A New Lodger

by | Aug 26, 2013 | Creative Writing, Short Stories | 0 comments

Maria stood on the doorstep, with a worried expression, as I answered the door to her, just on time for our appointment.

“Oooh dear!” she gasped. “This is not good. This does not bode well.”

“What do you mean, Maria? What does not bode well?” I asked as I beckoned her into my study for the interview for a new lodger. There had been several applicants:- a young girl from the Ukraine (I thought we might have a language problem), a macho body builder (not keen on sharing my home with a giant, sweaty man), a recently retired college professor (I didn’t fancy having to listen to a lecture every evening) and an ex-con who claimed he had been framed, all of whom held no special allurement to me. Then there was Maria, a telephone psychic who actually filled me with fascination.

Instinctively I had warmed to Maria during our telephone conversation yesterday, when she had told me that she had supernatural powers, could heal people and usually brought people good luck. Being a bit of a sceptic, I hadn’t believed a word of it, but now I was beginning to wonder about her. Could she actually know about what had happened here to my previous lodger? How could she know? We had never met before.

“Something… something bad has happened in this house,” Maria faltered hesitatingly, as she looked around the room. “Not in this room, but somewhere upstairs, and not very long ago either. I am filled with augury of bad happenings to come, and getting strong vibrations from angry spirits. I think this is a presage that I will not be happy to live here with you.”

“Oh that is all rubbish!” I retorted. “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in all that stuff.”

“Well you should.” Maria looked offended. “I can help you. You are very troubled, aren’t you? You miss your friend who died here last month, don’t you?”

How could Maria know about Angie? There had been no newspaper reports about it, why would there be? No-one had suspected foul play. The inquest had pronounced that Angie had committed suicide with an overdose of her prescription drugs mixed with a vast quantity of alcohol. They had concluded that it had been an easy way out for her, because she had been ill for a long time, and could probably not bear to suffer any more. No-one had even suggested that I might have given her a helping hand to take her own life. I was away at the time, or so they thought.

But now I was faced with Maria, who seemed to have some sort of supernatural insight into my past. What was I to do about this situation? If she was as intuitive as she claimed, she would probably go to the police after our interview, I thought. I could not risk them raking up the past and digging deeper into the mystery of Angie’s sudden death. My alibi had not been that watertight.

“Would you like a cup of coffee?” I asked Maria.

“Oh yes please,” Maria replied. “Black and strong please, with two spoonfuls of sugar.”

I gave her a magazine and left her in my study, while I went to brew the coffee. I still had some of Angie’s tablets in the kitchen. Would they dissolve alright in the coffee? Would Maria be able to taste the potion? I would blame any strange taste on the strength of the coffee. I put two heaped spoonfuls of coffee into her cup. Well she said she wanted it strong, didn’t she?

I cut two large slices from the lemon drizzle cake I had made the day before, and took the tray back into the study.

“Oh how lovely,” Maria said. “My favourite cake!”

“Enjoy!” I invited.

But Maria just played with the cake with the fork I had given her. She did not actually take a bite of it, nor did she even taste the coffee.

“I will drink it when it has cooled down,” she explained. “Meanwhile, let us talk about Angie.”

“Hu…. who?” I stuttered.

“Angie, your lodger, who died last month.”

“Hu…. how di… how did you know about Angie?”

“Angie’s case was not closed, as you thought, my dear. And I am not really a clairvoyant, although I have had a strange presage about your future. I am actually a police detective. We have been working on this case since Angie’s death, and have investigated your alibi, which incidentally does not hold water, but we had no actual evidence to prove that you assisted Angie in killing herself with an overdose of her tablets, washed down with half a bottle of Sortilege, which you brought back from Canada last year.

“However, your house has been bugged by us. Remember when the your burglar alarm needed fixing? That was us. We have had a car load of police outside, watching your every move on CCTV and we now also have firm evidence that you had intended to kill me also. Your murderous ledgerdemain as you slipped the tablets into my coffee was filmed on camera.  I am afraid you are under arrest. You do not have to say anything, but if you do…………”



Creative Writing Homework August:-

Desperate for a new roommate, you place a personal advert in the paper.

Choose an applicant from the list of people below and write about the interview, and subsequent results.
*a young female immigrant from the Ukraine
*a phone psychic who swears she has actual supernatural powers
*a professional bodybuilder
*a burnt-out college professor, recently retired from teaching
*a man/woman that just got out of prison for (whatever you want)
AND IF INTERESTED WRITE a story using at least one of the words from the Word Vault – see below:
allurement (n): 1. appeal or charisma.
2. enticement or baiting.
From Old French aleurer, of Latin origin.

augury (n): A divination, omen or prediction derived from animal behaviour.
From Latin augurium

fascination (n): 1. Being fascinated.
2. A charm, spell or enchantment that ensnares or enthrals; spellbound. 

legerdemain (n): Skilful deceit or trickery; sleight of hand.
From the French léger de main (light of hand).

presage (n): A warning or feeling about future events, foreboding, omen.

sortilege (n): Form of magic for decision making, or by extension predictions.
From Latin sortilegus (diviner or sorcerer) from sors (sort) and legere (choose).
(I discovered that Sortilege is also a unique blend of Canadian Whisky and pure Maple Syrup.)