Daily Prompt: Interplanet Ill

Forsythia

I wish I felt as neat as these Forsythia flowers which are now blossoming in our part of the woods. Truth is that I seem to have contacted the dreaded. Since two days i have been sneezing with the result of having paper handkerchieves following me in a trail of white soggy paper. My nose makes itself independent now and again- However I dragged my sneezing body to the computer to write a daily prompt, not that you might think Mrs. Angloswiss has been kidnapped, and who would pay the ransome?

Luckily I have a Mr. Swiss who is caring for my needs. I can no more, I am trying to catch up on my lost sleep. Hope to see you all again tomorrow when my body and brain is functioning again.

Daily Prompt:Interplanet Ill

The Castle

Carreg-Cennen-Castle-005

It was cold, damp and altogether a very unpleasant day to take a walk up the hill to the ruins of the castle. She was sure they could have found something more sensible, but who was she to organise those “field trips”. She just took the orders from someone she did not know, or had even seen, and carried them out.

The road, no, it was a path, was uneven, had potholes and she had to be careful where she trod. “This will be the death of me” she thought, accompanied by a shudder that vibrated through her body. She tied the toggles on the belt of her jacket tighter. It was a good jacket, suitable for protection against the rain and winds, but she still had a cold feeling under the skin. Today was just not like the other days she had been there. Usually a few crows might be circling above her head, dots of pink and yellow could be seen from the wild flowers growing in the grassy landscape, but Spring and Summer were gone. It was late Autumn; an indecisive time she thought. Too early to brave the icy cold of Winter, but too late to still enjoy a few days of an Indian Summer.

She looked back, but there was no-one following. All she saw was a sloping path and fields showing rivulets of muddy water. Tthe ground was already loaded with moisture and there was no escape from the water it was carrying, nothing more could seep through the surface.

The castle drew nearer but something was different today. There was a smell in the air that just did not belong. It was then she saw a man and woman standing under an archway in the ruins. They were engaged in an embrace. Generally it was an abandoned place at this time of the year. She imagined that it was probably a couple that had no right to be together. He was probably a married man, perhaps with children, and she was his secretary. “None of my business” she thought and she entered the ruins diplomatically on the opposite side to where the couple were standing.

She now needed all her concentration to find the right place. All the stones seemed to look the same when they were damp, but then she found it. There was a white brick at the base of the wall. It had now taken on a darker hue, more light grey, but it could not be mistaken. She started to count until she reached the tenth brick above it. Reaching out her gloved hand she touched the brick and it moved. It was loose, it had always been loose. She could pull it to one side and then took a small plastic folder from her rucksack and wedged it at the side of the brick. Yes those dead letter boxes had to be well hidden.

She left the drop, as it was known, and started walking down the hill away from the castle, not looking back, or wanting to. Her job was done for the time being. In the meanwhile the couple at the castle waited for her to disappear out of their sight. They moved towards the brick where the documents were resting when two shots rang out in the air and the couple lay dead on the cold wet Autumn ground.

She had completed the remainder of her job. It was easy to take the rifle out of her rucksack and screw it together and take an aimed shot. She returned home thinking that the spy game does pay sometimes. She knew that whoever the document was meant for would take it and dispose of the two bodies belonging to her country’s secret police. There would be no publicity, her country was as corrupt as she was.

The Tempest

storm and ship

Christine stood on the shore watching the white foam tipped waves going back and forth over the sand with fascination. It looked like a storm was coming, so she hurried back home to her mother’s house up the stone stairway carved into the cliffs. She loved the sea and weather storm or calm, it made no difference.

*****
Sam Collingworth hugged his wife Anna goodbye. Time was getting short and as first mate on the M.S. Lady he was expected by the crew to take his place. This time he was particularly sad. His wife was expecting their first baby and the journey was taking him to the other side of the world. They both knew that Sam would never see their firstborn until at least half a year later. Anna was crying and Sam trying to comfort her.

“Please be careful Sam and come back safe to us.”

“Don’t worry Anna” he said “I have always returned and I will this time, even if it will take longer.”

“You are going so far and it could become dangerous. I have heard about ships crossing the Cape of Good Hope and never returning, being caught in a storm.”

and she continued sniffing into her handkerchief which she had embroidered herself.

“I have an idea Anna, Give me your handkerchief as it is. It is full of your tears for me and when I am away on the ship and feel lonely I can take it in my hand and know how much you are waiting for my return.”

“This is a small compensation” thought Sam, but it did the trick and Anna calmed down. She gave it to him and it helped her to think that things would not be so bad. Sam would be away but would have something that belonged to her.

Sam took his bag onto his shoulders packed with his personal belongings and made his way down the cliff to the harbour where the boat was waiting, clasping the handkerchief in his hand. He decided to keep it in his uniform pocket to make sure it was always near.

The ship set sail and apart from a few problems around the Western coast of Africa when they did not have enough wind in the sails, everything went well and the ship made its way to the Cape of Good Hope on the Southern point of the African continent on its way to Australia.

“What do you think Mr. Collingworth” asked Jim the cabin boy and cook’s help “will we see any of those famous storms that the others are always talking about. The horizon doesn’t seem to be very friendly.”

“Don’t worry Jim” said Sam. “We all want to go home again and although the Cape can have a few surprises, we are a good ship and good team.”

“Mr. Collingworth, if anything happens to me, well I wanted to say – you know my mum and dad get so worried when I am away at sea. Can you tell them that I was thinking of them all the time and that I love them very much.”

“You don’t have to be so worried Jim. Look my wife gave me her handkerchief because she was crying so much when I left and I promised to keep it with me. I always have it in my pocket in my jacket. We will make a bargain, if anything happens to us I will bring word to your parents, and you will take this handkerchief and bring it back to my wife.”

