Tuesday, March 07, 2006

(22) A short horror story with unclarity whether a man has murdered his wife in their bed before breakfast

On June 29th 1987 into my mind came the memory of an event from 1974.

I had been talking with Martin Cooper and John Phillips. Martin had said that he thought that people who wrote horror stories were sick in the head. John retorted that even he had written one.
He outlined it:

A man decides to murder his wife one morning. He hacks her to pieces with a chain saw as she lies in their bed. After the butchering he proceeds to the bathroom and performs his ablutions. Upon returning to the bedroom he sees the blood and gore everywhere... but no corpse. Then he hears the familiar sounds of his wife making the breakfast downstairs. (End.)

I was in Israel when I recalled that. There was a delay of a few days in receiving English newspapers.
It was only on June 30th when I flew back to the U.K. that I was able to see a copy of the June 28th Sunday Times.
I noted that Bernard Levin had reviewed a book of short stories.

"Take Deathcap, for instance -
After I’d killed my wife I went downstairs and made myself a cup of tea. My hands shook as I spooned the tea leaves into the pot, and later, when I poured out, a few drops splashed the table-cloth, clean on that morning. But the giddiness had gone, and apart from the slight shaking I’ve mentioned, I have to say I felt calm... The bedroom door was just ajar. The curtains were drawn across, but even in the dim light I could see the dishevelled bed with the eider-down half off, trailing to the floor, and a straggle of hair escaping from the pillow...
Now the point, the whole point of this story, is that the narrator has not killed his wife, nor harmed her in any way. The explanation, when it comes, is startling and macabre... There is nothing supernatural involved: yet the only word for this story is the obvious one: haunting."

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