Wednesday 29 October 2014

It's Time To Speak Of Unspoken Things

Secret Ceremony

Leonora: Hush little baby, cry no more. Father's gone fishing, mother's a whore. Back in the morning, to guard your life, with two short prayers, and a carving knife.

Leonora: I had a daughter once, a very unusual child.
Albert: What happened to her?
Leonora: She vanished.
(snaps her fingers)

LeonoraThere were two mice fell in a bucket of milk, one yelled for help and drowned, the other kept pedalling around and around until, in the morning, he found himself on top of butter.

Cenci: My virginity is the only thing I possess.

Leonora: Dear God, by whose mercy...
Cenci: Dear God, by whose mercy...
Leonora: ... I am shielded for a few hours...
Cenci ... I am shielded for a few hours...
Leonora ... let no-one snatch me from this heaven.
Cenci ... let no-one snatch me from this heaven.

Albert : Is your goddamn mother at home? I'm not going to eat you, you silly bitch.

CenciWe can't have you walking about looking like a whore.

 Albert : If you don't let her go, she'll get smaller and smaller.

Cenci (song) Oh that I were where I would be, / There would I be where I am not; / But where I am there I must be, / And where I would be I can not.


Tuesday 7 October 2014

Those That Go Down To Silence

The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go
down into silence

~ Psalm 115 : 17 (King James)

It's sometimes just like sleeping
Curling up inside my private tortures
I nestle into pain
Hug suffering
Caress every ache

~ Play Dead by Bj√∂rk and David Arnold

Nightmares (by karakuji

Fool You

Wembley, North West London

The woman was staring intensely into space.

So far she had barely spoken since they had taken her into custody several hours before.

And even her solicitor had been unable to communicate with her. 

"You're not making this easy for yourself"  The severe female officer informed her sharply "Why don't you start at the beginning?" 

"We can wait!" The rotund male officer added as he clicked the tape recorder on.

The solicitor shrugged wearily.

It was a game of cat and mouse.

And Eliot Solomon had a wife and two young children to go home to.

This could go on all night.

Finally the woman in custody acknowledged them.

There was a faraway look in her glazed blue eyes.

And a half smile upon her face.

"It's amazing what a woman will do for a man" Alice Mandrake informed them.

Two Months Earlier

It was on a dank and dingy late autumn afternoon that Alice Mandrake came to a startling realization.

She wasn't actually in love with Sacha Ryder.

She only wanted his body.

Now as Mandrake settled back at her desk she began to engage in her favourite pastime.

She pondered all the reasons why Sacha Ryder was so delectable.

"Let me count the ways ..." Alice Mandrake sighed as she sucked the juice out of a peach.

The object of her desire was only a few feet away at another desk, and the young woman was indulging in a little heart game.

Sacha Ryder was tall and swarthy with a gym toned body.

He was handsome with melting brown eyes, a shaved head and tidy goatee.

And he always moved on a wave of Le Male by Jean Paul Gautier.

Ryder had only been at the offices at Brent Council for four weeks but already he had made quite an impression on the management and his co-workers alike.

Particularly Alice Mandrake.

She was musing on how the sexy Sacha Ryder moved like a panther.

He made the quotidian atrociousness of working for Brent Council more bearable.

But much to Alice Mandrake's annoyance and consternation, she wasn't the only one who had noticed Sacha Ryder's charms.

Fiona Dixon had also taken a fancy to the newest recruit at the office and she made no secret of it.

Her desk was directly behind Alice Mandrake's and just lately she had become something of an affliction to the young woman. 

Fiona Dixon frequently stared with ill-concealed lust at Sacha Ryder every time he passed by her desk.

"He is delicious!" She announced one day in the office staff room.

The two women either side of her giggled as they nibbled on their sandwiches.

Alice Mandrake was sitting opposite the three women and attempting to hide her disgust.

She almost stabbed her tuna salad with a fork.

"We noticed!" Karen Davies cried.

"Where did he say he was from?" Lorna Rush piped up.

"His father is from Bora Bora and his mother is from Manchester!" Alice Mandrake informed them quickly.

Rush and Davies looked at her blankly.

Suddenly Sally Mandrake felt exposed.

Fiona Dixon laughed.

There was an unmistakable knowing look in her bright green eyes.

And Sally Mandrake hated her for it.

"Someone has the hots for him!" Fiona Dixon snorted facetiously.

