David Owain Hughes is a writer of horror fiction. He's worked as an editor for Blood Magazine and has written reviews and interviews for This...read more Is Horror. He's also had many short stories published in various magazines. He holds a BA and MA in creative writing, and dreams of one day doing a PhD. In February 2014, his first novel, Walled In, was released. A short story collection, White Walls and Straitjackets, is also due for release later this year. He recently signed a three-novel contract with Permuted Press, which he is very pleased about. David is currently working feverishly away at his fourth novel.
Walled In can be purchased at Amazon.co.uk -
Many other retailers, such as Barnes&Noble, W H Smiths and Amazon.com, also carry the novel.
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CYNTHIA HAD BEEN EASY TO KILL. Harry had found her address in the local directory. She lived in some hotshot house on the outskirts of Newport; all by herself in a desolate area. Crystal could see why the bitch was not married: too damned fat and stuck-up for any man to stand. Her attitude was so pretentious. It was overwhelming. Crystal had broken into her house through the backdoor with lock-picking tools. She’d waited for the short, dumpy women in the darkness of her bedroom, and watched her undress for bed from the shadows of the wardrobe. The woman’s skin, Crystal had thought, looked so pasty and loose compared to her own young tight body.
When Cynthia had finally tucked herself up in bed, Crystal attacked. Slowly creeping out of her hiding place, with a knife held tight in her hand, she leapt onto the unsuspecting woman.
Cynthia let out a yell. One yell only. A robust fist crashed into her jaw. Crystal got off the woman, spat on her and shouted. “You fucking pig.”
She placed the knife down on the bedside table, and picked up the bedside lamp, bringing it down onto Cynthia’s head. Crystal didn’t want to kill the woman straight away. She wanted to have some fun.
The once fresh, white sheets were now stained a rust colour. Crystal stood over the woman thinking of what she could do to her next. Before she went any further she stripped out of her clothes, not to get them messy. She wore only a flimsy, plain black t-shirt, with coloured jeans to match. She stood there in her bra and panties.
Cynthia began to come around.
“Bet you’re fucking sorry now, aint ya bitch.” Crystal snapped, whilst prancing back and forth on her feet with knife in hand.
Cynthia placed one hand to her streaming forehead, and screamed out in pain.
“P…please!” she screamed, “lea….ve me… a….lon…e”
As Cynthia’s words come in ragged bursts – Crystal slashed the blade across the woman’s face, once, twice, three times. Crystal sashayed even more when a spurt of blood leapt up her face, and found its way into her mouth that was open in awe at the sight of Cynthia writhing in agony. This was the bitch’s end.
As Cynthia tried crawling away from the attack, Crystal just stood there and rubbed the blood into her face; basking in the sick, twisted moment.
A heavy thud snapped her out of the erotic-like trance. Cynthia was nowhere to be seen on the bed; only a slimy path of blood leading to the other side. Jolted momentarily by the disappearing woman Crystal rushed around to the other side, finding Cynthia in a crumpled heap. She’d fallen on her head and broken her neck. Her eyes bulging; her plump tongue lolling. A pool of blood slowly gathered around her and seeped into the shag pile. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Crystal yelled at the ceiling. She gave the dead body one hard boot in the ribs, before dressing, torching the house, and leaving.
In the same week, three days later, Donald Hardy got what was coming to him – this attack had gone a lot better. In the Cynthia assault, Crystal had not managed to tell the bitch what Harry had wanted her to know. Of course, Crystal had not told Harry this, because if she had – Crystal’s body would have been found in a gravel pit somewhere.
She went about killing Donald in a different manner to Cynthia. Crystal had already staked out the office block where both Cynthia and Donald worked a week before she had attacked – finding out their shift patterns, routes home, who they lived with and if their house was alarmed, etc…
Knowing exactly which way he would travel, Crystal went out onto a patch of his journey that was quiet – not perfect, but good enough. He, like Cynthia lived in the Newport area, but not alone. Plus he had a very large dog that Crystal did not feel like killing. The only two things that worried her were: whether he would stop to help a stranded woman, and could she spot his car coming at night?
Crystal had picked out a very skimpy bit of clothing for this mission; much to Harry’s approval: a flame red dress, which hugged the body. Her legs clad in red stockings. A brunette wig covered her bleached hair. She loved dressing up, it was fun. And after all, she did it for a living.
By the time his truck got to her, and she had her arms in the air to pull him over, she was seething. The son-of-a-bitch must have taken the scenic route home this evening, because he was late, she thought to herself, just as the sting of his headlights caught her full on. This capped her rage off nicely.
