It was midnight. I took the last slurp of, low fat, hot chocolate and wandered through to the kitchen to lock the back door. I’d managed to find my glasses which I’d misplaced earlier but couldn’t find my phone.
My Mother had given up on me. “You’re always losing things,” she said as she trundled off upstairs to bed.
It was the last week I was to spend at my late Fathers house clearing it out before I rented it to ever such a lovely couple. It had been a long time since I’d travelled with Mother and what with her love of cleaning anything that stands still, I thought it would be prudent to bring her along.
As she reached the top of the stairs, I looked up from the back door and froze. There, on the roof, a few doors down stood a dark figure. A dark figure, looking directly at the house.
I stepped back, quickly out of window view. He looked like he had a gun sticking out of his pocket or a rifle over his shoulder and being in clear sight wasn’t a good idea.
“MUM!” I whisper shouted, “Come here quickly!”
“No, “ she said, “I’ve just got to the top of the stairs with my bad knee. Go to bed.”
“MUM! I’m not joking. Get down here right now!” I sort of hissed as loud as I could. You know, that sort of gruff whispering you do behind closed teeth which is ridiculous as caging words is not going to make them louder.
“This had better be important!” She snapped. My Mum still talks to me like I’m six. I still behave like I’m six so that might be the problem.
“WHAT!” she stood in the doorway to the kitchen looking like she was close to spanking my arse.
“Quick….” I beckoned. “There’s a man on the roof looking at the house. I think he’s a bit off his trolley or we’ve got a stalker. I’m really scared…look!” I continued in my new, raspy, parcel tongue.
“Go and have a look.” I didn’t mention that I thought he had a gun incase she didn’t go. I didn’t want my Mum to be shot but at the end of the day she’s my Mother. It’s her job to take the bullet.
She stepped forward and peered out of the back door into the dark and looked up at the rooftops. I saw her flinch and then I knew we were in trouble. It’s not funny when your protector starts panicking.
“Oh God, what are we going to do?” I whined.
“He’s just an idiot,” she said out loud to the figure and to me. She slammed the door shut and locked it whilst continuing to stare at our assailant. “Make sure all the doors are locked and the inner doors are shut. And the windows.”
“Get my book…and my glasses and there’s my phone!” I pointed at my belongings on the kitchen counter. I didn’t want to walk past the window as he hadn’t taken a shot at my Mother so he was clearly after me.
She snatched up my things. “This doesn’t help!” she spat, waving my book on psychopaths at me. “What kind of bedtime reading is this? You’ve got to stop reading about sociopaths and psychos and people with issues. Start reading one of those nicer books you bought today.”
“I’ll have you know that my extensive study into human nature and mentality has saved your skin on many an occasion, “ I gloated. “I’ve rescued you from deviants when you didn’t even realise.”
Earlier in the day she had made me buy two ‘nice books’ from Waterstones. Everything she handed me from the summer, fiction collection I put back down and instead chose two others. One about the demise of a marriage in mid life and a thriller about a missing girl.
“What are those?” she snipped.
“Two bestsellers. Highly recommended by the Times.” I flashed her the covers briefly, “No psychopaths, just everyday life fiction.”
My Mother has never bought into my dark side and often looks at me like she picked up the wrong baby from hospital.
We made our way upstairs together, firmly shutting doors behind us.
“Maybe we should ring the police,” I suggested. I followed my Mother into the bathroom.
“Can you please go away, I want a wee!”
“No. I don’t want to be on my own.” I opened the airing cupboard and spotted a backscratcher. I whipped it out. “I have a weapon!”
“What are you going to do with that? Tickle him to death?”
“Mother, people have been killed with pencils. This thing can scratch your eyes out if used correctly.”
“Unless he has night vision goggles on,” she said. She wasn’t helping.
My Mother took her phone out of her pocket as she relieved herself. I heard her talking to the police. “Yes, that’s right. There’s a very dubious character up on the roof. Two doors down from here…yes, yes that’s right. If you could send a patrol car round that would be lovely. Thanks ever so, constable.”
“Well I feel a bit better now,” I said. “Are they coming immediately or are they just giving you lip service?’
“I didn’t really ring them! I just did it out loud incase he can hear us. The bathroom window is open.” She too, had started with the closed teeth whispering.
“Look out of the bathroom window and see if he’s still there,” I mouthed.
“No. I’m too scared. If he’s still there I’ll shit myself and if he’s gone, I’ll shit myself.” I thought for a moment. “We need better weapons, just to be sure. I know of two downstairs but I’m not going on my own…”
We made our way back downstairs and into the kitchen where I located a rusty axe and my Mother got a pair of very large, menacing scissors. Now wasn’t a good time to push her buttons. Though my Mother doesn’t realise it, she has psychopathic traits and very little patience. However…
“Whilst we’re down here, just take another look out of the back door window and see if he’s still there.”
She glared at me in the dim light, scissors clutched tightly in her hand. I was between a rock and a hard place.
She had a look. She located the torch on her mobile and shone it at the figure in the night.
“Yes, he’s still there…AND WE’VE CALLED THE POLICE,” she said loudly for his benefit.
“Now get upstairs.” She shook her scissors at me and I did as I was told.
Once on the second floor I decided it would be wise to make a barricade at the top of the stairs. My Father had a lot of rugs in his house so I collected them and rolled them up at the top.
“OK, we need a code word,” I said. “If one of us hears something unusual like a psychopath breaking in we need to shout out a word. But we also need a safe word if one of us gets up to go to the loo so the other doesn’t mistake it for an intruder. Neither one of us needs to be axed in the head when we just needed a nightly tinkle.”
“Fine. We shout “Toilet” if we are going to the loo and we shout “Carpet” if we think there’s a problem,” she replied.
“OK, but don’t do it for a laugh because I’m on the edge and I don’t want to make a mistake. Don’t be shouting carpet at me for fun or the joke could be on you,” I warned.
“Go to bloody bed,” she said.
Fortuitously, I found a door stop and wedged it into my door so killers couldn’t get in. I felt marginally better and laid my axe down at the side of my bed next to my psychopath book. I lay in bed for hours before drifting off.
In the middle of the night I heard a door opening and hoped it was my Mother but no word was offered…
“Carpet or Toilet?!!” I shouted.
“Toilet!” She barked.
I just wish people would stick to the bloody plan.
Early in the morning, when the dawn sunlight broke across my face and I realised I was still alive, I decided to get up and make a cuppa. I was very, very tired and forgot I’d wedged myself into the bedroom. Me and the door started to have a dreadful fight.
“Carpet or Toilet?!” shouted my Mother from the adjacent room.
“Trapped!” I yelled. Then I realised what I’d done. I eventually escaped and got over the rug obstacle, downstairs into the kitchen. I peered outside and looked up at the roof two doors down.
I took a photo with my phone and texted it to my Mother upstairs.
The psychopath looks remarkably like a chimney this morning, I added. Cup of tea?