The Watcher… 11

clock lusi


Marie heard the car horn outside in the early hours. Her heart leapt into her throat. She ran from the kitchen at the back of her house to look through the front window…check it wasn’t her philandering husband returning. She was surprised to see a taxi outside Mrs Brown’s house. A moment later the door opened and she watched Mrs Brown herd her son down the path. They had suitcases…she hoped they would have a better holiday than she had had. She wasn’t at all surprised to see faces at the upstairs windows on either side. Old Mrs Potts and Gina never missed a thing. Mrs Potts abruptly stepped back and yanked the curtains closed. Almost certainly, Dennis, across from her, was also spying.

She’d never met a more inquisitive set of people. Or maybe she was just more aware because of the Watching note. The Watcher could be any one of them…

But how could they know her husband wasn’t really dead?

She felt incredibly guilty about saying that…she hadn’t thought the lie through, realise that people she scarcely knew would actually care… Every time she had set foot outside the house, one or the other of them had cornered her, offering condolences and asking if they could help in any way.

That was why she had completed her husband’s upheaval of her life. She now slept during the day and pottered round the house in the dead of night. She even sat in the back garden, huddled in a fleece. The cool night air was so refreshing.

Elvis, Gina’s cockerel, crowed loudly. She could set her watch by that hen! It blasted out at almost the same time every morning, rain or shine. As good as an alarm clock, and more picturesque.  Annoying at a weekend, though, when she had wanted to sleep in, but right now she couldn’t care less. She could see him down the side of the house, standing in his pen in the back garden, head tilted to the sky. A few minutes later, she glimpsed Gina, in her dressing gown, tossing out grain. She watched Edward, her cat, rub round her ankles, then trot down the side of his house, and across the road to hers. He paused to investigate the tangled flowerbed. He often visited her in the night. She was glad of his undemanding company. Gina was also watching him, and then stared searchingly at the house. Was she going to visit in her dressing gown? Marie was glad when she turned away.

Maybe she should be more sociable and accept the morning coffee she knew would be offered later. She couldn’t hide way for ever. She had to outlive her notoriety of being the woman whose husband had been eaten by a shark!  Why hadn’t she chosen something more mundane…even admitted that he had deserted her, gone off with another woman, a younger woman. She thought about this for a moment. Sympathy for the supposed death of her husband, she could cope with…but sympathy for a deserted wife was an entirely different kettle of fish. They would all wonder why. She couldn’t face the shame of being abandoned.  She watched the taxi draw away. She wished it was her getting away from the mess of her life…heading for a new beginning.

She must make a start. Put the house on the market.


Photo by courtesy of  lusi







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The Watcher… 10


Continuing The Watcher…


Gina had spent a good hour last night corralling her rooster.

When she had spotted him strutting up and down the road, she had been so afraid a car would knock him down. He was like an accident waiting to happen. It was lucky he wasn’t by Denis and Debs’ house when she came home…she was a renowned erratic driver, just as hens were known to be silly. That description certainly suited Elvis. But not too silly to keep one step ahead of her, just out of reach, as if they were playing a crazy game of tag. Of  course, the neighbours had watched, but no one had come out to help her catch him. He had paused to preen once too often and she had pounced. A kind of rugby tackle which had sent feathers flying. Tucked under her arm, he had squawked and struggled. She’d been glad to put him in his pen and slam the door. He had fixed beady eyes on her, flapped his wings and made a show of sorting his ruffled feathers.  His harem had clucked and cackled, then settled on their perches.  She’d put them all to bed early and had an early night.



Gina twitched the duvet round her ears. Pesky Elvis was rousing the neighbourhood, as usual. One day some one would complain to Environmental Health or something about keeping livestock too near housing. She had carefully measured the length of her garden before she had bought the hens, and was pretty sure she wasn’t contravening an obscure ruling. Many of the bylaws went back hundreds of years and the quaint spelling was sometimes hard to understand.

A car sounded its horn outside. Surely not Debs going to work so early…or maybe poor widowed Marie across the road. If I was in her position, Gina thought, I would prefer to go to work, be among people. Much better than brooding alone.  She got out of bed to check what was going on.

She was surprised to see a taxi outside the next house, and Mrs Sykes chivvying a pale-faced Darren down the path, her arm spread behind him as if she expected him to escape. She was reminded of herself and Elvis, last night.

