Sometimes, things can get in the way of the smooth running of a website, which is why I am uploading on Thursday this week, and not before. For those who check regularly, I can only apologise. And now, enjoy the second part of ‘FRANKY’. First and third parts now available: Part 1 Part 3
Syd retraced his steps. There was another bridge about a quarter of a mile back the way he had come. It was by a water wheel which Syd liked sometimes to sit and watch. Not all the time, though, because the wheel cottage was inhabited by an old man who seemed to take pleasure in a sort of aggressive honesty.
“Your shoes are broken,” he would say. “Do you know what people think of a man with broken shoes? You’re going to lose your job, one day. Quicker, with shoes like that. It’s another step on the path to ruin, mark my words. One day, you’ll be dead!”
The sky was smoking again. Syd wiped some ash from his shoulders and hurried towards the bridge. He hoped the millman was asleep.
* * *
Without incident, Syd reached the bar. It had a back entrance which led to the upstairs function room; he used his key to get in and climbed the stairs. His mind had ceased making any sense at all and it was getting on his nerves. He did his best to tune it out, but it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t even saying words any more, just an endless refrain of:
Syd lay himself down on one of the leather sofas and tried to get control of himself.
No good. He got up again and walked around. Considering that a drink might help, he shuffled to the cupboard where the glasses were kept. Inside was a small pistol. No glasses. He shut the cupboard, knuckled his eyes, and looked again.
A larger pistol.
Still no glasses.
With a sick curiosity, he opened several other drawers and cupboards: two more guns, a hammer, a collection of knives, one broadsword, several sets of thumbscrews, and a spiked club.
Only slightly aware of his actions, he picked up the hammer and smashed the cupboards to splinters. Glasses, cutlery, and dishes fell to the floor and shattered. Syd sifted the wreckage with his foot; the weapons had disappeared. All but one.
Holding the hammer like a newborn, Syd navigated with closed eyes back to the sofa. He knew now that if he saw Frank Miller, he would most likely kill him with a hammer. The thing to do, he thought, was to keep away and keep his eyes closed. He curled up into the foetal position and squeezed his eyes until he saw fireworks.
Slowly, Syd began to realise that he was losing his balance. The sofas were overused and had lost their shape; some tried to tip you out while others wanted to eat you. Syd started to shuffle back to a safe position, but that didn’t help. As he shuffled, the sofa spat him onto the floor. Syd opened his eyes as he stood. He still felt off balance and he began to ask himself if the floor had always sloped like this – namely, noticeably, and towards the bar door.
Syd overbalanced and took a step backward to right himself. The room lay flat once more. He found himself between the two doors in the function room. One, which lay behind him, was the door to the bar. The other led to the exit and was ahead of him. Syd stepped forward; the room began to tilt. He took another step and the room lurched. He threw himself forward onto hands and knees and began to crawl towards the exit. Syd had never before questioned why the doorknob was at the top of the door but he questioned it now.
The cant of the room was by now precipitous. He struggled to his tiptoes, but the room gave another lurch and tumbled him down towards the bar. This time there was no reprieve and, after rolling a few times, his back slammed into the door and he bit his tongue. There was nothing for it. He felt behind himself, gripped the knob, and through he fell. Syd chanced a look behind him as he shut the door; the room was as flat as a snooker table.