Featured writer for May 2013 on The Dock:
“There’s only one kind of dead, the not moving and the not breathing kind, and that’s the kind of dead he is.” Despite her hysteria, Shelley Hansard tried to whisper on the phone from The Lanesborough.
“Not necessarily.” Marianne’s voice squeaked down the line. “Just because things seem a certain way, it doesn’t mean they are.”
“Sometimes it does. Sometimes things are exactly as they seem – and right now, this is one of those fucking times.” Shelley sat rocking on the edge of the bed in the Regency-styled suite. “I’m telling you, he fucking died on me.”
“You’re not a doctor. You can’t go around pronouncing people dead.”
“If you don’t believe me, get off the line and I’ll call someone else.”
“Don’t you dare. You don’t tell anyone. Do you understand? You come straight here.” Marianne grunted. “Have you got the money?”
“What the fuck does that matter now?” A hot tear landed on Shelley’s thigh.
“Get a grip, Kiki. Start acting like a professional.”
Fighting the urge to look at the motionless body spread-eagled next to her, Shelley pushed herself up from the bed. Her neatly folded suit lay by her feet. She stood, staring down, burrowing her toes into the plush carpet. She knew she should get dressed, but clean clothes didn’t belong on skin that felt unclean.
Taking a step towards the bathroom, she felt unbalanced. Her legs shuddered and her backside hit the floor. Reunited with her brown, pinstripe suit, she reached for her skirt. With trembling hands, she dragged it towards her. Shuffling on her back, she shimmied into it. Her fingers grappled with the hook and eye. Making a hasty exit was important, but making an exception to her rule was impossible. She couldn’t do it.
She managed to stand but, stepping out of her skirt, she collapsed again. Pressing down on the carpet with her palms, she tried to lever herself back up. Her jolting arms gave way. The last limbs to surrender to the convulsionary rhythm that had overtaken the rest of her.
She didn’t have control over her body. Instead, she had a helpless feeling of being completely powerless. The rush to leave the hotel and the corpse was over. As a periodic convulsionist, she knew the beat could monopolise her for hours. She just had to wait. She knew what to expect. Soon she’d be gone… To read through to the end of ‘The Dead John’ click here.