Mrs Collin’s storm (references murder, abuse)

Mrs Collins?

– Yes. (Pull the shawl closer, don’t let this copper see.)

I’m sorry for your loss.

– Thank you (Which loss? My dignity, my freedom, my life?)

My apologies but there’s just a couple of questions.

– Of course.

When did you find your husband?

– When I opened the lounge curtain, I saw him. (Exactly where I left him last night.)

Forgive me, but you hadn’t noticed he’d not slept in his bed?

– No, sometimes he preferred the couch (He’d lie there, waiting, watching, like a funnel-web spider)

He went out last night?

– Friday; drinking night (and every other night)

You didn’t hear him return?

– No. That storm went right over, so loud. I was hiding. (In the garden. Even outside in pouring rain was safer than getting caught inside)

You don’t like storms?

– No. (His favourite go-for-it nights. Neighbours couldn’t hear my screams.)

How long have you been married?

– Sixteen years. (Long enough. Virginal frisson morphed into searing burns)

We believe he was drunk.

– Yes. (He stumbled in the gate. Thunder bore closer; hell approaching.)

We think he stopped for a pee.

– Yes. (Fumbling at his belt, anticipating finding me)

Unfortunately he chose the flagpole.

– Yes. (Crashed into it, trousers open wide; a fine figure of a man.)

He somehow got the pole wrapped in his belt.

– Yes. (I frantically grabbed the belt ends. Lightening flashed as I pulled them tight. Managed to get the buckle prong in the hole; there is a God)

It looks like he tried to get free.

– Yes. (Drunken hands fighting slippery leather)

The storm must have been right overhead.

– Yes. (Neighbours couldn’t hear his fury.)

The flagpole took a direct hit.

– Yes. (Noise, hellish flash, his arcing body, rain pouring down.)

It’s no consolation, but death was probably instant.

– No. (Painless was not my choice for him.)

Is there a friend we can call?

– No. (I wasn’t allowed friends.)

Is there anything we can do?

– No. (Leave him there, half-fried. Let me build a cremation pyre, dance around the flames until midnight, and throw his ashes onto the motorway.)

We’ll leave you in peace then.

– Yes. (Blessed peace.)

Thank you Mrs Collins.

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