Electricity Bill for a Darkling Plain
by H.G. Parry
There was a sombre mood over the flat when we returned from the funeral. There
always is, even when it's one of ours.
"Do you think he'll come back?" Matilda asked, without much interest. She
kicked off her heels in the hallway, and I went patiently to pick them up. I'm
always asking them to stack their shoes neatly. I don't feel that this is an
Alfie was the only one of the three of us who actually looked sad. He has very
large, dark eyes, and they always show more feeling than I would expect from any
living soul, or at least any living soul not soft in the head.
"I staked him through the heart when the funeral director wasn't looking," he said.
"It's what he would have wanted."
"Why would that work?" Matilda snorted. She curled up into the armchair, tucking
her stockinged feet up underneath her. I don't like people to put their feet on the
chairs, but they never listen to me. "He really does need to accept facts. It's like
the time he tried to drown himself in the bath. Water all over the floor, and we
couldn't get in cleaning services because they'd have found the body . . ."
"At least that wasn't public," I reminded her. "I do loathe having to go through
"He thinks that if there's a stake through his heart, it won't heal," Alfie said
sternly. "I think he got the idea from a book. It may work."
"It won't," I said.
Matilda turned the television on. Alfie went to change out of his suit. I decided
that a good deal of the emptiness I seemed to be feeling was hunger, and made a
sandwich. I was beginning to run out of peanut butter, and suspected the others of
taking it, despite how clearly it was labeled.