Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The garden centre - a horror story

     I don’t scare easily.* People especially don’t scare me. It’s more things that unnerve and unsettle me. A piece of haunting writing. A melancholy chord. The interior of West Runton church. But never could I have predicted that an afternoon out with The Girl would prove to the thief of sleep, peace, and inner tranquillity.

     Half term… YAY! Say the facebook mums. NAY! Say the twitter mums. ‘Oh Christ, I’m completely flat broke, and can’t afford a book of matches, let alone the sticker books that The Blondies are clamouring for.’ say I. Happily, my mum’s staying with us for two weeks, and both Blondies love spending time with her, so yesterday afternoon she took The Boy out to play a round of golf, leaving me and The Girl to spend some quality time together. I was a bit stuck for inspiration of free FUN!! things for us to do, when Alistair suggested going to Notcutt’s. It’s not far, it’s free, and there are plenty of things for us to do there. PLAN.

     Except… except that it turned into an afternoon of sheer, unrelenting horror. Terror stalking us at every turn, a downward spiral into the underworld. We made it out alive. But my soul will carry the scars forevermore.

     You know how horror films start, right? With a group of happy teens/a happy family/happy professionals embarking on some kind of outing. There is much joshing and joking, smiling, arms around shoulders matiness, plenty to laugh at. Like this.

     I hear ya, sister. I fight on a daily basis with my hair too.  Nice to see it immortalised in stone.

     And this. Something tells me the dog's not too happy with this situation.

     And I amused myself with imagining that David was actually thinking ‘FFS. Picked up the wrong towel again’ in the gym showers.

     The Girl spotted this, and we both sniggered a bit about having a statue in your garden that appeared to depict a girl dying for a wee.

     I also snorted to myself over this

     Imagining some wannabe reality tv star hoping that her new tits would distract people from looking at her dodgy nose job.

     And erm…

     Maybe the designer should have thought a bit more about Cleopatra’s belt decoration. And where it would be positioned? Just a suggestion.

     My mood darkened.

     In no way are these ‘fun to collect’. In no way. And I don’t want to meet anyone who thinks these would be ‘great for gifts’ either.

     My mood became slightly apprehensive.

     I can’t decide what part is worst. Her second head, her freakishly long bendy arm, or her short little dibber limb.

     Oh god.

     What happened to it’s nose? It’s actual NOSE? And is that a mouth? Or some kind of suction device?

     And then this.

     ‘I am the soul of ancient evil, trapped inside a statue posing as a young boy. Please buy me and put me in your garden. I promise I don’t come alive at night, and stand over your bed, watching you. You have children? I will possess them.'

     Turning slowly on the spot, I realised that we were alone in the congregation of stone people. A shudder of pure fear coursed through my veins, before adrenalin kicked in. Clutching my precious, beautiful daughter to my breast, I picked up my skirts and fled inside; convinced I could hear the grating dragging sound of ceramic footsteps behind us. Had the doors inside not been automatic, I would have leant against them, panting with relief. I looked to right and left. But the real horror was only just beginning…

     27th October. And Christmas is coming. What says ‘festive’ like a polar bear being electrocuted whilst holding a sack?

     I know! A mirror mosaic reindeer! Because which of us doesn’t have £1,700 to spend on such Christmas essentials?

     I wasn’t the only one feeling The Fear.

    This poor creature had obviously been trafficked to Notcutt’s, promised a life of joy and splendour, and then discovered this actually entailed being camouflaged by plastic foliage in a garden centre.

      Those eyes. Those eyes. Dead inside.

     There was even a decoration set up to ensure you never receive any visitors to your house, EVER AGAIN. In fact, you would never return to your own home again.

     Because who would risk having to stand next to THAT, for even a second? A braver person than me, that’s for sure.

     The gaping chasm of horror in me wasn’t even charmed by two fairies having a yard of ale contest.

     Now, it seemed twisted, and as though innocence and purity had been replaced by immoral debauchery.

     The horror. The horror. Imagine being bought one of those mugs. Imagine being the type of person who buys one of those mugs. Not bad enough? Remember that the person who designed those mugs is, unaccountably, still alive, and walks amongst us.

     I couldn’t take much more. I was whimpering, taking tottery, staggering steps, my hair had made a dash for freedom, my arms were held up protectively in front  of me, pleading with my faceless tormentors to ‘please, just kill me, stop this pain, it hurts too much, I can’t live with this, please’ Then I saw this.

     A worse collection of words I think I have never read. Hairline cracks appeared writ large across what had once been my sanity, my reason, my mind. Reeling backwards, my mouth an open maw of despair, a silent scream ripping through my body, I turned.

And knew that I died and gone to hell.

*Complete and utter bollocks. I jump at my own shadow, have been known to scream at unexpected doormats, and the story of What Happened At The Cinema When I Saw The Others still makes my sister laugh so hard that she cries, and snot bubbles come out of her nose.


Jane Bloomfield said...

That is hilarious! And very clever. Plus the shop owners would never in a million Christmases have suspected what you were up to...with your phone/camera. Thanks!

Lucy Benedict said...

Thank you! You've made me BEAM! And the horror has faded. A bit. Maybe. ;-)

Samantha P said...

I agree Lucy - hilarious! I really enjoyed reading this. I go to garden centres an unfeasable amount since having kids but I will be looking around me with new eyes from now on (and that, in itself is a bit scary! :-) ) xx

Lucy Benedict said...

Sam, I swear to god, bu the end of it, I was looking for hidden cameras, thinking someone had set me up for some kind of prank garden centre HELL *joke*. They've not been in touch... yet. It's amazing how terrifying garden centres can be!

Anonymous said...

Damn it. Just bought a mirror reindeer just like that one . Not a 1000 dlls. It was a deal