Contemporary Drama Fiction

TW: murder, gore

 'Robert, will you come down here, your food is almost ready? Oh, and wash your hands I don't want to smell that glue whilst we're eating.’ He could hear his mother's voice echoing up the stairs and shook his head. Even at thirty-eight years of age she still treated him like a small boy. He placed the bloodied scalpel on the desk and surveyed his progress. It was taking shape, he knew but needed more practice. Suitable, small animals were hard to come by. Pet shops preferred to sell their goods to small boys and girls, for them to love, cherish and then return every week to buy expensive, unnecessary foods. He rose from his workspace and collecting the container filled with rabbit entrails he headed to the bathroom. As he tipped the contents into the toilet and flushed them away, he laughed to himself. This was yet another hobby he was determined to master but somehow, in the past, he’d never managed. It was a way of combating the boredom of being unemployed. Living with his mother was also boring, all she ever seemed to do was find fault with him and everything he did. 

‘Hobbies,’ she’d say. You’re always changing your hobbies. Why can’t you just stick at one thing? Maybe if you did you might master something.’ Nag, nag, nag, he thought as he washed his hands then headed down the steps to their kitchen. A curled sandwich was waiting for him, but his mother was not there. He saw that she was sitting in the lounge, her eyes transfixed on some daytime TV show. He sat down at the table and began to eat. This table, he thought. It was where, as a youngster, he’d tried to build plastic models of airplanes and ships but got into trouble for spilling glue or getting paint on its surface. He never quite managed to get the right part into the right place. Eventually, the unfinished models would be thrown out with the rubbish. 

As he stared out of the window, memories came flooding back. His next hobby was learning to play the piano. He could get free music lessons after school, the teacher was very keen and any pupil with a desire to play was very welcome. Bobby soon found out though, it was not as easy as it looked. Plus his mother wanted him to come home straight after lessons to do his household chores, so that fell by the wayside. As did learning the guitar. Watching his favourite band on TV one day he thought it looked easy. He persuaded his father to buy him a cheap instrument for his birthday and he set about learning, alone in his bedroom. With sore fingers and aching shoulders, he gave up, knowing that he would never make his fortune in music.

Later, as a teenager, he became interested in more physical things. The Wimbledon Tennis Championships were on TV, so he bought a secondhand racket with money he earned from a Saturday job. Then he was off to the local park to play on the free courts there. He found that he had problems with hand to eye coordination and kept missing the ball. After a while, nobody was interested in playing against him so that hobby died a natural death. 

In his late teens, his uncle had a serious car accident and so could no longer play his favourite sport of golf. Bobby heard about that, went to see him, came home with a full set of golf clubs and half a year's membership of the local course. This went well for a while, and he could hack his way around from green to green. Sadly, the course professional caught him smashing a club, in temper, into the eighteenth green, damaging it, so badly they had to relay it and temporarily suspend it use. He was ejected from the club with explicit instructions never to return again. 

Photography came next. His father gave him an old Nikon to use and Bobby went every Sunday morning to photograph whatever he thought would make a great picture. He took shots of passing cars that just showed the road where they had been. Photos of the local sports fields were not much better but when he took pictures of children playing at the local primary school he was arrested and the camera confiscated.

A colleague suggested fishing, as he was a fan, and it was one of the most popular sports. So, the next Saturday morning he stood outside his house in the early morning, waiting for his friend to pick him up and take him to the local fishing lake. Standing there in the dark, cold, rain awaiting collection, then crushing into a car with four other fishermen put a damper on his enjoyment. He followed this by standing on the bank of a lake, in the rain, watching a tiny float bobble around all day. He found it depressing but riding back with the same fishermen who were now soaking wet finished this idea. Not only that, he had yet to catch a fish. Instead, he caught a bad cold. 

He went, on the off chance, to the local pub quiz night and was allowed to join one of the local teams, but as he spent the whole time arguing with his team members they never asked him to join them again. In fact, when he went along the following week they all closed ranks, and so he went home again. 

Bobby was hoping that taxidermy would be the one hobby he might stick at. Finding a dead rabbit on the path outside gave him the idea, and so he went to the library and read up on the subject. The dead rabbit stayed in his bedroom for a few days until it began to decompose and smell. With his father long gone there was just the two of them. When his mother entered his room and saw what was smelling she was furious, and they had a blazing row. So angry that she tripped and fell down the stairs, snapping her neck. She died instantly and Bobby didn’t know what to do so he sat with her for some time. He knew he would be blamed and even if not, he had no money to pay for a funeral, so the answer seemed simple to him.

Learning his lesson from the dead rabbit, he read that it was essential to remove all the internal organs to prevent the body from rotting from the inside. So, he carried her body out through the kitchen and into the garage. There he hung her from the roof. Then using his newly acquired taxidermy tools he cut her open, removed the internals, and scraped as much fat and tissue from the inside as he could. He made a bonfire in the garden and burned everything he’d removed. Although the smell was awful nobody complained or even enquired what he was burning. Soon it was all gone, and he busied himself stuffing his mother with old quilts, then sewed her back up. Dressed her and sat her on the sofa. As an afterthought, he put the TV on, as she’d always enjoyed watching in the afternoon. 

He put his plate away on the drainer, went into the lounge, and looked at her body, with lumps and bumps in all the wrong places. There and then he decided that maybe taxidermy wasn’t for him after all. 

January 25, 2021 13:22

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Emily Trucco
10:45 Jan 28, 2021

Oh wow. That was unexpected. What a brilliant twist, I never saw it coming. I loved the suggestion that something wasn't quite right with the blood on his hands at the beginning. I was a little confused by the mother calling him downstairs for lunch though and there being a sandwich ready. Perhaps explain this is what she would have done, but he had to make it himself? Then it adds to the tension, with he watches her sit in the next room doing nothing. Another brilliant story! I can't get over the ending!


Emily Trucco
10:47 Jan 28, 2021

Apologies for my bad grammar - my brain is still scrambled by the twist!


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Steve Cripwell
13:27 Jan 29, 2021

Thanks for taking the time to read and critique my story. You have some very valid points. Again - thank you.


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