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Saturday 17th January

It’s now Saturday the seventeenth. Four days have passed without incident. Without any incident I know of anyway. I ran into the Starkies again on Wednesday and they told me they still hear screams through the bedroom wall. They’re going at it like horny teenagers. I haven’t had any more glass on the road nor have I even seen any faces in the bedroom window.

I mentioned it to Harold. If he was a dog his ears would have popped up when I mentioned sex noises through the wall. He is disgusted, I think. Or jealous. We talk about the rabbit and Scotland and the glass on the road. And the, what I took as, threatening texts from Amy while we were up there. I also tell him about my ordeal with the black figure in the field on the way to Haslam Park. I’d like to know if one of those three owns some black clothing.

Smith called on Thursday about the rabbit and, as usual, there is nothing to indicate that it was Amy or Bret or Alan who nailed it to our fence. Who else could it have been?

Mei’s driving lesson went well. She doesn’t know I was following her. I had to do it to see if she was all right. I wouldn’t put it past Amy to do something to her while she’s out, and ever since I found out she’s pregnant I’ve been feeling very protective of her. This week was almost to the point of obsession. I felt bad about it, like I was a husband following his cheating wife.

I don’t know how much longer I can go on living in fear this way.

I feel like I’m in the film The Burbs. I don’t want to turn into a paranoid nut job. Saying that, I did go into my back garden and look across the backs of the houses for any signs of life over there. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t really think I would. There were still a couple of blood stains on the gate. It made me angry again.

I saw Bret yesterday on his own while I was emptying my car of food shopping. He was heading home from the bus stop. I stared at him until he entered his house. He knew I was watching him.

It’s Saturday evening and the sky is dark. I’m playing a game while Mei and her mum watch something on the laptop. A sound outside comes howling. It’s not loud at first, but boy does it get louder. I pause my game and we all freeze. It’s coming from the street. It’s not unusual to hear noises out there, but this was something else. I run to the front door and open it. The Starkies are already out and so is Harold.

Then she comes: Amy. She stumbles along the road naked from the waist down. She’s crying and screaming. Her makeup has run along her face from tears. Alan runs out after her, his large trunk like legs hulk towards her. He looks angry. He has a cut on his left eye. His build is oddly familiar now, much like the dark figure I saw in the field on the way to Haslam Park.

He grabs her hair and drags her along the road like she’s a doll. She kicks and screams while we all watch. Domestic violence, well, any violence against women, is something I can’t take. I need to do something.

Inside my house is a pair of Cali sticks from my younger days of freestyle kickboxing. I can’t do any of the moves now but I still have those sticks. They’re solid and don’t half hurt when swung into your ribs. Or face.

I run inside and grab them. The screams keep coming like the soundtrack to my life.

‘What’s happening?’ Mei shouts.

I don’t answer her. I just fetch the sticks.

By the time I get outside Alan has almost reached his garden gate, Amy’s hair clenched tightly in his fist. She’s still kicking and screaming. Her bare bottom half is getting chewed up on the cold and rough ground.

‘Lee!’ he yells. ‘Get away from me.’

‘Help me,’ Amy begs. ‘Lee, please.’

He pulls her harder.

I run over to them and in one swift movement I swing one of the sticks into his ribs. Hard. He cringes and stumbles back but he doesn’t let go of her. I’m afraid that if I hit his head I may kill him, something I would love to do right now. I drop one stick on the ground and swing the other one like a baseball bat into his right knee cap. I hear a crack.

Police sirens wail.

His legs give way and he falls to the ground, letting go of Amy’s hair.

Shaking, she curls up on the ground, crying. Margaret Starkey comes out of her house with a blanket for her.

Alan yells from the ground, ‘You’re dead, Lee.’

I look at Bret who is at the garden gate watching on. His eyes are wide like he can’t believe what he’s seeing.

I point the stick at him. ‘Don’t even think about coming near me.’

Margaret leads Amy into her house and closes the door. That just leaves all the onlookers, Alan, Bret, and me. And the police siren that is getting closer.

Alan is still on the ground cradling his knee cap. I turn to Bret who is still watching from the gate. ‘What the hell is going on?’

‘Keep your mouth shut,’ Alan yells to his brother.

Bret looks between us both, undecided, flicking his eye to and fro. Alan stands up his feet with his weight on his other leg. He can’t put any pressure on his right one. He limps over to Bret, who gives him his shoulder and they head inside and close the door without a word leaving everyone else in the street speechless.

If only Emma was still recording.

It’s now almost nine. The police arrived pretty quickly. They’re yet to speak to us. An ambulance also turned up for Amy. I don’t know what happened with her and I should really keep my distance from it all. Bit late now, though, taking on Alan like I did. When we got back inside the house I couldn’t stop shaking. It was so surreal doing something like that. Harold told me I did the right thing. It felt like I did. I hate to say it but it looks like her sluttyness got the better of her.

Finally, there’s a knock at the door. It’s the police. It’s not Smith. It’s someone else. Shows me his ID. Turns out his name is Bellamy. He’s a short squashy fella. I invite him in and we get down to questions. I told him what happened and how I went outside and hit Alan with the sticks. I even show him the sticks, which he takes as evidence.

‘Mr Fogarty has decided not to press charges.’

I jump to my feet. ‘Charges?’

He nods. He knows how stupid he sounds.

‘Fuck charges. He was attacking Amy. I was helping her. Have you seen her?’

He shakes his head. ‘No. A female officer is speaking with her. That’s all I can say.’

I sit back down.

He says, ‘I understand you have a history with the victim? Mrs Stockwell?’

‘We do. We aren’t close, though. I didn’t even know Stockwell was her last name. What’s that got to do with this anyway?’

He didn’t answer that question. He gets to his feet. ‘I think I’ve got all the information we need for now.’

I see him to the door and re-join Mei and her mum in the living room. It’s after half ten when he leaves and I’m pretty tired.

We go up to bed. Mei is awfully quiet. I’d like to know what she’s thinking but I’m afraid to ask.

When we’re in bed and comfortable, I ask her anyway. ‘Something on your mind?’

I expected her to say everything is okay when it obviously isn’t. She doesn’t say that. Instead, she says, ‘I’m really proud of you.’

That is the last thing I expected her to say.

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