Now, the only thing left to worry about – as she stood in the dazzle – was whether or not he would stop. That was soon answered, as he pulled into the kerb behind her parked Nissan Sunny, with its bonnet skyward.
God she thought, he is eager to help. He practically jumped out of the driver’s seat. She couldn’t help but smirk. He even forgot to kill his engine before leaping out, and striding toward her spewing the clichéd line, “what seems to be the problem, miss?”
“It just died on me all of a sudden. I was driving along, and suddenly it started making funny noises, and then just conked out on me. I’m glad you came along, no cars have been past here in almost an hour.”
“Yeah, I can well believe that,” he said, as he got closer to her. “That’s why I take this route home, beats waiting in traffic.” He was now by the side of her and she could smell his aftershave. “Let’s have a look under the bonnet then,” he said in the most macho of manners, as he hiked his drooping trousers up. Really classy she thought.
“I’ll get you a flashlight,” What a shame it will be to have to kill him – he’s rather cute, she thought to herself on her way to the glove compartment.
She pulled the torch from its dark void, went back to Donald and passed him the light: “Here you go,” she said.
He popped his head up for a brief moment to take the torch from her, before ducking back down again. She needed to take this young buck by surprise. He was rather tall and wiry; if push came to shove she may not be able to take him. So, as he began to droll on to Crystal about being stuck out here so late she seized her moment. She spilled the words out of her mouth which Harry had wanted her to say, as she unhooked the bonnet from its iron arm: “A tactless and tasteless display of hogwash that was sluiced up in the days of Benny Hill.”
She saw his back freeze, go rigid – she smirked again before delivering her final words, and the last he would ever hear: “Your words I believe, Mr. Hardy?” the bonnet whooshed downwards, and connected with the back of his skull, making a sickening crack.
Crystal was going to leave him like that: compact. Instead, she got in the car, let the handbrake down and pointed the wheels to the verge of the cliff. Jumping into Donald’s jeep she bulldozed the Nissan off the side of the crag. It only had a small drop, but it was enough to get it to burst into flames. The loss of the car was no big deal – it was stolen. She would use Donald’s jeep to get her so far home then dispose of that too.
Crystal shuffled her feet. His wrath was about to be released now they were behind closed doors. The performance had gone pretty well so she had thought. However, as Harry always pointed out: “You’re a stupid blonde bitch, with big tits, that knows nothing.” He’d been humiliated by the show they had performed on the Phoenix’s stage two nights ago. It was a shitty, small time theatre in the town of Ton-Pentre in South Wales. His fury could be justified though. The Monday morning papers had torn their act apart (even though their show had been a sell-out).
Now, eyeballing each other in the large kitchen mirror, just behind the breakfast bench, she could feel Harry’s rage building in his glare; it was coming.
“Well don’t just fucking stand there like a mannequin woman, go get me my cigars and whiskey.”
Crystal tottered off into the poky living room to the mini-bar, which adorned the corner of the room. She took the whiskey from off the middle shelf. She had a big, six-foot figure, with curves to match. On retrieving the ‘fire water’ she picked up the leather bound cigar case that lay on top of the polished oak bar.
Harry’s voice boomed again. “For fuck sake woman, where in the hell have you gone for ’em cigars and whisky? Timbuk-fucking-tu?” Crystal answered back in a weak and cracked voice that just about stretched from the bar into the kitchen.
“I... I’m coming Harry. Plea…please don’t yell at me.”
As Harry was about to speak again, his ‘glamorous assistant’ walked back into the kitchen. She held in her hands what he had demanded: “If I want to fucking yell, I’ll fucking yell! Now give me the damn Scotch and smokes, before I whack you one, bitch.”
She placed the cigars and bottle down in front of Harry. Turning to go to the sink to fetch a glass, she was stopped in her tracks by his hand, grabbing her firm buttocks through the tight outfit – it was Crystal’s garb from their sketch. Tart and vicar – they always ended on that one. She let out a yelp.
“What an arse you got on you Crystal, baby, nice and ample.” God, she hated the way he brought the routine home with him – but that was Harry for you – perverted.
Crystal smirked, fighting back another squeal of delight, before she allowed herself to speak again. “Thank you, Harry.” It came out in a shy, schoolgirl’s whisper as she glided away from him. At the sink she swished out a tumbler with cold water. As much as she feared him at times, she could never leave him. She turned to him,
“I love you Harry, you know that, don’t you?”
He looked at her with unsure eyes, “Of course I do. Now bring me that glass.”
She set it down in front of him and poured from the bottle. The disgusting odour of the whiskey stuffed her nostrils, bringing tears to her eyes. Once the glass was full, she took a cigar from the case, popped it in his mouth and lit it for him.