The driver was loading a pair of wheeled suitcases, and Darren had a backpack. They were obviously going on holiday. Where to and for how long, she wondered? Mrs Sykes usually asked her to keep an eye on her house. Her face looked quite haggard, maybe a family emergency had called her away. She knew for a fact that her old mother was in a nursing home…

Gina was about to turn from her window when Denis Brown’s front door opened. He wore his usual dark business suit, but no tie and his hair was tangled. He look quite bad-tempered as he looked searchingly up and down the road. He didn’t see her, but he nodded across at Mrs Potts’ house, so that meant that she was busybodying too. The only person not taking an interest was Marie. Did that mean she wasn’t in? Had been out all night? Not that it was any of her business, but she’d keep a special watch today, to put her mind at rest.


Drat that hen! She hurriedly dragged her dressing gown on. She’d better go and feed him and hope that he’d settle down to a lazy day. There was no way she was going to give him the run of the garden today. She wondered if he realised that he’d been bad, running away.

Edward, her cat, watched her toss grain for the hens. He didn’t follow her back into the house as usual, but  padded down the side of the house and across to  Marie’s garden and began nosing around in the overgrown flowerbed. Gina noticed a dandelion head gone to seed. She must have missed it yesterday. She also noticed that the upstairs curtains were drawn across the windows. So Marie was at home… odd she hadn’t peeked out like everyone else. Maybe she was ill…

When she’d got dressed, she’d pop over at a more reasonable hour and ask her to come across for a coffee. But if she was ill…delay could be vital…


Photo by courtesy of micromoth


The Watcher… 6

johnnyberg. dandelions

Gina plucked the last dandelion head, and wondered why her neighbour didn’t spare a minute to do this. Even though Marie had let the garden run wild, it was only neighbourly to stop them seeding and spreading. They were pretty in their way, a cheerful yellow like sunshine and daffodils, but they were weeds. She thought she saw a hint of movement at the window. She stared into the dark room but could see nothing.

Poor Marie—it must have been a terrible shock to be widowed by a hungry shark. And to top it all, to have no dead body to bury and bring closure to her grief. She had no children to turn to. Little wonder she had immersed herself in her job, working all hours… although she had no idea what the job was, but she suspected it must be high profile, upper management judging by her clothes and the expensive house…well, Denis Jones, next door, was in something to do with Computers and he was always well dressed, just like Marie… He looked to be doing very nicely…Pity about his flighty wife…

Having never been married, Gina couldn’t quite put herself in Marie’s place…but she did understand loneliness, what it was like to have no focus in ones life…

When her old mother had passed on, she had rattled round in the house, lost because she no longer had anyone to care for, to fuss over, no one to love her back.

She had solved this problem by adopting Edward. Not that she had replaced her mother with a cat, but he loved her and appeared to listen to every word she said. Then there were the girls, the hens. She didn’t regard them with the same affection she did Edward, but their plumage was gorgeous. She’d come across them when she was surfing the web and had been captivated by their beauty. They also provided eggs, but the cockerel, Elvis, was so noisy in a morning, strutting around rousing his harem. No one had complained. Yet.

She crossed the road to her house and smiled at Darren who was anxiously peering out of the window next door. He looked pale. Hadn’t his mother come home yet? As if in answer, the light flashed on and his mother crossed the room behind him.  As Darren twitched the curtains in place the light glinted off the gold watch on his wrist. Looked expensive. She could’ve sworn his birthday was months away. Mrs Potts worried face showed briefly at the next window… she wondered if she should ask the lonely old woman round for a cuppa? Before she had chance, the curtains swished across the window, shutting out the outside world.

She took a last look at the two executive houses opposite her, both looked deserted, but she knew Denis was in, she’d watched him come home to an empty house…

Ah, well…everything in this world couldn’t be perfect. Gina closed her front door, planning how she could alleviate her neighbours loneliness…


Photo by courtesy of johnnyberg






The Watcher…. 5

shark redfloor



Marie hated her neighbours with a passion… They asked too many questions.

Why were they so concerned about how much she missed her husband…It was no business of theirs that he’d run off with a bikini-clad beauty half his age. It was their fault that she’d felt compelled to lie when she returned alone from her Seychelles holiday and they’d asked where he was. It was either that or burst into tears.

“Dead,” she’d said, because that was the state she wished he was in for betraying her.

