Saturday 6 June 2020

Debut Fiction: 'Hear No Evil' by Jill Kerr

They were old and I was growing up. She wore a house coat except on Wednesdays when they got the bus into town. She called me ‘Miss’ and shouted ‘Yo Ho!’ across the low fence to get mum’s attention. He had a comb-over and thick white moustache. He didn’t speak, he gawped, skin-crawling stares. Mum and dad would laugh about it and Granny put him on her ‘Not very nice to know’ list.

I was only allowed inside their house once, to feed the big ginger cat when they were away for the night. The rooms smelled of cooked fish and bleach. I’ll never forget the three ugly brass monkeys on the hall table. I couldn’t resist touching them, feeling their cold weight. The cat slipped between my legs, flicking its tail like a sly guard on patrol, sending shivers through me. I never had to go back.

It was a sun-charred afternoon in July. The lawn was parched and a hypnotic, low hum of bees in the honeysuckle filled the air. No one heard him cry out, the pane shatter or the tomato plants and canes break under his weight. It was too late when she found him and called for dad.

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