The two women on either side of her giggled.

"I think Sacha has a fan!" Karen Davies added.

Alice Mandrake silently seethed as she stared back at the three women.

Infantile low-life.

As far as she was concerned, Sacha Ryder was hers.

She had noticed him first and she was determined to have him.

Alice Mandrake watched as the three women rose abruptly and left the staff room, exchanging knowing glances.

"The bitches of Eastwick!" Mandrake sneered.

Although her vitriol was aimed solely at Fiona Dixon.

"You okay?"

Alice turned to see dependable Tony Ball.

Tony Ball was tall and gangly with ginger hair and pale blue eyes.

He had already been promoted three times in the last eighteen months.

"It's just that Karen and Lorna said you were acting strangely" Ball added.

"No, I'm quite fine" Alice Mandrake answered him quickly.

There was a look of concern in Tony Ball's eyes.

She hated him.

"Well, if you ever need to talk you know where I am!"

Mandrake watched as the lanky man departed the staff room.

"Smug bastard!" She snarled.

Then she dug her plastic fork into her salad with such force that it broke.

That night, alone in her modest flat in Kilburn, Alice Mandrake luxuriated in a soapy bath.

The relaxing ambience was completed with the aroma of scented candles, a glass of Vina Maipo Vitral Chardonnay and a little Bach.

All Alice Mandrake needed now was a naked and buff Sacha Ryder to join her in the bath.

Alice Mandrake sighed.

The thought of Sacha Ryder sent ripples of longing throughout her body.

Suddenly her reverie was forcibly interrupted by a vision of Fiona Dixon.

She was blocking out the light as she laughed mockingly at Mandrake.

"Bitch!" Alice Mandrake screamed,  tossing her glass against the bathroom wall.

She watched it explode into inestimable shards.

Alice Mandrake's face had darkened and her mind had gone into overdrive.

Fiona Dixon was like a black widow spider crawling all over brain.

She was a pestiferous poacher who was out to steal her man.

And Alice Mandrake was shaking with rage.

The sexiest man she had come across in a long while had just entered her life.

But his very presence was being threatened by a feline predictor.

Fiona Dixon.

A well manicured vampire with a taste for male blood.

A tasteless little bimbo with air between her ears. 

Alice Mandrake was petite and elfin with blonde hair and a squeaky voice.

She was comely with wide blue eyes and a ready smile.

There was something childlike about Alice Mandrake and she was the sort of person that people wanted to look after.

Mandrake had been working at Brent Council for five years and was regarded by most as being very professional but rather quaint.

She was friendly and polite but nobody knew much about her because she played her cards close to her chest.

Dark Headquarters (by SLimspaceman
Nobody would ever have imagined that she had hidden fires.

Alice Mandrake was full of surprises.

Her last relationship had ended three years before.

Douglas Peters, a freelance journalist from New Zealand, had gone missing shortly after the break-up of his relationship with Alice Mandrake.

The mystery had remained unsolved.

But of this, nobody at Brent Council was aware.

Conversely, Fiona Dixon was an outspoken brunette.

She was tall and striking with vivid green eyes and a confidant demeanor.

Dixon dressed to kill in power suits and high heels and nothing was sacred with her.

And apparently she was a hit with the men at Brent Council.

Fiona Dixon was everything that Alice Mandrake was not.

She was sharp and opinionated.

And she had an eye for success.

But she had fatally underestimated mousy little Alice Mandrake.

Mandrake had taken an instant dislike to Fiona Dixon from the moment she arrived at the office two years before.

As far as she was concerned, Dixon had used her feminine wiles to ingratiate herself with all the people who mattered at Brent Council.

And Mandrake secretly found it deplorable.

The arrival of Sacha Ryder had just upped the ante.

Now with Christmas two months away, the management at Brent Council had planned a two week excursion to the Yorkshire Dales and a stay at a plush hotel.

They were eager to congratulate their employees for all their hard work, although few shared their sentiments and many were wondering what they were actually doing there.

Tony Ball was busy making a list of all those who wanted to go on the trip.

Now he was talking animatedly to Alice Mandrake about all the important sights of the Yorkshire Dales.

"And the limestone cliffs are really impressive" Ball gushed.

But Alice Mandrake was too busy staring at Sacha Ryder's crotch, as she sucked on the end of her pencil.

He was wearing tight trousers and Mandrake had identified a pleasing bulge between his legs.

