He was big, he was hirsute, he was very overweight and he was the bully of the neighbourhood.
He knew everything that was going on in the street, from the visit of the postman to the Queen arriving at the barracks over the road. The guards on the barracks were always on the look out for Peter, with his brown hair, blonde streaks and small flat nose that accentuated his wide emerald green eyes; which seemed devoid of all expression. His bulk gave him a lazy gait and he was certainly more comfortable sitting than standing, however if needs be he could move unnervingly fast especially to escape danger.Sometimes when exchanging friendly greetings with Fiona he would rush out of the house with such haste, I would almost be knocked over.
Poor Fiona, if she didn’t want to get up at the god forsaken hour of five thirty AM and prepare Peter’s breakfast, he would systematically destroy all the small figurines on her neatly dusted dressing table. Often I would see her immaculately dressed and made up; wearing dark glasses to cover her blood shot eyes and when I would enquire after Peter, she would bravely reply through tight lips “he’s just fine”.Sarah. Sarah on the other hand was almost the exact opposite; she was small and timid, acrobatic and intrepid, petite, dainty and delicate, all together. She always wore white. The key to her innocence was this kind, open nature possibly a certain naivety; however she had an understanding gleam in her eyes which made you think she always knew what you were thinking.
She kept to herself a lot and was far from garrulous. Her overall demeanour was pale and pure; she was the epitome of a cool blonde. It was her misfortune to be Peter’s neighbour.Sarah always tried to keep out of his way but couldn’t always avoid him. She was not normally neurotic save when she had to leave the security of her four walls. Preferring the confines and safety of her own domain, her behaviour became erratic. When she did go out, she would never take the same route twice, since she always felt the invisible threat of the unknown.
Her movements would be hasty and skittish, and if she turned quickly, she would often catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure which would make her feel nervous and possibly paranoid.We all wondered if she knew what would happen that fateful day. Had she had a premonition, certainly everyone who saw her commented that she was especially jumpy, but these were not issues you could directly discuss with her. As dusk fell, a certain chill in the air could be felt; it was a crisp winter night, where the heat of breath looked like smoke from a chimney and the silent stillness hung in the air filled with expectancy. Her body trembles as a shadow falls over her, she freezes and in the darkness looms the glittering blades, poised ready.She knew within that split second that her life was over but she would go out fighting.
As the gleaming weapon slashes through the air with lightening speed, time seems to freeze and then, she flies at him. Mouth opening, biting and scratching, she sinks her teeth into his hairy flesh. Hissing, screaming, screeching, sounds that would scare the dead from their graves rose into the eerie, icy darkness. As his red blood spurts from his chest onto her pale face, his primeval instinct takes over.
As if she is a fly, he flicks her off and pounces.The unearthly sound of a pitched wail shattered the silence as Sarah lay dying. He drags her over the threshold leaving a trail of blood in his wake. We all hated Peter but never thought for one minute that he was a murderer however, the day Sarah disappeared we all had our opinions. He had a certain look about him, a certain bearing, was it gloating? He certainly looked as pleased as “the cat that ate the canary”. When Fiona awoke next morning she was greeted by a proud Peter bearing her a gift.
As she knelt down to examine the red and white trophy, the horrific truth dawned on her, Peter had killed Max’s beloved pet. Unlike most children, I had never yearned for a brother or sister, not even a cat or a dog, I had simply wanted a hamster. As Fiona stood facing me with Sarah delicately laid out on a cloud of cotton wool, she looked almost peaceful. Tears welled in my eyes, years of not crying, holding back, and never wanting people to witness my vulnerability and suddenly I was confronted with losing the only thing I held dear to me.
Tears burst out of me like an alien. I was empty. Fiona’s mouth moved but I couldn’t hear the words. Peter crept around the corner, smugly smirking, not a shadow of guilt on his face. Fiona looked ashamed, thrust Sarah into my hands, turned on her heels and left.
On reflection, when I look back, I cannot hold Peter completely responsible, Mother Nature has its own laws and cats have nine lives and as fate would have it, Peter had used his all up. Less than a week later, Peter was trampled by a horse. A kind of poetic justice.