Time To Repair

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Chapter 27

Somerset England, Wednesday August 13th 2262

00:43:32 hours

Norman froze while the image of what he observed in front of him sank in. Hillary Jane was on her back facing the side of their bed…his side of their bed. Her red dress was hitched up to her waist; her matching scarlet knickers had been discarded on the floor. She had her legs up a man’s chest and her ankles rested either side of his head. He was naked from the waist down, his underwear and trousers were round his ankles, he was knelt on the edge of the bed, leaning over her thrusting vigorously; his hands gripped her thighs firmly. Her red lipstick was smeared all over his lips and around his mouth, almost as though it had been applied crudely by the back of a hand. The bedside table had been shunted from its usual position, a broken crystal glass in a puddle of fluid glistened in the light on the floor.

Norman swayed about from the ankles up feeling like he was going to pass out; his feet remained stuck to the floor, he was unable to move; fear paralysing him to the spot on which he stood. Why was this brute doing this to his beautiful fiancée?

Simon looked over his right shoulder seconds after the bedroom door had burst open. Hillary Jane’s foot slightly obscured his view of the young man that had charged in and now stood transfixed, no more than two metres away, with a lengthy solid looking stick of some sort held out in front of him. Simon slowed down his momentum until he stopped completely. Hillary Jane looked up at him and then turned her head to the left. Simon glanced down at her; her face was a picture of pure horror. This young man had to be an intruder judging by her reaction.

After what seemed like hours, but was in fact a few seconds, Norman found his courage and hurtled forward brandishing the walking stick and yelling. On reaching the bed he raised the gnarled stick above his head and bought it down with all he had in him.

Simon saw the stick coming and pulled out and away from Hillary Jane, pushing her legs forcibly towards the pillows as he did. She hitched herself up to the top of the bed, trying unsuccessfully to pull down her fitted dress and cover her modesty in the process. Simon tried in vain to get out of the way of the stick that had been aimed for his head. It came down hard across his lower arm. He yelled in a combination of pain and anger. He fell to the floor; his trousers and boxer-briefs, still around his ankles, causing him to lose his balance. He fell hard onto the remains of the glass that had been knocked off the bedside table minutes earlier. Three separate pieces of glass pierced his left thigh, the Bénédictine making him wince as it seeped into the open wounds. Blood trickled out; mixing with the puddle of liquor on the floorboards; tainting its usual colour. Simon had no time to think of his pain, survival instinct kicking in, he picked himself up off the floor in seconds. He had to overpower this man before he could strike again. Without even taking the time to pull up his underwear and trousers, and with no time to prepare for anything else, he launched himself at his assailant who was raising his weapon for a second strike.

Norman wasn’t at all prepared for a headlong attack; he lost his balance completely as the intruder hit him headfirst in the stomach, knocking every bit of breath out of him. They crashed to the floor; the walking stick flew from his hands and fell to the floor with a clatter; sliding just out of reach of both of them.

The two men wrestled on the floor while Hillary Jane watched in horrified silence, she was huddled in amongst the pillows and hugged her knees which she had brought up to her bosom.

Simon was on top of Norman, their faces centimetres apart. He punched Norman maladroitly but repeatedly in the ribs on both sides with his fists. Norman cried out in pain, unable to fight back under the weight of Simon. He tried to grab at Simon’s left wrist with his one free hand to stop the onslaught. Simon twisted his hand free leaving his dat-com strap in Norman’s hand. Norman threw it clumsily across the floor then took his chance to attack when he felt Simon’s weight lift off him slightly as they writhed about. He brought up a knee as hard as he could, in his helpless position, and caught Simon in the testicles. Simon shrieked in agony and, unable to think of anything else for the time being other than his excruciating pain, ceased his punching.

Norman pulled his other hand free and shoved him off with all his strength, Simon fell on to his back giving Norman the chance to stand up. He kicked Simon hard in the ribs, noting the pain he was causing by the expressions on Simon’s face. Simon grabbed hold of Norman’s foot after the second kick and yanked hard. Norman lost his balance and stumbling backwards crashed to the floor catching the back of his head on the chromed knob of the open door as he fell. The impact was sufficient enough to knock one of the many timber framed old-fashioned photos off the wall as the door slammed shut. A photograph of Norman and Hillary Jane in the gardens of their summer house in Tuscany hit the floorboards; breaking one of the mitred corners and crazing the thin glass that protected the treasured memory. It toppled face up and lay next to Norman who was now slumped on the floor in front of the door. His eyes rolled in his head flickering open and shut randomly as he tried to remain conscious.