"Mmm" She moaned.

Alice had already offered to drive him home but he had declined, claiming that he was meeting a friend in town for drinks.

She was crestfallen but undeterred.

Sacha Ryder had flashed her a cheeky smile and there was a mischievous glint in his chocolate brown eyes.

It was inevitable.

One day he would be hers.

Alice Mandrake followed the sexy man with her eyes until she suddenly noticed Fiona Dixon ogling him as well.

Mandrake's face fell as Dixon grinned at her.

"Just admiring the view!" She cooed with a knowing smirk.

Alice Mandrake fought to contain her disgust.

Tony Ball had stopped talking.


"Oh sorry Tony ..."

"Dreaming about our little excursion to The Dales?"

Alice Mandrake looked blankly at him.

She knew the Yorkshire Dales well; her father was a Yorkshire man and they often went to The Dales for holidays.

Alice Mandrake managed a smile.

"Is ... Sacha Ryder going on the trip?" She asked expectantly.

Tony Ball's face fell.

He was besotted with Alice Mandrake and much to his consternation, she did not reciprocate.

"Apparently so"

A bright grin had spread across Alice Mandrake impish face.

"I'm going, too" Tony Ball added.

But Mandrake was already distracted.

Sacha Ryder had just bent over and she was getting a good look at his taut bottom.

"Mmm!" She groaned.

Nothing else mattered.

Tony Ball slunk away defeated.

The Yorkshire Dales is a collection of river valleys spanning the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

A soaringly beautiful landscape of grandeur and natural beauty.

Alice Mandrake had suffered Tony Ball to drive her to the hotel in Harrogate but she was distracted for the duration of the journey.

He had taken it as a sign that the tide was turning.

But Alice Mandrake had other things on her mind.

She was exhilarated and unsettled at the same time.

Sacha Ryder would be staying in the same hotel as her.

But so would Fiona Dixon.

Alice closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep so Tony Ball would stop talking.

"That's right, you go to sleep!" He cried "We'll be in Yorkshire within the hour!"

But Mandrake was already silently plotting as they spent the remainder of the journey in silence.

She was determined to mount a charm offensive.

And Fiona Dixon was quite taken aback by the transformation.

"I thought you were a boring cow!" Dixon announced after dinner that first night.

She was standing on the steps of the hotel with Mandrake.

"Appearances can be deceiving" Alice replied.

Fiona Dixon took out a cigarette and lit up.

"That will kill you" Mandrake informed her.

"All the best things in life will" Dixon grinned.

The two women fell silent for several long moments.

Fiona Dixon eyed up Alice Mandrake as she took a long drag from her cigarette.

She was dressed in a Marks and Spencer purple polo neck skater dress and her blonde hair was scraped severely back in a bun.

Fiona Dixon wouldn't be seen dead in a get-up like that.

Mandrake might be pretty but she couldn't dress for shit.

Fiona Dixon was wearing a tight black Betsy Jackson dress and black leather kinky boots.

Her face was carefully made-up and her long brown tresses tumbled over her shoulders.

"Shame Sacha didn't join us for dinner!" Dixon declared.

"Oh ... I really didn't notice ..."

"You didn't notice the absence of the tastiest man in the office?"

"Well no ... I mean I saw him briefly when we arrived but ..."

"God, I hope he's waiting for me!"

Alice Mandrake shifted uneasily where she stood.

Her brashness was unnerving.

Fiona Dixon grinned broadly.

"Oh, I am sorry if I offended you!" She cried.

But it was obvious that she didn't mean it.

"No, it's quite okay!" Alice Mandrake answered quickly.

Perhaps too quickly.

"It's getting a little nippy out here" she added "I think I'll go inside!"

Fiona Dixon watched as Alice Mandrake disappeared back into the hotel.

"Frigid little virgin!" She snarled.

Tony Ball had been hanging around in the hotel bar, waiting for Alice Mandrake.

He was determined to make an impression on her.

"Hi, Alice!" Ball cried enthusiastically.

Mandrake smiled thinly at him.

She'd been trying to avoid him all evening.

"Just wondered if you'd like a drink?" He added.

"Oh I am sorry, I have a terrible headache!"

"Sorry ... maybe next time?"

Alice Mandrake did not reply but walked straight past him.

Three days into the trip and Alice Mandrake felt starved of the presence of Sacha Ryder.

She barely saw him after breakfast as he spent most of his time in his room.