“It’s a deal Mr. Collingworth” and Jim was happy. Sam had said it to Jim to calm his nerves as he was only a boy and earning his way up the ladder of the ship’s crew. Sam had also started as cabin boy and today he was first mate.

On Christmas day the brave ship “Lady” made her way into the storm. She had a lot of experience with rough and tempestuous weather so no-one really doubted that anything could happen. The sky slowly turned from grey to black and the waves reached a height which almost covered the ship.

“Mr. Collingworth, I am frightened” shouted Jim above the noise of the storm to Sam.

“Stay by me son” answered Sam, “Hold onto my hand and we will remain together. Don’t forget our promise Jim so take this handkerchief and if anything happens bring it to my wife. She lives on the cottage overlooking the harbour on the cliff top.”

“Will do Mr. Collingworth, but please visit my parents if anything happens to me.”

With those last words a final wave crashed down on them and the ship turned over in the water and broke into pieces. It was the end of the MS Lady.

“Quick over here” Jim heard a voice in the distance. “Here is another one from the ship and he is still breathing”. The rescuers took the cabin boy Jim into their care. Jim was lucky, apart from a rough beating from the waves and a broken arm he was ok.

“Where’s Mr. Collingworth” asked Jim, but he never got an answer. Sam Collingworth became a victim of the Cape of Good Hope.

Some months later Anna had just finished feeding her baby Samuel and there was a knock on the door. She was feeling sad at this moment. She had been given news by the merchant navy of the loss of the MS Lady and that her Sam would never return. She opened the door to find a young man with a sun tan and a sailors bag over his shoulders.

“Are you Mrs. Collingworth?” he asked.

“I am, but who are you.”

My name is Jim and I was the cabin boy on the MS Lady”

“Did you know my husband Sam?” she automatically asked.

“Yes ma’am” he answered. “He was a good man and sailor and the best first mate I had ever served under. He promised to tell my mum and dad if anything happened to me on the ship, and in return I promised to bring this back to you.”

He opened his hand containing the beautifully embroidered handkerchief. Anna took the handkerchief and burst into tears. She knew that Sam had thought of her until the end.

*****
It was Christmas Day and Christine returned home to her mother for the Christmas dinner.

“Has it got wet again” she asked her mother.

“Yes dear, as it always does every Christmas day” was the answer. In a frame on the cabinet was a beautifully embroidered handkerchief. It was very old, at least one hundred years, and had always been in the family being handed down from one generation to another. A mystery surrounded the handkerchief. It was noticed that on Christmas day it sort of wept leaving a damp mark and a salt crust on the cabinet.

The Kiss and The Scream

kiss[1]

Jack was just drifting off to sleep when he heard a blood curdling scream through the open bedroom window.

“What the hell….” Was his thought, but that was the standard Jack reaction on unexpected events. He dragged himself out of the sheets and stumbled across to the window and looked out. The water in the swimming pool below was reflecting in the moonlight, but he saw nothing suspicious. Thinking it was another cat fight in the neighbourhood he went back to bed noticing that it was just five minutes after one in the morning. Jack saw his wife Hilda sleeping in her bed. He thought she resembled a sleeping angel, but how looks could betray.

He remembered their wedding day. She swore to be true for ever and never betray him but things had changed. Although he was twenty years older than his wife, his sexual fantasy and longings were still present and he longed to hold his wife in his arms and just make love to her. He reached out in the dark and touched her shoulder and moved his fingertips downwards towards her breasts, but there was no reaction. She just turned over and continued breathing deeply. He decided he was fighting a lost cause and tried to win back his interrupted sleep.

The next morning at breakfast Jack decided to try some conversation with his wife.

“Did you hear that noise in the night? It sounded as if someone was being killed.”

“I must have been sleeping, what was it exactly?”

“It was a loud scream. I thought it might be a cat fight, but saw no movements anywhere when I looked out of the window.”

“Must have been a figment of your imagination Jack. Before I forget, I have to go into town this afternoon to the hairdresser and afterwards I have to see the doctor about the headaches I keep getting. Don’t expect me back until at least seven in the evening” and she carried on eating breakfast, ignoring Jack.

Jack was rich, very rich. He did not have to work; his company existed without his help. The first few months of their marriage were just wonderful. He reflected on how they were one heart and one soul and how he felt at least twenty years younger. He was sure Hilda loved him, but since the last couple of weeks, he was not so sure any more. Her headaches always seem to appear when they went to bed. He now had his doubts about her faithfulness and whether it was him she loved or just his money. He decided to follow her to town. It seemed strange that a doctor’s appointment would keep her until late in the evening.

After dinner she put one of her narrow skirts on and a silk blouse showing as much décolleté as was decent to show, climbed into her car and drove off. This was the signal for Jack. He had told her he would be busy in the garden, but he was waiting in the shed for her departure. The second car was parked in the garage, a Jaguar, so he knew he would be fast enough to catch her up and follow. He was soon on the road and saw her car faintly in the distance. Eventually she arrived in town and parked just in front of the hairdressers.

She entered and Jack decided to have a drink in a near bye café and wait until she appeared again. Two coffees later she made her exit but left her car standing and started walking. Jack followed in the background, when she suddenly stopped. A young man with blond hair was standing next to Hilda. Hilda looked pleased to see him and then it happened. They kissed. Jack thought not just a kiss, something that radiated a feeling of longing, of love, and belonging. The couple walked into a side street, one of those alleys where there was no traffic and half in darkness. Jack followed and standing on the other side of the street he could see what was happening. Their kiss was no longer just a kiss, but something passionate and he could see that his wife’s partner, as well as his wife, wanted more than just a kiss. Jack decided he had seen enough and walked back to his car and drove home.

