We’d been going out for two years. I asked her to marry me at the top of the London Eye. She said yes, thankfully. I was so nervous at the time, but after she said yes all I felt was happiness. A year later, once we’d saved enough money, we bought a house together. It was a quaint little house in the countryside. There wasn’t another house in sight, just that rotten old shed filled with rubbish. I vowed to get rid of the unsightly thing the first chance I got.
One night, as my wife and I lay asleep side by side, I heard a bang come from downstairs. I listened more carefully. Waiting, waiting. It must have been nothing, I thought.
My wife patting me on the shoulder, kissing my cheek. Her touch felt colder than usual. “I heard a noise. The foxes have probably just knocked over the bin. Go back to sleep, darling,” I whispered. I felt so on edge that night, like something was out of place. But I couldn’t figure it out. Giving up, I fell back to sleep.
BANG. I shot upwards and scrambled around under the bed, looking for my golf clubs. Someone had to be there, unless a fox had gotten in. Either way, I needed to defend my home. As I slowly neared the bedroom door, my wife grabbed for me, muttering something. “Go back to bed, everything’s fine,” I said, “I think a fox has gotten inside.” She kissed me on the cheek and scuttled off back to bed. There was a strange smell in the air, damp and musty.
There can’t be anyone here, I thought. The nearest house was three miles away, and there hadn’t been any cases of burglary for years. Bang! My heart skipped a beat; man up, I told myself. After taking a deep breath I pounded down the stairs, intending to surprise or scare them off. I flicked the light switch on, nobody in this room. I continued towards the kitchen. There was a chill in the air. Once I reached the kitchen, I turned on the light. The backdoor was wide open, the wind making it slam into the wall over and over. I wandered over there and slammed the door shut.
I heard a wailing sound coming from outside. Foxes. I’d heard the sound every night since we moved here. Damn things never shut up. As I stepped outside the cold night air hit me, it’s freezing! I walked around to the front of the house, a couple of foxes were running away. I must have forgotten to close the door when I went to bed, I thought. I was exhausted after all, I’d had a stressful few days at work. In the distance I could see the shed. That bloody shed. I could never make time to knock it down. I’ll do it this weekend I told myself.
Just as I was about to turn around and crawl back into bed, I saw the shed door swinging in the wind. That’s odd, the shed’s been locked ever since we moved here. The wind was blowing and snow had begun to fall. I wonder if we’ll have a white Christmas, I thought to myself offhandedly. I jogged towards the shed, trying to warm myself up. I should have just gone back inside, I thought. I’m going to catch a cold, or worse.
The shed was quite large. One of the reasons I wanted to get rid of it so much. It didn’t have any windows either. I hadn’t been inside the thing since the day we moved in. All that was inside it had been a couple of rusty old bikes and a few cardboard boxes. Not now. Inside were packets of food, canned meat and a dirty old mattress. But that wasn’t what made my bones quiver and my body shake. Vomit crept up into my throat, unable to hold it back I threw up. I dropped to my knees, my mouth unable to utter a single word. All I could do was scream.
My wife and I had always talked about having children. It was one of the reasons we’d moved here. A nice family home. I continued to stare at the corpse that lay on top of the mattress. Mind and body numb. Unable to cry or scream now. All I could do was stare at her; my love, my wife. Scratched into the surface of the wood next to her body were the words, "your bed is warmer than mine."
I was sick again. I threw up onto the grass just outside of the shed. What just happened? A moment ago I was in bed with my wife and now… It couldn’t have been her. When I thought back, I realised things were out of place. Something had felt wrong. I staggered backwards out of the shed, breathing heavily, tears still falling from my face. I looked towards the house, snow still falling.
A man stood in the doorway, at least I think it was a man. He was wearing a dressing gown, staring at me. It was my wife’s. I was overcome with rage, the grief I felt a moment ago faded away. This is the man that has killed my wife. At first I walked towards the man; speeding up I started to run. As a mixture of snow and tears covered my face, I shouted at him, the cold air catching in my dry throat. “How long have you been in there?” There was no reply. All he did was stare at me, grinning. “You’re sick. I don’t give a damn what happens, I’ll do everything I can to kill you. I‘ll make you suffer too, for what you‘ve done to me!” He continued to stare at me, standing in my doorway.
His hair was uncut and messy, beneath my wife’s dressing gown I saw he was wearing dirty and torn clothes. The Shedman only carried on staring back. Eventually, he opened his mouth to speak. “I was cold,” his voice was barely a whisper, I struggled to hear him. “I… wanted somebody to warm me up.”
He licked his lips, not smiling anymore. “The previous owners used to let me sleep over during the winter. Well, when I say ‘let’ I mean they didn’t know I was there. You thought I was your wife, didn’t you? These damn foxes… they’ve been keeping me awake all night. Do you expect me to sleep in a shed while you and your precious wife have all the warmth and comfort of a house? You did didn’t you. Selfish, so selfish… You people are always selfish. Do you want to know what I do to people like you?”
I only stared back at him, I wasn’t going to entertain him with a reply. This man was mad. He‘d killed my wife, I should kill him. March right over to him and crack his skull with a rock. Overcome with rage, I picked a rock up from the ground and began to walk towards him. “What’re you doing? Come to give me a hug, a kiss maybe?”
I was almost upon him, I was so close to wrapping my hands around his throat when a fox ran across my feet. Instinctively I looked down to see what it was. That was all the time the Shedman needed.
I woke up in darkness, a stabbing pain at the side of my head. I tried to lift my hand to feel if there was any blood, but I couldn’t. My arms were chained to a bed. Where was I? There was only a dim light so it took my eyes a while to adjust. The Shedman was sat on an old cardboard box, his face barely visible in the dark. He was looking at me again, laughing. "Don’t worry now, I won’t be giving you the same fate as your wife. You can be sure of that. Not many people visit here do they, family, friends? Well, if they do I’ll be sure to bring them down to see you. Goodbye, I’ll come and visit you every night. You’ll never be alone for too long."
The Shedman slowly rose from his cardboard chair and walked towards my basement door, closing it behind him.