A Year and A Day – Should I be worried?

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A Year and A Day – Should I be worried?A Year and A Dayby oggbashan © * * * * *Copyright Oggbashan October 2005The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.* * * * *Last Halloween I was returning from a visit to my elderly uncle in London when my life was wrecked by a train crash.I was trapped in the tangled metalwork for twelve hours until firemen cut me free. Although my cuts were superficial I was not expected to live. My arms, legs, wrists and ankles had been broken. My chest was crushed. My internal organs were displaced. The hours I waited for rescue had damaged my heart.I swung between life and death for a week before my body apparently decided I should live. Several months later I was discharged from hospital to go home to my wife. My wife Clare gave up work to look after me. We knew it would be a long process before I would be fully fit if I ever would be.Clare installed me in the granny annexe we had built for her mother, Gwen’s, final years. It still had the large hospital bed used for the last months of Gwen’s life. We had bought at auction two years ago when the local nursing home closed down after the unexpected death of its matron and owner, Nurse Jones.We had acquired many lots at that auction. There had been several heavy falls of snow that week and most of the dealers had not tried to force their way through the blocked roads to the viewing or the auction itself. Apart from a few speculative telephone bids the local villagers and I had bought everything for a few pounds. For a year my barn had been nearly full of our purchases from that auction. From time to time I would drag a few items out, clean them up, and put them in as auction lots when the dealers were out in force. It had provided a steady income.When Clare had been looking after her mother Gwen the old lady had become confused. Clare had to do everything for Gwen and found that her clothes were suffering from the need for frequent hot washes. We had found some of the nursing aides’ uniforms in a trunk. They were heavy cotton with tabards covering from neck to the top of the thighs. Clare would wear them to feed Gwen and do all the necessary dirty jobs.Gwen complained that while I visited her daily, Clare never did. “I only see the nurse, never Clare.” Gwen had said.We had other real nurses who visited from time to time. Gwen thought they and Clare were all one nurse despite their variations and build.At least once a day Clare would change out of her aide’s uniform into her normal clothes and ‘visit’ Gwen, after making sure as the ‘nurse’ that Gwen was not in need of any messy attention. Gwen was satisfied although sometimes she would still grumble that she saw more of me than her daughter.I was Gwen’s nurse during most of the day while Clare was at work. I wore one of a series of brown carpenter’s aprons to protect my clothes. Those aprons were washed daily with the aide’s uniforms. Gwen accepted me as her son-in-law even while she didn’t recognise Clare dressed as a nurse. Old people’s minds can be inconsistent.Now I was installed in Gwen’s granny flat, in that old bed. I fretted about my helplessness and our reduced earnings. I wasn’t helping my recovery by worrying about our income.Income? That was our problem since my injuries. As an antique dealer I needed to be out and about, buying, selling, collecting and delivering items. I couldn’t. I was as weak as a new-born kitten and as useless. I had accident insurance cover for travel on public transport. That had paid the maximum amount for injury and apart from the bare allowance from the Welfare State that was what Clare and I lived on. Soon the money would run out and unless I could find some method of making money from my bed or wheelchair we would have to sell our home.If only I wasn’t so dependent on Clare. I needed her for everything. She was my nurse, not my wife. During the first few months after my return home she and our friend Helen had provided almost all the nursing I needed. Helen still drove us to the hospital for my weekly physiotherapy.Three years ago Helen had lost her husband suddenly. She had been out with us for the evening at a local theatre group’s pantomime. Her husband Alan had cried off. He had a heavy cold, or influenza as he called it, and hadn’t wanted to go. He said he would go to bed early and try to sleep it off.When we returned Helen invited us in for a coffee. She went to check on Alan and found him dead. The inquest had been a nine-day wonder in the town. Helen had found Alan with his head tightly wrapped inside her voluminous cotton nightdress. There had been some suggestion that he might have been experimenting with autoeroticism. A forensic scientist had disproved that. It was demonstrated that Alan could have breathed easily through the single layer that was covering his head. He could have breathed through two layers. He could not have breathed through four layers but, large though Helen’s nightdress was, it could not have been wrapped tightly around Alan’s head with four layers covering his face.The autopsy revealed that Alan had a weak heart. There had been minor symptoms that were significant with hindsight. They had not been sufficient to raise his doctor’s concern until too late. The heavy cold, for that was all it was, might have been a factor. Alan could have died at any time without warning.The coroner took the view that Alan was seeking comfort from his wife’s empty nightdress during her absence and that Alan’s heart condition was the sole cause of his death. Helen had to endure some local rumours for a few weeks. Clare and I were able to deny them. Alan had been alive when we left. He had been dead at least an hour before we returned and Helen had been continually in our company.We had been friends with Helen long before Alan’s death. We supported her through the inquest, the funeral, and beyond. She was still our friend. She had helped us to care for Gwen. Even after my need for nursing diminished Helen would take over my care from time to time so that Clare could have a break. As she had done for Gwen, Helen would dress in one of the nurse’s uniforms, in a much larger size than Clare’s, when I needed attentions that might soil her clothes. Neither needed to change now that I could move more than I had been able to when I came home but they still did. I liked looking at them in nurses’ uniforms.At first Clare or Helen had to feed me, wash me, ease me in and out of my wheelchair and visit several times each night to check on me. Almost every night my weakened muscles would go into spasm and I would thrash uncontrollably. Twice I fell out of bed before Clare found the old bed’s sidebars in the barn. Even then I could injure myself by impact with the bars. I had broken my left arm twice. It had been so weakened by the previous fractures that it was brittle.My spasms had returned in the last few days. Clare found a solution. She had tried wrapping me in a sheet. My struggles unwound it or worse tangled it around my neck threatening to