She sat down behind him, and again they looked at each other in the mirror. His next words tore through her like a sleet shower.
“I want you to kill the fuckers. I want them to endure as much pain and torture as you can dish. “Will you do that for me? Will you take out revenge for me? Put an end to them who have done you and me wrong? Show me that you love me, and do it.”
How could she refuse? At the end of the day, she knew he was right: she did love him, more than anyone or anything in the world. Crystal was not at all surprised how easy the words spilled from her mouth, even though his words had slightly jarred her at first.
“Yes, Harry, of course I will.” And at the end of the day, if she got caught Crystal was more than prepared to stand up in court and tell them all that it was a crime committed for love.
Not only was she prepared to do it for love, but the judges’ bad mouthing had also pissed her off – therefore, she listened to Harry’s plan of how to seek revenge for the critics’ ugly words.
Harry wanted Walter Dipkiss punished last, whilst Cynthia Holden was to be the first of the three, leaving Donald Hardy second. Cynthia and Donald were rather special: they worked for the most hallowed critical entertainment magazine in the South Wales area. Nevertheless, Walter was the real special one: working for a haughty newspaper based in Cardiff.
Crystal looked at her blood-spattered face in the mirror, her red lipstick smudged. Mascara ran down her face, intertwining with blood; her mouth twisted into a smirk. Small specks of blood from her third and final victim clung to her bleached blonde hair. The V cut of her spangled dress exposed her heaving, blooded breasts. They had been the trap for her prey. She gave them a slight wobble now in the mirror, just to see how Walter would have seen them. Her grin died.
Mr. Walter Dipkiss: the biggest asshole out of the three bastard judges, Crystal thought to herself. The grin returning and revealing miniscule flecks of blood on her otherwise perfect teeth. How had he described the show again, she thought, whilst placing one blood-stained hand to her chin: “Ah yes,” she proclaimed, cheerily: “It was a lurid, disgusting and disturbing act. The worst I have ever, ever, had the misfortune to lay my eyes on. It was plain awfulness that matched her ridiculous dress which barely held her all in.”
“You weren’t saying that tonight though, Mr. Dipkiss were you, hmm?” She spat at her reflection. “No, it was take it off, take it all off.” Crystal lifted the vodka bottle from the sink to her lips, took a mouthful and spat it across the mirror. It exploded onto the glass and frothed slightly due to her saliva. The clear liquid slithered down the glass, disjointing her face for a moment.
Harry was in the kitchen, barking for his whiskey and cigars. She couldn’t go to him just yet, not in her state: she needed to calm herself and get cleaned up. No doubt he would love to see the blood though, and run his tongue through it, whilst grabbing her buttocks for good measures; God, how that randy sod loves to grope me, she thought. She called out to him in a shaky voice: “In a moment, my love.” Crystal could hear him through the bathroom door, ranting about her not coming at once, and something that she could not quite make out. She didn’t care if she had to take a beating off Harry for not obeying his orders: after all, the murders had all been for him.
Now, where was I, she thought to herself – “Ah, yes…Walter.”
“How in the hell did you get in here, Miss Sanders?” His jowls wobbled as he spoke. “If you don’t leave this instant, I shall be forced to call the police.”
She’d been waiting for him on his sofa in the dark. Now, sitting there with one leg crossed over the other, her dress began to ride up her thighs revealing stocking tops and a garter.
His lips started to dry; beads of sweat began to glisten on his brow.
“I don’t think you will be calling anyone, Walter, do you?”
Placing one hand on her knee, she used the other to beckon him to the couch. She leaned forward slightly, giving Dipkiss an eyeful of her cleavage. “Come on Walter, I only want to be friends – don’t you?”
His eyes drifted down her curvy body, then back upwards, finally coming to rest on her bust. “That’s it Walter, come closer – why don’t you place your head to rest right by here.” She said to him in a soothing, flirtatious voice, whilst indicating her chest. “You’d like that?”
“I thought you would have been most upset with the way we treated your Phoenix performance.”
“Oh, Walter, I didn’t come here to talk shop with you. I came here to have some fun – I even brought some bubbly with me. It’s by the kitchen sink.”
Stopping halfway to her, something dawned on him. “Did you hear about, Miss Holden and Mr. Hardy?”
“Yes Walter, I did.”
“And you had nothing to do with any of it?”
She could see the distrust in his pale blue eyes. Had he not been such a pervy old bastard (she had thought at the time) he may have survived the ordeal.
“Walter, I swear to you. I had nothing to do with it. I am an entertainer, not a psycho.”
