ALMOST HOME

Photo: bearcampcabins.com

Martin King

Its late Friday afternoon, Mandy was at work in the local market, working as a shop assistant in a fashion boutique, Mandy suited this job down to the ground as she was a fashion icon in her own right, her wardrobe at home was overflowing with designer style clothes, they were not exactly all designer labels but she had a good eye for fashion, and always knew were to get a bargain,
On this afternoon things were hectic in the boutique and she was rushed off her feet and couldn’t wait till knocking off time, which was five o’clock tonight, Mandy just kept looking at the clock on the church spire across the road, which was just visible between the sale advertisements on the shop window,
Three o’clock came and went four o’clock came and went, then just as it reached half past four Mandy’s boss came in to the shop and said to her “you can knock off early today as you have worked hard today“, and before the boss could retract his words Mandy picked up her mobile phone from under the counter dashed in the back of the shop, threw her jacket on and grabbed her hand bag and proceeded out of the door waving and saying “goodbye see you Monday to the boss“,
Mandy didn’t live far from the boutique, so she was home in just a few minutes, as she got within one hundred yards of her house she reached into her handbag for her front door keys, a car screeched to a stop beside her giving her a heart attack! she looked into the car and saw her best mate Susan driving the car, which was a bit confusing as she didn’t have a driving licence, Susan’s boyfriend gets out of the passenger seat looking as white as a ghost, Mandy asked him if he was ok, he just looked at her and pointed to the drivers seat and shook his head, “I am giving Susan driving lessons” he said with a nervous sounding voice, Mandy looked back at Susan who was still sitting in the drivers seat with a firm grip on the steering wheel, She asked her if she was alright, she jumped out of the car and shouted at her boyfriend to “go home and leave me alone“, he jumped in to the drivers seat and slammed the door and sped off with wheels spinning,
Mandy turned to Susan and asked what the problem was between you, then Susan said “can we go to yours and I will explain“, Mandy agreed and they walked arm in arm the last hundred yards to Mandy’s flat, they were only in for two minutes and Susan’s mobile phone rang out, it was her boyfriend, Mandy asked “what’s the problem between you two“, Susan simply said “I don’t want to talk about it just now lets have a glass of wine then we can chat later“, Mandy agreed and nipped through to the kitchen to fetch a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses, they both got comfortable on the couch and proceeded to polish off the bottle of wine, Susan said “do you fancy a girls night out“, Mandy replied “what about your boyfriend“ and in a snappy reply said “lets not talk about him in fact lets not talk about any men, lets go out let our hair down and just have some fun“, Mandy just had to agree with her as she wanted to go out anyway and Susan asking just gave her the perfect excuse, so Mandy agreed with Susan and suggested that we invite the rest of the crowd and make a good night into a great night,
Susan said to Mandy with the hound dog eyes “can I borrow your wardrobe tonight as I am not going home to that moaning bugger, and if I did go home he would talk me out of going out tonight“, Mandy said “of course you can, borrow what you like“, between them they managed to organise another five girls for there night on the town,
Mandy and Susan were ready to go at seven o’clock and had a taxi ordered for seven fifteen, so another quick glass of wine was in order, but as soon as they poured the wine the phone rang and Mandy answered it thinking it might be Susan’s boyfriend looking for her, but no! it was the taxi saying he was waiting outside, so down with the drinks in one go and they were in the taxi on the way to town centre,
It only took a few minutes to reach the Chapel House Inn were they had organised to meet the rest of the girls, after settling the bill for the taxi they went in the pub, looked around to see if any other of the girls had turned up yet, which was unlikely as they were hitting the town a little earlier than they normally would, They made there way to the bar and ordered a couple of glasses of white wine, then proceeded to find a seat with plenty of chairs to fit all the girls round,
It wasn’t much longer when the girls started to turn up, in one’s and two’s until everyone was there, they started to get into the swing of things throwing drinks back as if they were going out of fashion, after a couple of hours everyone decided to move on to the night club, it was only walking distance up the main street to Harvey’s one of the best clubs in the town, so off they all trotted receiving wolf whistles and suggestive calls all the way there, as they got to the door the queue was fairly short, so they wouldn’t have long to wait to get in, eventually they got in the club and the men were all over them like a rash,