Simon got to his knees groaning in pain, every part of him seemed to hurt. His left thigh oozed blood from several places and had gone everywhere in the violent tussle. The floor was smeared with it as was his assailant. He slowly got to his feet and pulled up his underwear and trousers; gasping for breath as the fabric of his boxer-briefs brushed his throbbing testicles. He glanced down at his attacker; he wasn’t going anywhere just yet. Simon gingerly bent down and picked up the large stick that had been used against him. He shuffled forward and stood astride his nemesis who now seemed to be coming back to life. He raised the stick over his shoulder with both hands and was a second away from bringing it down when…

“SIMON DON’T,” yelled Hillary Jane from her throne of pillows. “It’s Norman.”

Simon was dumbstruck, “What?” he spat, spinning round to face her, lowering the stick.

She broke eye contact and looked down at the bedraggled bedding around her.

“Your dead husband Norman?” he asked in disbelief.

Hillary Jane remained silent.

Norman whimpered at the words. Simon turned and looked down at him. He had pulled himself up and away from the doorway slightly; his head and shoulders were leant against the wall by the door. His eyes were wide and staring, his mouth opened and closed like a fish’s out of water, trying to mutter words but nothing came out. Simon noticed the broken picture frame on the floor; he stooped down to pick it up making Norman flinch and cower, a single silent tear escaped and coursed its way down his boyish face.

The photo was difficult to see clearly through the crazed glass, but it was unmistakably Hillary Jane and this man on the floor in front of him - who was far from dead. This woman wasn’t the poor grieving widow she made herself out to be. Simon glanced quickly over the other picture frames on the wall; photos that he hadn’t noticed until now. A number of them had images of Hillary Jane and Norman in. Whoever this woman was, he didn’t want to be around her. Why would someone do what she had done?

He looked back down at Norman and for the first time felt pity for him. “You have bigger things than me to worry about,” he said sympathetically.

Simon crossed to the bed, dropped the shattered frame on it and slid the stick across the floor. It came to a stop when it bumped into a closed door. He stood for a few moments staring at her in bewilderment; not knowing what to say. Hillary Jane remained focused on the bedding; refusing to look up.

He bent down cautiously, due to his many injuries, and picked up his dat-com strap by the foot of the bed. A quick examination of it showed that the leather band had come away from the body on one side, the spring loaded pin that held the two together was bent. Simon put it in his trouser pocket and made for the door; he just wanted to get home now and see to his wounds. Norman looked up at him with big cow eyes as he went by. Pitiful creature, Simon thought as he carefully descended the stairs leaning heavily on the balustrade, wincing with every step that he took.

In the hallway he opened the front door, took one last look around and then left, closing the door behind him.

Hillary Jane looked up as she heard the front door close. “Norman, let’s talk about this.”

“I… I... No…” sniffled Norman. Tears now streamed down his face.

Hillary Jane had never felt so bad in her life. How had she let this happen? “Norman please.”

Norman reached up for the corner of the cupboard beside him in an attempt to pull himself up. The pain in his ribs made him cry out and he fell back to the floor. On his second attempt he managed it. He felt woozy and his head throbbed like he had someone inside it trying to punch their way out. He braced himself between the doorframe and the cupboard to try and steady himself.

Hillary Jane slipped off the bed and came toward him. She put out a hand to hold him, he moved out of reach and onto the landing. She followed him out.

“Leave me alone,” he spluttered out among his tears.

He took to the stairs and descended one at a time. He clung to the balustrade for dear life as the stairs blurred into each other and the dimpled beige carpet rippled before him as though it were alive.

Hillary Jane watched from the top of the stairs, not knowing what to say; for once in her life she was at a loss as to know what to do for the best. She decided to give him ten minutes alone downstairs and then she would go down and find him. She went back into the bedroom and surveyed the carnage. She couldn’t deal with this just now. She slipped off her dress and bra and put on her black silk robe, a shower would be needed before bed; but not right now. She dumped the clothing on the bed and picked her knickers up from the floor; those that Simon had literally torn off her only minutes earlier. She closed her eyes and sighed as she dropped them on top of her dress. She couldn’t wait ten minutes to speak to Norman, it had to be done now.

She was halfway down the stairs when she heard the door to the port room close. “No!” she cried aloud, and sprinted down the remaining stairs. She shot along the hall; her black robe flew open and billowed out behind her like a cape. She yanked open the port room door. It was too late, Norman had gone.

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