But when Alice learnt that Ryder was fond of a midday swim in the hotel pool, she began to covertly observe him in his black Speedos from the sidelines.

Mandrake waited until the lithe and toned form of Sacha Ryder emerged from the men's changing room and dived effortlessly into the pool.

He glided through the virtually empty pool like a silver fish.

After several laps of the pool Sacha Ryder rose out of the water like Adonis and disappeared into the men's changing room

Alice Mandrake sighed with satisfaction at the remembrance of his taught chest and thighs.

Now she could attend to her other business with renewed vigour.

Fiona Dixon had been swept up on the tidal wave of Alice Mandrake's appreciation.

At first she had been suspicious of her motivations.

Alice Mandrake was the sort of mousy goody two shoes that she always disliked.

Fiona Dixon was a part-time feminist but a full-time coquette.

She liked men and they liked her.

This was why she was such a threat to Alice Mandrake.

But somehow she capitulated under Mandrake's friendly assault.

Alice had determined to get her onside and disarm her that way.

And even though she hated her, Fiona Dixon gradually lost her inhibitions.

The bookish little mouse might be a source of entertainment.

Spurn point Yorkshire (by BenWalker
And Alice Mandrake was admitted into her circle and soon became a regular member of her little band of women who frequented all the local bars and pubs of Harrogate.

Mandrake suffered the brash and brassy woman's raucous humour and salacious anecdotes as the women around her roared with laughter.

But she also had to endure her ill-concealed lust for Sacha Ryder too.

"I bet he's got some little tart stashed in his hotel room!" Fiona Dixon exclaimed.

"You'll have to join the cue!" Karen Davies retorted.

Alice Mandrake winced.

The IQ level had evidently dropped since they arrived in Yorkshire.

Now Alice Mandrake watched Fiona Dixon like a hawk over the rim of her glass.

She wondered how long she could keep up the pretense ...

"You wouldn't say no, would you?" Linda Brown asked Alice Mandrake.

"Who would!" Mandrake replied quickly.

Everyone laughed, and Alice managed to join in.

But she secretly hated herself for doing it.

And Fiona Dixon put on a good show of accepting her.

Even though she made her flesh crawl. 

The evening progressed and the women became more and more cacophonous.

Fiona Dixon was tossing back her head and laughing shrilly at the bawdy jokes.

And Alice Mandrake was cursing her over and over again in her head.

Later she cornered Dixon in the rest room of a chic bar.

"I'm going on that trip to The Dales on Thursday!" Mandrake declared "Care to join us?"

"Not my thing!" Fiona Dixon replied disinterestedly as she applied her scarlet Dior lipstick.

"Used to go there as a kid!" Mandrake continued "I know it like the back of my hand!"

"No, sorry!"

"Well, there are some things I really need to get off my chest ... you know, private stuff!"

Fiona Dixon paused.

This was priceless.

Perhaps a little excursion to The Dales might yield some interesting results.

There was an intense look in Alice's eyes.

"Oh, come on!" Mandrake urged.

Fiona Dixon pondered on the offer for several moments.

She hated Alice Mandrake but she also relished making a joke out of their little expedition to her friends later.

Mandrake was such a soft target.

"You're on!" Fiona Dixon informed her briskly.

Alice Mandrake smiled appreciatively.

Getting her alone might be the only way of ascertaining what her true intentions towards Sacha Ryder were.

And because Fiona Dixon wasn't one to keep her mouth shut for long about anything, Mandrake surmised that the little expedition would reap rich rewards.

So she was willing to endure the appalling woman to achieve this end.

Before she considered a more final solution.

"I'm not a lesbian so don't get any funny ideas!" Fiona Dixon added icily before sweeping out of the rest room.

Alice Mandrake watched as she departed, leaving a wave of Poison in her wake.

"Bitch!" She sneered.

Thursday afternoon arrived all too quickly.

It was a crisp morning and there was a ground frost.

And there was no sign of Sacha Ryder.

Fiona Dixon was already thirty minutes late.

Eventually she appeared.

She was dressed in a black Prada coat and silver Jimmy Choo heels - inappropriate attire for The Dales.

Alice Mandrake silently seethed.

Why did Fiona always have to be the centre of attention?

Tony Ball had been assigned as group leader and he avidly regaled them with stories about the Yorkshire Dales for over an hour.

They were all relieved when he finally suggested they splinter off into pairs to explore the stunning terrain.

