Everybody loved Mrs Leversham, respected member of the community in a small south-western suburb where the area seemed to masquerade as a sea-side town, even though the nearest sea was eleven miles away.
Mrs Leversham, widow of fourteen years, emerged from a marriage of convienience where her husband Craig, was a straight down the line sort of gentleman, where money was used on essentials and bills, and anything left was used to convert in to alcoholic beverage. He wasn't a drunkard, and she herself was no innocent, as she would sometimes partake in its consumption, but their lives were very repetitious, and even though being 'careful' with money was a priority, they both agreed they could afford a baby. So along came Anthony, their only child.
Craig would work long hours in his full-time job as deputy assistant commissioner for Somerset police, and she working as a Librarian meant holidays had to be planned way in advance. A week in Blackpool was as adventurous as they got, spent mostly sunning themselves on the crowded beach deck chairs in the closing stages of the Victorian era. Anthony with ice-cream on his face splashing along the shoreline.
When Craig died of heart-attack at work, Mrs Leversham did mourn, but not for long, and she gradually emerged a new person, unleashed from the shackles of a marriage where the love she had for him had faded, but not completely. Anthony had gone to college to learn computing, but had returned disillusioned as the work had become too much for him to handle. He had gone to London, convinced it was the place to go to earn success and make a name for yourself, and became something of an amateur boxer, always skirting around the edges of a breakthrough.
Mrs Leversham had blossomed out to try new things. Crochet, painting, and volunteering at the local church, organising events and functions. She was one of those people whom everybody seemed to know, and like, except that was, for Raymond.
He hated her.
Hated her with a passion, yet, he hated her son even more.
A spoilt child who had never known discipline. Always got his way. Grew up as the school bully. Raymond a particular target because as well as being the same age and attending the same class, he lived local as well.
It was mostly psychological bullying. Anthony always thought he had a sense of superiority, and a lot of people were not even worthy of his acknowledgement, but most of the attention he gave to Raymond was critical, belittling. He always found something to sneer at.
'Did you cut your hair yourself?', 'Still wearing the same clothes from years ago'. So Raymond was glad when he left for London, but once a week he would come up to visit his mother, in his posh deep red Alfa Romeo spider car, wearing sunglasses and sporting a t-shirt in all weathers, flaunting the spoils of his wealth, and of his parent's generosity.
He would always drop in on Raymond for a one-sided conversation about how well he is doing, even though he had never made the transition to professional, Raymond would always appear interested, ask questions and compliment him, so Anthony would leave satisfied, his ego massaged.
Raymond sometimes had reason to cross paths with his mother, and she looked down her nose at him, as did a lot of people in the area, saw him as the village oddball, even though there was no real justification for it.
He was a thin, reedy figure who mostly wore bright and odd clothing, not quite 'normal', with hoop earrings in the top of his ears, and charm bracelets.
When people take a disliking to someone, it usually takes a strained effort to reverse it, similar to first impressions, judgements can be instant. So he mostly he kept to himself after his mother had died a month ago. Any friends he had were a train-ride away in the city.
Now it was after the funeral, and after everybody had given their sympathies, had given their cards, had shaken his hand, and had left him in an empty house.
Not that many people had turned up. Although Mrs Leversham herself did come to offer her condolances, much to his surprise. Only a few friends of his mothers, and a few of his came around.
That was that, the world still turned, and he was left to cope with officialdom, with bankers, with solicitors, and no-one who cared too much. He would probably at some point have to move, if he couldn't maintain the house, but still, it was all to be dealt with at some point.
At the moment however, he had to worry about Anthony, because he knew he would be gunning for him.
Mrs Leversham, as of two days ago, was missing.
It had never happened before. People in a tight-knit community usually know the whereabouts of the residents, and Mrs Leversham was such a respected pillar of the village, her absence was seemingly noticed by everybody. A few people had knocked on his door, asking if he'd seen her, but he said he hadn't, and maybe it was time to get the police involved.
So when Anthony had found out she was missing, which was fairly late after it had been reported, he had jumped in his car and had accelerated to the village.
Raymond was stood in the front room of the house, nervously waiting for the car to pull up, waiting for Anthony's rapid judgement.
On a table behind him he picked up a mobile phone, and as he did he could hear an engine coming closer, and outside, the Alfa Romeo screeched to a halt.
Anthony got out, sporting mirrored sunglasses. He came straight to the door and began banging.
"Raymond, get out here you little runt. Answer the door". Raymond took a nervous breath, and did.
The second the door came off the latch it was pushed open and Anthony grabbed him and pushed him against the wall.
"Where is she? and don't fuck me about"
"I know she's missing but I wouldn't do that honest". Anthony pressed harder.
"I know you don't like her. In fact, I think you're the only one, so where is she?"
"Honest Anthony, do you think I would do something like that, knowing you would come after me?"
"It would be unbelievably stupid of you to do that, because I would fucking kill you if you've touched her".
"I know that, in fact I knew you would come, so I thought I could offer you a peace offering. I've cooked you a meal". Now that he thought about it, Anthony could smell freshly cooked meat, and realised he was hungry.
"Smell that," said Raymond. "Fillet steak with chips and onion rings and garlic mushrooms".
Anthony let him go.
"Through here," and Raymond led him through in to the front room where on the table was a knife and fork, salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of brown sauce.
"Sit here I'll go and get it". Anthony did so and Raymond walked through in to the kitchen.
From his pocket he pulled out the mobile phone and stepped out in to the overgrown back-yard. He dialled the police and waited for them to answer, and when they did he threw the phone into the grass and weeds and went back into the kitchen where he opened the oven and took out Anthony's meal. It was fairly hot and steaming so he took it through on a tea-towel and laid it before him.
Anthony nodded approvingly.
"Looks good," he said, "Didn't know you were a cook"
"Remember I spent a year in catering college,"
"Oh yeah, dropped out though, couldn't take the heat. Good enough for meals like this though".
Anthony tucked into his meal, and Raymond stood looking out of the window. They didn't talk much while he ate and when he had finished he wiped his mouth on the tea-towel and said:
"Got to admit Raymond, never had steak like that before. It was great".
Raymond leaned forward on the table and looked sternly at Anthony and said:
"That was your mother, and you've just ate her". He then quickly left and walked out into the kitchen.
It took a few moments for Anthony's brain circuitry to make sense of what Raymond had just said, but when it did he stood up and stormed into the kitchen.
"What? What the fuck....?"
The kitchen was streaked in blood. Utensils and plates, and cupboards splattered, the floor slippy.
On the counter by the sink, there she was. The ravaged, bloodied cut up corpse of Mrs Leversham. Body parts scattered around, her head in the sink. Her ribs exposed and innards on the counter and on the floor.
Near Anthony, on the corner was a shiny bread knife with no blood. Raymond spread his arms wide, and Anthony grabbed the knife. Neither of them heard the police car pull up outside and two officers approach the house. They saw Anthony in the kitchen.
"I'll fucking kill you," he said stepping towards Raymond.
"Hello, what's going on?" said one of the officers entering the kitchen. Anthony stopped and spun around.
The police surveyed the carnage. Saw the blood, the body, the man with the knife, and his now cowering victim.
"Stop right there, you're under arrest".
Anthony looked back at Raymond and went to stab him again, but instead he was tasered, and fell to the floor in the blood and his panicky eyes looked up at Raymond, whose suicide bid had failed, and he guessed he and Anthony's paths would cross again one day after he had got out of prison, but for now he couldn't help but grin down at him.
"Thank-you officers," he said. "Now lock him up".