Mysteries of the Village Part 1 - The Perfect Wife [Audio Adaptation]

The Perfect Wife 

This story is set in the village of Redbush, a strange place, with a strange past. Outsiders need help explaining why Redbush is so peculiar although many have tried. The story goes that the spirits of a Roman massacre, thousands of years ago, have persisted in corrupting the heart of this small English town. 

But the town remains strange and elusive. This channel hopes to shed light on some of the strange goings-on in Redbush, Surrey and give you an insight into the resident’s psyche… 

Welcome to Mysteries of the Village. 

Andrea loved to cook for Robert, date night was her favourite night of the week, and Robert loved to be cooked for. 

Andrea hit the local supermarket. She took the 4 by 4 today. It looked strange in the village, the biggest car in town, but after all - Andrea had the biggest house in town. 

When Andrea walked into the shop, she felt like a million pounds. Her hair was tied up with a hairband, she had on her finest Chanel and she’d recently lost fifteen pounds. 

She looked great and she felt great. 

The first person she bumped into was Fiona. Fiona was a big, fat, jolly woman who lived on Turnover Street. Ten years older than Andrea, they stayed in separate circles but still have known each other for thirty years, all of Andrea’s life. 

Like most of the town, everybody knew everybody and they knew each other for the long haul. 

“Yoo hoo, Andrea, how are you?” Fiona said. 

“Good thank you, fabulous in fact,” Andrea said as she loaded baked potatoes into her cart. 

“Ooooh. What are you cooking?” Fiona asked. 

Nosy bitch. Andrea thought. 

“I am going to make baked potatoes, sour cream and a side of the steak,” Andrea said proudly. 

“Oooh, what is the occasion?” Fiona asked. 

Oh my God, can you drop it? Andrea thought. 

“Robert and I always have date night on Thursdays,” Andrea said. 

“How is Robert, I haven’t seen him since the wed…” 

Andrea cut in, curtly, no time for this nonsense. 

“I have to go, Fiona, really sorry, I am rushed off my feet today,” Andrea said and walked beyond Fiona with her squeaky trolley. 

Fiona was aghast for a brief moment, but Andrea’s curtness was widely known across the town. 

Beep - beep - beep - the bored checkout girl scanned the items. 

£48.50 - food is expensive nowadays, Jesus. 

Andrea took her change and strutted back to the car. 

All work and no play, all play and no work. 

Now the fun could begin - the cooking.

Light a candle, put the player on play a light jazz, and stare into each other’s eyes. She baked the potatoes, scooped up the sour cream and flash-fried the steak. 

A meal fit for a king, a meal perfect for a devoted husband.

Robert was once a worldly go-getter, constantly away at work. 

Now Robert spent all his time in that room with his books and his thoughts – a solitary, skittish figure.

It pleased Andrea greatly to know that as Robert aged and responsibilities caught up with him, he had become more docile – content to spend time alone and less restless - this relationship would have died long ago had Robert always been elsewhere.

They had been together three years and married six months - still in the honeymoon stage and Andrea finally had Robert right where she wanted him. 

The dinner ritual was important for them. A chance to communicate and lay down a foundation of trust. It also was a chance for Robert to be more regular, not the hermetic creep he’d become.

Robert seated himself at the table in his best shirt and tie. 

“So how was your day?” Andrea asked; the way a good wife asks a good husband.

Ask about his day – like a normal, good wife. That’s good Andrea. I’m such a perfect wife.

“It was good thank you, dear,” Robert replied in a drilled recital.

“What did you do?”

“I was in the room,” Robert replied.

“Just the room?” Andrea probed further.

“Just the room.” Robert smiled a broad superficial smile.

Robert ate in a rush, terrified to remain there too long – but Andrea knew that if Robert finished quickly he would still have to wait for her to finish her meal. 

Manners, manners, manners. 

And the time spent at dinner would have been the same regardless – Robert eating in a pointless rush. Nonetheless, Robert ate mouthfuls in a sprint – as if spending time at that table over dinner was impending doom.

As dessert was brought out, Andrea resumed her questioning, in a cold, stern tone:

“I hear you with that pen SCRATCHING and trying to scrape away at the walls and force the window open. And I heard you today, plotting your little escapes. Don’t tell me that you were just in the room today – don’t lie, Robert,” she said. 

Robert nodded like the guilty little boy he was.

Andrea knocked over the jug of wine in a fury. The tablecloth dripping:

Drip, drip, drip.

“You lost the left hand Robert; do not make me take the right.” Andrea reached across and pulled back Robert’s sleeve to reveal a stump where the left hand once was.

“I love you too much to do that again,” Andrea said calming herself.

Robert could see the scar on Andrea’s face illuminate in the candlelight.

And with that, Robert was back in the basement. The large door bolted, Robert staring into dim lamplight, shackles bound to the radiator – Robert with his thoughts.

One day – on one of these romantic dinners, he might work up the courage to ram the candlelight into Andrea’s face and break for the front door.

Robert only had one problem with that plan, he had grown to love Andrea too much to try that again.

Isn’t married life bliss? 

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