strangle me. We tried a sleeping bag. I slipped down inside it and nearly suffocated. The satisfactory resolution came from one of those auction lots.Clare had remembered that there were some different uniforms in that trunk or in another one. After a couple of hours of rummaging in the barn she produced the result to me.”I thought so, Guy,” she said. “this might protect you during your spasms.”What she was holding was a different style of dress protection. Instead of the loose tabard, she had found a sleeveless overdress that opened at the sides. While I hitched myself forward in my wheelchair she fed my head through the neck opening. She tucked the material down my back.”Put your arms by your sides, please Guy?”I did. There was a zip fastener on each side. She fitted the zip together on my left and pulled it down about a foot. She repeated that on the right.”Now stand up, please.”I stood. I can stand, not for long, and not without Clare poised to catch me if I start to wobble. I can even take a few paces. That is far more than I could do six months ago. I had set Halloween, two weeks away, the anniversary of the accident as a target for being fully recovered. I wouldn’t meet that target. Would I ever recover completely? Clare closed both zips to their fullest extent. My arms were held by my sides. I didn’t feel bound, just slightly restricted.”Now try to wriggle that off,” Claire asked.I tried. My efforts raised the hem of the overdress a couple of inches. That was all I could do to free myself.Claire tried to pull the overdress up over my head. It jammed on my shoulders.”That’s it!” she said triumphantly. “It won’t tangle around you, you can’t slide down inside it and you can’t injure yourself. There are a dozen or so of these in this size so I can wash them frequently. Problem sorted and now I won’t need to check on you every couple of hours. I, and you, can have an uninterrupted night’s sleep.”She sat me back down in the wheelchair, kissed my forehead and then moved down to my lips. I would have thrown my arms around her. I couldn’t. I was mummified into passivity as her lips claimed mine. When she stopped kissing me she held me to her cotton covered breasts rocking me backwards and forwards so that I was alternately blindfolded in her cleavage and then seeing again as I looked up at her face. I enjoyed the kissing and cuddling. Before the accident Clare and I had been into mild bedroom bondage as part of our love play. We would take it in turns to be the predator and the victim. I had enjoyed surrendering to Clare, knowing that soon she would be as helpless as I was. Now I was always the helpless one. My dependency seemed endless. Just a few spontaneous kisses had aroused feelings that I thought had been erased from me. I wanted Clare, not just as my carer, but also as my lover, my wife and sometimes my victim. If I continued to improve even the last might become possible.One scenario we had played frequently. Clare would dress up in one of the nurse’s uniforms and bandage me into immobility, gagging me with her nurse’s headdress, before raising her dress’s hem and riding me to a climax. She would do that even when she had just come from looking after her mother, as long as her uniform was still clean.The alternate scenario would be me capturing her dressed as a nurse and tying and gagging her before eating her pussy, ripping her bodice apart, licking her breasts, roughly impaling her and pounding on her hard as the bed protested. We enjoyed both versions and sometimes played both in the same night. Now? I was her helpless victim every time and she had to treat me gently. I resented my passive role.I tried again to free myself from the clinging overdress. My fingers wriggled around to reach the zips. I edged one of the zips up a few inches. Left to myself I might have been able to get those zips unfastened in quarter of an hour or so. Clare stopped me. Her fingers nullified those hard won inches with a quick yank. She stood me up again and released me. As we lowered me back into the wheelchair she said:”By the way, months ago I found something in the skirt pocket of one of the nurse’s uniforms. It’s a book written in shorthand. I can’t read it. Nor can Helen. I’ll bring it so you can have a look. It might amuse you for an hour or so.”The book was small and black. It was full of very precise shorthand written with a dark pencil. I put it aside until I was alone. Then I started to read.I wish I hadn’t read that book. I wish Clare hadn’t found it. I wish she had thrown it away before giving it to me. It’s too late now.The book was Nurse Jones’ personal and private diary. It wasn’t continuous. All entries were timed and dated. Sometimes a day or two was missed; sometimes there was a gap of weeks. The latter pages had several entries a day until the end.When the diary started a couple of years before Nurse Jones’ death she confided her troubles to it. The main one was money. The nursing home had been profitable until the rules on public funding had been dramatically changed. Until then the residents had been mainly of low dependency. They needed hotel style care and some supervision to ensure that they kept themselves washed and cleanly dressed. The nursing element had been minimal. Nurse Jones could cover the nights with a couple of aides. During the day two nurses with four aides coped with everything.The clientele gradually changed. Public money was no longer supporting low dependency cases. Nurse Jones’ home only took in high dependency people. The amounts paid for their care barely met the home’s outgoings even while the payments for the remaining low dependency inmates subsidised the others. At the time the diary started the strain on staff was beginning to show. Nurse Jones couldn’t afford more staff.The low dependency clients were gradually ageing and becoming high dependency. The high dependency ones deteriorated, creating more pressure. One case in particular needed twenty-four hour care that couldn’t be afforded. Mr Akers was ninety-eight and very frail. He had to be handled very delicately or his brittle bones would break. He appreciated being hugged by the nursing staff. A prolonged hug could calm him more effectively than the tranquillisers he was too weak to take.The third entry in the diary started with Nurse Jones visiting Mr Akers in the night. He had needed a bedpan. As usual she had held him to her breasts as she raised him from the bedpan. As she let go he collapsed in a heap. He was dead. His last act had been to ejaculate against her uniform. Nurse Jones looked down. His saliva shone on her right breast.Horrified, she saw what she had done. Over careful to protect Mr Akers, she had pressed him too deeply against her breast and smothered him. At least he had died happy.Nurse Jones had cleaned him up, emptied the bedpan, and then changed out of her soiled uniform into a clean one. She had put the dirty uniform with the others into the washing machine and, as usual, had set it going on the hottest wash. muğla escort As the machine started she suddenly knew that all the evidence of her mistake was being