The Wedding Feast
She squatted in the corner, brooding and monstrous in her bloodied wedding dress, as she
waited for him to awake.
The room was in darkness, but she had lived her whole life closeted behind shutters and
black-out curtains, and her eyes made full and efficient use of the traces of street light that
filtered through from Outside. She could watch over him, safe in the knowledge that she
would remain shrouded in anonymous shadow if his sleep ever ended. Reassured by this, she
felt herself gradually relax, until subconsciously her bloated chest rose and fell to the same
rhythm as his.
They had left him there, bruised and naked, chained to the floor by wrist and ankle. Blood
clotted his forehead. She knew about blood. She touched the dark stain on her dress, feeling it
congealed and sticky on her fingers. Out of habit, she licked them clean. Waste not want not,
Mummy always said, as had Nanny before her, and she was a good girl who did as she was
She willed him to live. They usually stayed alive for a few hours at least. She would hide in
the shadows until then. And wait.
Philip was just having a nightmare. A particularly weird and unpleasant one, granted, but a
nightmare all the same. He was almost sure of it.
He had been round Mandy’s for 3 beers and the X-Factor finals, but she had kicked him out
before bedtime. She had to catch a train to attend some weekend bonding session at work,
where everyone had to “think outside the box” and hug the elderly middle-manager on their
right. She needed her beauty sleep. So it was out the door by ten thirty, without so much as a
Halfway back to his Ford Focus, he heard a muted sound in the alleyway which flanked her
house. Whispering, it sounded like. He wasn’t the sort to go exploring passageways after dark
(Mandy’s excepted), so after a moment’s reflection he put the key in the ignition, ready to
drive off. But then the unfamiliar Snake of Conscience writhed deep within the furthermost
recesses of his mind. Mandy was alone in there. Maybe she had the window open in her
bedroom. She was a good-looking girl. If someone was skulking around in the alleyway and
he just drove away and left them to it, he would never forgive himself. More to the point, she
would never forgive him either. Besides, if she got molested, she’d most probably go off sex
for months, and he’d be packed off home every night for a lonely session with his trusty right
hand and a few well-thumbed editions of his “Muff-Diving Dwarfs” magazines. (That wasn’t
his first choice of porn, by the way. It was just that the models were much smaller, so the
magazines were more compact and easier to hide when Mandy was around).
He would need a torch. Maybe, just maybe, if he knocked on the door and asked for one,
Mandy would freak out when he mentioned the prowlers and insist on him staying the night
to protect her. She would be so grateful, she might even agree to do that thing he liked with
the funnel, the lube and a dozen or so Maltesers.