Ball was hoping to ask Mandrake to join him.

He had been hoping to spend some time with Mandrake alone.

But instead he watched with dismay as Alice Mandrake trudged across The Dales without him.

His little flag had crumpled.

Dixon listened to Mandrake as she prattled on about her holidays to the Yorkshire Dales.

She was willing to endure a little discomfort to get what she wanted.

Fiona Dixon relished the expectation that Alice Mandrake would soon yield some excruciating secrets which could be used against her later.

She was game for a laugh and Mandrake was a soft target.

She was about to make a fool of herself and Fiona Dixon was going along for the ride.

Now Dixon eyed Alice Mandrake up and down.

She was wearing a grey coat from Top Shop and a pair of brown leather boots.

Suddenly Dixon resisted the temptation to laugh at her as she took another drag from her cigarette.

This was surely going to be the highlight of the week.

Now as Fiona Dixon followed Alice Mandrake, she waited on bated breath for a deluge of embarrassing details.

But Mandrake was oddly not forthcoming.

Instead they trudged purposefully across rugged terrain as Alice jabbered on about inconsequential things.

Fiona Dixon struggled to keep up with her in her impossible silver Jimmy Choo heels.

They appeared to be headed towards an isolated place up in the hills. 

And they seemed to be climbing ever higher until they were standing on a limestone cliff with a panoramic view of The Dales.

Fiona Dixon's frustration had been mounting.

Where was her self deprecating spiel?

Her humiliating confessions?

Alice Mandrake had suddenly gone very quiet. 

All they could hear was the sound of the bustling wind as it whipped around them.

Several uneasy moments passed.

And Fiona Dixon had lost her patience.

"What?" She suddenly erupted "Did your father abuse you or something?"

Alice Mandrake struggled to hide her contempt for Dixon as she shook her head.

Fiona Dixon had finally given up on Mandrake spilling the beans of her own volition.

So now she was determined to play her like a fish.

She detested Alice Mandrake and there was no longer any need for pretence.

And besides, she knew what her weakness was.

"Let's talk about men!" Fiona Dixon declared.

Alice Mandrake turned to look at her directly in the eyes.

"Unless you want to talk about women ..." Dixon added facetiously.

"No ... you're alright" Mandrake offered tentatively.

"Let's talk about one man in particular!" Fiona Dixon continued sharply "Let's talk about Sacha Ryder!"

There was a mischievous glint in Dixon's green eyes.

It was very quiet on the cliff.

"Isn't he absolutely gorgeous?" Fiona Dixon added brightly.

"Well ... I can't say I've really noticed him!" Alice Mandrake responded.

Fiona Dixon threw back her head and laughed shrilly. 

"You mean you haven't noticed the sexiest guy in the office?"

Alice's blue eyes had turned into dangerous slits.

"As I said, I can't say I've really noticed him"

"Don't shit me!" Fiona Dixon cried "You've been pining for him ever since he arrived in the office and everyone knows it!"

Alice Mandrake was fighting to control the rage that was welling up within her now.

"Well, you're wasting time!" Dixon continued nastily "Because I've been screwing Sacha for weeks and we've been at it like rabbits!"

She began to move menacingly towards Mandrake, as if she were a lioness about to pounce.

"That's right!" Dixon added "He's been fucking me everywhere, including the store room and he keeps coming back for more!"

The leggy brunette was towering over the slight blonde woman as they teetered perilously close to the edge of the cliff.

"You nasty cow!" Alice Mandrake exclaimed "Why do you always have to ruin everything? Why do you always have to destroy it all!"

Fiona Dixon threw back her head and laughed mockingly again.

Mandrake detested her screechy laugh.

"Why would a stud like Sacha be interested in a mouse like you?" Fiona Dixon retorted viciously "You frigid little virgin!"

"Sacha Ryder is mine!" Alice Mandrake screamed "He belongs to me! Not an empty headed slut like you!"

Alice's face had darkened and she was rounding in on Fiona Dixon.

"I fucking hate you! You horrible bitch!"

The little office mouse was suddenly overpowering the office lioness.

"I've put up with you long enough!" Mandrake exploded

Fiona Dixon was cowering beneath her like a frightened rabbit.

They were teetering perilously close to the edge of the cliff now.

And Alice Mandrake had experienced a sudden primal surge of energy.

"Die you bitch!" She screamed "Die! Die! Die!"