Hilda only arrived at eight in the evening.

“That was a long appointment at the doctors” Jack said “did he find out what the problem was?”

“It seems it is something to do with my blood pressure and I now have to see him every day to get my blood pressure taken. I am not allowed to do anything that might excite me, so I will just have to take it easy at the moment. Oh and Jack I think it might be a good idea if you go and sleep in the guest room for the time being. The doctor said it is important that I have a complete night’s rest, if you know what I mean.” She emphasized the last words with a biting tone.

“Well if you think so, Hilda. I just want to be sure that you soon recover from those headaches. I will be glad when we get back to a normal routine. I miss you so much.”

Hilda looked at Jack and nodded. “Yes dear, let’s just wait and see what the doctor says.”

Basically Jack was boiling inside. He moved over to the spare bedroom that evening and found it to be a good idea under the circumstances.

That evening Hilda went to bed early, but Jack fell asleep in the armchair in front of the television and only retired around half past twelve. He was just falling asleep when he heard the scream once again. This time it seemed to be louder, outside on the corridor. He once again looked out the window, but saw nothing. He then opened the bedroom door and made a quick examination of the corridor, but all was still. He entered the room that he used to share with his wife, and she was sleeping alone in the bed, breathing regularly. Jack decided to leave her and returned to his own bedroom.

The next day Jack followed Hilda again on her journey to the doctors. This time he saw that she was met by her blond boyfriend at the entrance of a well known town hotel that many couples were known to use for their happy hours. Jack had to really pull himself together that he did not approach his wife with the facts.

The evening came, Hilda arrived home and told Jack she was tired from her visit to the doctor and would retire. Jack just lost his temper.

“Does your doctor have blond hair and do you meet him in front of one of the town’s well known hotels for infidelity before you have your examination?” he asked with a sarcastic tone.

“I don’t know what you mean Jack. You know who my doctor is and he does not have blond hair. He has almost no hair and I certainly would not meet him at a hotel. And now if you would excuse me I am going to bed.”

“Hilda, I followed you yesterday and today and it seems that there was no doctor’s visit. Who is the albino you are meeting. You have a boyfriend it seems.”

“Jack I do not like being followed, but as you seem to know the truth then I will tell you. My friend is not an albino, but a young man who happens to love me. For him I am not just a young thing to show off to his business friends, but something he treasures.”

“I demand that you stop seeing him at once. I can forgive you but I am your husband and you belong to me.”

“Jack I do not belong to anyone, I belong to myself and Peter my friend realizes this. He accepts me for what I am and not just a status symbol to show off to friends; and now just leave me alone, I am tired and want to retire.”

“The lady wants to retire? If you continue this relationship I will divorce you.”

“No Jack, you will not divorce me. Think of the disgrace amongst your rich business friends and I can tell you it would cost you a lot of money to divorce me. I suggest we stay together as up to now, you do your thing and I do mine. Peter can give me a lot more in feelings than you can, for him I am not just a pretty young toy, but a person made out of flesh and blood and he loves me. He is quite happy to see me from time to time and I am sure you will invent some sort of story for your friends. Just tell them I am visiting my mother when they ask questions. They are stupid enough to believe it.”

Jack was completely destroyed by this argument with his wife. He had trusted her and even loved her in his own way, and this was the thanks. Perhaps Jack should not have expected thanks. He went to bed that evening tossing and turning but could not sleep. He now hated his wife, the humiliation he had to put up with; he saw the passionate kiss constantly before his eyes that this Peter person had given to Hilda and the way they stood in a dark alley holding each other. No, this could not be the way to be treated after all he had given Hilda. She could buy everything she wanted; he read the wishes from her lips. Perhaps Jack did not realize that by doing this he could not buy her love.

He knew what must be done. He had never felt so humiliated in his life. He, Jack the factory owner, being pushed over for someone called Peter with blond hair. No, if he could not possess Hilda then Peter was not going to possess her either. He left his bed and walked down the staircase to the kitchen. He was searching for something and found it at last. At five past one in the morning there was a genuine blood curdling scream which really did come from the house, from Hilda’s bedroom. It was the last noise that Hilda heard as Jack plunged a carving knife into her heart.

TheScream[1]

The Old White House

At last Sylvia had been able to leave her old life behind her and found work in another town. She had got away from her husband Jeff. He was lazy, drank too much and now and again lost his temper with Sylvia. She was a qualified nurse and had a well paid job, but decided that enough was enough. The evenings when she came home from work to find the floor littered with empty bottles and her husband lying around in the house hardly able to see straight were enough. When she told him to pull himself together, he did, but combined it with an attack on his wife. She had tried until she had no longer patience with him. Eventually she packed her case and left. She took the train West and decided that it was time to turn her back on life as she had known it.

In a way she was sorry to leave their house. It stood on its own in a suburb of the town; a white wooden house, looking neat and tidy from the outside. Sylvia thought that in her life everything was neat and tidy on the outside; only on the inside things were not so good. In her luggage she had a photo of the house standing in its beautiful surroundings. The sky was showing itself from its best side in summer. The clouds were just wisps reflecting the sun in colours of red and gold. When she and Jeff found the house they were so happy. At least she thought Jeff was happy.

They were newly weds and life was beginning for them both. The sunny side of life only existed for a few months and then Jeff started to drink heavily. That was what she thought, but she eventually realised that Jeff had been able to hide the drinking from her when they met. Living with him constantly showed his true character. He worked in an advertising company. His life seemed to be filled with lunches and evening meals with customers, that was more liquid than solid. Many were during the evening and Jeff would arrive home late. In the beginning Syvia would wait for him, but she soon realised it was not worth it. She was glad when she could work nights, when she arrived home in the morning and Jeff was sleeping out his alcoholic dreams, she did not have to be confronted with his moods.

