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Pig in a Poke
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Pig in a Poke

by David Barton

Toby kept the car at a steady thirty miles per hour while they travelled along the country lane. This was farmland, and there was no telling when a tractor might appear in the other direction, or come out of a field unexpectedly. These bloody farmers thought they owned these roads; they never gave way, he thought.

Gemma sat in the passenger seat, listening to Marilyn Manson on the car CD player. She reached forward and turned it up.

Toby cringed; he was still nursing a hangover from the previous evening when they’d both gone out to a club and he‘d got seriously hammered. Gemma had remained reasonably sober; she never drank much. ‘Not so loud.’ He reached forward and turned the volume down again.

Gemma looked over to him and after gazing at him for a few seconds said, ‘I love you, Toby.’

‘Where did that come from?’ he asked, a bit taken aback by her sudden declaration.

She looked distant. ‘I dunno, I’ve just been thinking about things.’

‘It doesn’t do, to think about things too much,’ Toby told her. He didn’t feel too comfortable with what she’d just said. He didn’t think of her as being serious. Toby didn’t want to get too serious with someone at this early stage in life, he wanted to play the field, screw around a little.

Sure, Gemma was all right, for now, but he couldn’t see himself settling down with her, getting married, having kids. Isn’t that what it meant when they started telling you that they loved you? That they wanted that?

She glanced back to him, then away from him, then back to him again. ‘Well?’ she asked.

‘Well, what?’ he wanted to know.

‘Isn’t telling you I love you a cue for you to tell me that you love me?

He leaned forward and turned the CD up. Gemma reached over and lowered the volume again.

‘Well?’ she asked.

Gemma peered at him, waiting for an answer. She was beautiful. Like him, she had long dyed black hair, and favoured black clothes. They’d both been Goths since they were teens. They’d been just friends then, now they were lovers. She liked to call him her dark angel. She was cute. And her dark, blue eyes could work wonders on him when she wanted to get her own way.

Beautiful, yes, but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t try out all the other beautiful girls that he met, first, before he committed himself to one of them.

‘But I don’t love you, I’m only going out with you because you’re a great lay,’ he said, trying desperately to suppress a smirk. ‘If something better came along it would be goodbye,’ he added.

He was only teasing her of course, but she still didn’t like hearing this all the same. ‘Pig!’ she said.

‘You know I’m joking, right?’ he asked her. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Knowing Gemma she would think he was being serious. In a way he was, but he didn’t want her to know that.

She folded her arms and looked out of the window in a sulk. ‘Are you?’

‘Hey, course I’m joking,’ he said.

‘Do you love me, then?’

‘I love fucking you.’ That was true enough.

She turned from him and peered out of the window, in a huff again. ‘Oh I hate you!’

‘I love you, okay?’ Liar, liar, pants on fire!

At that moment Gemma spied a hitchhiker, about a quarter of a mile up the lane they were travelling along. ‘There’s a girl standing by the side of the road up ahead,’ she said, then glanced up to the sky. Heavy black clouds were hanging in the heavens all around them. ‘Looks like rain, should we pick her up?’

Toby looked at the girl and his eyes widened when he saw that she was a babe. Long black hair, like Gemma and him, and dressed in a black leather jacket with sawn-off jeans, showing off her long slender legs. ‘Looks like something better just came along.’ he quipped.

‘You really are a pig,’ she snapped at him.

‘Oink, oink!’ he mocked.

Toby pulled the car up alongside the girl; Gemma wound the window down and poked her head out. ‘Get in,’ she said to her. Toby saw specks of rain begin to settle on the windscreen, and realised they’d arrived in the nick of time to save this stranger from a drenching.

The girl climbed in the back, and Toby set the car in motion again. He had to put the wipers on now to battle against the huge spots of rain falling on the windscreen. ‘Looks like we arrived just at the right moment,’ he said to the girl over his shoulder.

‘Thanks,’ she said to him, ‘I would have got soaked if you hadn’t come along.’

