by: John S Alty
A short story that acts as a warning that you never know where, or within whom, evil lurks…
A nurse led a tall man down a corridor reeking of disinfectant and floor polish.
“Felicity has perked up since you arranged this visit so I assume she should be able to answer your questions. She’ll tire quickly though, remember she’s over ninety.”
“Thank you, I’ll bear that in mind,” said the man.
The nurse knocked and opened the door. A woman was sitting in an armchair gazing at a television bolted high on the opposite wall.
“Your guest is here, Felicity,” the nurse said and then turning to the man added, “I’ll leave you to it Inspector.”
There was a second armchair against the wall under the television and the nurse indicated the man should sit there. She lowered the volume but didn’t switch off the television.
“Just to confirm, you are Felicity Watson?” the man began.
Felicity responded with a nod.
“I am Inspector Monroe of the Metropolitan Police Force. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“What on earth do you want to ask me about?” Felicity replied, her strong clear voice carrying with it a hint of mischief.
“You were in France in 1954, with the British army, is that correct?” asked Inspector Monroe.
Felicity had said au revoir and set off to Paris when tramping through the rain-washed countryside with colleagues from the military hospital had lost its allure. She realized quickly she wasn’t the outdoors type, finding sleeping in a tent with three other girls unappealing and deciding she wasn’t going to waste any more of her three-day pass in such a fashion. Looking for lunch prior to catching her train, she came upon a restaurant near the station. The restaurant, with its worn furniture, shabby decor, and mysterious smells, was an inauspicious start to a delicious adventure, and she would forgive it its shortcomings whenever she reminisced about it later.
He’d intervened while she was trying to order lunch in her appalling French.
“What language are you trying to speak, mademoiselle, if I may ask?” a handsome man inquired in English thick with a French accent.
“French, but it isn’t working” she replied with a smile. “Would you care to help me, make sure I don’t order horse’s testicles or something?”
The man moved to her table and introduced himself as Robert. Felicity knew at once he’d be an ideal candidate. His English was nearly faultless and during the meal they made flirtatious small talk and discovered they were both leaving for Paris on the afternoon train.
“Well, seeing as our first date is going so well, how about dinner tonight in Paris?” Robert asked.
“I don’t see why not, I have no plans for tonight.”
“Bon, then it’s set.”
Felicity had her raincoat collar turned up and a cigarette cupped in her hand to keep it dry. She was becoming frustrated. Robert was late. She was at the right place, she was certain of that, she knew she had the address right. Damn men, she thought, they are so full of themselves, thinking they can leave a lady waiting in the rain and there’ll be no consequences. There are always consequences, Robert, my boy.
Robert hurried towards her, his umbrella held aloft against the rain as Felicity fumed. “My god, I’m so sorry. I got involved in something and didn’t realize the time. Can you forgive me?”
“I’m cold and wet and very disenchanted. You have a lot of work to do to earn forgiveness.” A smile softened Felicity’s rebuke.
“Sorry, sorry, so stupid of me. It’s just down here, come on.”
They shared a simple cassoulet and a bottle of Beaujolais in a smoky den with brick walls, candles on the tables, and a trio playing slow blues. Later, as they sipped brandy, drank coffee, and smoked cigarettes, Robert suggested they go back to his place for a nightcap. Felicity teased him for a while and then agreed, with a look that said she knew precisely what he thought might follow the nightcap.
Robert lived in a small apartment on the second floor of a block off Rue Foyatier in Montmartre, a short walk from the restaurant. In the kitchen they chatted; Robert was fussing with drinks and Felicity was fiddling with a set of knives stored in a wooden block on the counter.
“Voila!” With a glass raised in each hand he was helpless to defend himself when Felicity drove the paring knife deep into his groin. That was the start of a night of exquisite pleasure for Felicity. Unfortunately gagged and bound, Robert did not find Felicity’s leisurely vivisection pleasurable at all. Death came as a considerable relief.
“Yes, Inspector, as I’m sure you are fully aware, I was a surgeon with the Medical Corps at that time. What of it?”
“Do you remember a Robert Evra?”
The blue wash from the television lit Felicity’s crooked smile, her eyes as bright as buttons, “How could I ever forget him. He was my first.”