She arrived in her new surroundings and took a hotel room to begin with. The next step was to apply at the local hospital for a job.

“Good morning” said the receptionist at the hospital “can I help you”.

“I am new in town and am a qualified nurse. I have my documents here and was wondering if you would have a job for me in the hospital.”

The receptionist took the documents and told Sylvia to wait whilst she spoke with the manager of the hospital. She came back to Sylvia accompanied by an older man who introduced himself as Dr. Smith.

“I hear you would like to have a job at our hospital. We really do need qualified personnel at the moment and with your documents there is no problem. Just take some time and fill out the application forms please.”

Sylvia was pleased. She was in a new town and had found work and was ready for a new beginning. She told the hospital she could start working straight away and the following week she was employed.

She looked around in the town for somewhere to live and found a small house just ideal for her. This time it was not white but red. She had had really enough of living in a white house and had only bad memories. She had put all her furniture into storage where she lived before and called the moving people to deliver at her new address. She still owned the old white house but thought one day she would sell it. At the present she was earning enough money to be able to pay rent for her new house, so did not have to hurry.

In a way she hung onto her old house and had taken a photo with her showing it on one of its best days. It was surrounded by the most wonderful green bushes and trees and she missed the surroundings just a little bit. If only Jeff had been more caring, this would not have happened and she would have stayed. She bought a frame for the photo of the house and garden and put it on the cupboard in the living room; just a little something to remember her old life.

Her first evening in the new red house was accompanied by a storm. It rained as if the heavens had opened and there were crashes of thunder resounding through the house. One clap of thunder was so loud that she heard the window spring open downstairs in the living room. She decided that it would be sensible to close the window otherwise she envisioned everything being wet in the morning. When she entered the living room she noticed that the wind coming through the window had swept her photo to the floor. She picked it up and put it back on the cupboard and went back to bed. In the morning she had a look around to see that nothing more had happened and found the photo again on the floor. As she picked it up and looked at it, it seemed a little bit different but did not realise what was different. She went to work during the day and forgot about the photo.

Sylvia was now really satisfied. She had a new home in a new town and a new job. She had got to know a lot of new people at the hospital and decided to invite some of her colleagues home in the evening for a drink and a meal.

“You have a very nice place here” said Christine, one of her fellow nurses.

“I just love your taste in furniture” joined in Marion “and I just love that photo of that old white house.”

“That is where I used to live” answered Sylvia.

“Why on earth did you leave such a beautiful place” added Christine “It seems that you had quite an interest in gardening.”

“Why gardening?” asked Sylvia

“When I look at the garden at the side of the house it seems you were preparing to plant a tree or something. There is fresh earth showing on the photo just under the window.”

Sylvia had a closer look at the photo and there was really a patch of fresh earth to be seen.

She decided to change the subject and served the meal. It was a successful evening and they enjoyed their selves very much and left around midnight. Sylvia cleared away the dining room table and when everything was in its place she had another look at the photo.

“I don’t remember seeing that earth on the photo yesterday” she thought, but was so tired she soon went to bed and forgot about the photo.

The next day she did not have to work and decided to use it for cleaning her home. She again looked at the photo, but noticed that there was now a hole dug under the window and a pile of earth next to the hole. Sylvia was just a little bit disturbed by the photo. It really seemed it was changing all the time.

Imagine the shock she had when she looked at the photo a week later. There was no pile of earth under the window and no hole in the ground. Everything was nicely levelled and grass was growing where the earth was. There was just something a bit strange in the middle of the photo. It seemed that a single flower was growing out of the place where the pile of earth was. She looked at it closer and was a little bit worried.

Sylvia decided to take a week off work. She told the people in the hospital that she had decided to sell her house in the town where she used to live and would need some time to tie up the dealings. She needed at least two days by car, but soon arrived at her old house. A lot of bad memories came back to her as she walked round the house. She had never forgiven Jeff for the way he had treated her. The old white house looked exactly as it was on the photo and even the sky was showing itself from its best side. 

She arrived at the window where the photo had been playing tricks on her and had a close look at the earth below. Everything seemed normal. There was no earth disturbed, and the lawn was in one piece. There was even no strange flower growing where she had seen it on the photo.

She got down on her knees to take a closer look.

“Looking for something Miss,” said a voice behind her“ and before she could turn round to see who it was she felt steel bracelets being put on her wrists.

“By the power given to me by this State I am arresting you for the murder of your husband Jeff ……” and Sylvia found herself surrounded by police. “We found his body yesterday. One of the neighbours dogs kept sniffing around and his hand was sticking through the earth” the police said, so we decided to keep an eye on the place. It seemed he didn’t want to stay where you put him and one hand was poking out of the earth.”

The Diary

Day one
New town, new job, new life – at least that is what I hope for. The hospital is much smaller than the last one where I worked, but the people are very nice. I was welcomed and put to work in the emergency ward. I like emergencies, they are so exciting and surprising and you never know what is round the corner. I met Doctor Williams, although everyone calls him Jim. He has such a friendly smile and a soothing way. I noticed that the patients are completely relaxed in his care which is a great help when working on emergency cases. He even told me to call him Jim; me, a newcomer, just an ordinary nurse on my first day. Of course, everyone else was helpful, but Jim really took care of me. Showed me where everything was, introduced me to the other members of the department and told me if I have any problems just to call on him, although I don’t think I could tell him about my problems. They would not be of interest, and I am trying to forget them myself.

