‘Listen to Mary’ is a monologue of horror, written and illustrated by Ben Dickenson Bampton. It’s the fourth story from our Halloween series: Five Nights of Horror.
Delusional, estranged, lonely Mary. Her busy husband worries her sick. Worries her beyond worry. But she’s not mad, just concerned and a little fretful. Concerned her man doesn’t want her. Concerned that maybe, just maybe, he’s even stopped loving her. Concerned enough to act.
“This is funny.
I’m cleaning everything – the sink, the worktop, the bloody oven – and he’s still not here. Says he’s coming back soon. I’ll bet.
Works a lot, my Bill. Works hard, he says.
But it’s not just him, either. They all say it.
He’s a good catch, your Bill. He’s a grafter. He’s a looker. He’s a keeper. I know, I know, I know, now shut up. I’m married to him, of course I know.
I could tell them something else, something they wouldn’t believe. Wouldn’t want to believe. Oh Mary, they’d say. Oh, don’t be so silly Mary! Not Bill.
Well, put it this way. Silly old Mary isn’t so silly just now. Mary’s got something Bill might want to see. A present, if you like.
Poor Mary, stuck alone in this house with no one to talk to. No-one to play with. Making herself sick again.
Thoughts carry you places, the little creatures, but at least they keep you company.
Silly Mary. Get the washing machine on, Mary. Clean and tidy and hoover, Mary.
Anything else, your lordship?
They say I’m thinking too much. Say I’m mad, don’t they? Mad Mary. Mary the hatter.
It’s silly, thinking again like this. Thinking these thoughts. But they’re not mad. I’m not mad. It’s all plain fact.
I rang him last night and he answered. Poor, poor Mary, sat at home by herself while he leaves her like this. Silly Mary, of course he was going to answer. But that doesn’t fool me. He can’t hide it. ‘Work nights’. Oh yeah.
It’s funny, how I’ve been thinking.
I’ve wanted to show Bill this thing for ages. This little something upstairs. Mary’s little secret. I think it’ll make him realise how much he loves me. I know it will.
That’s his car now. Finally! Here he is. Mr Suit-and-tie. Mr Straitjacket. Mr So-good-you-couldn’t-do-without-him.
Bill, my little gem. Welcome home darling. Mary’s missed you.
What’s that in my hand, you ask? Oh, this is nothing. Come upstairs!
Oh Bill. Do stop shaking. This won’t hurt you, my sweet. This won’t hurt a bit.”