Gemma looked over the seat to her. ‘I’m Gemma,’ she said and then nodded her head towards Toby, ‘and this is my pig of a boyfriend, Toby.’

‘She loves me really,’ said Toby half turning his head back as he drove.

‘I’m beginning to wonder,’ Gemma said.

‘I’m Lucinda,’ said the girl.

‘Where you heading?’ Gemma asked her.

‘Just up the road, I live on a farm, up ahead.’

‘You live on a farm? That sounds cool!’ Gemma said. ‘What sort of animals have you got? I love animals!’

‘Well we’ve got cows, chickens, pigs …’

‘Pigs?’ said Gemma, then nodded her head over to Toby and winked at Lucinda. ‘Do you want another one?’

Lucinda looked over to Toby and seemed to linger on him a while. ‘Yes I would, that would be great!’

The two girls laughed to each other.

‘It would just suit my Toby, wouldn’t it darling?’ she said to him, then looked back to Lucinda. ‘Rolling around in his own filth.’

Lucinda sniggered.

‘He does that at home,’ Gemma said to her, then she turned to Toby. ‘Don’t you pumpkin?’ She reached over and pinched his left cheek playfully. Toby looked uncomfortable that he was being shown up in front of the stranger they’d picked up.

‘Want to see a trick?’ Lucinda asked Gemma, when she‘d returned her attention to her.

‘A trick?’ said Gemma producing a frown. ‘Go on then.’

Lucinda cupped her hands above he lap; and flames suddenly appeared from them, then they rose into the air and hovered above them.

Gemma’s eyes widened in amazement. ‘Hey, cool!’ Then she turned to Toby. ‘Hey Toby you’re missing a great trick!’

Toby glanced into the rear-view mirror and saw the flames hovering in the air. Then he had to return his attention to the road, as the rain was pelting at the window making visibility difficult as it was, without him being distracted by what was going on in the back seat.

Then Lucinda closed her hands around the flames and squeezed them together, and when she pulled them apart, the flames had vanished.

‘That’s really cool, how do you do it?’ Gemma wanted to know.

‘What do you mean, how do I do it? It’s magic.’

‘Yeah, but it’s not real magic, it’s a trick.’

Lucinda leaned forward to Gemma and widened her eyes. ‘It’s real magic.’

‘What … like black magic?

‘Oh come on,’ said Toby, ‘there’s no such thing as black magic.’

‘I suppose it is black magic, yes,’ Lucinda told Gemma.

Toby raised his head heavenwards. He knew that Gemma was the type that was sucked in by all that crap.

‘Cool, could you teach me black magic?’ asked Gemma.

‘Well I don’t know, my mother taught me.’

‘Is she a witch?’

‘I suppose you could call her that, yes.’

‘Oh come on, there’s no such things as witches,’ Toby said, ‘except on Halloween.

‘I’d like to meet her,’ said Gemma.

Lucinda strained her neck and looked past Gemma up the lane. ‘Turn left up ahead, and I’ll introduce you to her if you want.’

‘Take the next left,’ Gemma turned to Toby and said enthusiastically.

‘I don’t want to go and meet some woman who claims to be a witch,’ he moaned.

‘If you loved me you’d take me,’ Gemma pleaded.

‘Oh all right,’ Tony said, resignedly, ‘I suppose I’ve no choice in the matter really.’

Gemma smiled to Lucinda the kind of knowing smile that said that she had her boyfriend under the thumb and could wrap him around her little finger.

The downpour was only a shower and the rain ceased after a few minutes. The sun broke through the clouds and everywhere was bathed in hazy golden light. Toby was glad that he could see to drive again; it had been hell driving through the rain, even for that short period.

When they pulled up the drive and they saw the large farmhouse, Gemma turned back to Lucinda. ‘Do you live here, just you and your mother?’

‘Yep, just me and my mother,’ she told her.

A woman appeared holding a shotgun, and pointed it in their direction. Toby brought the car to an abrupt halt.

‘That’s Mother,’ Lucinda informed them.

‘You didn’t say she’d be armed and dangerous!’ Toby said, looking alarmed and ducking his head slightly.

