I will never get any credit for this but the day after I killed my wife and daughter I was still punctual for work. My work is important to me. I am an estate agent and own several agencies in North Yorkshire. I live close to the coast in a charming house with its own secluded grounds. The walls are painted white and the walls and the roof are sprayed clean every week because I think the house should look as impressive as it can. I have been a wealthy man for most of my life. Selling houses makes me a lot of money but I was also sensible with the investments left to me by my father.
I am also a popular man. I have friends in the village which thankfully is free of those stubborn poor that nobody knows how to remove. I meet my friends in the pub, the Conservative Club and the monthly meeting of my fellow Freemasons when we discuss our charitable work.
Life was fine. I never dreamed that I would have murdered anyone. People smile at me most of the time and I smile at them although I have always had a temper which flares unpredictably. It tends to be animals or strangers that make me react. I am used to the neighbours so I suppose that helps me be more tolerant of them. Outside the village I have kicked more than the odd dog and have, once or twice when it has been dark and nobody could see me, hit the occasional drunk or vagabond. I am a strong man even though I stopped playing rugby many years ago. There have been no repercussions from these indiscretions of mine. The people I hit are obliged to stay on the floor for some time and they remember little. I also have my weaknesses with my physical desires but fortunately I am able to employ charming young women. I visit each of the agencies once a week and I am sure that my employees look forward to my visits.
Considering my charm, strength and fortune you would think that my wife and family would be appreciative but my life at home is not peaceful. My wife is a demanding woman and my material wealth has had the effect of allowing her to cultivate the least attractive aspects of her personality. So much of what we do depends on others. My wife is easily influenced although not by me. Three or four years ago a successful female writer moved into the village. I saw little of the woman and I was unable to finish the book that made her famous. My wife and this woman, though, became friends. My wife changed. She joined the Green Party and bought a tiny blue diesel Volkswagen. I was reasonable although my friends made fun.
‘You can keep the car,’ I said, ‘but it goes in the garage. I don’t want it on the drive next to the Range Rover. I am not having this house sprayed weekly for you to put that in front.’
‘It’s lovely,’ said my daughter.
‘It looks like a lawnmower with a roof,’ I said.
Every evening I would arrive home, often after an exhausting visit to one of my branches, and there would be the little blue diesel Volkswagen waiting on the drive. Each time I would dash angrily into the kitchen, find the keys and put the car in the garage. My wife is an early riser and in the morning there it would be again, in front of the house and in the middle of the drive. This was not a ritual that pleased me. Indeed, I would lie awake at night and imagine how I could destroy the little blue Volkswagen. My favourite fantasy was to drive it off a steep Yorkshire cliff so I could see it explode on the rocks below. Lacking sleep, I was now permanently on edge and my employees noticed, especially those who I knew intimately. The situation soon became intolerable.
The day my life changed I was driving home from an afternoon visit that had been surprisingly disappointing. I hoped that just once maybe the Volkswagen would not be there. Not only was the Volkswagen in the drive looking shabby but my lawn had been vandalized with a placard that said, ‘VOTE GREEN’. I pulled the placard out of the lawn. The point of the wooden stake was stained with soil. I ran into the house. My wife and daughter were in the lounge sitting on sofas and reading questionable newspapers.
‘What is this?’
‘Oh, put it back, Jeremy,’ said my wife. ‘Serena is standing as a candidate. Isn’t that wonderful?’
Serena is the famous writer that my wife worships.
‘No,’ I said, ‘no and definitely no. And you can move that damned car.’
The row that followed was terrible. My wife and daughter threatened to leave me. My wife was particularly harsh and I lost my temper. I hit her on the head with the wooden stake. As the blows landed the placard for the Green Party wobbled. She bled badly but died soon. I had not intended to harm my daughter but she looked at me in such a way that I knew I had no alternative. If anything, this time my blows were stronger. My daughter finished breathing just as our nosey black cat appeared.
I am not going to lie. Nobody likes having a temper. Inevitably, it leaves you with regrets. But if I am proud of anything it is the throw that killed the black cat. The stake of the placard for the Green Party went straight through his heart. That evening I cleaned the house and disposed of the bodies. This was horrible and took all of the night. The next day I informed my friend in the police, and fellow Freemason, that my wife and daughter had run off to join a left wing sect in Scandinavia. He nodded in sympathy. I put the Volkswagen away at the back of the garage. I returned home from work that day more calm than normal.
The Volkswagen was on the drive. I was astonished but again put the car inside the garage. I assumed that the excitement of murdering my family had left me confused. I went to work and although the incident with the Volkswagen had disturbed me I found renewed vigour with one of my employees. I returned home. The Volkswagen was on the drive as it had been the day before. I put the car back inside the garage. This ritual lasted for a fortnight before I became exasperated and tried an alternative. Every evening I would drive the Volkswagen to another village and catch a taxi home. But each morning I woke up, opened the curtains of my bedroom and saw the little blue Volkswagen. After a week I had endured enough. One evening I drove the car out to a deserted spot on the coast. I drove that awful small car and listened to music on the horrible car radio. My plan was to drive the vehicle towards the cliff and jump at the last minute. The doors, though, refused to open and the music on the radio now changed to the voice of my wife and my daughter.
‘You will never be free of us,’ they said.
As the car hurtled to the rocks below something made me look sideways along the coast. My wife and daughter were in the distance. They were laughing. My wife stroked the black cat. I took a final look at the rocks and said, ‘if you two don’t regret this I am not the man I think I am.’
Since my death, existence has been complicated. Once again we are united as a family. My wife, though, is a woman incapable of forgiveness. I have good days and bad and the good are only good because they are different from the bad. We are fortunate for news and my wife has heard that Serena recently resigned from the Green Party. Serena has married one of my friends and become a Conservative.
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