Jay, a woman with a new identity who is now living in the seaside village of Oxhope. It hasn’t yet been revealed why she is there, or what happened in her past that has meant she has had to start a new life, but she is beginning to come to terms – and even settle into it. She has begun to make some casual friends, people at the pub, the woman next door, but is still cautious and wary. Her house in the village backs onto a stream, and one evening, in the garden there’s a mumbled conversation going on in a nearby garden and she hears someone say ‘I could bloody kill you!’. The following day, Jay decides to go for a walk round the village:
Afterwards there was a blur in her memory from that decision to go out to explore, Jay could barely remember leaving her house, walking down the passage beside it, over the river, and back along the high street.
What remained in her mind, and haunted her dreams for a while, was the scream.
Jay had crossed the bridge, she had plenty of photos of the rhyne and its ducks so took no more. She’d been told by someone that sometimes a kingfisher flashed along, that someone with a night-cam had caught an otter and two pups, dark shadows in the water, but Jay had only seen the ducks.
She had some night shots of the terrace of cottages on the curve of the high street, their doors opening straight into the road, and the red brick wall opposite. There was a handily placed streetlamp which had illuminated this part of the street.
Now in sunshine the colours of the painted house fronts and the red brick wall opposite, decorated with some very green ivy looked almost like a film set, Midsomer Murders – and she smiled to herself.
She was just passing the front door of the green house when the front door of the yellow house next to it opened and a woman leapt into the road with an ear piercing scream. More than startled, Jay literally jumped and her phone flew out of her hand.
The woman stood, shriek after shriek bouncing between the house walls and the red bricks.
“What’s the matter, tell me, are you hurt? What’s happened?” questions tumbled from Jay, as she scooped up her phone and ran to put an arm around the woman.
Did she notice the blood then, or was it later that she saw it, time was disjointed, her thoughts jumbled.
The woman pointed into the house. Afterwards, one of the first questions from the police had been, why did you enter the premises?
The woman had said oh my god, she’s hurt, she’s hurt –
Running from round the bend was another woman, it was Gemma – later Jay realised it was actually Emma.
“I heard a scream! Gem exclaimed, and she followed Jay into the house.