washed away. The only trace of her error had been his saliva. That was gone.Several pages of self-justification followed. The visiting doctor certified Mr Akers’ death as cardiac arrest with subsidiary causes of the normal complications of extreme old age. His death was not unexpected. At his funeral his younger relations thanked Nurse Jones for her loving care. He had even left a small bequest to the Nursing Home. Nurse Jones’ diary agonised over whether she should accept. She decided that it would arouse suspicions she couldn’t answer if she refused.At that point I became too tired to read. I hadn’t read so much shorthand at a time for years. I wheeled myself over to the desk. I put the diary in my secure, combination locked drawer where I kept a book with all my passwords. Putting the diary away I had displaced a long white envelope so that the drawer wouldn’t shut. I picked the envelope up. There was some stiff paper inside. I pulled it out. It was a joint accident policy I had forgotten. It didn’t pay out for injury, only for death. I wasn’t dead. I looked through it carefully to see if there was any provision for temporary disablement. There wasn’t. The death clause provided for payment if Clare or I died within a year and a day of an accident on public transport. If I was still alive on 1st November there would be no claim. I had no intention of dying in the next couple of weeks so I put the policy back into the envelope and under Nurse Jones’ diary.I locked the drawer, logged on to my computer and checked the progress of my sales on ebay. Those sales represented our only real income other than from the state and the eroding capital from the accident insurance. I had another message from that annoying person who wanted nursing associated items but NOT the uniforms I had. I was annoyed that a high bidder had withdrawn. I composed a stinging adverse feedback but didn’t send it. Nurse Jones’ diary was still at the front of my mind.I searched the on-line archives of our local paper. A picture of Nurse Jones at a community event appeared on my screen. I copied it to a file and printed it. She had been a magnificently Rubenesque woman. I could imagine how easy it had been to smother Mr Akers accidentally against those large breasts. Her build reminded me Helen, who was still my most frequent non-family visitor. Now I had seen a picture of Nurse Jones, I saw the resemblance. The head was very different. Nurse Jones wore an unusual medieval style headdress. When Helen dressed as a nurse she remained bareheaded. From the neck downward they could have been twins. When Helen held me against her breasts – I could have been held by Nurse Jones. Perhaps Helen wore one of Nurse Jones’ old uniforms? That was an uncomfortable thought.That night I went to bed early. I was tired from transcribing my impressions of Nurse Jones’ diary into a Word document. Even the simplest things wore me out. Once I was in bed Clare confined me in that clinging overdress, shutting the zips to their fullest extent. Before tucking the bedclothes in she produced an office stapler. I didn’t have one near my desk because my weakened hands couldn’t operate it. I used large paperclips instead.Click! Click! Clare stapled each zip just above the sliders. My hands and fingers were inside the overdress. If I could wriggle my fingers beyond its hem I still wouldn’t be able to move the zip sliders past those staples.”Don’t worry, Guy,” Clare said. “If you want me, just call. The intercom is on.”It was. It was an adaptation of a baby alarm. Any noise I made was picked up and transmitted to remote speakers in the living room or the bedroom I had shared with Clare. I couldn’t hear her. She could hear me.Clare tucked the bedclothes tightly around me before leaning over and kissing me. She raised the bars at the side of the bed.”This evening Helen is dropping in. I might bring her in when I come to check on you. OK?”I nodded. Helen knew me almost as well as Clare. She had seen me at my weakest and had done everything for me.I was asleep in minutes. I was vaguely aware when Clare and Helen looked in. They both kissed me on the forehead.That night I had a nightmare. I seemed to sense someone in the darkness of my room. I was Mr Akers, frail and weak, at the mercy of Nurse Jones. I was aroused by her presence, her perfume, her soft flesh cuddling me and yet aware of the threat she posed to my existence. Her cotton covered breasts loomed over me several times. Her strong arms lifted me until my face was buried between those breasts. I feebly struggled to breathe as her cleavage engulfed me. Time after time I was at the point of suffocation yet enjoying the sensation despite the overtone of menace. The next time could be my last breath in this world. The faint perfume from the heavy cotton was unfamiliar, certainly not anything I associated with Clare or Helen.The nightmare was so real that I was thrashing about in the bed trying to escape from Nurse Jones’ enfolding arms. Clare had imprisoned me so effectively that my strongest efforts were defeated. I lay there fascinated as the breasts lowered themselves again and again to smother me. I couldn’t see the face wrapped in that white headdress. Was there a face? In the nightmare I lost consciousness under the breasts as I ran out of breath.I woke up suddenly to find myself hugged against real breasts. These were Clare’s breasts and no threat to me. They were wonderful, shapely, firm and proportionate to her build. I loved them even if by some people’s standards they were on the small side of medium. Smothering me with them would be difficult if not impossible. Clare’s familiar perfume wafted around me.”You were thrashing about, Guy,” Clare said, almost accusingly. “It wasn’t like your normal spasms.””No,” I replied. “I was having a nightmare. It has gone now.””A nightmare? What about?””Being smothered by Nurse Jones.”Clare looked down at my face, held against her breasts.”I’m not smothering you, am I?”I snuggled closer to her.”No, Clare, you are just loving me. I appreciate these.”I kissed each breast carefully through the thin silk of her nightdress.”Are you OK if I go back to bed?””Yes, thank you Clare. Even if I have a spasm I think your precautions should protect me.”Clare hugged me as tightly as my body would take before kissing me. She left. As her scent faded, the impression of that different perfume still seemed to be at the edge of my consciousness. I went back to sleep. The nightmare didn’t return except as a vague unease. I didn’t even have a spasm. In the morning I was frustrated by my bondage until Clare brought my breakfast. Her nail scissors easily removed the staples. I sat in the wheelchair at my desk to eat my breakfast. I felt better than I had done for weeks. Had the spasms been taking more from me than I had been aware? Perhaps after a few weeks of spasm-free nights I could try standing and walking from my room unaided. Later that morning I did stand when Clare was not around. I managed five steps from my wheelchair and five steps back. It had been a dangerous risk. If I had fallen? But I hadn’t.I