Day two
There was a car accident today, and we had four casualties. It was not such a pretty sight, but things like that just do not bother me. Jim, Doctor Williams, told me if it was too much I should tell him and he would organise a transfer to another department where things were less hectic. I told him I was ok and was used to a busy life. The last thing I wanted was a transfer to another department. He actually called me into his office and I saw a photo on his desk. It must have been his wife. Now that could be a problem, but I am sure I will deal with it in my own way.

Day three
Things were quieter today so I had more time to get to know people. Jane is another nurse in the emergency and we had a coffee together. I managed to start a conversation about Jim, after all I know really nothing about him. Jane told me that his wife was a doctor in the surgical ward, mostly dealing with operated patients. She also said she was a very nice person, although that did not interest me. It seems that Dr. Jim Williams is a great classical music fan, especially Verdi operas. I registered that, might become useful.

Day four
Today I had a free afternoon and paid a visit to the local library to borrow some books on Verdi and his operas. I also bought some records. No exactly my taste, but I can live with it. The things you do to get a life.

Day five
Almost my first week finished here and am enjoying it very much. Tomorrow I have a free day and then it will be night duty. Jim is also doing the night shift, but only next week. I must try to remain on night duty as well. Today Jim asked me how I was settling down and I told him very well, although I was not so much used to life in a small town. He asked me what caused me bother and I naturally said that this town had no music theatre. Of course when he asked the sort of music I told him I prefer classical, operas of course. I also met Jim’s wife today. She called in at emergency to pick up a patient that was to be operated. I was very nice to her and gave her one of my winning smiles. I think she fell for it as she smiled back.

Day six
I spent the day at home reading about Verdi operas and listening to the music. If only Jim was with me listening as well, I am sure the day would have been less boring. I tried to sleep, imagining that Jim was curled up next to me. That trick always works and I was in dreamland in no time. I arrived for my first night shift. I was on my own. We had a couple of emergencies, mostly survivors of bar fights. It was Saturday night and there is always something to do. I noticed Jim was available on emergency call, if anything went wrong. I managed to take a coffee in the restaurant and Jim’s wife was there. Of course, I took a seat at her table and started a conversation about this and that. When she wasn’t looking I managed to slip a tranquiliser in her coffee. Poor Mrs. Jim was found sleeping at her desk early in the morning and was sent home. The plan begins.

Day/Night seven
Things are now happening fast and furious. At the moment my attention is mostly on Mrs. Jim, although it is sometimes difficult to get away from emergency. Keeping her within sight is not so difficult. She often picks up her patients from our department. She had an accident today. Slipped on a patch of oil on the floor and broke her leg. Now how did that happen? She is now a patient in the hospital. Of course, she was at once admitted to emergency and Jim came straight away. Jim likes me; after all we have the same music taste and put me in charge of looking after his wife until she was admitted into the ward. I had to give her an infusion, no problem. Perhaps it wasn’t what the doctor ordered, but it put her to sleep for the time being. Oh dear in the middle of the night she was awake and shaking – back to emergency and then the helicopter came and took her to another hospital, that was more capable of dealing with such emergencies

Night eight
I met Jane today and we naturally started discussing Mrs. Jim’s bad luck, although it was a lot worse than we thought. It seems she had too much insulin in her body (now how did she get that?), and was now in the ward for serious cases at the town hospital. It seems there was not great hope that she will survive. Dr. Jim was supposed to be doing night shift with me tonight, but he was at the central hospital in town at his wife’s side; how sad.

A week later
Oh diary I have been so busy. Dr. Jim’s wife passed away and he has not come to work, probably grieving at home over his loss. Today he was back in emergency again. Of course, we all offered our complete sympathy. It seems he is now working regularly, but that is usual. It does tend to take the mind off such serious problems.

The next day
I had a coffee with Dr. Jim. It just so happened, a coincidence, and we started a discussion about one of the Verdi operas, Macbeth. I told him it was my favourite; it really was, Lady Macbeth somehow fascinates me. Anyhow he said there was a performance at the opera hall in our nearest large town. I, of course, mentioned I would love to go and whether he would be going as well. He said it was a bit soon after his wife’s death. I told him I understood, but we could meet somewhere in the town and nobody needed to know, especially as that town was at least an hour’s drive from where we lived. There was not a big chance of anyone seeing us together.  It would do him good to get out of the house and I would love to see the opera.

Next Saturday
Dr. Jim called me to his office and gave me a ticket to watch Macbeth at the opera house. He said he would meet me at the entrance in the evening. I was overjoyed. How clever I am. The first part of the plan was working. When I think back on things I have been a very lucky girl. My last job did not work so well as there were too many examinations made on the corpse and the police got suspicious. I then decided it was time to leave and start a new life in another town. Luckily the authorities never look so close into the documents and I have become quite a good forger over the years. My best luck was when I worked at the stables. The stable owner was so good looking and we almost got married. All I had to do was to give his wife’s favourite horse some wake-up medicine. The horse became really wild and when the owner’s wife wanted to take a ride she caught her foot in the stirrup as the horse shook her off his back. Poor woman was dragged through the undergrowth at least a mile. The horse was immediately shot afterwards, and who does a post mortem on a horse. The problem was the stable owner. He already had a mistress and she got suspicious, so it was a change of life and job again.

But back to Dr. Jim. I am really looking forward to my visit to the opera this evening. I am sure it will be the beginning of something new in my life.

A Visit to the Opera

La Traviata by Verdi was an opera always worth a visit and Doreen had seen it at least twice. Living in the eastern part of London the Sadlers Wells Opera company’s theatre was not far by underground, although she had to change trains at the Bank station from the central line onto the northern line to arrive. It was very late on a Friday evening when the opera was finished and she made her way to the Angel station in the London area of Islington. Usually her friend came with her but on this particular evening she was alone, her colleague being in hospital after an unexpected appendix operation. Doreen had often visited the opera house and she really did not want to miss this performance, as it was one of the last in the theatre. It was 1968 and the Sadlers Wells opera company were moving.

