Eric Watson: Welcome to the Funhouse

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Ring, ring. Ring, ring.

Eric stirred from his fleeting nap. His eyes felt like they had sealed shut; they refused to open. He had been so sleep-deprived that his body was beginning to feel the side effects. He lifted his head up from the kitchen table and rummaged around for his phone. He rubbed his eyes with the other hand, hoping it would help. It took a moment before he could see who was calling.

It was Tiffany. He wasn't sure he wanted to speak to anyone but decided to answer in case it was an emergency.

'Hello?' Eric said. His voice came out as a groan as it broke – it was the first word he'd spoken in hours.

'Hi Eric, I didn't wake you, did I?' Tiffany asked with a forced niceness about her voice, as well as a slight elevation in its pitch. It was very rare for Tiffany to phone him. The only other time she did, it was to tell him that she couldn't go into work because the kids in her street were having a water fight and she was going to chase them with vodka and a match.

Eric took a moment to reply. 'Kinda, but it's fine. How are you holding up over there?'

'Not very good,' Tiffany admitted. Eric could hear a sob, but she did a good job at containing her emotions from completely taking over. 'A lot has happened since Stacey died and it's been less than twelve hours.'

'Why? What's happened?' Eric asked. He had so much to tell her too, including the passing of his father, but he knew she needed somebody to listen to her first. His problems would have to wait.

'I'll explain more later, but I found something out about your mum and I had to phone you straight away to tell you. It's pretty big news.'

Eric jumped up into attention; he straightened his back and looked around the kitchen frantically. 'Okay,' he said. He had no idea what Tiffany could possibly know about his mother. 'I'm here, I'm listening.'

'My dad and your mum were having an affair.'

Eric didn't respond. He couldn't respond. His tongue died in his throat. It choked him, it blocked his oxygen. He couldn't breathe. The woman he knew as his loving mother who loved him so much had betrayed the father he had just lost? 'H... How do you know?'

'I'll explain it all later, I promise. I just have to deal with some stuff first. But this next part is even harder to tell you. I'd come over and tell you in person, but I really have too much on my plate at the minute.'

'I understand,' Eric replied, finding common ground in the hopes that she would feel comfortable to tell him what she knew. He could hear her heartbeat from the other end of the phone. She was terrified.

'So, they were at the abandoned house on Mockingbird Lane, and my mum walked in on them while they were, you know, doing it.'

'Right, okay, I get the picture,' he said quickly to stop her from saying more about that part of the story. He really didn't want to hear it. He closed his eyes and tried to keep it together.

'Well, after that...' she began.

'Yes?'

'My father killed her, Eric. Philip killed your mum.'

The phone slipped from his ear. It smashed on the floor, parts flying in all directions. In that moment, he didn't care that his expensive phone was now completely destroyed. He was paralysed. His eyes were quickly invaded by tears yet again, but this time they were for both of his dead parents. In twelve hours, his father had died and his mother, who had been missing for ten years, was now confirmed dead.

He had no reason not to trust Tiffany. He had been waiting for any kind of news for years and here she was with the answers. Every ray of hope within him diminished. Was there anything left to live for?

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