‘It’s okay, she just doesn’t know who you are.’ Lucinda wound down the window and stuck her head out. ‘It’s all right; it’s me! These are two friends of mine!’ she shouted over to the woman she said was her mother.

The woman stooped, peering into the car, straining her eyes to get a better look at its occupants. ‘I’ve never seen them before.’

‘It’s okay, they’re cool!’

‘They can’t come in!’ the woman shouted over.

‘I’ve already invited them for dinner, they gave me a lift, the least we could can do is feed them.’

‘Feed them to the pigs more like, if they don’t get off my land!’

Then the woman fired a shot above the car.

‘Maybe we should go,’ Toby said to Lucinda, ducking his head down even further and looking increasingly worried about the situation. This woman was obviously some kind of nutter. And a nutter with a gun, too! ‘Nice meeting you and all, but …’

‘I’ll have a word,’ said Lucinda and climbed out of the car. She made her way up the drive to the woman.

They exchanged a few words and looked to be having a disagreement, they kept glancing towards the car at intervals; eventually the mother lowered the gun. Lucinda beckoned for Gemma and Toby to join her.

Lucinda’s mother disappeared into the kitchen to make them some dinner and the three talked about Goth music for a while until it was ready. It seemed that Lucinda was just as much into Manson as the pair of them were. They had found another like-minded dark soul.

After dinner Gemma turned to Lucinda‘s mother and said: ‘We heard you were a witch.’

‘What have you been telling them?’ the woman said to her daughter, clearly annoyed that this piece of information had been revealed to them. ‘What have I told you about telling strangers our business?’

‘I only mentioned …’

‘You know it’s not every day you meet a witch,’ quipped Toby to the woman. He glanced around the room as if looking for something. ‘Where’s your broomstick?’

Gemma jabbed him in the ribs.

‘Have you been showing off?’ the woman asked Lucinda.

‘I only did the flame trick, I didn’t show them anything else,’ she told her mother.

The woman now turned to Gemma. ‘Interested in the black arts are you?’ she asked her.

‘Yes, I’ve read books on it.’

The woman laughed. ‘Read books?

‘Come on,’ said Lucinda to Toby, rising to her feet, ‘I’ll show you round the farm, and let’s leave these two to talk about black magic, I doubt you’d be interested.’

‘Ugly looking bastards aren’t they?’ said Toby a few minutes later as he peered into the pen at the farm‘s pigs.

‘I think they’re quite cute, with their little curly tails,’ Lucinda said to him, looking admiringly at the beasts.

‘Have they all got names?’ Toby wanted to know.

‘Of course, they’re my boys,’ Lucinda said, gazing at them lovingly.

‘Your boys?’ He shot her a wry look.

‘Come on,’ she said, turning towards him and linking his arm. It felt good to have this gorgeous chick link his arm, and pull him closer to her. Now she was looking directly into his eyes, her own eyes wide with excitement. He’d really like to get it on with this girl, that is if he didn’t have Gemma in tow. ‘I’ve got something special for you,’ she said.

Now she tugged him away. He wondered what she meant by “something special”. It couldn’t be what he thought it was, could it?

She led him to a barn, he peered around as she guided him into it; bundles of straw surrounded them. As they stood in the centre, Lucinda raised her eyes upwards. ‘Do you want to go up to the hayloft?’

‘What’s in the hayloft?’ he asked.

She lifted her eyebrows suggestively. Fun.’

He glanced upwards, then back to her and saw the mischievous look she was giving him. He knew for sure now exactly what she had in mind, but could he really do that to Gemma? Could he be unfaithful to his long-term girlfriend, with this stranger he hardly knew?

‘Come on,’ she said, and began to make her way up to the area above them. Toby watched her jeans-clad arse ascending up the ladder, and then followed enthusiastically, making up his mind on the spot.

As he reached the top and climbed into the hayloft, she leaned over to him and kissed him. Toby didn’t hesitate to kiss her back as enthusiastically as she was kissing him.

Afterwards she took a step back from him and slipped her t-shirt over her head.