She arrived at the Angel station and took the lift down to the platform. The Northern Line was the first to be built in the darker ages of Victorian London and also the deepest underground line so there were not many escalators on this section of the London underground. A story is told that there is a haunting between the stations of Angel and Old Street, but Doreen put this out of her mind. She had never actually seen this mysterious ghost, and no-one really knew why it should be there. The platform was empty when she eventually arrived and the train rumbled into the station accompanied by the screeching of brakes when it stopped. The doors opened automatically and she was glad to be in a compartment that was empty. She made herself comfortable on the first available seat she saw, as it would be a short journey, just a few stations, before she arrived at the Bank where she could change onto the central line. The train moved on and Doreen was accompanied by the rocking movement of the train as it swung around the curves in the tunnel. After a few minutes she had arrived at Old Street station where a group of young men entered the train. They were very loud, one of them emptied the contents of his stomach on the wooden floor and the smell of beer was very strong. Doreen was not feeling very comfortable but decided to keep quiet and hoped they would not notice her. Unfortunately this was not the case.

“Look a young lady, all on her own” said one of the men rather loudly  He seemed to be the leader of the pack.

“Let’s keep her company” and he sat on the empty seat next to Doreen and lit a cigarette, although there were signs on the windows with the words “No Smoking”. Doreen was frightened of these men in their leather jackets and strange piercings on their noses and lips, especially as her seat neighbour had already put his arm around her and was getting very near with his stinking breath.

“What have we got here” he said “look boys, this young lady was at the opera this evening, she’s clutching her programme, must be an intelligent one this one” and him and his cronies found this very amusing, laughing and leering at Doreen. It was then that the train pulled into Moorgate station. Doreen was preparing herself for an escape, but was still being held firmly by the drunken seat neighbour. She breathed a sign of relief when a railway worker entered the carriage.

“What is going on here? Leave that young lady alone, otherwise you will have dealings with me and the railway.”

The man that had entered walked over to Doreen’s seat neighbour, took him by the neck of his shirt and threw him out onto the platform.

“Now are you going to leave voluntarily or do I have to help” said the man.

The remaining members of the gang of boys decided it would perhaps be better to leave. If they attacked a railway man and injured him, it would not be a good idea and they all left the compartment as fast as they could.

“All right Miss?” asked the man.

“I am now thank you” Doreen answered.

“Do you have far to go?” he asked

“No, it’s just one station more. I have to change trains at the Bank for the Central Line.”

“So do I, Miss. Perhaps I can accompany you until you get on the next train. There is no telling what a rough pack hangs out on these trains late in the evening. If you don’t mind me mentioning it, but you seem familiar. Have we met before?”

Doreen looked at the railway man dressed in his dark blue uniform. He must have been approaching retirement age with his grey hair which was thinning in the middle. He also seemed to have developed a middle age spread around the waist.

“Perhaps” answered Doreen “although I cannot remember exactly. Have you been on this train before at this time in the evening?”

“No, I don’t think so. I am only on the Northern Line train this evening as my colleague did not arrive to work today. He had an accident. I am just representing him this evening; otherwise I have been working on the District Line for the past forty years. Is that a programme you are carrying from the opera” he asked “I thought Sadlers Wells moved away from the Angel about forty years ago.”

“That might be” answered Doreen “I just happened to find this programme on the seat where I am sitting.”

This seemed a strange answer to the railway man and it did make him a little nervous.

The train pulled into the Bank station and Doreen and her protector left the train.

“Excuse me Miss” he said “I think you are taking the wrong direction. We have to climb the spiral staircase, the lifts are no longer working in the evening.”

“I know, but I am on the spiral staircase.”

“But you are walking downwards, and down there in the darkness is nothing, just a pit with a metal cover to stop people falling further. When they built the line in the nineteenth century they had to make all sorts of places to dump the earth they had scooped out; being a railway man I know a lot about these old parts of the stations.”

“I thought you might” said Doreen and gave the railway worker a strong push. He tumbled down the stairs and landed at the bottom, weakened by the fall.

“What do you think you are doing? I could have got killed. Is this the thanks I get for helping and protecting.”

“Yes” answered Doreen “and you are familiar, although now at least forty years older. Think back in time forty years ago when you were a young man and were working on the Northern Line and look at me closely. On that unforgettable evening for me, it was probably the last journey you made on this route before requesting the transfer and what was the reason for the transfer? Are the memories coming back? Just take a good look at me.”

The railway man turned pale and looked at Doreen. He was shocked by a memory that crept into his mind. Something he would rather have forgotten, but Doreen was also looking a bit different. Her eyes were staring ahead, dead eyes and no movement. They resembled the eyes of a corpse.

“Do you remember entering the railway carriage and seeing me alone after my visit to the opera, clutching a programme of La Traviata. You also took the seat next to me, as the drunken pack that you threw out of the train. It was your arm that I felt around me on that evening, but I was on my own and had no chance to defend myself.  Do you remember touching me everywhere and telling me to be quiet and then do you remember raping me? I am sure you do, or perhaps I was just the first of many. Do you know what, I don’t care. The moment when you put your hands around my neck and squeezed the last breath out of my body I was looking at you and swore to get revenge one day. When the train stopped at the Bank station you dragged my lifeless body down these spiral steps, took the lid off the pit and threw my dead body into the darkness. I suppose you went home afterwards feeling proud of your conquest. You don’t have to be shocked. Yes, I am dead, open the lid and look in, you will see my bones. Since that evening I have been waiting and watching to see you again on the last Northern Line train in the evening from the Angel; a suitable name for the station, don’t you think? You see I want peace and want to join my mother and father in their eternal resting place, but first of all I had a job to do. I think my work is now done.”