was still very conscious that the anniversary of the accident was approaching. Halloween was only a couple of weeks away. I had wanted to reach my target of independence by then. I wouldn’t. Any progress would be great if I could maintain it without injury.When Clare returned with my mid-morning cup of coffee Helen was with her. I raised an eyebrow.”Helen stayed the night,” Clare said. “We sat up late chatting so I invited her to stay. She still has a spare toothbrush and night clothes here from the time when she covered for me at night so there was no problem.”I accepted that. Clare and Helen sat down on the chairs near my desk. Clare picked the picture of Nurse Jones from the printer’s out tray.”Who’s this, Guy?” she asked. “That’s Nurse Jones.” Helen answered. “I’d recognise that headdress anywhere. She was odd about it. She wanted all the staff to wear one. They told her where to go. I’m not surprised. It’s so sexless, almost nun-like.””Did you know Nurse Jones?” I asked.”Yes. I audited her accounts a few times.”Helen is a qualified auditor. She audits my accounts as well, not that there are many transactions to deal with for this year.”I think something like that headdress is in the barn with the nurse’s uniforms.” Clare said. “I wonder how it is put on? It looks complicated.””I don’t think it can be,” Helen replied. “Once I saw Nurse Jones without it. She seemed embarrassed. I looked down at my accounts for a few seconds and she had put it on.””I’ll see if I can find it,” Clare said. She put her coffee down and was gone.”How do you feel today, Guy?” Helen asked.”I think I’m making progress, slow and steady,” I replied. “I had hoped to be fully recovered by the anniversary of the accident. I won’t be but I’m getting there.””That’s good. You were a real mess. Improving gradually is probably the best way.””I still feel so helpless and so dependent on Clare – and you, Helen. You have done so much for me.””Not that much in recent months. It doesn’t matter. We are friends. You and Clare were there for me when Alan died. Helping you two has helped me deal with the loss. It has taken me out of myself.””What we you discussing so long last night? Or can’t you tell me?””Nothing much. I have been out a couple of times through the singles club. Clare and I were discussing the merits or demerits of my escorts. I needed her advice because I feel vulnerable…””Vulnerable? You? I would have thought that you were the last person to feel vulnerable. You could throw any man who got too fresh across the room.”Helen laughed.”Not in that sense. I mean that anyone who shows affection to me could manipulate me. I am not the wealthiest widow around but I do own my house outright and I don’t need to work. That makes me vulnerable to persuasive lazy bums who want to live on their wife’s earnings.””Like me?”Helen stood up, came across to my wheelchair, bent over and kissed me on the forehead. Her hand rested on my head as she spoke.”No.” She said firmly. “Not like you, Guy. You want to work to support yourself and Clare. One day you will. If I met someone like you, who wanted to work but couldn’t, I wouldn’t mind supporting him until he could work again, if I loved him half as much as Clare loves you.”I looked up at her.”I love her too.” I said softly.”I know. So does she. I’m jealous of you two. Alan never loved me that much.””He didn’t?” I was surprised.”No.” Helen’s voice was definite. “He was playing around with other women. I found out shortly before he died. That’s why I couldn’t understand why his head was wrapped in my nightdress. We hadn’t been close like that for months. If it had been another woman’s nightdress? That I would have believed.””I’m sorry, Helen.”She ruffled me hair almost u*********sly.”I was thinking about divorcing Alan. I hadn’t done anything about it. When he died I felt guilty. Why had he needed to go elsewhere? What was lacking in me? Had he committed suicide? He hadn’t. The circumstances made suicide impossible. If he had tried to smother himself with that nightdress he would have needed to tie it around his head with something else and there was nothing else there. For months after his death I was torturing myself about what I could or should have done when I found he was cheating on me. Clare helped me through that. We talked for hours. You helped too, just by being there and accepting that I needed Clare. Do you remember all those cups of tea?””Of course.” I had kept providing Helen and Clare with tea while they sat on the living room sofa for hours. Each time I came into the house from the barn, I would put the kettle on, make the tea and take it to them before returning to my work with a sturdy mug.Helen came back into the room with a large carrier bag.”I found them. I brought a couple in each size. Helen, can you work out how they fit? You saw her. We didn’t.”Helen lifted a couple of headdresses from the bag.”This one looks brand new and about your size, Clare. Sit down and I’ll try to fit it.”Clare sat. Helen spread the headdress in her hands and lifted it up and over Clare’s head. When Helen moved her hands away Clare’s face was framed in white cloth with side curtains hanging each side and a d**** down the back of the neck. That headdress seemed to remove Clare’s personality. All her hair was covered. Her face was lapped in white cloth and the d****s to the side shadowed it.”Ugh!” Clare said. “I feel like a horse in blinkers. I can only see straight ahead. What do I look like?””There’s a mirror over there.” I pointed. I used that mirror for shaving myself. Clare looked in it.”Hmm. If I wanted to dress up as a medieval matron, I suppose it might do. It seems very impractical. Why would Nurse Jones wear this? Had she lost her hair?””Her hair was grey, Clare, but she seemed to have enough of it in a closely shaped style.” Helen answered.”It seems to do two contradictory things,” I said impulsively. “It removes the personality that your hair gives you and yet emphasises the individuality of your face, your cheekbone structure and overall shape. You know how much difference a changed hairstyle can make. That headdress reduces your head to the basics. I’m not sure whether to approve or not.””You can see so much?” Clare asked. “I can’t, not on me. Perhaps I am used to looking at my bare face and ignoring my hairstyle. Could you try a headdress on, and give me an idea, please Helen?””OK. I might find it more difficult to fit one on myself.””Then try on Guy.””On me, Clare?””Why not, Guy? You can see the difference on me. What would you look like framed in white linen?””It’s not linen, Clare.” Helen retorted. “It’s cotton or cotton and polyester maybe but not linen. It’s too soft and floppy.”As she spoke Helen was moving towards me with a headdress poised. I wasn’t given the opportunity to refuse. Helen flipped the material over my head. The neck closed around mine. There was some elastic in it. The soft clinging surrounded my face and muş escort Helen was busy behind my head, tightening something. She flipped the d****s down beside my cheeks. I could see what Helen meant. I felt as if I had a white hood pulled