Runner-Up: My Feet Are Killing Me

By Alun Williams

Alun says: I live in Old Colwyn, North Wales with my wife. I am a member of writers forum and have been writing for about 25 years now. I am a fan of American and Scandinavian noir.

Frank Mulberry woke up at 3.03 am. It was quiet. Something was wrong, he couldn’t quite make out what. The light from the streetlamp illuminated the room. The ceiling was still there. The little spots in the shape of Canis Major remained where the rain had come through last winter. It was the silence that sounded strange. Frank turned to his left. There was no snoring. Mabel wasn’t there.

He sat up. Her side of the bed was still warm.


Frank switched the bedside lamp on and blinked. He called out her name again, raised himself out of bed and walked round to Mabel’s side. He felt his stomach turn and panic set in. 

“Oh, my God!” he screamed.

He stood with his mouth wide open looking down at the carpet. On the floor by Mabel’s side of the bed sat her pair of fluffy pink slippers, perfectly aligned as always. The one difference was that Mabel’s feet were still in them. 

Stooping down, Frank took a closer look. Yes, he thought, definitely Mabel‘s. The toenails were pink and the big toe on the left foot was slightly deformed, a result of a car accident several years before. The feet were cut off just above the ankle and congealed droplets of blood oozed from the bloodied stumps dripping onto the cream pile carpet. A crimson trail led from the slippers to the bedroom door. 

The hallway light was on and Frank tracked the blood downstairs, thinking it would be a bugger to get blood off the carpet. He heard voices and unless John Wayne had resurrected himself, Frank deduced, the TV was on. He picked up an umbrella from the coat stand, the closest thing he could find to a weapon.

Tentatively, he pushed open the door. The light was on as was the TV. Mabel was sat on the sofa, knitting. The bloodied stumps that were the remains of her legs were immersed in a bowl of red steaming water. 

“Mabel . . .”

She turned, pushing her horn-rimmed glasses to the top of her nose.

“Did I wake you, dear? I was as quiet as could be. Couldn’t sleep, so I came downstairs. Would you like some tea?” 

She saw the umbrella. “Is it raining, dear?”

“Mabel! You’re alright. I thought … upstairs … your feet …”

“I’m fine, Frank. Don’t fret. They don’t have very good programmes on at this time of night. Perhaps I should put the radio on.”

Frank stood open-mouthed and looked at her feet.

“Mabel … your feet? What happened.”

She looked down.

“Oh, that. I couldn’t sleep because my feet were killing me. I’ve tried that cream the doctor gave me but it does them no good. So then it came to me. I don’t know why I’ve never thought of it before. I cut them off. It was quite easy. Snip, snap. I’ll sew them back later. A few cross stitches should do the trick. I’m sure they’ll be as good as new. My legs have had a good soak now.”

Frank stood motionless as Mabel rose and shuffled across the floor.

“I’ll make some tea, dear.” She stopped. “Oh, isn’t that nice? They’ve walked all on their own.”

Frank turned and shrank back. On the stairs, two wrinkled bleeding feet in fluffy pink slippers made their way down slowly. They walked towards him.

Inside, Frank Mulberry screamed.