Lady Maybe, Lancelot, WendyBorn 1941, M, from Whitby, United Kingdom
Lady Maybe, Lancelot, Wendy.
Wendy was a natural flirt. She didn’t know it herself but ask any boy that she had known in the past and he would definitely say “Yes”. But even now that she was married something in her hormone balance still made her flirt. But maybe it wasn’t the hormones, maybe it was just her genes, anyway at times it could be dangerous. She was 5ft 7ins, well proportioned with naturally black hair, worn short; she had a white skin that did not tan easily. Her face had a snow-white likeness except for the fullness of her lips that were her most sensuous attribute.
As her husband passed along the corridor to his offshore cabin, less than a hundred miles away but as inaccessible as Alcatraz, she was lolling on the new settee.
All the small outstanding house jobs had been completed and she was wondering what to do next. This was a Sunday, quiet Sunday and she had just returned from visiting her Mum and Dad. They were comparatively well off and as she was the only child, they spoiled her something rotten. She knew that.
Tomorrow she would be back at work as a dental receptionist, just off Great Yarmouth High Street. Her house was brand new and so were the contents. It still had that smell of fresh emulsion paint.
They had fitted carpets, a three-piece suite and a flat television in the lounge together with a DVD player and all the trappings. John’s PC setup was in the corner still awaiting assembly. A fitted kitchen had all the gadgets were, she thought, a lovely shade of blue. Upstairs they really only possessed a bed because, apart from the usual wedding presents that was the end of their money. She didn’t want her Dad to provide everything, although he would have been more than happy to take over.
Wendy hated loads of the wedding presents and was determined to eventually dispose of them, bit by bit in the Wheelie Bin, but at the moment they had to be visible in case the donor happened to call.
The house was in a new cul-de-sac on the outskirts and they had not yet established a rapport with any of the neighbours as they were generally all in the same boat, excited by the possession of new homes and the kick you got from being independent.
The front of the house had a small grass lawn (so had all the others) and the back had a long strip of horrible clay garden (so had all the others) leading down to a drainage ditch just beyond the boundary fence. Beyond this was an area of rough scrubland bounded by the main trunk road in the distance.
Lancelot was Wendy’s’ cat, a neutered tom, he had moved here with Wendy from her parent’s house. He settled in immediately and made it his personal responsibility to weed out from all the abundant small wildlife anything that wasn’t up to scratch. There was no other competition for his job at the moment and he roamed far and wide marking out his territory with plops of urine. Occasionally he would bring home trophies for Wendy to inspect and see what a brilliant job he was doing. Wendy would not be amused.
A few miles to the East stretched the North Sea and sometimes the bitter north-easterly winds could develop enough power to shrivel the tops off the new daffodils. To the north and west were the Norfolk Broads and the flat, slow moving countryside. In the spring the land slowly began to wake up. The air in summer was soporific and the horizons limitless.
“Hello, it’s only me, how are you coping all on your ownio?”
It was Jane her soul mate from schooldays and boat trips and the only humanoid that was a party to her innermost thoughts, the bits of mental kite flying and bouncing of ideas that is more the part of the female than the male.
“Not very well at the moment I’m afraid, it takes a bit of getting used to when he’s away.”
“I thought so, that’s why I am ringing. I’ve got a little job for you. You know I’m in the operatic, well one of the chorus has broken her arm, not her leg, and we’re desperate for a stand-in.”
“Oh. No thanks Jane, you know it’s not my cup of tea and anyway I can’t sing or dance I’m only good at being a poseur.”
“Oh go on, it’ll be a real good laugh, it’s dead easy, you don’t have to be a Hollywood star for our lot, a poseur will do.”
“Well, I’ll come and take a look only ‘cos its you, but I won’t promise anything.”
The words came out and she regretted them immediately. My big mouth. Oh Hell, I should have said no - way.
“Great, it’s at the Methodist Hall; I’ll call for you about 7 ish.”
“BYE - Oh by the way what’s the thing called?”
“Sorry - I didn’t say did I, it’s a Pantomime called ‘Frankenstein - the Pantomime’. Bye.”
After the call from Jane, Wendy put Lancelot out and prepared for bed. She had never in her life slept alone in an empty house and she could hear the wind rustling the trees and bushes at the bottom of the garden. In the distance a screechy owl sang out a plaintive hoot and Lancelot looked in his direction, complaining to himself about the competition.