well forward. As I moved my eyes left and right all I could see was the inside of the d****s. Clare’s head appeared in front of me. Her d****s fell forward as she bent down.”I see what you mean, Guy. Your face doesn’t look masculine, nor feminine, but a sort of neuter. If you hadn’t shaved so well there would be no doubt that your face was male and that would look weird.””What are these, Clare?” Helen had been rummaging in the carrier bag. She held up some rectangular pieces of cloth.”I’m not sure, Helen. There were several in the same place as the headdresses. I thought they might be part of them so I chucked them in.”Helen looked at the pieces.”They have hooks attached at the edge. They must fit on some eyes. Hold still, Guy.”Helen lifted one of the side d****s and felt around my head.”There! I’ve found the eyes. Let’s see…”Helen fingers fumbled behind my ears. She attached one side of a cloth and pulled it across my mouth and nose before reaching under the d**** on the other side of my head.”Hey!” I protested. The thick cloth muffled my objection over my lips. Helen pulled the cloth tighter. A fold entered between my teeth.”Mmff!” I spluttered.”I think it is a surgical mask designed to go with the headdress,” Helen said ignoring my shaking head, “and this one is too small.””It’s effective though, isn’t it?” Clare said as she grinned at me. “It’s shut Guy up.”Helen turned on Clare.”Your turn.”Helen repeated the process on Clare who was wriggling slightly. She wasn’t really trying to avoid the mask. She knew she could remove it easily. So could I. All I had to do was raise my hands and unhook it.Clare walked over to look in the mirror.”It’s a good disguise, isn’t it?” Her voice was barely reduced by her mask. “I could be almost anyone dressed like this.”She could. Above her shoulders only her eyes were visible.”I think yours is the right size. Guy’s isn’t. I’ve gagged him.””Poor Guy.” Clare didn’t sound sympathetic.Helen removed my mask, looked in the bag, found another one and compared sizes.”This should be the right size, Guy.”It was. It rested on my nose and loosely covered my mouth and chin, meeting the neck part of the headdress. I could breathe and speak.”Thank you, Helen,” I said. “That’s better.””That’s OK, Guy. I didn’t intend to silence you. It just happened.””What about you, Helen?” Clare asked. “Why don’t you…””OK. OK.”Helen fitted a headdress over her head and then fiddled to get the mask attached. Clare had to help her with the second set of hooks and eyes.”I think these have possibilities for Halloween costumes,” I said. “If you two wore nurses uniforms with the headddresses and masks and carried fake bottles of blood…””Perhaps, Guy. But wouldn’t locals associate these with Nurse Jones?” Clare sounded concerned.”I think they might, Guy. It’s not that long since she died and these headdresses are distinctive.” Helen sounded regretful.”I suppose we could change them so they didn’t look exactly the same…”The telephone rang. Clare answered it.”Who? No. There’s no one of that name here. OK.”She put the phone down.”A man wanted Andrea. Do we know an Andrea?”I shook my head. “I did.” Helen said. “But it wouldn’t be her.””Who is Andrea?” I asked.”She was Nurse Jones’ daughter. She left this area shortly after the death.””And she wouldn’t have had this telephone number,” I said, “So it can’t have been for her. It must be a wrong number for some other Andrea.”We left it at that but the mood had passed. We removed the headdresses. Clare folded them away into the bag and left it in a chair. They wheeled me through into the dining room. I sat there chatting to them through the serving hatch as they worked in the kitchen preparing lunch.After lunch I rolled myself back to the annexe. I opened the security drawer and took out Nurse Jones’ diary.Mr Akers’ death had helped the home’s finances for a while. The lady who took over his bed was less frail. The pressure on the staff reduced for a couple of months until one of the other lady residents had a stroke. When she returned from a hospital stay the strain on the staff increased again. A week afterwards she died suddenly. Although there were no suspicious circumstances Nurse Jones was reminded of Mr Akers. There were several passages of self-recrimination.The diary detailed the home’s gradual loss of profitability for the next few months. Nurse Jones despair filled the pages. She couldn’t see a solution.About six months before her death several residents died in a week. All of them had been high-dependency. The impact on the home’s finances was immediate. The accounts turned from deep red to just in the black. However Nurse Jones was worried. The deaths had been too sudden and too convenient. Had there been some assistance?When the next elderly lady resident died Nurse Jones checked the staff uniforms waiting to be washed. One showed a glisten of mucus across the skirt over the wearer’s buttocks. There was no way that could have happened in normal activities. Had someone sat across the patient’s face?Nurse Jones didn’t write down whom she suspected of being the murderess. She did say that it had to be a murderess because all the deaths had happened at nights when only female nurses and nursing aides were on duty. The home’s two male nurses only worked the day shifts and were usually dealing with those male patients who were embarrassed by female carers. She didn’t say so, but reading between the lines, I felt that she knew whose uniform she had found.The diary continued until the day before Nurse Jones’ death. That morning another resident had been found dead. Nurse Jones was convinced that this death was not natural and she intended to confront the woman she suspected when she was next on duty. The diary ended as Nurse Jones was about to go on duty that night.The next morning she was found dead on an empty bed in a private room. From what I remembered of the inquest she appeared to have had a severe asthma attack that had precipitated heart failure. Having read the diary I wasn’t sure. Had the murderess struck one last time to silence Nurse Jones?What I couldn’t understand is why Nurse Jones hadn’t spoken to the police. The diary made it clear that she had justification for her suspicions for months.I searched the local newspapers back files again. The inquest into Nurse Jones death was given in detail. She had suffered asthma for years and in her case breathing in a human hair could trigger it. Was that why she’d worn such an enveloping headdress? It had covered her hair. The side d****s would protect her from contact with other people’s hair. I could understand why she had wanted her staff to cover their hair as well.There had been some conflict about the time of Nurse Jones’ death. The medical opinion said about midnight. Several of the residents said that they had seen her on her rounds until about six in the morning. Their evidence was dismissed. The coroner suggested that they were elderly and might be confused. Some of their relatives protested to the local paper that the particular residents might be elderly and frail but were in complete command of their mental