THE MOLE FROM THE HOLE
“There's a mole in the back yard!” shouted Adrian, shivering with anticipation. “A dirty great big mole with evil eyes! I've never seen such eyes, they send shivers down my spine every time the creature looks at me, and he's staring right now, straight at me!”
“Have you been on the bottle again?” called Gwenny, shaking her head with disbelief and on the brink of throwing something heavy and hopefully sharp at him. That was her solution for most problems, the heavy and the sharp.
“But there is!” he insisted, “a mole with eyes that bore straight through you!”
“Moles are almost blind,” she called back, “or so they said on that nature programme on the telly last week. Moles can barely see, because they spend most of their lives underground where there's nothing to look at and if there was there's no light to see it by!”
“This mole isn't blind!” wailed Adrian, and he was sure he could hear his own bones clattering as he shivered. By now it was more than anticipation that was making his nervous system vibrate: it was fear, a deep and dark fear of the unknown, the kind of fear that might make young children have nightmares in the dark as they sleep, the sort of primeval fear that stalks us all from time to time, haunting our most secret private fears.
“What have you been on?” demanded Gwenny. “Have you been slurping that whisky again? I've warned you about the effect it might have on your liver! And your brain cells: it'll drive you bananas and you'll lose the power of intelligent thought, if you ever had any, that is!”
“But...” wailed Adrian, “it's as big as a very big dog, and coming towards me...” And he tried to turn, but he was suddenly mesmerised by the creature in front of him, and found himself rooted to the spot. His legs were both quaking and quivering, and immobile. The contradiction hardly crossed his mind because that particular organ was dominated by the mole.
“One day you'll drive me away for good,” continued Gwenny in her best nagging voice, a harshness of voice that she had perfected over the years. It had stood her in good stead during many altercations with what she saw as her penance, Adrian, spouse and … there was no other word for it, penance.
If I hadn't murdered my mother... she thought bitterly when she had to seek refuge in her nagging voice. I could leave him high and dry, but he knows where I buried her all right, he knows exactly where to tell the police to dig if they ever get wind that I did her in … and I had to, didn't I?
“I'm scared,” whimpered Adrian, “I've never seen … anything … like this bloody mole in my life before … it's coming for me with slow, menacing steps and boring into my brain with its dreadful eyes... it's come from a dirty great hole in the back yard!”
“What hole, you drunken cretin?” bawled Gwenny, “there's no holes in our back yard, I know that much... and no moles, either! Sometimes I think you do this sort of thing just to drive me mad! Our back yard's not big enough to have holes in it! We'd fall down them, else! We'd get ourselves lost in the underworld, that's what we'd do...”
Where my mother is, bless her, where I put her, where I had to put her, poor soul, after I took that knife to her, and pierced her heart...
“I'm looking at it!” shouted Adrian, finding his voice while he still had time to make enough noise to scare the mole away, not that the creature showed any sign of going anywhere but straight for him, and its eyes … he'd never seen such eyes... “It's such a great big hole you could bury a body in it and nobody'd ever know...” he added, “not that you'd want to do any such thing, would you, Gwenny?”
When she heard that she dropped the brush and dustpan she was holding and teetered on her Zimmer frame towards where he was standing in his urine-soaked jeans and with the half dozen or so hairs left to his scalp standing on end.
“Who's burying a body?” she demanded, “why are you saying that? What are you on about? Is it the whisky talking again? The stuff that soaks into your grey matter and turns it puce?”
“I said the hole,” he pointed, “that bloody great orifice next to the shed out there! The mole came out of that, I watched it, its eyes holding me so's I couldn't move and the mole just coming and coming and coming...”
She looked, and saw the hole.
Mummy! Mummy! That's where I planted you all those years ago... who dug you up, my sweet one … I only pricked your heart with the shining blade because you were gaga! You didn't recognise me, not once in that last year even though I was there every day for you... and you said I should get away from Adrian before it was too late... You were right there, though, as right about that as about anything you said!
She looked around.
There was no creature of any sort there, no giant mole or hound or dinosaur, just, maybe, a fleeting shadow as a cloud passed across the blue sky.
“See!” screamed Adrian, “see the mole, damn you, bitch!”
She followed his wavering fingers, followed the direction of his pale eyes as they stared at a figment of his imagination.
Then she noticed the old bones littering the paving slabs round the hole.
“Mummy!” she shrieked, and somehow staggered up to them just as the hole crumbled slowly into itself and drew her to it, body and Zimmer and all.
“The mole!” shouted Adrian, “it's got you, Gwenny... it's got you...”
And he managed to pull himself together enough to fumble back into the house and pour himself a really stiff whisky.
And he smiled his gratitude to the gods as the hole, sucked by underground erosion, pulled his shed in and covered itself with painted pine.
©Peter Rogerson 28.02.14