A month or so ago, I started a random story, not sure where it was going to end, sharing it here, part by part. So, here’s the next part of a story which might turn into something longer… or might not! Jay has been relocated with a new identity to the village of Oxhope. She has met a few people at the local pub, and is tentatively getting to know them. She is still anxious, but wants to begin to live a normal life. She’s working at home when a smiling but rather sinister man calls about carpet cleaning; Jay’s spooked and shuts the door on him, moments later a friendly neighbour arrives who has also had the sinister man calling on her. Jay tries to carry on as normal, going for a run, going to the pub, working, but one evening, in her garden which backs onto a rhyne (drainage channel) she overhears a threat voiced by an unknown person to someone else.
I could kill you – it was just a phrase, not to be taken literally, a phrase expressing impatience, annoyance, maybe even hatred, but it wasn’t literal. The voice drifting down the rhyne, hadn’t meant they were literally tempted to kill someone. They might even have been talking to their dog who had pooed in the vegetable patch. It wasn’t said threateningly as if there was any intention, it wasn’t said as a possibility ‘I could kill you if I wanted to, I’m quite capable of it, you know’. It had been a cross voice, an angry voice – but what had been her first impression as she’d leapt up like a frightened frog – a low vicious voice, that’s what she’d thought.
She was in the kitchen now, at the front of the house, gazing down the road again. A cup of tea and then she would go upstairs and do some work, fill the empty hours and then maybe go for another run. Tomorrow she would go into town and buy something for no reason other than just to do something away from the house. Maybe she would walk there along the beach instead of taking the car.
Upstairs she sat down full of resolve to do some work, opened the page she’d been on and tried to concentrate. Pensions analysis, how dull, how safe, how absorbing, how dull. She plodded on, switching from one computer to the other, trying to engage, but she really wasn’t in the mood. Most days she settled to it, not exactly enjoying it, but not hating ti either, but today she was unsettled. Maybe she should go for a run, plat plat plat plat, one foot in front of the other.
She found herself looking out of her window. The house directly behind her, on the other side of the rhyne was sideways on to her, so when she took the footpath over the bridge she walked past their front garden, along the cul-de-sac to the high street. A family lived there and they would call hello if they saw her passing, parents and several children.
The houses beyond the end of the over-the-rhyne neighbours were a terrace of cottages. She couldn’t see their gardens, but guessed they were small, maybe once merely back yards. From her window she could see into her elderly neighbours’ garden, very traditional, small lawn, path down the middle, and then a small area of vegetables and raspberry canes.
I could bloody kill you! Who had said it? Now replaying it in her mind, it had become sinister, but maybe it was just her own secret fear making it seem so. A low vicious voice. She replayed her own thoughts:
It wasn’t said threateningly as if there was any intention, it wasn’t said as a possibility ‘I could kill you if I wanted to, I’m quite capable of it, you know’. It had been a cross voice, an angry voice…
Had it been a cross voice? Had it been a vicious voice? Who were the people who lived in the terrace of houses there? Hmm, intriguing! A little village mystery, St Mary Mead reborn as Oxhope, and Jay as Miss Marple – not Jane Marple but Jay Marple!
She felt cheered by this, and turned back to her computer, pushed her glasses up her nose and settled to finish her task.