Posted: 05 August 2006
Word Count: 475
Summary: My attempt at the wet patch challenge.
The credits of ‘Where the Heart is’ were just beginning to roll when Heather Halliday arched catlike in her chair and yawned. Then she saw it, a little patch of damp in the corner of the ceiling.
I don’t remember seeing that, she thought, mm, what’s he been up to now?
Heather’s upstairs neighbour was a portly gentleman hailing from Eastern Europe, Mr Brinzi was his name, they rarely communicated. Sometimes the aroma of boiled cabbage and other earthy vegetables wafted through the building reminding her of his presence.
He was in his seventies and never had any visitors. Sometimes foreign looking letters addressed to him would appear on the communal cabinet in the front hall, a stamp featuring far away mountains or statuesque Generals announced his homeland.
The very few times she had spoken to him he’d mentioned a sister.
“She live in north, with husband, they have hotel, very busy.”
Two days passed and the patch was definitely increasing. It had gone from a small round stain to a sprawling oblong shape.
While the nurse on Holby City searched out a vein on her patient’s arm, Heather let out an audible gasp.
He’s all on his own; he wouldn’t be missed for ages.
That night she dreamt the rotting corpse of Mr Brinzi stumbled into her kitchen and shouted to her in broken English to help him, to do something while she still could,
Heather sat upright in bed, wide eyed and shaken.
First thing tomorrow, she vowed and tossed and turned until dawn.
As she managed a small helping of toast and sipped her milky tea, Heather dared to gaze upward. The mass of dark wetness had travelled and now the corner of her ceiling was a different shade to the rest.
That’s him she thought, recognising the obvious shape of a body, it was so clear, his large head and thick torso, it all made sense, the mail left uncollected in the hall, the lack of cooking smells and the total absence of those heavy footsteps trudging across the living room with tedious regularity.
What was that? Her mind raced and her heart drummed loudly. A noise, definitely a noise from upstairs.
Heather clutched a cushion to her chest and closed her eyes as she imagined his furious spectre come back from beyond to avenge her lazy- English- mustn’t grumble –or- get involved behaviour.
Trancelike she opened the front door.
“Hello Miss Halliday, sorry to disturb”
There stood Mr Brinzi, large as life and in seemingly rosy health.
“I’ve been visit my sister in north, have problem with washer machine, big leak, sorry for damage.”
But by then Heather had fainted dead away, striking her head on the corner of the Welsh dresser as she fell, leaving Mr Brinzi to wonder if she was dead or alive.
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