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That Murdery Feeling
That Murdery Feeling

That Murdery Feeling

TLAdcockTerry Adcock
1 Review

That Murdery Feeling

Just when things were going so well. Mary Craig fumed at having to rearrange her schedule. A small group of friends met each Wednesday for coffee and fresh buns. However, their weekly get-together was now cancelled owing to Stephanie and that blasted weak heart of hers. She constantly complained of some medical emergency forcing the group to accommodate her latest malady. Better off dead if she couldn’t take control of herself, Mary thought to herself.

Mary looked forward to her mid-week break with the ladies on the church social committee. It was a time to catch up on the latest gossip over a steaming cup of coffee. Now what was she going to do to fill the void?

A nasty thought entered Mary’s simmering brain. Disguising her voice, she dialed the grocer on the edge of town and charged a rather large order to Stephanie’s account. The thought of Stephanie agonizing over the erroneous order eased her vindictive urges.

It was a perverse expression of her jaded personality, but she was like that. Mary liked order; she was nothing if not punctual, and she always planned ahead and executed those plans with military-like precision. She didn’t appreciate people mucking about with her orderly lifestyle. In contrast, Stephanie embodied total disorder; with her, it was one calamity after another. Well, she could deal with one more spot of trouble.

At least there was the pot-luck supper to look forward to on Saturday. Mary always prepared her now-famous sweet-and-sour meatballs. All the church ladies rained down compliments upon her each time, but it was no less than her due. She enjoyed the attention her small contribution to the church dinner always brought her.

Suddenly, pleasant thoughts of basking in the admiration of her friends were chased away by the jarring sound of the telephone. What now, she wondered?

The gravelly voice of Reverend Douglas grated in her ear. In her opinion, the vicar was barely tolerable. Mary often criticized the slapdash manner in which he managed the vicarage. Annoyed at the sound of his voice, Mary was sure he spent too many nights in the local pub breathing smoke and drinking pints of beer. Really, the vicar ought to set a better example for the young ones.

“Is that you, Mrs. Craig?” the vicar croaked down the line.

“Who were you expecting?”

The vicar wheezed and coughed before replying. “I’m calling round to let everyone know the pot-luck dinner is off for this weekend. Our old leaky roof let us down once again. The rain found its way into the kitchen and dining hall; we’re flooded out. Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’ll have to reschedule. Must go; people to call,” he said and abruptly rang off.

Drat! One darn thing after another. Mary seethed with anger at the constant impositions on her time and schedule. She demanded order in her life, and she expected those around her to observe the same. If the vicar had done his job properly, the roof should have been fixed by now. But no, he’d procrastinated during the dry spell, and here they were back in the soup again, as it were.

Something must be done. Perhaps it was time to revive that old rumor about the vicar and the widow Bucknell. Some time ago, an ‘unnamed source’ (she smiled to herself) had started a vicious rumor about the hapless couple. Although baseless in fact, the old adage about ‘where there’s smoke’ only encouraged gossipy neighbors to speculate on the veracity of the story. Maybe he’d learn to stay home long enough to take care of church business – just for a change. She sat down at her desk and reached for note paper and pen.

A week passed uneventfully allowing Mary to settle back into her usual placid mood. Mondays were market day. Mary wandered down the high street collecting the few items on her list when she spotted Tom Tanner as he exited the sweet shop and slammed the door behind him. The roughshod gamekeeper was known for his violent temper. His stormy relationship with his estranged wife was the stuff of endless gossip.

The last time he came into town, a crowd had gathered outside the shop where his wife, Agnes, worked. Tom could be heard shouting from out in the street. Several witnesses affirmed he’d threatened to kill poor Agnes if she didn’t come back home. But she had stood her ground and couldn’t be brow-beaten into returning to their cottage, located far away from her overly-protective neighbors who’d taken pity on her.

What was Tanner up to? Mary crossed the street and entered the shop in time to see Agnes drying her eyes. Agnes quickly hid her handkerchief and tried on a welcoming smile for Mary’s sake, but it was no good.

“I see he’s back again,” said Mary, her stern voice full of contempt.

“It’s nothing. It’s the same old argument.” Agnes sniffed. “How can I help you, Mrs. Craig?”

“I wanted to ensure you were alright. I dare say that beast had better leave you alone!”

“I’m fine, really. Thanks for your concern.”

Watching this wretched woman tremble all over with fear only fueled Mary’s anger. This was no way to live. Mary purchased a box of sweets and left Agnes to recover in private.

Nothing incensed Mary more than a bully, and Tom Tanner was a loathsome example. It had been a little while now, but she was beginning to get those urges again; time to take matters into her own capable hands.

Back home, Mary rummaged through her garden for that certain something she required. Raised in the country, Mary was well-schooled in home remedies, and knew which plants had medicinal value and how to use them, and which ones to avoid.

Mary reached for her frying pan to begin preparations. After several hours of slow cooking, Mary extracted enough residue from various sources that she needed to carry out her plan. She laid out the box of sweets on the counter as she prepared a present intended especially for Tom Tanner.

# # # #

Several months passed since the news that Tom Tanner, alone in his cottage, had died of a mysterious ailment. No surprise, but no one, not even Agnes, bothered to attend his funeral, except for the vicar, of course.

In time, village life returned to normal, and Mary and her church friends resumed their weekly rituals. All was right with the world, and life was good.

That is, until one day a band of gypsies set up camp in a field on the edge of the village. Not long thereafter, chaos reigned supreme. Barns were raided, livestock mysteriously vanished, and whenever a group of traveler’s visited the shops, merchandise suddenly disappeared from the shelves. Each day, locals huddled in the pub or tea shop to discuss the latest transgression. They no longer felt safe in their own village.

It was not until she heard that one of the local girls had been assaulted on her way home that Mary sensed that familiar urge beginning to stir within her. Overcome by a murdery sort of feeling, Mary reached for her frying pan.

Author Notes: Thank you for reading my story. Any comments or suggestions gratefully accepted.

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About The Author
Terry Adcock
About This Story
8 Feb, 2023
Read Time
5 mins
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5.0 (1 review)

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