Friday, 24 August 2012

Caught in the Web - Chapter 17

Now we're off camping for the weekend to Adam's Farm In the Cotswolds!  Hope it doesn't rain too much...

Chapter Seventeen
It was nearly six in the morning before Peter arrived home still intoxicated with beer and the afterglow of illicit sex.
The day was already promising to be warm and sunny without a cloud in the sky, the birds singing in the park at the end of the road. A perfect Saturday morning. As he reached the gate of number eleven, the front door opened and Karen stepped out into the street, dressed in her uniform beneath her summer jacket.
'Peter!' she gasped in confrontation.
A mixture of feelings erupted as he stood looking at her. Guilt, anger and remorse together with the justification that she had taken him to the edge. Before she could say any more, he pushed past her roughly and went into the house.
He tried to slam the door shut, but Karen held on to it tightly.
'Where have you been?' she questioned. 'I've been worrying about you all night.'
'Oh, I'll bet you have,' he retorted. 'You don't even notice if I'm here these days.'
'I was worried,' she said. 'I know we haven't spent much time together lately but I do miss you.'
'Oh, sorry!' Even to his own ears he sounded sarcastic. 'I was out enjoying myself with Dave, if you really want to know.'
'All night?' Her voice dripped with disbelief.
'All night!' He shouted. 'What are you going to do about it? Tell me I'm a naughty boy?'
'No. I'm sorry.' She turned to the door. 'I have to go to work. I'll be late if I miss the bus.'
'Yeah, well, off you go then!' Peter's anger overwhelmed his guilt.
'See you tonight?' Karen asked. 'I'm off tonight. We could have a nice meal together, maybe go for a drink?'
'Maybe. That's if you remember to come home.' Peter turned away.
'I will,' Karen sighed.
'We'll see.'
'Bye then,' Karen said. 'I love you.'
'Yeah.' Peter went into the kitchen, leaving Karen standing holding the door. She looked back again and stepped out into the street. The door closed quietly behind her.
Peter put on the kettle and made some coffee. The afterglow of the night had been washed down by guilt and anger, churning in his stomach.
'Bloody woman,' he justified, knowing that Karen would be at that place all day, mixing with those people. 'She'll probably be laughing at me with them,' he thought.
He sat at the kitchen table and lit a cigarette. He sipped his coffee and it burnt his tongue.
'Shit!' He slammed the mug down on the table - the ash from his cigarette dropped onto the Formica top.
He tried to think. What was it that was worrying him exactly? 'She's working with those infected mad people,' he thought. 'That's it. They're infected with madness. What if Karen became mad from working with them?'
The thoughts spun around in his head.
'I knew there was something wrong with her,' he decided. 'She's not right in her mind.'
Peter stubbed out his cigarette as he realised what he should do. He checked his pockets for change and found his address book. With a determined step he made his way to the telephone box in the next street. He dialled the number and was soon talking to the Doctor's receptionist.
'I need to speak to Doctor Wright,' he said. 'It's very important.'
'Can I have your name please?'
'It's about my wife, Mrs. Karen Edwards.'
'What is it about exactly?' the receptionist asked.
'It's a personal matter. Regarding my wife's health.' The air in the booth was hot and stale.
'I'm sorry,' the woman said. 'The doctor isn't taking calls at the moment, unless it's an emergency.'
'Listen.' He was becoming annoyed now. 'I'm phoning from a call box, and this is urgent.'
'I'm afraid I can't disturb the doctor right now.'
'This is an emergency,' he snapped. 'Put the doctor on now please. I insist.'
'Hold the line. I'll try and speak to the doctor, but I can't promise that he'll take the call.' She put the phone down and left Peter waiting.
He fed more money into the coin box and stood tapping the glass impatiently with a spare coin. Soon the doctor was on the line.
'What seems to be the trouble?' he asked.
'It's my wife, Doctor,' Peter began. 'Karen Edwards. Remember she had that operation earlier this year?'
'Yes, of course.'
'I think she's having a bad reaction to it,' Peter said. 'She hasn't been herself since then and recently it's got much worse.'
'Worse in what way?'
'Well, she thinks that she's related to people she's only just met, and she's started getting obsessed with her work. She cries all the time and has stopped taking care of herself. She won't do simple things like cooking any more and wakes early in the morning. I'm very worried.' He drew a breath.
'Well, it hardly warrants an emergency.' Doctor Wright sounded annoyed. 'Ask her to come in and see me at the surgery.'
'She won't come,' Peter said. 'I think she might hurt herself, but she doesn't think there's anything wrong with her.'
'Well, I can't do anything for her unless I see her,' the doctor snapped. 'Make an appointment and just make sure she comes in.' He paused. 'Now I must get back to my surgery. I'll put you back to the receptionist.'
Peter heard the tone of the call being transferred back and the receptionist was once more on the line.
The appointment made, Peter walked home and let himself back into the house. He yawned and stretched. Feeling much better now that he had made a decision, he went upstairs and stood looking at himself in the bathroom mirror.
'We'll soon sort this out.' He smiled at his reflection.
He brushed his teeth and a short while later he was in bed, sleeping off the remnants of the night before.

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