Life Underground
(Helena Roušová)

There was nothing disturbing about his appearance. He was typical gray dull person dressed in a very discreet way. Only after longer observation one could notice the lack of smile in his face. The features were like carved from the wood. Big blue eyes bulged from rather pale low forehead bisected with sharp nose. His lips were so pale that it was hard to distinguish between chin and lips. There was nothing extraordinary or odd about him yet his presence made you feel uncomfortably. Maybe it was the gaze and the watery eyes or the stiffness. He never liked to talk to people and when it was inevitable he always seemed to be in a hurry. Because he appeared so normal but wouldn’t associate with others nobody ever took any closer interest in him. Nothing was known about his family and background.

His life was very much the same day after day. Working as a warehouseman enabled him to be quite alone just like he wished. He and his surroundings were meticulously clean. Reading newspapers was an impossible action because he suffered a lot the whole time while the newspapers weren’t on the place appointed for them. He even ate dinner very fast because he couldn’t wait to put the plate back to the cupboard. Maybe it was caused by the later upbringing of his grandparents after his mother had been taken to the mental hospital and his father had ran away and nobody ever heard of him any more. His granny forced him to go to the church at least 4 times a week. From the time when he lived with his parents he learned to always do what he was told to and never argue because suffering by doing something he didn’t want to do was much better than suffering for the rest of the day by pain caused by his parents. So he stood at the pew and spluttered prayers and thought of a lovely Sunday lunch.

It all happened one spring afternoon. He went from work and saw a girl who caught his eyes. He followed her. Some foreign feeling possessed him and he couldn’t stop following this girl. He felt extremely good and tempted. He didn’t know what he should do, what the temptation was telling him. He watched the back of her, her hair flying in the breeze. He imagined it must smell like the fresh tree leaves and his hands started to tremble. He stopped and started to breathe deeply. Then he just stood there and watched her disappearing from his view. Now he remembered he knew this feeling before but at that time it was connected with fear and threat. He thought of his very early childhood, his crazy mother and obscene father. He didn’t remember much of them because since he was 6 years old he lived with his grandparents. It was a brief flashback of one situation with his mum. He was playing at the corner of one room trying to make as little noise as possible because he didn’t want to hear his mother screaming and spitting all around her with very bad words in her mouth. Words which he didn’t understand then but sensed something bad about them from the sound and the expression in his mother’s face. His mother was lying on the floor and cuddled with the old faded bouquet. All of a sudden she stood up and started to lash herself with it. Then she slowly approached him and gave out a terrible laugh. She whipped him once across the face and once across his hips. Then she stood there and watched him crying. After a while long enough for the pain to subside she came to him and started to kiss him on his forehead, cheeks, lips and then all over his body. He could feel her trembling like his hands did right now.

Back at home he felt puzzled. Every day ever since her first impression on him he watched her and tried to figure out her schedule. He stole some stuff from his work and started to build his construction in the cellar. When he started with it there wasn’t any fixed idea of what it should be or what the construction should serve for. Only very slowly he thought of its purpose. At the end it looked like a very little space racket with dining table for two people and very special chairs. Once you set on them the lack of space made it very difficult to get out. Long time after he finished with his “home work” was he really prepared for the action. Now it was just a question of time when the situation would be the best.

It worked out. Two bodies were found few months later locked in the cellar. A man and a woman sitting on chairs in a strange construction chained by special seat belts made of nylon tights. Smile on his face and self-despair on hers. And what’s the police’s conclusion? They are still trying to find the murderer...................