Shielding by Graham Crisp

“Mabel, are you OK? I’ve tried ringing you but there was no answer, can you come to the door. I know you’re in because the kitchen light was on, I just want to make sure you’re OK.” 

Mavis was repeatedly tapping the brass door knocker fixed to the centre of Mabel’s front door. She stretched up to peer through the diamond shaped frosted glass that was cut high into the door, seeking out any signs of movement inside. 

A light suddenly beamed through the opaque glass and Mavis could hear rustling on the other side of the door. 

“You can stop that racket now, Mavis, I’m coming.” Mabel’s welcoming tones made Mavis sigh with relief. She rested on her heels as the door slid open and Mabel’s familiar face appeared into the daylight. 

“Look, I know you mean well, but there’s no need to fuss, I’m just shielding. You know with all this virus malarky going on, I just thought that I should keep my head down.” Mavis was unconvinced with her explanation. She reached out for Mabel’s hand, immediately noticing it felt cold. “You look tired Mabel, can I come in an make you a cup of tea?” Mabel glanced quickly over her shoulder. 

Seizing an opportunity, Mavis pushed hard on the door. 

“Hang on,” Mavis exclaimed, pointing to the floor. “Whose shoes are these?” Mavis gestured towards two Ralph Lauren monogrammed white trainers sitting neatly at the bottom of the stairs. “They’re definitely not yours.” 

Mabel shrugged, refusing to make any eye contact. Mavis went on the offensive, “They’re Pamela’s, aren’t they? She’s back, again isn’t she?” Mabel slowly nodded her head, leaning forward, she whispered, “HE’S back, Parsons is out, it’s only a matter of time before……” Her voice tailed away. 

“Oh Mabel, what are we going to do?”

Published in Issue #7

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