There was something eerie about climbing the stairs to bed when the lights had been put out downstairs. The narrowness of the climb seemed to trap you. The corner at the top hid someone or something. There were sounds on the limit of hearing that you strained to hear in the dark. They were never there in the daylight.
As she climbed the stairs the so tiny creeks and bumps from about the house made her feel uneasy. She leapt into bed and hid.
She wondered as she lay looking at the underside of the sheet, whether she was in love with John or whether she just liked him a lot. She had nothing against his mother though she realised somehow instinctively that John would rescue his mother first if their boat was sinking. Outside she faintly heard a scuffle followed by a high pitched squeak.
Lancelot - you devil!
Lancelot had just pounced on a field mouse and despatched him immediately. He hadn’t really intended to do that. He had really wanted to play with it for a while. Let him go, jump on him, tickle him with her talons then do it all again. Sometimes the mouse would think he had just got away then bang. Lancelot would leap again just as safety in the elder bushes came within a millimetre.
Lancelot loved his new home. Before, all he had access to was a small grass lawn with a two metre high lapboard fence all around. His hunting skills had been confined to leaping on the odd sparrow that was too preoccupied with a mating squabble with a bunch of his mates. Now he had the run of as much land as he could wish. He never spent any time in the garden now - only to pass over it on his way to the rough scrubland beyond the boundary. From cover at the far edge he could watch people exercising their dogs along the muddy right of way. Beyond that the traffic on the trunk road formed a natural limit to his territory and he didn’t feel the urge to cross it. He could work his way back from here almost three hundred metres to the house under cover of old elder and hawthorn growing wild. Thistles, nettles and thorns had a route through them that only he – the invincible Lancelot – knew. In summer the nesting birds and their young would arrive to give him even more exciting times.
He had no fear of any of the wildlife in his patch. He did, however keep away from the people exercising their dogs along the rough footpath near the road. Stealth was his thing and stealth was his love. This evening something was to frighten him that would trigger panic signals to light up in his brain for the first time in his life.
He had seen the silhouette of a man walking at the edge of his area. At the time he was negotiating a gap in the undergrowth. He emerged onto the grass and suddenly caught sight of two white evil bright eyespots reflected for a split second in the light beam from a passing lorry on the road above. The eyes were far too close for comfort and Lancelot knew by instinct that the encroaching sound of rustle in the grass meant the thing was heading for him. Not to say hello but to eat him, whole. He screeched, leapt high into a turning jump as the animal missed him by a fraction. As he landed facing the opposite way he shot back to the safety of his back garden and hit the cat flap at above the legal limit.
Wendy lay in bed hoping sleep would come and wondering if this was what she had looked forward to as the super duper aim in married life. To be lying on your own, in bed, feeling frightened.
Her mind drifted back to times she and Jane had spent together. Her Dad had a small cabin cruiser on the broads with an attendant rowing boat that she and Jane were allowed to take out on sunny summer days. They had loads of fun cruising the summer broads and rivers. Stopping here and there for lemonade and packets of crisps. Innocent and remembered because it was so. No complications to spoil the endless summer days that they thought would never come to an end.
One day they had meant to be revising for exams and they had just passed a boy in the reeds at the side of the river. He looked to be amazed at something.
“Look at the expression on his face - you know why that is - you haven’t got a bra on!”
She joked at Jane who for some reason was sleepy and jumped to feel herself to see if it was true.
“Ha, HAAAAAAA, you believed it for a minute didn’t you?”
They laughed and giggled until they made the corner. Here, a long straight full of weekend fishermen sat at their positions in silence broken only by the approaching giggling. The boat drifted to the bank and they decided to get out. Wendy put one foot on the shore and one foot still on the rowing boat without securing the mooring rope. The classic error. The boat started to push away from the edge and Wendy started to execute the most graceful splits. Her legs got wider and wider and she started to scream
Then a splash as she disappeared under the muddy water and out of sight.
The sound reverberated along the river bank and the once statuesque fishermen now raced to help drag her out as she surfaced looking nothing like she did seconds before.
When Jane realised she was safe she couldn’t stop laughing and there was nothing else to do but get in the boat and row the gauntlet of the river bank audience. They were good humouredly shouting:-
“Do it again, Do it again.”