faculties. Since Nurse Jones’ death was regarded as natural there were no further enquiries. I added my thoughts to the Word document and put the diary back in the locked security drawer. I tried to forget Nurse Jones as I checked ebay. Success! I had sold three items for far more than I expected. I went to the rack where I kept the small curios I auctioned on ebay, took down the sold items and packed them. Clare or Helen could take them to the Post Office for me. That night the nightmare returned. This time I was sure that it was just a nightmare. There was no trace of that perfume. I was on the bed, helplessly bound by Clare, as a breast descended on my face and enveloped my face. The breast spread over me driven by the mass of a heavy body ensuring that I had no means of escape. I was terrified as I felt the life leaving me.The breast withdrew. A plump backside appeared and settled over my whole head. I could feel the heavy cotton of the uniform skirt’s hem across my chest as the buttocks closed over me. Their owner wriggled herself until my breathing was completely cut off. I died again and embarrassed myself by ejaculating as I gave up the unequal struggle against those buttocks. Normally I wouldn’t think that being smothered under a woman’s skirt was erotic. In the nightmare I did.It was weird. I died several times that night and each death was incredibly arousing as if that was what I wanted to do, to die under a woman’s backside or smothering breast. I was awake for hours with my brain whirling. Why did I have this nightmare? Was there any reality triggering it? Could Clare or Helen be really trying to kill me? Was it just the effect of reading Nurse Jones’ diary and knowing that there was a multiple killer somewhere in our community?Why would Clare or Helen want to kill me? Was Clare so desperate for money that she intended to ensure that I wouldn’t survive a year and a day? Was Helen her accomplice? Could either of them have been the killer at the Nursing Home? I couldn’t see how. Neither of them had been nurses or nursing aides. If they had wandered around the corridors of the Nursing Home at night dressed in uniforms someone would have challenged them. There were so few staff that any stranger would be obvious.Why had Clare given me Nurse Jones’ diary? Had she read it? Was it a deliberate attempt to worry me and precipitate a heart attack? What had she said? Neither she nor Helen could read it? Why not? They had both studied shorthand at school. If I could read it, so could they, couldn’t they? Had Clare lied to me?My brain was reeling with suspicions. If the woman I loved wanted to murder me, what could I do? She made me helpless every night. Even if she hadn’t I was so weak that she could easily overpower me. If Helen helped her I wouldn’t have a chance.In the morning I was covered in sweat. Clare had to help me to the adapted bath before I felt human again. In the daylight with Clare’s arms around me last night’s thoughts seemed ridiculous. She loved me. So did Helen. I couldn’t see either of them trying to kill me. If they had wanted to they could have done so months ago when I first came home from hospital and was much weaker.I was still worried. I decided to make a test.”Clare? Do you remember that joint accident policy?””Yes Guy. What about it?””Does it provide anything that we could claim?””It doesn’t matter.”Why didn’t it matter? Was Clare hiding something from me?””Why doesn’t it matter?””Have you looked at it recently? Is that why you are asking about it?””Yes. I thought there might be some provision…””There might have been – if it was still current. We let it lapse three years ago. Didn’t you notice that?”The relief was immense. If the policy was void there was no reason for me to die in a year and a day. I could survive Halloween without being awake all night waiting to be killed.”No.” I tried to keep my voice calm. “I didn’t remember that.””We discussed it when we were reviewing our standing orders. It was a death-only policy. We have mortgage protection on the property that provided for continued payment for your incapacity and would pay off the mortgage in full if either of us died. That policy is paying the instalments on the mortgage now. We couldn’t see the need for an accident policy that paid only on death. That’s why we stopped it and changed for the policy that did pay out. We should have thrown the old document away months ago. OK, Guy?””Yes. Could I have a hug, please?””Of course.”I was hugged and kissed. My worries about Clare and Helen as possible assassins had gone. My head rested against Clare’s breasts, nothing like the nightmare breasts that had been suffocating me last night.Despite my reassurance the nightmare kept recurring. In the week before Halloween Clare had to come downstairs to comfort me on a couple of nights.On the 31st October Helen arrived for lunch with us. She often did because she found cooking for herself a bore. She would help Clare in the kitchen or chat with me if the meal was simple to prepare.Over lunch I sensed that Clare and Helen wanted to say something to me but we unsure how to begin. As we finished I said:”Well? What is it?””What’s what, Alan?” Clare replied.”What you two want to say to me and haven’t.””Were we that obvious?” Helen asked.”Yes. When two women I love are working themselves into a frazzle I do notice.””Thanks for the word ‘love’, Guy. That makes it easier.” Helen looked at Clare. Clare nodded. “I’m selling my house and moving to that new bungalow being built next door but one.””That sounds great. There must be a catch. You could have told me that quite easily.””There is, Guy. Completion of my house sale is in two days time. The bungalow won’t be ready for three weeks at the earliest.””And you want to stay with us until the bungalow is ready?”They nodded.”Then where’s the problem? You are welcome here anytime.””Thank you, Guy. We thought you would say that. What I want as well is to store my furniture in your barn. That would mean stacking what is in there now.””Then why not?”Helen rushed across to me and hugged me. Clare joined her. For a few minutes I was busy responding to their kissing.”We were worried that you wouldn’t want your stock disturbed,” Clare said.”I haven’t been in the barn for nearly a year. I doubt if I can remember where I put everything. Rearranging it won’t matter. When I am back to normal a lot of it should be sold anyway. Putting Helen’s furniture in there for a few weeks won’t matter.””Can we do it now?” Helen asked.”Of course. I’m sure you have already made arrangements. You didn’t have to worry about my consent. Anything Clare agrees to I’d go along with. We don’t argue about trivia. We trust each other. Come to that, I trust you, Helen. Why shouldn’t I? You have helped to keep me alive and sane for the last year.”That brought another kiss.”Make escort bayan the phone call, Helen,” Clare urged. “I’ll take over the kissing of my husband.””In a minute, Clare. I’m enjoying this,” Helen replied.”OK, OK. But he is my husband.””Won’t you share him with me?””Perhaps. If he agrees…”I was in no position to agree. Helen’s lips had covered mine.”