Christine almost snapped the key in the door, her white knuckles clasped tightly round the keyring.
“Vengeance is mine,” she whispered to the empty hall. “Saith me.”
She picked up the two carrier bags and kicked the front door closed behind her.
She went to the kitchen and picked up the wine glass she had used before she went out. She reached into the fridge, poured another glass of white wine, and drank it straight down. She refilled the glass before putting the bottle back in door.
“Vengeance,” she muttered. “Vengeance.”
She opened the back door and went out to the shed. She opened the door and took out a step ladder. Smiling, she returned to the house and set the step stool down by the front curtains. Climbing up, she reached for the heavy curtain rail above the front room curtains. She grasped the ferrule with one hand and pulled, hard. Christine grunted, trying again. The ferrule moved, a little. She grinned, and pulled again. It pulled off in her hand, and she almost overbalanced.
“Jennifer Edwards,” she said. “This is for you.”
She put the ferrule down and walked out into the hall. Reaching into one of the shopping bags, she brought out a packet of prawns.
“Oliver Kevin,” she snorted. “What sort of middle names are those?”
Climbing the steps again, she ripped open the packet and began putting the prawns into the curtain rod, one by one.
“I love the Internet,” she muttered to herself.
It took five minutes to empty the packet of prawns into the curtain rod. The ferrule went back on. Christine stepped back into the centre of the room and admired her handiwork.
“You’d never know,” she said to herself.
She went back out to the hall and lifted the bag. The letter, in its envelope, looked up at her, almost mocking her.
“Hope you enjoy your new life with horrible little Joseph.” She made a rude sign at the letter.
She took the other bag outside, and piled some firewood. The firelighters and lighter came out, and she lit a small bonfire. Christine looked at the upstairs window, then down at the fire, and nodded.
Smiling now, she took the large scissors from out of the kitchen drawer and headed to the bedroom. Richard had four really good suits – perhaps five if you wanted to stretch the definition a little bit – and another half dozen cheaper ones. It didn’t take long to cut out the underarms from each of the jackets, and the crotch from the trousers. As for the expensive shirts – the Armani, the Versace – another ten minutes made short work of those.
Chistine was starting to realise that maybe she’d drunk a bit too much. And that she was starting to enjoy herself.
Grinning, she went into the office. The cables for the computers looked tempting.
“Snip snip,” she said. Two power cables, the keyboard cable and the printer cable were all cut. They were cheap to replace, but it was quick and satisfying.
She opened the window and was surprised by the heat. Turning to her left, she looked at the bookshelves.
The first editions were particularly satisfying, the pages of Milne and Rowling and King burning quickly. Then the beloved signed copies of less popular authors. Then the vinyl went on top, creating huge plumes of black smoke – the quadrophonic Pink Floyd albums, signed Rolling Stones and box sets all went on the fire.
The phone downstairs, she realised, was ringing.
“Not now, Richard,” she said. “Not now.”
Christine coughed, standing back from the window. The smoke was thick now.
She closed the window, walked down the kitchen and poured the rest of the wine into the glass.
She downed the wine as the phone started ringing again.
Christine staggered to the phone, ignoring the last part of the first bag, ignoring the letter. That letter.
“Yes?” she said, picking up the phone.
“Christine,” the voice said. “It’s Mike.”
“From the Rugby Club?”
“What do you want Mike?”
“Did it arrive?” Someone behind Mike giggled.
“Did what arrive?”
Christine sobered, suddenly.
“We sent this letter,” Mike barely suppressed laughter. “Mark done it on his laser printer. I think we got a few things wrong, right, but I just wanted to let you know, before he gets home, because I want to see his face when he opens it -”
“We made up this letter from the Child Support Agency,” Mike said. “It should be obvious, because we made the initials spell it out?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, Joseph Oliver Kevin Edwards – that’s Joke.”
“Then there’s the mum,” Mike went on. “Jennifer Anne Penelope Edwards – Jape.”
There was a thud.
“Christine?” Mike said on the phone. “Are you still there love?”
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