Opportunities‘, thought Joe. Life had always presented them to him and he had always grabbed them with both hands. Like now, he thought as he gazed out of his car at the old lady slowly crossing the road in front of him.
She was carrying three straining shopping bags and as he watched, one of them split open and the contents spilled onto the tarmac.
He opened the door and stepped out of the car. He was the only motorist on the quiet road in the Cornish village of Rosemeadow. It was six o’clock in the evening and dusk was around the corner on this crisp October day and hopefully another sale, thought Joe as he walked towards the woman.
“Can I help?” he asked, smiling down at her.
She looked at him, her glasses sliding down her nose.
“Oh yes, thank you. These silly plastic bags are so flimsy,” she said.
Joe bent down and began to pick up the groceries.
“Yes they are. They’re no match for heavy tins are they?”
“No they certainly are not,”
The old lady glanced at him.
“I should have gotten a taxi really but I thought I could make it. I missed the last bus you see,”
She shook her head, her grey curls moving under the streetlight.
Joe smiled slightly, thinking how he could definitely make a sale here. His final sale of the day.
“I’ll drop you home if you like. It’s no problem,”
“Oh would you really?” the lady said, “It’s not far from here, just round the corner in fact,”
“Here, let me take the other bags,” Joe said.
“This is really good of you. Thank you,” the woman said, as she followed Joe to his car.
“That’s okay,” he said.
He slid the bags into the back seat then helped the old lady into the passenger side of the car.
“I forget that I’m no spring chicken anymore,” she muttered, “can’t walk so far these days,”
Joe started the engine, glancing in the side mirror. Still no traffic around, he thought. No people either.
“Quiet round here,” he said, pulling away.
The old lady nodded, “Yes, it’s a very peaceful place……….could you turn left here please, then right. It’s the second bungalow on the left. I’m Enid by the way, and you are…?”
“Nice to meet you Joe,” Enid said, “ah, here we are. Home sweet home,” she added as Joe pulled up outside her bungalow.
He swept his gaze over the place. He was impressed. It looked well maintained with what looked like new double glazing. Enid must have a bit of money, he thought.
“Would you like a cup of tea dear?” Enid asked.
“That would be lovely. Thanks,” Joe said.
He smiled inwardly. Bingo, he thought.
He climbed out of the car and walked round to open the passenger door. He helped Enid out then took her shopping out the back.
“So where do you live then Joe. I haven’t seen you around her before?”
“I live in Bodmin actually,” Joe said, as he followed Enid to her front door, “I’m just passing through really on the way back from a conference,”
Enid slid her key in the lock and opened the door. Immediately, a waft of stale air swept out. Joe wrinkled his nose slightly. It smelt of boiled meat, he thought.
“Come on in,” Enid said, “I’ll go and put the kettle on. You can bring those bags through to the kitchen,”
Joe followed Enid, taking in the surroundings as he went. Very nice, he thought. He could probably sell to her easily. It didn’t appear that she had a husband. He had more than likely left all his savings to her when he died, Joe thought because she had a lot of expensive items in the bungalow. He had noticed a state of the art plasma television in the living room as he had walked past.
Joe set the shopping bags on the kitchen floor and flicked his gaze around the kitchen. All mod cons in here too, he thought.
“Sit down dear,” Enid said, as she reached for the kettle, “so, do you have a family Joe?”
He shook his head, “No, just me. I prefer it that way to be honest,”
“Yes,” Enid said, “being alone does have its pluses,”
“You’re alone too?”
“No. I‘ve got my George,” she said.
“Oh, I see…..” Joe murmured, wondering where her husband was.
“George is out at the moment, down the Legion. He’ll be back shortly,” Enid said, as if reading his mind.
Joe nodded, hoping that her husband wouldn’t scupper the sale.
“Anyway, where was I……,” she said, waving her hands, “I was making tea, that’s it…..or coffee if you prefer? “
“Tea’s fine,” Joe said.
She stood up slowly, “Perhaps you’ll stay for dinner?”
“Oh, that’s very kind of you but I need to be getting back on the road soon. I’m meeting a friend for drinks later,”
Enid nodded and began making two mugs of tea.
“So, what do you do then dear? What’s your job?”
“I’m a salesman,” Joe replied, waiting for the look of derision. It didn’t come though.
“And what do you sell then?”
Enid placed a mug of tea in front of him along with a sugar bowl.
“Thank you. I sell Hoovers,” Joe said.
“Oh, I see,” Enid raised her eyebrows, “Well, that’s handy to know because mine is on the way out actually. Do you sell carpet cleaners too?”
