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Buried pleasure

In the pursuit of morbid pleasure, Barbara takes things a little too far.

It was perhaps the death of a national figure that caused her obsession. A nation in mourning had entwined itself into her psyche, rather like that of a fixation on a particular television series, or a person. Unknown to her, or rather not acknowledged, like a repressed memory, was the fact that deep down, somewhere in her mind, there was a kind of pleasure in mourning. Collectively together, united in grief, there was indeed some camaraderie within the anguish directed at the same person, amongst the loved ones, and amongst those who were not loved, but were not hated. When the ‘nation’, or those who cared, those who shed a tear, or went out of their way to buy and lay flowers at a certain place, went away, went back to their normal lives, Barbara Tristan found herself standing at a graveside during a funeral, looking down at the coffin in the earth, upon which lay a single white rose. She looked around at the other people there, who, like herself, barely heard the words the priest intoned, and felt, somewhere within her, the outer fringes, or reflections of what can only be associated with pleasure.

Afterwards, when everybody had left, Barbara went her own separate way, away from these people, all of whom were complete strangers to her.

She lived alone in a semi-detached unkempt house, neighbour to an empty, boarded up abode, and to all the rodents and insects that lived there. She was the type of person who did not much care for her appearance, except on the day of a funeral. She found out through various means where and when funerals were taking place, and turned up like a long lost relative who had come to say goodbye. The people who turned up at funerals generally only knew those in their social circle. There were the obligatory familiar faces, and those whom they had never seen before, who had some link to the deceased, whether it be those they chatted to in a pub, or perhaps a distant association along a relative bloodline. Barbara fitted into the category of the unfamiliar to everybody at the funeral. Nobody would question her, because people just assumed she knew the deceased in some way, so therefore had a right to be at the funeral. She was prepared for any questions regarding how she knew the person being buried, and the answer would always be the same, should she ever need it. As yet, it had not been reqiured. There should be no further questioning when she answered: ‘Just a friend’.

Barbara had been married once, but her husband one day, decided to perform a disappearing act, leaving a note saying he had found someone else. She knew he was too cowardly to confront her about it, so took the easy option. She guessed where he had gone, a southern resort to see the woman whom he had been flirting with on one of their weekend breaks. His leaving was, in a way, a kind of passing away, as though he had died. She mourned him, and in a strange, extraordinary way, found herself enjoying that as well. However, with her addiction to attending stranger’s funerals, she had increasingly found it more difficult to find out where they were taking place. She wondered if perhaps the cemeteries in her locality were becoming full, so had to attend those further out, the ones she had more difficulty in discovering information about. People in her vicinity couldn’t have stopped dying, she thought, so why were there less and less funerals? Perhaps it was more fashionable nowadays to be cremated, and she settled on this as the answer. What could she do? How could she satisfy her infatuation? The answer hit her straight away, and she had to digest and absorb it, because she knew that in order to continue to satiate her obsession, she would have to commit murder.

Who though? Who could she kill that would mean a large funeral, with lots of attendees? Mr Benson, 86 year old great-grandfather who lived on his own next to the canal that cut through the town. He would be missed. He had lived in the same place for 52 years, and was most certainly a pillar of the community, so his passing should merit a considerable amount of tears. How to go about it though, she had no idea, so spent the next few days trying to figure out a strategy. She finally came up with a plan that meant she could get him alone for a few minutes. Unfortunately, she couldn’t figure out how to poison him, or kill him in any way, other than staving in the back of his head with a hammer. Mr Benson loved bowls. It was a passion of his. Each week, there was a match on the green behind his local pub, and he would walk one an a half miles to reach it. Part of his journey took him around the bend of what is usually a quiet road. On one side there was a granite wall, beyond which were expensive residences, and on the other, behind undergrowth, bushes and a small slope, there was a large pond. It was in that area where Barbara decided it would be the best place to meet Mr Benson. There would be less chance of any witnesses, and she only had a few moments before it would have been impossible. That, she decided, was her little window of opportunity, and must not be missed. If she did, then she would have had to have waited another week, and her desire for funeral attendance would have grown, temptation making her agitated and anxious.

Armed with a brand new claw hammer she had bought, she decided the best tactic was simply to hide in the bushes, and as he walked past, come up behind him and strike him with the hammer. When the day of the bowling match came, Barbara nervously waited in the bushes, waiting for Mr Benson. It was cold, the pond behind her like a sheet of glass. She waited over an hour, passing the time by imaging what the funeral would be like. Eventually Mr Benson appeared, making his way, as ever, to the pub. He passed by where Barbara was hidden, and she reached up to grab a branch to pull herself up onto the pavement, and realised how slow her reactions were, as she had been in the same position, like a trapdoor spider, waiting for an insect, since she had arrived. Cold had set into her bones, and she found she hadn’t the strength. The hammer dropped from her other hand, and the branch she had grabbed snapped. She fell backwards, almost like a statue, into the freezing water. She hadn’t the strength to struggle, and slowly sank into the murky depths of the pond.

Nobody noticed her missing. Her body was never found, so no funeral could take place, where no mourners would shed a tear for her, nor even think of her, all memories of her forgotten, as though she had never even existed.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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