…and I’ll take his silence as consent, Helen,” Clare continued.My enforced silence continued for another minute. Clare took over and kept me quiet the same way.Helen rang the local removal firm. They had already given an estimate for rearranging the barn and moving her furniture. They would start at eight tomorrow morning.That Halloween evening Clare and Helen went to a party. I sat up watching television until they returned. Halloween had no terrors for me now. About an hour after their return Clare and Helen put me to bed. Clare enveloped me in that overdress and stapled the zips. They both kissed me before Clare lifted the side bars and locked them in place.”Guy,” Helen said as she was leaving, “I’m sleeping here tonight. If you have a repeat of that nightmare I’ll be down. It is Halloween so you might have unpleasant dreams. I’m a lighter sleeper than Clare. That OK?””Yes, Helen. Thank you.”I thought of Halloween as the night of dead spirits. I remembered Alan. Why had he died? Was Nurse Jones’ death as simple as it appeared? If it was Nurse Jones haunting my dreams, why? She hadn’t killed anyone except Mr Akers and that had been an accident. She had died very conveniently for someone who might be a multiple killer. It seemed unlikely that the ghost of Nurse Jones would have any motive for trying to smother me.If Nurse Jones had a ghost surely she would be seeking justice for herself and for her murdered patients, not trying to add to the number of deaths. If the ghost wasn’t Nurse Jones then it must be the murderess. Yet as far as I knew no one else connected to the staff of the Nursing Home had died. If the ghost wasn’t a ghost but was still a living woman, why should she want to kill me? My brain was whirling. Was Clare’s explanation of the year and a day insurance policy true? I hadn’t actually looked at the policy to check that it had been cancelled. It was still in that locked drawer with Nurse Jones’ diary.Why hadn’t Clare read that shorthand diary? I could read it. Clare knew shorthand. Had she lied to me? I went to sleep trying to convince myself that Clare loved me and all my suspicions were misunderstandings that had rational explanations. I woke up in the middle of the night. Someone seemed to be in the room with me again. That perfume was a faint clue that something wasn’t right. I tried to sit up. The confining overdress prevented me. Then it was too late. A heavy body straddled me. A hand pressed me back to the bed. A cotton-covered breast stifled my cry for help. An arm around the back of my head dragged my face deeper into the softness. My arms were pinioned too effectively to help me. I kicked out with my legs enough to rattle the bed. I thought I had managed a faint noise. I wasn’t sure as the blood pounded in my ears. I kicked again and again as my breath ran out. Was this how some of the patients had died? Who could it be? It wasn’t Clare. Her breasts weren’t this large. I doubted that it was Helen. I had been held against her breasts. They didn’t feel like this one and I trusted her.I heard a thunder of feet on the stairs. My head was released and dropped to the bed. Faint sounds of retreating feet mixed with my gasping for air. The light came on and Helen entered the room like the Fifth Cavalry.She grabbed me, ripped the zips up past the staples as if they weren’t there and peeled that constricting overdress off me. I was still panting for breath and unable to say anything. She sat me on the side of the bed with my head lowered as I gasped.When I got my breath back I said:”Someone tried to suffocate me. I don’t know who. I don’t know how she got in. It seemed as if she was wearing one of the nurse’s uniforms.””Are you sure it wasn’t a nightmare?” Helen asked.”I’m sure. I was awake. I felt that someone was in the room. I was about to yell for you when she pushed me back and covered my face with her breast. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t get her off.” Helen didn’t seem convinced. I could understand that. It didn’t sound convincing to me.”Can you smell a different perfume?” I asked.”Perfume?””Yes. I was aware of her perfume before she attacked me.”Helen sniffed gently.”Maybe. There is a hint of something that isn’t me or Clare.””Can you check that all the doors and windows are locked, please, Helen. I’m sure that someone got in. I don’t know how.””OK. If that will reassure you, I’ll check.”She was back in a couple of minutes.”All doors and windows were and are locked, except for the communicating door to the barn and no one can get into that.”That was true. After there had been a couple of attempts on my stock of antiques the main doors of the barn had been locked from the outside with a massive padlocked bar. It took two of us to shift it. The only other door led into the kitchen.”Can you stay with me, please Helen. That scared me and I couldn’t fight her off.””OK. Even if it was only a nightmare the effect on you was bad. When I arrived I thought you were dying. You look better now.””I feel better now.””Move over.”I looked at her.”Move over. I’m getting in bed with you.”I moved. Helen climbed in beside me. She shouldn’t have been able to. Why not?I squeaked. “The bars!””What?””The side bars on the bed. They’re down.””So they are.””They shouldn’t be. Clare put them up. You saw her do it. I couldn’t have put them down while I was trussed up like an oven-ready chicken. So who did?””You’re right. A nightmare couldn’t have done that. You couldn’t. I didn’t. Clare didn’t. She was still asleep and if she’d moved I’d have heard her. Perhaps there was an intruder after all.””There was and she tried to suffocate me.””I believe you. There’s only one unlocked door – to the barn. I’m going to lock it now. If she’s in the barn she’ll have to stay there until the morning.”Helen went to the kitchen. I heard her lock and bolt the door. She went through the whole house, downstairs and upstairs. I listened to her progress carefully hoping that she didn’t meet the intruder. She didn’t.”All clear. If there was someone in the house they’re not in it now. You can sleep safe for the rest of the night.”She snuggled me against her breast. I had been right. Helen’s breast was nothing like the one that had been smothering me. It was firmer and not quite so large. Her erect nipple pushed at her thin cotton nightdress. I opened my mouth to nibble it.”If you are going to do that,” Helen said quietly, “do it properly.”She unfastened her bodice and pulled my mouth over her nipple.”Have a good suck. I’d like that.”So did I. I went to sleep with my mouth full of Helen’s breast. I woke up with my mouth full of breast. Helen was smiling down at me as I sucked.”What have you two been up to?” Clare’s voice asked.Helen’s arm clamped me in place on her breast.”We’ve had an exciting night. Someone tried to smother Guy…””It looks as if you’re doing a good job yourself, Helen,””…and I disturbed her before she killed him.”I could see that Clare was puzzled. Helen’s tone was serious.”You mean it, don’t you?””Yes, Clare. It’s true. When I reached Guy he was panting for breath. I thought