Monday, 6 March 2017

The Airing Cupboard

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Chris sat crossed legged in the dark, trying not to lean back against the water tank. He could feel drips of sweat run down his side and the backs of his knees were getting damper and damper. He moved the box in front of him again and then draped a towel over his head. He closed his eyes and listened to the voices through the door. 
“Oi, I told you he’s not here,” he heard Mel say. 
“We’ll be the judge of that?” a gruff voice replied. 
“Do you have a warrant?” Mel said.
“What do you think this is love?” the male voice said. “some TV cop show. We don’t need a warrant. Chris Saunders is an illegal and we know he’s here.” 
Chris’s back touched the tank behind him. The stinging burn almost made him squeal, but he managed to hold his breath just in time. He tried to work out how many men were invading his home, where they were looking; under the bed? In the wardrobe? Behind the curtains? The airing cupboard door creaked open and Chris saw the torch beam flash around him. This was it; he held his breath; surely they would see him. He was behind a box with a towel over his head, hardly hide and seek world championship material. 
Find me or shut the door, he willed the hunter as his breath was running out. He tried to breathe in as quietly as he could, hoping the man with the torch would think it was the tank. The torch beam wiggled back and forth. 
“Just boxes,” he heard the man say to his. The door closed and Chris gulped down some air. His t-shirt was stuck to his back and his hair wet. 
“Look Mel, we know he’s here.” the gruff voice said. 
“He went out,” Mel said. 
“No he didn’t. We’ve had this place under surveillance. We saw him go in, but he didn’t leave again. So unless you’ve built a fucking teleporter…” Chris didn’t like the sound of Gruff’s voice. “Where is he?”
“You tell me,” Mel said. “You’ve searched the place.” 
Don’t push it, kid. Chris thought, but it was too late. He heard the thwack of palm on cheek. 
“Don’t you talk to me like that,” the man said. “Tell me where he is.”
Chris wanted to climb out, but they’d agreed. No matter what they did to her, it was better than what they’d do to him if they took him away. But agreeing that in the cold light of day was one thing, hearing some fascist twat punch the love of your life was another. But Chris knew if he crawled out of this airing cupboard bolthole, the life that Mel was the love of, would be extremely short indeed. He had to stay put, it was his only chance of survival. 
“He’s not here,” Mel said. Chris was amazed at her steady voice.
“Look lady. We have to take someone in today, if not him, then you. Are you going to tell us where he is?”
He’s bluffing, Chris told himself. 
“He’s not here.” Chris loved Mel more than ever right now. He imagined her bruised eye or bleeding nose and the look of defiance on her face. 
“Or we could maybe just have some fun here.” Chris didn’t like the sound of that. “You’re a pretty little thing. Maybe you’d like to experience a real man, rather than that soft lefty poofter you live with.” The stench of sleazy oozed around the flat, seeping under the airing cupboard door, making Chris feel sick. 
“That soft lefty poofter is more of a man than you’ll ever be,” Mel said. 
Chris hoped it was Mel punching Gruff, but he knew it was the other way around. 
“Let me show you what I like to do to women like you,” Gruff said. 
Chris couldn’t bear it anymore. He kicked the box out of his way and barged the door open. 
“Ah you little coward, hiding away.” Gruff was smiling at him, his penis still protruding from his flies. Chris took a swing; he had a pipe in his hand that had been left over from a plumbing job. It connected with Gruff’s genitalia and he crumpled to his knees. Chris swung round and caught the other man in the temple, sending him sprawling to the floor. 
“Anymore?” Chris asked. 
Mel shook her head.
“We’d best get out of here,” he said.
“Just let me do this!” Mel gave Gruff another kick in the balls. “I had it under control you know,” she said. 
“If he was doing the same to me, you’d have come out.”
“Christ, I’d have come out after the first slap.”
“But we agreed.” 
Mel smiled and kissed Chris on the cheek. 
“Let’s go,” she said, “before these two doozies get their mojo back.” 
They left the flat locking the door behind them, not quite sure where they were going.  

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