A Skulk – Part VII
by Timothy J Jarvis
Part VII of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.
The next morning, Waclaw was on his way to work, nearly there, when Melanie attacked him. She tore barefoot off the common, clutching, in a two-handed grip, a gnarled and heavy stick, with a fox’s skull nailed to one end. She bore down, smote him repeatedly with this fetish; he tried to fend her off, but she was strong, bizarrely so. But, though she clubbed him to the ground before turning, running off, she stopped short of real injury; he was merely sick and shaken, not much hurt. He got up, staggered on, blood running from a cut above his eye.
The foreman, standing out front of the site, smoking, watched Waclaw approach.
‘Been in the wars again?’ he said, when Waclaw drew near. His tone, if concerned, was also a mite sardonic.
‘Waclaw, who beat you up?’
Waclaw explained about Melanie, told the foreman much of what had passed, holding back, though, both the weird and sordid aspects.
The foreman drew pensively on his cigarette.
‘You know we’re building on the site of an old nuthouse here, don’t you?’
‘You know, loony bin, erm, asylum, mental institution.’
‘No, I didn’t know.’
‘Right. Well, we are. Only closed down a few years back. The thing about such places… Well, this is bad ground, steeped in madness. You hear tell of things… But then, who believes such stuff, eh?’
He clapped Waclaw on the back.
‘Come on then, let’s go and get that cut seen to.’
That night Waclaw called Holly, guts all ravelled. She answered after a few rings.
‘Hello, Holly? It’s Waclaw.’
‘Yes. How are you?’
‘I’m good, I’m good. How are you?’
‘Not so bad, you know…’
‘Listen, I was wondering if you wanted to go out again sometime?’
Waclaw crossed to the window peeked out. Holly was sitting on her bed, wincing away from her ’phone.
‘Well… Look, I had a really nice time last night, but there’s someone you see, and I… I know we got on, but I was a bit drunk… Do you see what I’m saying?’
Waclaw flinched back from the window.
‘How could I see what you’re saying? I can hear what you’re saying…’
‘Sorry? Look don’t… I mean you’re a really nice guy and I hope…’
‘I know, I know, not to worry. See you.’
‘Yeah. See you around.’
Waclaw jabbed at his ’phone to end the call, hurled it across his flat.
To be continued…