Anne Frank-alike by Michael Healy
I gave a great yawn and turned to my wife,
‘I soon get so tired in this new, retired life.
‘I think I will go and have a short rest,
Half an hour on my bed I am sure will be best’.
I went upstairs and settled down
In no time at all I was sleeping sound.
But after about an hour I disturbed,
My bedroom door opened, and someone entered
I lay still and said not a word to the intruder,
My wife, I thought, must have brought me a drink
I heard the door close as the person departed,
And sat up smart to find what they’d brought,
Nothing was on my bedside table
Except a length of white lamp cable
How very strange that did seem
What did the noises I heard mean?
I decided I might as well get up,
And went down stairs in trace of my cup
I asked my wife why she came to my room?
Not me, she said, I was out in the garden
I related to her what had occurred,
‘You must have been dreaming with what you heard’.
‘No, I think not’, was all I could say
Let us see what happens on another day.
Curious and curious.
A few weeks later I was awoken by banging.
I put this down to a noisy old crow
Something we have had before, making a show, (see 1.)
Next day I was out of bed quite early, a journey to make.
When I returned some hours later,
My wife was anxious, almost shaking.
‘After you had gone, I heard a huge bang,
I have looked all over but not found the source’.
By the way, there is no hot water.
I went upstairs and felt the hot water cylinder.
Sure enough, it was completely cold
I called our friendly local plumber to explain,
About the lack of hot water, (not the sound)
He said, as soon as he could, he would be around.
Next day came a knock at our front door
I opened the door and there stood the plumber,
Tony, please do come in, we need your help.
‘A new boiler and its heaters is needed, as you have a leak.
I will have to drain the cylinder and the cold water tank in your loft.’
‘Of course’ said I, ‘but when? Give me two days to get the equipment.’
As good as his word, that was when he arrived.
He explained he needed to go into our loft to empty our cold water tank.
‘Fill a few saucepans and kettles’ he said, ‘so you can have a drink.’
‘First I will drain the hot water off and get at the heaters.’
I left him to it and the banging began. And then he went into the loft.
Quite soon I heard him come down the stairs,
He came to find me, he looked worried.
‘I will have to disturb the room you have in the loft I’m afraid.’
Room in the loft? I was puzzled. We do not have a room in the loft.
Well I am sorry but you do. Come and look. I followed him back
Upstairs. ‘When did you last go up here?’ he pointed to the loft.
‘Probably a couple of years ago’ I replied. ‘Lead on’.
I followed him up through the loft entrance and gasped as I entered.
My eyes must be lying. Before me was a furnished lounge¸
then a bedroom, and even a small kitchenette. How, why, WHO?
Never had we agreed to anyone living here, nor converting it.
‘Have you told my wife?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then please don’t. Just get on with
the job as normal. Remove anything that gets in your way.’
My wife was out with her craft group that evening and after Tony
had gone, I had my tea and then went inside the loft and hid myself
and turned off the lights.
I must have dozed but suddenly there was a noise by the loft hatch
Then light came flooding through from below.
A man’s head poked up and he then, athletically, pulled the
rest of himself through.
I waited until he came towards me but he then sat in his lounge
‘Good Evening’ I said and pulled myself out of my resting place.
He was clearly very startled, but I held my .22 rifle steady.
‘Please, do not do anything stupid. I just want to talk with you.’
Then, I noticed a length of white lamp flex leading to his table lamp.
He saw me look. ‘From my bedroom’? I asked.
‘Yes, I am sorry, I did not realise you were in’.
I sat down in one of his chairs and rested my rifle on my lap.
‘Now, I want to go through this whole matter in detail.’
The interrogation lasted almost four hours, in between he had
made us a cup of tea. The story was fascinating and one day it
might make a book, as I recorded every word on my small
dictaphone. Suffice to say he was an educated man who
had read the story of Anne Frank. He was mesmerised by the
young heroine’s story and decided to see if it could be emulated
today. For a while it had worked but now it was over.
He had chosen our house as it had one of the he largest roof areas
in the village, in which he could squat.
‘May I go? ‘ he asked, at what seemed a natural end to our talk.
‘Collect your things, go, and never ever come back’.
He collected a few books and his razor and things, and
Climbed through the trap door, straight into the arms of my good
friend, Chief Inspector Taylor, and a dozen of his best officers.
I almost felt sorry for him, but only almost. After all, my wife and I
had worked very hard over the years for our home, not to share it with a squatter.
- See ‘Intruder’ by Michael Healy,
On Retwords, July, 2014