‘What about Gemma?’ he said, suddenly getting an attack of guilt, but gazing admiringly at her pert breasts all the same.

‘She’s busy with Mother.’

‘I can’t,’ he said.

‘Why not? Does she own you?’ she said reaching her hands behind her to unfasten herself.

‘No … but –’

Toby stared at her as she discarded her bra. Her breasts were not too big but looked great all the same. One of her nipples was pierced and had a ring through it.

‘Well then, let’s fuck like pigs!’ she said.

‘Like pigs?’

‘Ever seen pigs fuck?’


‘You should watch sometime … watch a pig have a poke!’ She threw her head back with laughter and then got down and lay back on the straw. ‘Come on,’ she said undoing her jeans, ‘have a poke!’

Back in the house Gemma was disappointed that she’d still not been shown any magic by Lucinda‘s mother. The two women had more or less sat at the table in silence since Lucinda and Toby had left the house. Gemma’s embarrassed stares had met merely with the icy cold look that Lucinda’s mother had been giving her and Toby all evening. ‘I wonder where Toby’s got to?’ Gemma finally said, breaking the silence at last.

‘She’s probably showing him her pigs,’ the woman told her.

‘Her … pigs?

‘She looks after the pigs, I milk the cows, we both feed the chickens.’

Of course, it was a farm, thought Gemma, and Lucinda was obviously in charge of pig duties. She shuddered at the thought. All those pink, squealing creatures, and the muck! She didn’t envy Lucinda at all. She loved animals, but pigs were something else. She didn’t care for them too much.

‘So, are you going to show me how to do black magic?’ Gemma asked, hoping the woman would at last demonstrate something.

At that moment Lucinda appeared in the doorway, alone. Gemma noticed that she had some straw in her hair. She looked to either side of her, and tried to see past her into the hallway, but couldn’t see any sign of Toby. ‘Where’s Toby?’ she asked.

Lucinda shrugged. ‘He left, didn’t you hear the car drive off?’

Gemma was puzzled, and frowned. ‘Left? Without me?’ She had thought she’d heard a car a minute ago but hadn’t thought anything of it.

‘Drove right off,’ Lucinda added.

‘Bastard!’ Gemma spat.

‘Guess he didn’t love you as much as you thought,’ Lucinda said. She then reached up to her hair, and self-consciously pulled the straw from it, and shot a mischievous smile at Gemma. Lucinda was an odd one, thought Gemma. Here she was, her boyfriend just skidaddled, and there Lucinda was smirking to her, like it was some big joke.

Toby wouldn’t just leave like that, Gemma thought. Or would he?

And there was something really odd about Lucinda’s behaviour. Had her boyfriend tried it on with her and been knocked back, so he’d left? Left, knowing Lucinda might tell her about his come on. He really was a pig, if that was the case.

‘Want to see the pigs?’ Lucinda asked her. ‘It’ll take your mind off things.’

Gemma gazed at the pen full of grunting, snout-nosed pink creatures. One of them kept clambering up to her, as if it was familiar with her, like a dog greeting its owner.

‘That one likes you,’ Lucinda told her, grinning. ‘I haven’t got a name for that particular one yet.’ She paused as if thinking about something. ‘Maybe we should call him Toby, after that pig of a boyfriend of yours?’

‘Yeah,’ Gemma laughed, ‘he is a pig!’

‘He certainly is,’ said Lucinda, staring at the creature that had been drawn to Gemma.

The pig, Gemma now noticed, had a mole on one cheek. Odd that, she thought, because Toby had one in the exact same place. Yes, that was odd. And the creature seemed to resemble Toby slightly, in a piggy kind of way of course. She guessed that two pigs could look the same, couldn’t they, and smiled to herself.

Copyright David Barton 2005

David Barton is the editor of Lost Souls Magazine, his fiction has appeared in the "fan fiction" section of the website for American horror author, Nicholas Grabowsky  http://www.downwarden.com and in the now defunct 31 Eyes ezine.  More info can be found at: http://chainsawhell.tripod.com/homepage

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