“You’ll regret it”
Janice had decided on a clear-out. As usual, when she got going, she couldn’t stop. After an hour she’d already filled two black bags, one for recycling the other for the dump. The strange voice brought her up from her crouch next to the drawers under the bed. It was a very strange voice, sort of muffled and – she knew how ridiculous her thought was but couldn’t deny it – oddly rustling. The bedroom revealed no serial killer with a hatchet and Scream mask.
Janice returned to her task, drawing forth a threadbare woollen jumper which went straight into a new bag which would also head to the dump. The jumper was followed by a designer skirt she’d bought to ‘inspire’ her to lose weight. Like all her schemes, it had failed and she’d never worn it. She was about to open a fourth bag, one designated for recycling, when the voice sounded again and she shot to her feet, clutching the skirt to her chest like some half-assed shield.
“What a waste of money.”
“It’s me; down here, fool.”
Janice lowered her gaze but could only see a lumpy black bin liner filled with her discards. She shrieked and just about levitated backward onto the bed when the bag spoke again, a mouth forming in one of the crumples.
“You know what’s going to happen, right?”
There was a pause which left Janice uncertain of her next move. The thing clearly wanted a response but she didn’t see the point in nodding as it had no visible eyes. She shunted further back on the bed and squeaked a ‘No?’
“You’ll regret all of it. You always do. How many of my brothers and sisters have you filled over the years? How many times have you gone haring down the back steps in an attempt to catch the bin men to retrieve it all? How many times have you sat on that very bed and cried yourself stupid because you threw out some beloved object?”
The thing kept berating her, but Janice suddenly decided she wasn’t going to let some lump of black plastic call her a fool. She inched off the bed, tiptoed to the window, opened it as wide as it would go and then screwed up her courage. In one mad rush she grabbed the bag by the tie and managed a passable hammer throw out the window and into the alley below. She could still hear it banging on down there as she hurled the other bags after it – on the premise that where there is one there will be more – and slammed the window shut.
In the ensuing peace, Janice decided she’d leave the rest of her clothes for another time and headed to the kitchen for a reviving, fortifying snack. She was sure a tub of half-eaten double chocolate fudge sundae ice cream lurked in the bottom draw of the freezer. Her son, Bobby, liked to arrange the magnetic letters on the fridge and freezer, but she was pretty sure he wasn’t responsible for the latest missive:
“You’ll regret it”
“No I damn well won’t!”
Janice was pretty sure she would start screaming if the fridge spoke to her. She ran across the room, scrambled the message on the freezer, yanked open the door, retrieved the ice cream and retreated to the kitchen table, grabbing the spoon from Bobby’s unwashed breakfast bowl on the way. Shovelling ice cream to the point of an ice pick in the head, she watched the scrambled letter reform:
‘Bang goes another diet huh?’
She ignored it, although her eyes were drawn to the whirling letters.
‘What’s a couple of stone between friends, huh?”
Janice shovelled and tried not to think.
‘Don’t wanna talk to me, fatso?”
Janice hurled the bowl at the freezer, screamed and ran from the house. Hurtling down the street a car called after her:
“You’ll regret it”
Feeling a sharp stone cut into her bare sole, Janice gritted her teeth, squashed her regret at forgetting shoes and turned left to avoid the lamp-post which told her:
“You’re too fat to run that fast”
A bike told her she’d give herself black eyes, running without a support bra. A mail box jeered at her sweat streaked face, red as a beetroot, calling her ugly. A fire hydrant laughed when she tripped over a dog on a lead and sprawled in the gutter, calling her Calamity Kate. In tears and beyond reason, Janice fled into the hospital car park and was promptly hit by a responding ambulance.
Later, when all that could be done had been, David, her husband stood at the bedside, gently stroking his wife’s cold hand as the doctor murmured gentle explanations, and sympathies.
“There was little we could do I’m afraid.”
“Did she suffer?”
“She was conscious for a few brief moments, but no, she did not seem aware. She was rather incoherent, shrieking about talking fridges and garbage. Probably due to the large amounts of illegal drugs in her system. Was she an habitual drug user?”
“If she was, she hid it well.”
David allowed tears to well, rolling fatly down his cheeks and the doctor withdrew with more sympathies and promises of talking later. David flicked open his phone, texted.
‘All done. Meet me at home.’
He allowed himself a small, self-satisifed smile, fingering the small back of illegal substances in his pocket and left for home, where his mistress would be waiting for him, under guise of nanny for a while, but not too long; after all, Bobby would need a new mummy, a prettier, younger model.
As close to the ridiculous prompt as I was willing to go *grin* I also wanted to leave you with this, one of the most compelling reasons to never have any inanimate object given a voice!