She behaved like a woman possessed.

In a fit of fury Alice Mandrake brutally shoved Fiona Dixon over the cliff.

The woman shrieked with terror as she tumbled to her death.

Her last thought was that she was flying. 

"Alice! Are you okay" Tony Ball exclaimed as he suddenly appeared and ran to the scene, closely followed by several others.

Alice Mandrake watched emotionless as her nemesis span into oblivion.

Then she took out a gummy bear from her pocket and popped it in her mouth.

She had quite forgotten herself.

The splintered group had gradually begun to converge on the cliff.

They were all stunned into silence.

"We heard you shouting!" Tony Ball informed Alice Mandrake "What happened? Are you okay?"

He suddenly noticed how fragile she looked.

"She was suicidal!" Alice Mandrake replied through fits of tears "I begged her not to jump ... but she wouldn't listen!"

"What are you talking about?" Tony Ball replied "Who?"

Everyone looking at each other with bemusement.

That was when Alice Mandrake became hysterical.

It took two hours to calm her down.

Over the ensuing days, Alice Mandrake proved herself to be a consummate actress.

She was able to shed crocodile tears over the death of her rival and her performance was very convincing.

The last few days of the Yorkshire trip passed in a haze of questioning and officious police officers but Alice Mandrake handled herself well.

In fact, she was so good that the police quickly wrote her off as a suspect on account of her affecting testimony and evident distress at Fiona Dixon's untimely death.

And for a few brief shining moments Alice Mandrake became the object of everyone's attention.

Even Sacha Ryder expressed concern.

He put a protective arm around her as they sat in the foyer.

Alice Mandrake thought her heart would stop.

The feel of his touch sent ripples of desire throughout her eager body.

"I'm here for you" Sacha Ryder assured her earnestly "if you need anything, just ask"

He was looking deeply into Mandrake's eyes.

"Thank you" she replied in a quivering voice.

"You're shivering!"

"It's probably from ... the shock"

"Honey, you know where I am!"

And with that Sacha Ryder rose and exited the foyer.

Alice Mandrake was unable to conceal the broad grin that had spread across her face.

She felt triumphant.

Killing Fiona Dxon had been worth it.

And she could even forgive Sacha Ryder for sleeping with her.

Black roses (by jpfagerhe
Love conquers everything.

That was it.

Lust had turned into love.

Now Alice Mandrake began to fantasise about marriage to Sacha Ryder and she fortified herself with this notion on the journey back to London with Tony Ball.

Her plight had stirred Ball into fresh expressions of chivalry.

He was now more insufferable than ever and Alice Mandrake had to summon new reserves of will power to resist him.

Christmas was fast approaching.

Although the office was still reeling from the shock of Fiona Dixon's death.

Alice Mandrake had even attended her funeral.

She only went because she wanted to make sure that Fiona Dixon really was six feet under.

Nobody would ever have detected that Alice Mandrake was a murderess.

She seemed to cry louder than everyone else.

Alice Mandrake even wheeled Fiona Dixon's disabled mother around the cemetery in her wheelchair.

"You're such a caring young lady!" June Dixon informed her "I'm so glad my Fi met you!"

With Fiona Dixon in the ground - Alice Mandrake wanted Sacha Ryder more than ever.

He filled her every waking moment.

And she'd even visited a bridal wear shop in North London to look at wedding dresses.

Sacha Ryder was hers.

Even though she still knew very little about him and she was determined not to confide in anyone lest it shatter her fantasy.

Very soon she would be riding Ryder and the earth would move for both of them.

Alice had hardly noticed that Tony Ball was talking to her.

He was still hovering around her.

Why would she be interested in a lanky fool like him when she could have a ripped hunk like Sacha Ryder?

Why would she want to have a cheeseburger when she could have a steak?

"I'm sorry, I can't go out with you tonight!" Alice Mandrake interrupted him "I'm washing my hair. Anything else?"

Tony Ball looked genuinely hurt.

"Perhaps some other time then" he managed.

Alice Mandrake smiled thinly and returned to her work.

Tony Ball was so transparent.

Eventually he slunk away.

The highly anticipated Christmas was looming.

Alice Mandrake had bought herself a little black Betsy Jackson dress and black Fendi heels.

She was eagerly anticipating her transformation and the look of desire in Sacha Ryder's melting brown eyes when he beheld.

The mousy bookworm had gone and been replaced by a tigress.