All the girls were getting plenty of attention but Mandy attracted the creep well that’s what the rest of the girls called him anyway, he was a bloke who loved himself more than he loved the girls he was chatting up, Mandy being a girl who can normally look after herself in these situations soon got shut of him, the night was going really well and by the end everyone apart from Mandy and Susan had either trapped off with some of the guys, or just moved on to other clubs around the town, but Mandy and Susan managed to deter all the advances and stay together,
Susan decided it was time that she had to show face with her boyfriend before it gets too bad between them, so Mandy decided to walk Susan home, Susan didn’t live far from Mandy so they teetered along the road together until they reached the corner of Susan’s street, they gave each other a hug and said goodnight, Susan ran the fifty yards to her door while Mandy had another quarter of a mile to walk,
She had managed to walk within about two hundred yards of her house when she heard footsteps in the distance behind her, so she took her phone out of her pocket so she could pretend to phone someone and the stranger who was getting closer and closer would not bother her, so Mandy holding the phone to her ear heard the footsteps getting almost upon her when without any warning the stranger grabbed Mandy from behind snatching the mobile phone from her hand with quite a violent snatching motion, and with his arm round her neck he squeezed so tight that she could hardly breath, he then progressed to grope her, all the while Mandy was fighting for her life but she was being strangled so tightly she couldn’t scream for help, the attack lasted for an age until Mandy eventually managed to let out a scream that would curdle cream which must have made the attacker let her go, but as he was releasing her he grabbed her hand bag and ran into the darkness,
Mandy fell to her knees sobbing, when a woman came running towards her from the other side of the street to her rescue, the woman told Mandy that she had phoned the police so come across to my house till the police arrive, the woman cradling Mandy round her shoulders walked her back to her house, when they got inside the woman asked if she was wanting a drink of water, Mandy replied “No thanks I just want to go home“, the woman replied “sorry the police are on there way” and within minutes the sirens were heard coming in the street, and seconds later the police were knocking on the woman’s door,
She let them in and a police woman collected and led Mandy to the ambulance which had turned up at the same time as the police, she sat her down on the stretcher bed in the back of the ambulance and placed a blanket around her shoulders, then the paramedic was asking Mandy “have you got any painful areas at all“, Mandy replied in a teary voice “no I am fine I just want to go home and have a shower“, the police woman said “did he touch you“, Mandy replied “he strangled and groped me, stole my hand bag and my mobile phone then ran off“, the police woman said which way did he run, so Mandy tried to give her a answer but was in shock and couldn’t get her bearings properly, the police woman took a statement of what happened and a very vague description of the attacker, during this time the paramedic was checking her over and came to the opinion that she was well enough to go home,
so the police woman told Mandy that she would walk her home and before she could reply to her another policeman came to the ambulance door with Mandy’s Hand bag in his hand, he asked Mandy if this was her bag Mandy confirmed it was, the police man said “we will have to take it to the lab to try and get any evidence from it“, Mandy asked if her house keys were still in the bag the policeman wearing his gloves fumbled with the catch and opened the bag and reached in and brought out a small key ring with a letter M hanging from it, the police said “you are lucky as that is usually one of the things they steal from you so they can break into your house while you are out“, the policeman handed the keys to Mandy and said “we will get your bag back to you as soon as the forensic guys are finished with it“, the policeman turned and left closing the ambulance door behind him, then the police woman asked if she would like her to walk you to your door, as I see by your statement you only live a hundred yards away, Mandy accepted the offer, and together they walked the short distance back to Mandy’s front door, as Mandy unlocked her door the police woman asked if she was alright going in on her own, Mandy said “yes I’m fine” and stepped in and closed the door behind her falling backwards against the door and slowly slumped on to her bum with her head in her hands and burst into tears,
she sat there for what seemed for ever then made her way to the shower, switched it on and stepped in without even taking her clothes off, after a few minutes she took off her now soaking clothes and started to scrub herself from head to toe, this lasted for around an hour until her skin was actually red raw with the constant scrubbing,
Eventually she came out of the shower dried herself off, wrapped herself in a big thick dressing gown and curled up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee trying to switch off the nightmare, eventually falling into a irritable sleep.

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