(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
I saw the knifepoint gleam in the sunlight and felt like a kick in my chest, as if someone had punched me very hard. I staggered backwards and the blood began to gush down my chest. The young woman laughed gleefully, “This is what happens to the enemies of Jehovah—burn in hell, you unbeliever.” I fell down on my back and she stood and watched, the blood pooling on the ground around me. “Darwin was right you stupid cow,” I felt myself gasp at her and somebody grabbed me. I struggled through I knew it was in vain.
“Cathy, for goodness sake, wake up will you?” the voice was Simon’s which sounded like he was calling through water. I wanted to scream but could only gasp. I felt him shake me again. “What the hell is going on?” he asked of me, “Why were you shouting about Darwin?”
I was absolutely dripping with sweat and it took me a moment to realise i was actually in bed with my hubby. I felt so relieved I began to cry.
“Hey, what’s the problem?” he said pulling me to him then hesitating when he saw how wet I was. “Hey, don’t cry, whatever was out there, it won’t get past me.”
It took a few minutes for me to control myself and I told him that I needed a shower. He didn’t disagree. The night was warm anyway and we were only sleeping under a sheet. “Might as well make some tea as I’m wide awake now.” I nodded, pecked him on the nose and dashed off to the bathroom and into the shower. By the time he returned with two mugs of steaming beverage, I was drying my hair and wearing a clean nightdress.
We sat on the bed and I thanked him for the tea. He’d come home late and there wasn’t really an opportunity to explain what had happened with the Chief Inspector, but he listened now. “Are you trying to tell me people are prepared to kill you because you teach evolution rather than codswallop?”
“Bloody hell, what is the world coming to when you can’t go about your daily life doing your job or your legitimate business because some little tart thinks her god made the earth in seven days.”
“Six, he needed a day off on the seventh.”
“Oh well, shows it was a god not a goddess then.”
I looked blankly at him.
“Well if it had been a goddess she’d have been still working on the seventh, wouldn’t she—least that’s what you’re always telling me—or does that only apply to domestic goddesses, like you?”
I nearly spilt my tea in the bed laughing at him.
“That looks better,” he said “I love to see you smile.”
I put my tea down and took his off him and put it down and then I grabbed him and kissed him passionately. It was a good job it was Friday night because we—well if I tell you the tea got cold... God I was tired when the girls woke me up at nine o’clock, and my hair, which had been still damp was standing up in all directions. I had to shower again and I also needed to change the bed linen.
Simon had been out to get some more milk and the newspapers and he looked more alert than I felt. “You might want to read the paper,” he said handing it to me.
‘Academic hurt in religiously motivated attack.’ said the headline. I sat with a cup of tea and my toast and scanned the story.
‘Emeritus professor of evolutionary biology Donald Townsend was found badly injured with multiple head wounds in an attack for which a shadowy group who refute the idea of evolution completely, despite there being so much evidence to support it.
In a coded message the group who call themselves ‘Genesis’ claimed to have carried out the attack because he was teaching material which was false to the eyes of the true believers and that they would strike again and again until, the false prophet Darwin, was disowned by universities and schools and God’s own words replaced it.
Police have advised several academic staff to take appropriate action to avoid risk of similar attacks.’
“Bloody hell, not poor Don Townsend,” I gasped.
“Who’s he, Mummy?” asked Einstein, thereby proving she didn’t know everything—yet.
“He’s a lovely old chap who taught me evolutionary genetics in my second year at Sussex. They created a chair for him and he sort of retired a year or two ago.”
“Didn’t he have a chair of his own then? Not even a stool or a bench?” she teased knowing full well what a chair was in academic parlance.
“No, us poor academics only earn enough to buy furniture when we become professors.”
“Woss goin’ on?” asked Livvie entering the hallway where I’d been reading the paper.
“Oh nothin’ much, only some old bloke got attacked for buyin’ the wrong furniture or somethin’, why?” Trish had mangled another story from reading the headline and my comments.
“Buying the wrong furniture—what ’appened—did it collapse under him?”
“Nah, some goofball attacked him ’cos he had a chair instead of a table or something.” I let them go off before letting fly at Si for snorting and thereby encouraging her wilder flights of fancy.
“I thought her version was much better than the paper’s.”
“Yes but just remember we need them to realise they could all be at risk and the fact that many pairs of eyes are better than just one pair.”
“D’you really think they’d have a go at you?”
“I don’t know.”
“We don’t even know if he was attacked by them, like that Isis mob claim responsibility every time a lawn mower gets nicked from someone’s garden shed. He may have been mugged for all we know and they’re just trying to frighten some old men and one or two women.”
“I’m not frightened of them, nor will I stop teaching evolution which is fact unlike their book of fairy stories. In fact I’m doing a lecture on Charles Darwin’s contribution to science next week.”
“Duh, the university—I work there—remember?”
He looked really angry and said, “I think you should cancel it in view of this attack on the old chap.”
“That lets them think they’ve won—I’ll die before I’ll let that happen.”
“Oh no you bloody well won’t,” he said firmly and coldly, for a moment he made my tummy flip and it wasn’t with love or pleasure. “If they lay so much as a finger on you, I’ll have them hunted down and destroyed like the vermin they are.” That didn’t fill me with confidence either.
“I don’t think I like you talking like that, Si.”
“If one of them hurt one of the girls...”
“That’s different, I’d kill them all myself...”
“So how come you can and I can’t?” he asked looking bemused.
“Because I’m their mother.”
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