Death dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Chapter 16 Excerpt

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Seth Gordon, was having a great deal of difficulty dropping off to sleep. He was blaming, those last two mugs of coffee he’d drunk while he was watching a really bad film on the television. He should have known it was rubbish from its title alone. Anything that happily goes by the name of ‘Zombie Attack. Part 3 The bloodbath,’ should have been avoided but he couldn’t resist a movie he suspected was a Grindhouse classic. Seth may have been eighty-four years old, come next January but he had a lifelong love of really bad cinema. This fascination began with Bela Lugosi and his, “Children of the night” line in Dracula, which he himself, had repeated too many times to count for the benefit of his sheep and ‘Tess,’ his faithful sheep dog.  Unlike his sheep, Tess started wagging her tail furiously and jumped up at him, whenever the broken eastern European accent appeared in the house. It was due to his increasingly bizarre taste, that Seth had been forced by lack of product to move on from Bela.

He passed through the entire catalogue of Ed Woods, the winner of many Golden Turkey Awards and then he had accidentally found George Romero and his rather spasticated members of the undead, who it seemed had a great deal of trouble chasing down their intended victims.  Much to Seth’s pleasure they seemed to have an unhealthy interest in, ‘Brains.’ Laughter, which had always been simmering just below the surface, erupted when an old V.H.S. copy of, ‘Revenge of The Living Dead’ found its way into his possession. He must have watched that movie over and over again, until he knew literally every little nuance and eyebrow movement in the whole ninety-three-minute production. At this moment, he was wishing he’d watched the damn thing again tonight, instead of the extremely disappointing ‘Zombie Attack. Part 3.’ At least he’d have got a good laugh out of, ‘Revenge’ and he wouldn’t be tossing, turning and occasionally sleeping fitfully, in this blasted and persistently overheated bed.

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“Bollocks,” he cursed loudly as he swung his old gnarled feet out of bed and put them in the always comfortable Donald Duck slippers, that his grand-daughter had given him for Christmas, several years ago. As he looked down at his feet, Seth remembered his response to the unexpected gift and her words rang in his head, to this day.

“For you Granddad,” she’d sweetly said and then looked so hopefully at him, awaiting some kind of reciprocal recognition, that would display even a shred of real heartfelt gratitude on his part. In truth, he’d always hated The Disney Corporation but swallowed his political pride and smiled warmly at her.

“Thank you, I think they’re lovely and I’ll wear them every morning.” As he rose from the bed, to make his way towards the dark kitchen, he stated quite justifiably, “You see Ellyn, I’ve got them on right now.”

These slippers had seen better days and many of them. He would be eighty-five next January and lived in his own past for much of the time. All of his old friends had shuffled off this mortal coil, as of last August. It was then he’d learnt of the unexpected death of James, or Jimmy, as he had always preferred to be called, Stockwell, from a massive heart attack. Jimmy, was the go-getter in the bunch and it was no surprise, to any of the others in the clique, when he set up the rather mundane sounding traffic cone business. Jimmy bought the rights to the company, when the original owners chose to sell ‘The Rubber Cone Company,’ to stave off bankruptcy. He’d bought it for a pittance from the accountancy firm, who had been uselessly employed in a futile attempt to try and fend off the inevitable. He’d changed the manufacturing process to plastic moulded cones and a little more of his imagination, when he came up with, ‘Wizard’s Hat’ as the trading name but what did people expect from an ex-goalkeeper, in a rather successful school football team.

After a slow start, ‘Wizard’s Hat,’ simply grew exponentially and pretty soon, Jimmy Stockwell was raking in multiple millions of £’s per annum, in profit. However, all his money couldn’t save him from The Grim Reaper and now Seth, the erstwhile Centre Forward from that bunch of young lads, was the last member of the team still standing.

“Well somebody had to be,” he said, as he filled the kettle and lit the gas hob, to make his latest cup of ‘Night Time Tea.’ In his opinion, the liquid had to be boiling before another step in the process could be undertaken, so Seth settled himself down at the table and prepared to wait for a few minutes, while the water reached the required temperature.

Tess, like him, was getting on in years. She preferred to simply lie on her blanket by the stove, rather than chase after sheep these days. Loyally, she looked up at him as he opened the paper at any old page and pretended to be interested in what it said.

“Look at that girl, some fucking idiot crashed his car into a lamp post and killed his girlfriend in the process,” he read to the equally disinterested Collie. Tess, for her part, had learnt many years ago, that to appear as though you gave a damn, often earned you a tasty treat from the master’s table. So, even though she never lifted her head from the soft blanket, she never took her eyes off her owner, in case he chose the next instant to look down and check whether she was paying attention to his inane ramblings.

Suddenly, there was a noise coming from outside of the cottage. It sounded like someone casually dragging their foot through the dead leaves that were piling up outside. Tess, who had also heard the uncommon sound issuing from right outside the back door, lifted her head off her bed and was quietly growling from the back of her throat. Seth, now convinced that there was an intruder on the premises, quietly moved over to the pantry and almost silently opened the door. Standing on the floor in front of him, was his trusty 12 bore shotgun, cracked and just waiting for the cartridges to be loaded into their presently empty barrels. He rapidly located the cartridges and after slipping them into their respective chambers, snapped the gun closed.

“Bring it on, won’t you,” he snarled, then sat down in his favourite chair again and waited for the suspected thief to show themselves.

 

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