There was the sound of metal scraping and the lid lifted from the pit on its own. The last thing the railway worker saw was the bottom on the pit, although it took a couple of days until he died, but he never left the pit again.

Doreen was happy, she had won her freedom and decided to leave the dreary railway of the Northern Line and walked upwards into the light and to her waiting family.

The Bench

Danni-2[1]

 
“Well here I am an no-one around; stupid idea really, carrying a red rose. It really cost a fortune. I am sure a daisy would have done just as well, or a copy of the daily newspaper. This bench is so uncomfortable, the wooden slats digging into my back. I am slowly thinking this was a bad idea. Sun is beating down between the spaces in the roof. This is definitely not my sort of thing. Time to go I think, but no, here he comes. At least I think this must be him, complete with red rose. He is coming nearer, but something is wrong. He is not making an attempt to sit down; he is walking faster and not even looking at me. No, please no, this is wrong.”

And then he pulled out the gun and fired one shot through her head. She was dead immediately. Her handbag was lying next to her inert body on the bench. He took it and emptied the contents onto the seat, he had little time.

“It must be here somewhere. She was going to hand the blueprints over to her contact. Good thing we got the contact before he had a chance to meet her. I just hate this job sometimes. I did not even know the dame, just another beginner wanting to make a fortune selling secrets to other countries. She was a pretty lady, why do they have to fall for this spy game. She could have met someone, got married and had a few kids, but no, she decided that doing this was a more lucrative side of life.

What do we have here; a double bottom in the handbag, these women get cleverer every year.”

He ripped the lining of the bag open and the blueprints fell out.

“Bingo, my boss will be pleased this time. He did tell me only to shoot if I had to, but sometimes its better this way. I will have to call the cleaners to do the rest of the work”

and he put the plans into the inside pocket of his jacket and made his way to the car. On the way he made a call to get the details organised. They would soon arrive with the fake ambulance and dispose of the nasty details.
The ambulance people did their job and all that remained on the seat were two red roses, although they had started wilting in the hot sun.

The Bathing Hut Murders

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Sandy Bay Daily News 10th May 2007
Two Bodies discovered in Bathing Hut
As reported in last weeks issue, all the bathing huts on our beach are being repainted. The weather and the salty air had made their impact over the years on the wooden constructions. Much to the surprise of the workmen the skeletal remains of two bodies were found in one of the huts. According to police investigations the bodies had been there probably only a short time after the huts were built. The bathing huts belong to members of the town population and are in popular usage, being handed down in the owner families from father to son. It seems that the hut in question had remained unused for the past years. No questions had been asked and it was assumed that the owners just wanted to keep it in the family. Amongst playing children and families enjoying their holidays on the beach, the fifth hut from the left hid its own secret.

Investigations are now being carried out by the police department to discover the origins of the bodies. We will keep you informed.

Extract from Sandy Bay Police Report No. 161: Discovery of two bodies – Detective Brad Lucarelli
After examination of the bodies found in the bathing hut on Sandy Bay Beach, a conclusion has been reached that they were the result of a murder, the skulls of both bodies showing massive injuries caused by a heavy object, most likely an axe. The bodies were male and female. Remains of clothing were found and duly searched for further clues. It was found that the male corpse belonged to the original owner of the bathing hut, Jack Green. The female body is that of his younger sister, Joan Green. Jack Green’s only other relative is his wife Mary who seems to have disappeared. Measures are being taken to find her whereabouts.

Sandy Bay Daily News, 15th May, 2007
Further details in Sandy Bay Bathing Hut Murders
It seems our quiet little seaside town now has a murder on its hands. After examination of the two bodies the police informed of the identities. Jack Green and his sister Joan seem to be the victims of a cold blooded murder. They were members of a well known family in the area twenty years ago. Mary Green, Jack’s wife, informed neighbours and acquaintances that her husband Jack had decided to move away from the area, being offered a new job in another town and that his sister did not want to remain alone in Sandy Bay and she would accompany him. The Green family were known to be wealthy, the parents being business people. After their death their fortune was inherited by Jack and his sister.

A search is now being carried out for Jack Green’s wife, Mary.

Extract from Sandy Bay Police Report No. 162: Murder Case Green – Detective Brad Lucarelli
Whereabouts of Mary Green now discovered. After leaving the Sandy Bay area she moved to the town of Great Metropolis. Her name was altered to Mary Baldock after marriage to Jason Baldock, grounder of the Baldock Cotton Mill Company.

Great Metropolis Gazette, 20th January, 2008
Jason Baldock found dead

One of the most prominent business men of our town, Jason Baldock, was found in his office dead on Sunday morning victim of a crime. According to his wife Mary, he had to pick up important documents. It seems he did not return home in the afternoon and his wife Mary found him in the office. The police inform he had been attacked from behind and hit on the head with a heavy object, most likely an axe. Further investigations are being made. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the widow.

Great Metropolis Gazette, 30th June, 2008
Mary Baldock tried for murder
After only one week Mary Baldock was found guilty of murder on her husband, the well-known cotton mill owner Jason Baldock. The jury needed only a few hours to reach their verdict. It seems Mary Baldock had been stealing from the company for some time and her husband discovered this. Mary Baldock killed her husband in cold blood, pretending that he was the victim of an unknown murderer.
She was sentenced to death on the electric chair.

Extract from Sandy Bay Police Report No. 163: Murder Case Jack Green – Detective Brad Lucarelli
The whereabouts of Mary Baldock found. Her remains are resting in the Great Metropolis Prison Cemetery. The case is now closed.

