It is easy to solve most problems… so long as they are not yours. Ask King Solomon.
* * *
Bordetella was simply a thorn in the flesh of Miss Othello, and the girls at the fashion school. He had single-handedly forced a close down of the school twice in one year. The Rapist of Sotton, as he was called, had damaged what was left of the already shaky reputation of the school.
The story begins when a disabled youth was forced on Miss Othello and her staff at the fashion school. He was to serve as a handyman, a hireling, a gardener, a messanger, a minion, a labourer, a stooge, all for no pay. They believed the food and shelter offered him was more than enough recompense.
Driven by compassion, Miss Othello adopted him. Who would have adopted him if she hadn’t? Bordetella was a mute, and had a strange gait, tiptoeing wherever he went.
Miss Othello was that rare beauty, with such depth of character, that thwarted the devious doggedness of the board of directors. And, as expected, she was the truest fashionista.
About three months into his stay, news spread, that one of the girls at the school had been raped. This rapist crawled straight into a locked dormitory. The victim didn’t see who it was – it was dark. All she remembered was the knocking sound of heels, that ran away after the act.
Being the only permanent male member of staff on campus, Bordetella was accused. He went as far as sleeping behind bars for a few nights. But soon, he was released – there was no evidence. Miss Othello took him back. He had no home. She had no choice.
Two months after, the event occurred again. Yet again, the victim could not catch a glimpse of her perpetrator. She only remembered this shrill, ghastly cry as he made his escape.
In no time, it was on air, and Miss Othello had to be swift in taking a decision – such news was bad for business.
So she bought a cage and put Bordetella in it, managed an amateurish damage limitation, and closed the school down. This may seem cruel at the onset, but she simply did not know where to turn.
Bordetella was only allowed out during the day. He was locked after six in the evening, and fed behind bars. If the police couldn’t handle him, she would do so herself. They left her no choice.
Now, Bordetella was never given a chance to have an opinion. The tapping of the feet, the shrill cry made during his escape, and the fact that he was the only male, made it hard to look for another suspect.
About two months later, the rapist struck again. This time, the student involved managed to tear hold of his clothes, before he made his escape. This was a step forward.This was the sort of evidence the police needed. It was a scarlet scarf, stained with lipstick and perfume. Miss Othello had given Bordetella such a scarf recently… and he had misplaced it. Now it was only a matter of time before the police got their act together.
But they returned, saying the scarf was not enough evidence. The permutations were just too many.
Miss Othello often wondered how Bordetella managed to break free. The lock to his cage was intact. Also, all the dorms had been locked. Did he have spare keys? Were the bars too wide for his malnourished frame?
When she adopted him, she was told that the only flaw was his poorly developed language skill; otherwise, he was as humane as they come. But this was a threat to her career. This was trouble!
The numbers in her school began to subtly dwindle. Some investors had threatened to withdraw. She had, by this time, asked the school to close down twice. This was her main source of revenue. How on earth was she to handle this? She couldn’t afford a private security detail, as was suggested to her. She couldn’t afford the CCTV cameras around the entire school, as her competitors did. She certainly couldn’t afford to close down again.
And all the board and investors were interested in was their money. They dismissed Bordetella, but didn’t do more.
So she asked her students to lock their dormitories, and carry knives under their beds. She told them to be bold; that they should not hesitate to slash, cut, stab, or decimate whoever attacks them. They were chanting war songs in the morning, and holding lengthy prayer sessions in the evening.
But it wasn’t until after another three months, that the rapist struck again…
A pair of knocking steps were heard, tapping along the corridors of the main dorm. They moved back and forth, all the while swishing a bunch of keys. The tapping finally came to a stop, as one door cracked open.
The footsteps went towards the bed of a student, and groped beneath the sheets to feel for flesh.
Suddenly, a loud shriek pierced the night silence, as the groping hand was slashed. A student reached for the lights, while her colleague continued to saw. Blood could be felt pouring about in the darkness, as footsteps from other dorms intensified.
Another student pulled out her knife, and lunged her way towards this vile rapist…
But she froze, stopping short of a stab…
As the lights flooded the room, the frenzy dissipated…
Cloaked in red, and visibly dazed, was Miss Othello. She looked about her, narrow-eyed, shrieking with laughter, and with an uncharacteristic crouch, as though not herself, nor in the moment.
The students were puzzled – not sure if they were in trouble or if they had found trouble.
Miss Othello walked slowly out of the room, zombie-like, making a shrill sound, as she left behind her right hand, her red high heel, and a vibrator. It was as though she was in a trance, and was not squealing from the pain of the amputation, but from the glare of the lights.
She did not even stop to pick her hand up.
Rumours about a woman in heels began to swell, as fast as those of a woman in red. This permanently sealed the fate of the school. In a matter of weeks, the school was empty. The buildings were the only testament of what once was.
The deed metamorphosed into gossip, and from gossip, into a tale.
No one followed her into the bushes that lay behind her school. No one dared.
She has not been seen since.
And Bordetella? Well, very few people can stay in a haunted apartment, with such grace as he does. After all, he was sole heir, technically.
In honour of his mother, he put her hand in a cage, awaiting the day she would return, for what was rightfully hers.
Beware, she will return.
– The Angel’s Nemesis
– Origins of the Red Heel
– A Case of Multiple Personality Disoder