In among Wolf Whistles and all the rest.
They retraced their route and never noticed that the boy with the open mouth had gone from his place in the reeds.
Wendy remembered the look on her mother’s face when they got home and could still feel the luxurious feeling of the hot water in the bath as she sank into its perfumed bliss.
I lay in the small antiseptic plastic bedroom high in Silvin ‘C’. The forces of tidal flow, waves and wind were making the whole of the enormous structure sway gently. It was very like the motion I had felt all those years ago when I was too high in the treetops. The recognition of this last fact made me strangely uneasy. As an Engineer I knew that it was designed to sway but that boy hood instinct told me to get out.
One side of my plastic compartment was a shower/W.C/hand washbasin all in one.
The opposite side was fitted bunk beds and a cabinet/writing recess. This was mahogany effect chipboard with a deep pink duvet and pillowcases. On a bracket hanging local to the single door was a small flat T.V. monitor with an alarm speaker and a set of coloured lights. No windows. There was a constant background buzz from the air conditioning/ventilation system. It did however, have one thing in its favour and that was a certain amount of privacy.
I wondered what Wendy was doing at that minute. I had a niggling feeling that she would find the separation periods of the new life style difficult even though she had repeatedly said that she would not.
I hated the claustrophobic little room and disliked even more the smug way that it silently swayed gently back and forth. Someone had said to me;- “Don’t worry, it’s not that bad working offshore. You’ll probably find that the worst thing is getting to sleep for the first few nights. The only reason that most men go off to sleep is because they’ve had alcohol or sex or both. You won’t get either out there.”
This conversation, naturally, returned to my thoughts at this unwanted moment and I drifted between wakefulness and dreams. I imagined that I was in a department store and alone in the lift. It would go up to the Wakefulness Floor, pause, then slowly go down a floor to Dreams.
“Anyone for Dreams?” said a bodiless voice.
“No, OK - back to Wakefulness.”
I thought of my new life with Wendy. I had lived at home with my mother until we’d married and mother had always insisted that I eat a cooked breakfast before work. Bacon and egg. She would baste the top of the egg with the hot oil until it turned whitish. The bacon she would snip with scissors so that the fatty edges didn’t curl up too much. It was a part of the day I loved. She had always been proud of me.
No matter what.
Now I went to work on a cup of coffee. I put it into the microwave the night before then set the timer so that it was ready by the time that I’d had a wet shave. Wendy would be in bed.
My thoughts pulled me back to the little room and its isolation. I felt that Wendy would be all right. I thought that I could see her sleeping in the middle of their bed cuddling my pillow to her. Lancelot was asleep at the foot of the bed. A small night light burned on the bedside table. Then I saw the room from a distance as if viewing it from a security camera. The bedroom door was open and I could see the top of the stairs. Then I saw the top of someone’s head coming up the stairs. Panic grabbed my stomach like an elastic band snapping. I was suddenly wide awake and wet with sweat. I climbed out of the bunk to have a shower. Only then did I realise that someone or something was inside it.
I couldn’t believe what my eyes were telling me. I must still be dreaming. Then, as I focused on the shape I realised that the form was not fleshy but clothed in something blueish. My God!
I had to open the frosted panel even though my instinct told me to go back to bed. As the door opened a fragrance drifted out of the door. Fresh jasmine.
“What the hell are you doing here? How the hell did you get in?”
“I agree some explanation is needed.”
The voice was different from before, more somehow mature.
“I am not going to be aggressive this time. I have now completed what you would call an apprenticeship. It has taken some time but be sure I am here to help you when times are difficult or dangerous. The word for it in your tongue is ‘Angel’”
“Don’t be daft. There are no such things as ‘Angels’ and even if there were I would not believe in them. Men don’t.”
“I’m afraid that you say these things but do not mean them. You can smell the jasmine can’t you?”
“Yes, I can but that doesn’t mean that I believe in you”
“Yes, it does. However, you will learn in time.”
“How did you get in? The door is locked.”
“I do not need doors. I can travel anywhere that air or water can. In this case I came down the air conditioning ducting.”
“The next question, why you are here now?”
“Because you are in some danger. I know it is coming soon and although I do not know what it is I can help when it arrives. It is so serious that it would be better if you could leave before the next helicopter is due.”