, steadied it, pulled the trigger, but there was no report, just a dull click. She made as if to run, then grimaced, turned back, stood her ground, met the onrushing beast with a bayonet thrust, tore open its throat. Yowling, the creature staggered back, collapsed to its knees, then pitched forward to lie prone, threshing like a landed fish, blood running out, soaking into the churned earth. Once its throes were done, the young woman approached. She saw it wasn’t a bear at all, but a man dressed in the skin of a bear. She was reaching down to lift up the head of the pelt, which had fallen over his face, when she woke up.
A nightmare sequence in the film, not a dream of Waclaw’s. His interest rekindled, he watched what remained more closely, but it reverted to being insipid. It was almost, thought Waclaw, as if the febrile vision had been cannibalized from another, more antic film. Dreams fascinated him, for he never dreamt, or, at least, never remembered his dreams.
The film over, he switched off the television. In the ensuing quiet he heard a sound from outside, somewhere between a gasp and a groan. He looked out the window. He saw the young woman lying on her bed, frigging herself with a vibrator. She was sat up against the headboard, legs spread, knees high, grimacing with pleasure, grunting soft. Waclaw turned off his lamp, then returned to the window, stood rapt, watching her. When she began to caress her breasts, he reached down, started touching himself. At first he stroked through his trousers, then, unzipping his fly, took out his cock, fell to wanking himself off.
He came quickly, on the window sill. At that moment, the girl cried out and cast the vibrator from her. It droned on, gyring on the carpet. Her features twisted, she shuddered, wrapped her bedclothes about her. Leaning forward, Waclaw pressed his forehead to the cool glass of the window. Then he saw, standing on the railway embankment, Melanie, grinning wickedly. She waved at him, then fleeted, like a wild thing, up the slope, and into the crape-swathed arms of the night.
Waclaw looked over at the girl’s flat, but she had turned her light off, and he could no longer see in.
To be continued…