Sacha Ryder was looking particularly delectable today and Alice Mandrake had barely been able to take her eyes off of him.

She had been feverishly imagining him naked all day.

Tonight Sacha Ryder would be hers.

They were going to athletically consummate their lust in every orifice.

It was going to be a night to remember.

At five o'clock, Alice Mandrake switched off her computer.

As she was about to get up, an unfamiliar young man suddenly entered the office.

He was tall, blond, blue-eyed and good-looking.

Alice Mandrake observed him with interest.

The young man may have been attractive, but he was not a patch on Sacha Ryder.

He appeared to make a bee-line for Ryder's desk and there seemed to be some familiarity between them.

Then something happened that froze the blood in Alice Mandrake's veins.

Something happened that sent an icy chill through her bones.

The young man leaned in and kissed Sacha Ryder on the mouth.

The object of Mandrake's desire responded fervidly and the two men continued be devour each other with hot, passionate kisses.

Alice Mandrake stared at them in mortified horror.

The bottom had just fallen out of her world.

It was as if someone had just walked across her grave.

And suddenly everything had become graphically grotesque.

"Yes. he's gay!" Tony Ball informed her "I thought everyone in the office knew that!"

Fiona Dixon had lied to her.

The bitch had lied.

And Alice Mandrake had deceived herself.

But worst of all, Sacha Ryder had betrayed her.

He had dug the knife deeper than Fiona Dixon.

Sacha Ryder winked at Alice Mandrake and flashed her his lazy smile.

Bile rose in her throat and she suddenly fought the urge to vomit.

She stared in disbelief as the man of her dreams exited the office hand-in-hand with his male lover.

Alice Mandrake's brain had flat lined.

The world was a place called hate.

"Oh and ..." Ball continued tentatively "I wondered if you'd like to go for that drink ... after the party!"

Alice Mandrake slowly turned to face Tony Ball.

It would have been impossible for him to quantify how much pathological hatred Alice Mandrake felt for him in that moment.

"Fuck off and die!" She snarled malevolently at him.

And this time Tony Ball knew she meant it.

The Present Day

Alice Mandrake sat back in her chair.

The two police officers looked at each other before clicking the tape recorder office.

Eliot Solomon knew that all advice was now futile.

"Looks can be deceiving!" Alice Mandrake informed them "They never saw me coming!"

Her audience were hanging on her every word.

"People have always underestimated me!" Mandrake went on "And I taught them a lesson!"

"Was that the same with Sacha Ryder?" The spiky female officer pressed her.

"I thought he was different!" Alice Mandrake declared "But he was just like all the others. A lying, cheating bastard and I purged myself of him!"

There was a crazed look in Mandrake's eyes.

The interview room had suddenly become very cold.

And Alice Mandrake was grinning broadly now.

One Month Later

"Personality disorder bought on by childhood trauma" Dr Bukoski informed the two officers as they observed Alice Mandrake from a secret glass window.

She appeared to be having an animated conversation with herself.

"I don't understand?" The astringent female officer replied.

"Alice Mandrake was hopelessly in love with Sacha Ryder" Dr Bukoski explained "But because of the intense self loathing she felt for herself, she invented Fiona Dixon. She was a projection and the dark side of herself!"

"So you mean its as if there are two sides to Alice Mandrake?" The female officer responded.

"Yes, in a manner of speaking" Dr Bukoski went on "The abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her parents tipped her over the edge and scarred her for life. And the only way she could deal with her sexuality was to cultivate a split personality!"

"I don't get it!" The rotund male officer interjected "Everything she said sounded so real!"

"In her mind it was real!" Dr Bukoski went on "When she discovered Ryder was gay, it shattered her fantasies because it broke the rules. The poor man became a victim of her disillusionment"

"And what about Tony Ball?" The prickly female officer asked.

"He was an inconsequential nobody!" Dr Bukoski informed her "Mandrake let him live because he meant nothing to her. Unlike Sacha Ryder of course!"

The two officers shook their heads.

Sacha Ryder had been stabbed in the neck five times with a cake knife.

They found his body in the storeroom.

Dr Bukoski and the two officers turned to look at Alice Mandrake.

She was staring at the glass window now.

It was as if she could see her audience.

A smile slowly crept across her face.

"I think you'll find that Alice Mandrake is as much a victim as the people she murdered!" Dr Bukoski concluded.

Help Me (by karakuji