The Best Day of Your Life, story by Dave Whippman at Spillwords.com

The Best Day of Your Life

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The Best Day of Your Life

written by: Dave Whippman

 

Holroyd cursed as his car bumped along the dirt track. Trust Meadows to pick a place like this for a meeting: miles from anywhere, seeming all the more remote in the moonlight. But the house itself, when it came into view, was something of an anti-climax. He’d half-expected a gothic, crumbling mansion – but this was just a poky little cottage, obviously derelict. The front door was missing; he stepped through into the hallway, where Meadows was waiting.

“Mr. Holroyd, thanks for coming. I brought this battery lamp; the electricity here was cut off ages ago, I suppose.”

Holroyd grinned rather nastily. “Of course, I came! I won’t have you thinking I was afraid. But really, Meadows, this whole thing is tacky, even by your standards! Dragging me out here – on Halloween. I’m surprised you didn’t dress up as a warlock or something.”

The other man ignored the taunt. “I assure you; the venue and time were not of my choosing. The fact is, though, this particular night of the year does have a spiritual significance.”

Holroyd sneered. “Come off it! You can drop the act. You’re not dealing with some gullible idiot who can’t wait to hand over their cash because they think you can talk to their dead husband or something.”

“I have never made money from my… abilities.”

“And you certainly won’t in future, now the entire nation knows you for a fraud. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it, Meadows? You’re trying to make some kind of point. Trying to get back at me after our TV showdown. In a way, I can’t blame you. The whole country saw it – you, Britain’s best-known ‘psychic medium’ – against me, the arch-sceptic, the debunker of every clairvoyant, tarot reader, and crystal ball-gazer in the land. And I won hands down! I wiped the floor with you and your ridiculous claims. Seeing you squirm… it was the best day of my life! If you brought me here expecting an apology, Meadows, you’ll be disappointed. In fact, count yourself lucky. I wasn’t even on top form that night. The day before, I was in a road crash. My car was a write-off, but I walked away without a scratch, just a bit shaken up. I suppose an idiot like you would say I had a guardian angel or some such crap.”

Meadows slowly shook his head. “If only that were true.”

Holroyd was getting impatient. “Well, whatever you’re planning, bring it on! You want to see me scared, right? Your idea of revenge for the way I demolished you on primetime TV. But I warn you, I’m younger than you and twice your size. If you’re planning any rough stuff, do yourself a favour and forget it.”

Meadows held up his hands placatingly. “That’s not my style. And the last thing I want is to scare you.”

“OK, you’re not as dumb as I thought. Then I’ll bid you goodnight. I called your bluff and now I’ve wasted enough time on you. Matter of fact, I’ve got someone waiting for me back in town. You remember Sharon Alderton, the host of our TV debate? We got talking after the show, one thing led to another… and now we’re an item. If it’s any consolation to you for having your trickery exposed in front of the nation, you’ve made me late for a very enjoyable time!” Holroyd walked to the front doorway, then looked puzzled. “Where’s my car?”

“You didn’t come here by car, Mr. Holroyd.” Meadows hesitated, then pointed to a newspaper on a rickety table. “That was printed on the day scheduled for our debate. Please read the front page.”

Holroyd sneered again but did as he was asked. “What the hell…. ‘Paul Holroyd, dubbed the scourge of spiritualists, was killed yesterday when his car spun out of control…’ this is rubbish…some kind of trick, you must have had this specially printed.”

The other man said gently, “Just accept what’s happened. I was sent here to help you to…adjust. There was indeed no guardian angel. Or any TV debate. You were dead by then. I’m afraid that accident did a lot more than shake you up.”

“I can’t be!” Holroyd tried to shout, but his voice and his image were fading. “I remember arguing with you, making out with Sharon, and the days since….”

“False memories,” Meadows explained. “Have you never heard of people who lose a limb, then complain of pain or itching in the very same limb? The soul sometimes does the same after the body dies, experiencing what it expects to be there. I hope you won’t have a long stay here – it’s a gloomy place – but it’s not for me to decide. I’m truly sorry, Holroyd. The best day of your life never really happened at all. By the way, I didn’t claim this house was haunted – though it is now.”

“But I can’t be dead! You can see me and talk to me…”

“I can indeed. But then, Mr. Holroyd, though you never believed it, I really do have a gift for such things.”

Dave Whippman

Dave Whippman

I am in my early 70s, retired for some years after spending most of my working life in healthcare. I'm currently based in the north of England. Writing - prose fiction, poetry, and articles - has always been my main hobby, though I also love music and visual arts.
Dave Whippman

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