The Rival

I tried to kill her many times; strangling with a telephone wire, poisoning her morning coffee, pushing her over a computer cable lying on the floor and as a drastic means, a clean shot through the heart. Ok, now everyone stay calm, this was in my imagination, I just could not get the courage to do it properly at the time. Perhaps I should tell it from the beginning to put you all in the picture.

I was busy at work doing the job I had been paid to do for at least twenty-five years. Of course, when I started I did not really have a clue, but time makes perfect. I had been the longest in the department and there was not very much I did not know. Even the boss was glad. You cannot expect a boss to know everything, they give the orders, we have to carry them out. Things were just running well for everyone. If you did not know the answer, just ask me. The essence of being good at the job is that even if you make mistakes, no-one notices. Someone might ask something where you are at a loss with a good answer. The best thing to say is “I will have a look” and hope that the matter is forgotten, which is usually the case. If the question is remembered some time later, the problem has probably solved itself by then. So this is the cosy state of affairs. No problems, you know the answers and no-one asks silly questions. Then one fine day she arrived on the scene. Someone new was needed, I cannot really remember why. Was it a colleague that got herself in the family way, someone that found a better job, or just a marriage to someone so rich she did not have to work any more? Take your choice, but we had to have someone new. It is strange but when she arrived, little Miss Know It All, I just knew that my nice cushy safe position as alpha animal was going to be endangered.

Did she get the job – of course. One friendly smile from those baby blue eyes at the boss and the right answers to the questions, she got the job on a plate. When she started, it all seemed so harmless. Me being the helpful friendly type showed her what was expected. Then I just settled down into my nice little corner in the office and carried on as usual. First danger sign was when I heard something about further training for our new star. She had been in some foreign country for half a year to learn the language and now the idea was to give her the chance to learn even more. I had done enough of this further education myself, a little bit here and a little bit there, but she was sent on a course for a professional super top secretary with all the trimmings. The company were paying and it seemed to be quite a gold plated exercise that she was doing. Three hours a week for a year in a top school and when she passed the examination she was destined for a good position which sounded vaguely even better than mine.

Of course I was wrong. One fine day the boss called us all into the conference room for news. He was taking on more work and needed someone to take over the department. Not that I wanted the job, I had enough to do. I do not know what devil had ridden my boss at that time, but he decided little Miss Know It All would be his substitute. I did not really take this news as seriously as I should have, thinking my work is not involved, she will have her own headaches to manage. How wrong can you be? In the process of a month she had taken over all the important jobs I had and I was left with the routine stuff. I did not even have to think any more. She did the thinking and gave out the instructions. I was known as being a friendly helpful person, always ready with some helpful advice. At the end of this month I only spoke when spoken to and helped only one person, myself. I had been stamped into the floor like an ant; one of those that you do not even notice when you tread on them. I think this was when I decided to put my murderous ideas into practice and enrolled for a shooting course. I organised a licence for a gun and was soon one of the best in the course. I had a target before my eyes and decided it was now or never. I could always plead insane after the crime and life on a happy farm could not be worse than where I was working. Perhaps irrational thoughts but at the time I found them quite sensible.

I did try to save myself by asking my ex-boss for a transfer to another department. He even helped, but the director found I was in the best place for my qualifications. Life went on and the day was approaching when I would use Miss Know It All as the suitable victim for my black thoughts, but things are never as you plan.

It seemed that the chief secretary in the company was leaving and a replacement had to be found. Who could be more suitable than our brilliant spark that was giving me orders what to do and I really hoped for her (and me) that she would get the job. Of course, she applied and then the day came when the decision was made. Now this job was for the director and that was even one step higher to heaven than my ex-boss. Unknown to our leading lady, there was someone else in the narrow choice, the director’s daughter that had just finished her university education and was even more perfect that our star. Who got the job? That was clear, it was the director’s daughter. This was where things got a little mixed up. The day that it was announced who would be in the top floor of the company was the day I had decided to shoot Miss Know It All. I had progressed so well in my shooting lessons that I decided I was ready and had my pistol in my handbag ready for use.

What I did not know was that on the evening before, our aspiring director’s assistant had arrived home to find her boyfriend had left her for her best friend. She was annoyed, very annoyed, so decided to bring things in order and paid a visit to the boyfriend and his new partner and shot them both. The next morning she arrived in the office and received the news that the director’s new assistant would be his daughter. After lunch she came into the office with a gun. Of course, no-one was expecting this, but I could feel her emotions, after all I was planning to shoot her myself on that day. She walked into our office and shot the ex-boss. At least there was a lot of blood, but I could not really tell if he was still alive or not. Then she turned and looked at me. There is a saying “if looks could kill” and this would have suited the moment exactly. She raised the gun, but must have been a bit nervous as she narrowly missed me, although my computer was no longer usable. I pretended to be unconscious. She lost interest in my condition and walked on in a direct line to the director’s office where he was showing his daughter around. I decided to follow – after all the fun was just beginning. I walked past my ex-boss who was moaning on the floor, so he was still alive. My one time work colleague and woman in charge was just about to shoot the director and his daughter, when I gave her a push (she was not expecting me to appear). She fell and I jumped on her. There was a fight and somewhere in the fight a shot was released from the gun. There was deathly silence, lots of blood, but I was relieved to find it was not mine.

Little Miss Know It All had a quiet funeral. She had no family (it seemed her parents were killed in a mysterious fire at their house some years before). I attended just out of curiosity and my boss insisted on coming as well. I pushed him in his wheelchair.

Of course, I was the heroine of the day saving everyone’s life from our colleague that had decided to go on a shooting spree. My company decided to award me an early retirement with a very good pension. My boss never did recover, but now and again I take him for a walk in the park in his wheelchair. Sometimes things just do not turn out as you expect.