His tension seemed to loosen somewhat: his shoulders relaxed, and that look of mistrust seemed to vanish. “In that case, I think I will go and pour us a glass of bubbly each.” God, how easy he had been to snare.
“Why don’t you come and have a little play first, you know you want to Walter, baby.”
He didn’t need asking twice – he was a man after all. He was soon across the space between them, and down on his knees. She could feel his glasses digging into her breasts. This excited her. With her one hand Crystal raked through his silvery hair (fuck, how old is he, she thought to herself) whilst keeping his face in her human pillows. He was grunting with joyful nuzzling. Her free hand crept from behind a cushion which was close to her side.
Crystal brought the knife out and up fast, plunging it down into his back. He tried to free himself. But his aged body was no match for her agility. She forced his head tighter into her, pushing the last of his breath out. Crystal could feel hot blood piss out of his mouth, splattering her flesh.
His body jolted as though electricity skipped through him. She had the urge to pull the knife out of his back and stab again. But she left it there, savouring the taste of knowing that her cleavage would finish the old critic off.
She didn’t bother reminding Dipshit (as she liked to call him) of the vile words he had wrote about her and Harry’s act. His gasping and spluttering was giving her too much satisfaction.
Once he had stopped bucking, Crystal unglued his face from her, looked down at him and smiled.
Her face was no longer caked in blood and make-up. The gore in her hair had also been swished out; it now hung from her head like rats’ tails; the vodka bottle almost empty. The sink was full of pink-coloured water. The tap still running had small splash marks of pink on them also. Cotton buds littered the marble sides of the sink.
She stood there naked (the dress now peeled from her body), looking herself in the eye; a wry smile on her face. The thrill of the killing had taken her to heights Harry had never managed.
Her black jeans, top, red dress, stockings and brunette wig all lay on the carpeted floor by her side, ready to be handed to the eager fire that she had stoked up ready. Also, recently added to the clothes to feel the searing heat of the fire was a spangled, black cocktail dress and stockings. The garter she had worn she would keep as a souvenir
Harry was still shouting at her to come out to the kitchen. She knew what he wanted. He wanted all the gory details.
But, before going out there and telling Harry, she first wanted some time to reflect on the killings.
“Give a girl five minutes Harry, will ya. I’ll be out as soon as I am done.” She checked the door was bolted. Harry didn’t like lip off her. At the thought of that, her hands went to her neck…
Knowing the door was closed and locked tight, she turned back to the mirror, and let her mind drift. Ahh yes, they had truly been three magnificent kills, she thought to herself. But she knew that she couldn’t stay here dreaming about her recent activities, for now it was time to pack, and leave for the next town.
Unlocking the bathroom door, Crystal stepped out into the heated living room with the bundle of clothes tight to her chest. She didn’t waste any time as she strode straight over to the leaping flames, tossing the tainted garments into the roasting heat. She stood there, watching the fire devour her attire and stroke her naked flesh. She held herself in those hot moments, transfixed by the flames crackling fiery secrets to one another. But then her peace was broken by Harry: “Crystal, Crystal, Crystal! For fuck sake get out here! We got to leave before sunrise.”
“OK Harry,” she replied in a lazy, dream-like voice.
“Well come on then.” His tone was worsening as he waited.
Pulling herself away from the fireplace, satisfied the clothes were nothing more than a heap of ash, she made her way out to Harry, who sat at the kitchen table.
“Ohh, Harry,” she groaned with despair, before continuing: “You can’t wear that vicar’s costume to leave in.”
“Well, I dare say you can leave with your knockers hanging out like that. Planning on putting any clothes on are we, Crystal my dear?”
“I shall be putting clothes on as soon as I have seen to you first.” She knew that he would like the sound of that.
Stepping closer to Harry’s tiny wooden frame she lifted him from his highchair and put him next to his box. His small wooden face consisted of red rosy cheeks and two beady looking eyes as black as the ace of spades. He wore a tiny crisp white shirt, with a small black jacket; a dog-collar around his minuscule neck.
“Let me have a feel Crystal, before you put me back in my box. It could be a while before I come out again.”
She obliged of course, as she always did; his hands as rough as ever. She would need to sand them before long she thought, as she put him in his box and locked it.
Crystal loaded her van with the trunk that held Harry and the rest of the props and costumes for their ventriloquist show. When she was done, Crystal drove away from the small flat they had been renting in Llwynypia. It was a mere stone’s throw away from the Phoenix theatre where they had been torn apart by the three deceased judges.
This was not the only midnight flit Crystal and Harry had done - many, many more had been before this night. And now, it was on to the next town or village in South Wales. Who knows, maybe to a town or village near you?
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