Joe could barely contain his glee.
“Yes I do…..actually the cleaner is in with the Hoover and it’s on a special offer at the moment as well,”
Enid rubbed her hands together, “Fantastic. Does it clean up any mess at all then?”
“Oh yes,” Joe replied, “anything. It’s a brilliant machine. I’ve sold a few and had a lot of positive feedback on it,”
“Oh good. My living room carpet needs a good clean,” Enid smiled.
“Shall I go and fetch one from the car. I could test it for you so you can see what it does for yourself?” Joe said.
“Yes dear, if you would, thank you,”
Joe almost jumped up and down with glee. Normally people took a lot more persuasion than this to buy something, he thought.
Joe stood up and made his way to the front door. He dug his keys from his pocket and aimed them at his car as he walked down the pathway. He noticed that the temperature had dropped slightly. It had gone quite chilly, he thought. He glanced up at the sky. It was a beautiful clear night with a full moon and stars just beginning to show.
Joe opened the boot of the car and lifted out the Hoover and his briefcase. It was so damn quiet here, he thought. He glanced around at the other houses in the cul de sac. In the one opposite to Enid’s, he thought he saw the net curtain twitch and a shadow move. Feeling slightly uneasy and not sure why, he quickly made his way back inside Enid’s bungalow.
“I’ll take it into the living room,” he called to Enid, “You’ll be amazed at the results I promise you,”
“I’m sure I will be,” she said.
Joe jumped. Enid was already sitting in the living room.
“You gave me a start,” he laughed.
He placed the Hoover on the carpet, noticing for the first time the stains on the blue pile.
“I can see what you mean about the carpet,” he said, “No offence intended,”
“None taken,” Enid said.
Joe didn’t ask what the stains were. He lifted the Hoover from its box and placed it in front of the old lady.
“Okay, let’s get started with the demonstration,”
He glanced at Enid. She was gazing outside at the darkening sky. She wasn’t looking at the Hoover at all. He could see the moon reflected in her eyes.
Suddenly, he could hear a dog howling outside, a mournful and eerie cry that made the hairs on the back of his neck rise.
Enid suddenly stood up and walked to the window. She placed both palms against the glass then pressed her face against it too.
“Enid?” Joe said, again.
“George is here,” she said.
“Your husband? Good, he can see the demonstration as well,”
Enid turned and looked at him. She tilted her head slightly.
“You‘ll get blood on your nice clean shirt,” she said.
Joe frowned, “What?. Enid, are you feeling alright?”
Suddenly, the front door crashed open. Joe turned and looked at the living room entrance and a huge dog bounded into the room. At least that was what Joe thought it was at first but he realised it was much more than just a dog. It looked more like a wolf, he thought.
“George darling!” he heard Enid cry.
“George?” gasped Joe.
He looked at Enid, “What the hell is going on?”
Enid didn’t answer him. She couldn’t for a very good reason. She appeared to be in the middle of some sort of weird transformation.
Joe stared agog at her as her face elongated and her mouth stretched.
“Oh. My. God.” he said, horrified.
He wanted to turn and run but he couldn’t. His gaze was fixated on Enid as she fell on all fours and started to grow claws and thick course hair. Joe wondered if maybe he
was tripping on some sort of mind bending drug that Enid had slipped into his tea because he was sure that Enid hadn’t mentioned she was a werewolf when they’d met.
Suddenly, she, it, turned and looked at him and he couldn’t fail to notice the long razor-sharp teeth protruding from the mouth of what was once a little old lady. Joe found his feet then and he turned to run, straight into George. George howled into his face and Joe smelt the same fetid smell that he’d noticed when he’d first entered the place. He barely had time to grimace before the creature leapt onto him, all claws and fangs. Joe fell to the stained carpet, George on top of him, snapping at his throat.
Joe screamed and tried to push the creature off him but suddenly Enid towered over him too. She darted downwards, mouth wide open, teeth glistening.
The last thing Joe saw was the moon, full and ominous.
The following morning, Enid opened her eyes to the winter sun trying to shine through the net curtains. She yawned, stretched then pushed herself to her feet. Next to her lay George, snoring his head off. In the middle of the living room and in two or three other places of the room lay what remained of Joe.
Enid sighed. More stains to clean up, she thought but then she brightened up when she remembered the carpet cleaner Joe had brought. It would make light of the work and if it was as good as Joe had mentioned then she would recommend it to her neighbours as well, she thought. She imagined that their carpets were just as dirty as hers.
With a smile, Enid headed for the kitchen to make a nice cup of tea before she started the clean up.