he was dying. If I had taken a few seconds more to get to him he would be dead now.”Helen released me and pulled her breast out of my mouth.”Helen rescued me just in time. We think that the attacker may still be in the barn. I can’t think of any other way she could have got to me.””If you two are telling the truth then we need the police – now.” Clare said distinctly.”When I reached Guy the bed bars were down. He couldn’t have done it. You had trussed him up. That convinced me.””I locked those bars in place,” Clare mused. “I stapled those zips shut. Guy couldn’t have moved them and while he was inside that overdress he couldn’t have unlocked the bars.”Helen and I nodded.”Call the police. Now. Please Helen.” Clare had decided to believe us.Perhaps Helen should have rang the emergency line. She didn’t. She rang the local police station. At seven in the morning they took a long time to answer. They took even longer to accept that she was serious about an attempted murderess locked in our barn. I think that because the sergeant knew her personally that he agreed to send a patrol car without using the blues and twos.Clare and Helen met the policemen outside. Clare gave them the key to the barn’s padlock. I wheeled myself outside to watch. As the four of them walked around the house to the barn they startled someone trying to open the padlock. He ran for it. The policemen caught him just before he reached me. We all recognised him as the local incompetent burglar, Ray.The police handcuffed him and put him in their car. A few minutes later one of them came back to us.”He says he was trying to release a friend trapped in your barn. He won’t say who it is except that he referred to a ‘she’. It looks as if you might be right. However she is, she must be desperate. Ray is so useless that he couldn’t open a baby’s piggy bank. He had no hope of getting past that padlock.”Another patrol car turned up. A policeman and policewoman got out. One of the policemen removed the padlock and swung the heavy bar out of the way. He heaved the barn door open as the policeman and policewoman poised themselves to intercept a running fugitive.Nurse Jones walked out wearing her distinctive headdress. I gasped. It couldn’t be. Nurse Jones was dead. Helen ran at her and dragged the headdress off before the police could stop her. A mass of blonde hair tumbled down. This was a much younger woman of the same build as Nurse Jones had been.”Andrea!” Helen shouted.It was Andrea Jones, Nurse Jones’ daughter. The police arrested her. The policewoman said ‘anything you say will be taken down and may be used in evidence…”Andrea said a lot. For hours and hours. Clare, Helen and I had to go to the police station. I brought Nurse Jones’ shorthand diary.I resolved my suspicion about Clare not knowing the contents. Nurse Jones had written in an old Pitman shorthand. It was similar enough to the newer Pitman I had learned but nothing like the Teeline Clare and Helen had been taught. I had to explain the contents to the police. They would get it formally transcribed by an expert.The phone call? Andrea’s mobile had a flat battery so she’d used our extension phone in the barn to call Ray. He’d used callback.The police didn’t need to transcribe the diary. Andrea had been the ebay enquiry trying to get hold of it. After two hours Andrea confessed to attempting to murder me. She wanted Helen to be suspected and Alan’s death re-examined. She had killed Alan too. She had been his lover, became pregnant and Alan had sent her to an i*****l abortionist. She had lost the baby and the ability to have any babies ever. She blamed Helen for not letting Alan go. She hated Alan for her lost of fertility.Helen had no idea that Alan wanted a divorce. Andrea wasn’t his only conquest.Andrea had visited Alan by arrangement when Helen was out with us. She had persuaded him into some bondage with the offer of some sex ‘for old time’s sake’. She had used the same type of overdress that Clare used on me to immobilise him, wrapped Helen’s nightdress around his head so that he couldn’t see what she was doing, and then smothered him with her skirted backside as she had done to several of the Nursing Home’s patients.Andrea had been one of the nurses who had helped us look after Gwen. She knew that Helen was our friend and visited us. She had copied our back door key so that she could come and go whenever she wanted. On one occasion when Helen had been nursing me Andrea had taken Helen’s used uniform and hidden it in the barn, replacing it with one from the trunk. She had worn Helen’s uniform over her own when trying to smother me. If I had died, Helen’s uniform would show traces from her and me and not from Andrea. Andrea hoped that Helen would be convicted of my murder and suspected of murdering Alan.It took several hours before Andrea admitted killing her mother. She knew that Nurse Jones suspected her. She had prepared for that night. She had phoned in sick yet had come to the Nursing Home dressed in one of her mother’s headdresses. When she found her mother she took a ball of her own hair and pushed it into Nurse Jones’ face. That might not have killed. It did incapacitate Nurse Jones enough for her daughter to bundle her into the spare room and on to a bed. As her mother gasped for breath from the asthma attack her daughter had calmly sat on her mother’s face until the breathing stopped.Andrea continued with her mother’s rounds during the night, taking care that no member of staff saw her face between the d****s of the headdress. Just before the shift change in the morning she removed her headdress and uniform and left.She was examined by psychiatrists and found unfit to plead. She was sent to a secure mental institution until she was recovered sufficiently to stand trial, if ever she did.Clare, Helen and I were horrified by the confession. I was relieved that I had escaped death. Andrea had killed many times. Why hadn’t she killed me at the first attempt? I’ll never know. We went back home and sat on a settee wrapped in each others’ arms. We were in shock for several hours. When we had recovered we discussed what we should do. Two things were easy to decide. Clare wouldn’t confine me in an overdress again. I was too vulnerable. We wanted that old bed moved.Helen’s removal men were easily persuaded to swap the old hospital bed for a double bed from Helen’s house. That night I slept in it with my mouth full of Clare’s breast and Helen’s body snuggled against my back. I didn’t have a spasm. I didn’t have a nightmare. I had a wonderful night’s sleep comforted by, and comforting, the two women I loved.From then on I slept with one or other of them in my bed. My spasms were gone forever and I gradually gained strength and mobility until I could make love to Clare instead of being her passive dependent partner. Very occasionally I made love to Helen. I never did gain enough strength to satisfy both of them at once. I don’t think I could have done even before my accident.That Halloween changed my life. I survived one woman. I found love with two.

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