Then of course, she had to follow it through because she couldn’t stand the shame of losing out to The Other Woman. She’d got round the funeral by saying there was no body, he’d been eaten by a shark. She wasn’t even sure if sharks lived in the Seychelles, but no one had challenged her. She felt guilty for deceiving them, and she would never forget their shocked faces, their hushed there-there voices as they tried to be there for her…

She kept well back from the window, as the busybody woman from across the road ripped heads off dandelions.  Her overgrown cat had followed her, and she half-expected the troop of hens to join them and start pecking for insects.

She didn’t like letting the garden go back to the wild, but it was preferable to constant sympathy and pretending to mourn her no-good husband. If the louse came crawling back asking for forgiveness her neighbours would most likely have a collective heart attack.

She also regretted having to creep round her house like a ghost, pretend she wasn’t in. Maybe she should sell and move on…the house was in her name, some sort of tax evasion…that’d serve her two-timing husband right! She noticed the oblong of cream paper on the doormat, but had to wait until her dandelion murdering neighbour had moved on before she could pick it up. She took it through to the kitchen at the back of the house and read it by the light from the cooker.






 She had no idea what it meant. It didn’t make sense. But she got quite a jolt.




Photo by courtesy of  redfloor




From Amazon…Kindle or paperback



A lucky escape…


It was the last thing I had expected to happen, after a pleasant day out and a slap up meal, him telling me we were through, over.

Sitting on the harbour wall, sun hot on my back, I gazed at his smug face in shock.

He waffled on about how sorry he was, and if only I knew why he had made this hard decision I would thank my lucky stars or, to more precise, him…

Jolted out off my stupor, I leapt to my feet. He looked up at me in surprise. His mouth was still open in mid-sentence when I angrily delivered a hefty push on his cashmere sweater.

He hit the water with a very satisfying splash. Seagulls rose in a flurry.

He hadn’t been expecting that.

I paused a moment, watching him surface, taking in the angry shake of his head, before he swam determinedly to the steps leading from the moorings.

Time to go.

I slipped through the gathering crowd and up a narrow alley, round a corner, up a flight of worn steps, and I could see him shedding water on the quayside.

There was something distinctly odd about this place. Or about him. Or both.

He had brought me here on our first date, telling me it was a very special place. I had asked why and, with an irritating, superior smile, he had said it was full of extra-special memories.

And clammed up.

No amount of teasing had coaxed any facts from him. As it was our first date, I had thought it might be a ploy to make sure there was a second. And now, six months on, and me no wiser, we had returned to his very special place of extra-special memories and he had added the memory of finishing with me. I had added a dip in the harbour.

I knew which memory was extra-special to me.

Maybe that was it—he used this place as a beginning and an end for all his romances.

I became aware that he was striding uphill in my direction. Surely he hadn’t seen me?  Then I realised that he was heading to the car park.

I melted into a small chintzy tearoom, not his thing at all.

He squelched past as I was ordering latte and cream cakes. Judging by his thunderous face he didn’t appreciate my contribution of a super extra-special memory.

What exactly were his extra-special memories of this very special place, I wondered, watching him stomp out of sight. And why did he think I should thank him for ending our relationship?

Adding his comments together gave me a feeling of unease.

Especially as he’d added, only one last time and prepare to be surprised, to his repertoire of remarks to intrigue. Only he’d got it wrong.  Together with his smug smile, I found them extremely irritating. If he was laying the foundations for a proposal, he’d got that wrong, too.

But I’d been unkind. Maybe I should give him a ring. I needed a lift home.

My attention was caught by the two girls settling at the next table.

“I thought that hunk had fallen off his yacht, but that old guy with the pipe said his girlfriend had pushed him in.”

“Didn’t you think it odd that no one had noticed which way she’d gone?” said her friend.

“Not when I saw how mad he looked. I wouldn’t like to be her when he catches up.”

Me neither, I thought, finger hesitating over my mobile.

“He said she should’ve been easy to notice,” she added, as my mobile rang.

They both looked across; first at the phone, flashing blue, then at me, not answering.

It was him. I jabbed the off button. The screen blanked. His name disappeared.

“It was you!” the first girl said.

I nodded, grimacing. “Just burnt my boat, silly me. I’ll have to make my own way home.  Can you direct me to the station?”

“I should stay holed up in here for a while.” The second girl tossed me her cardigan. “Here, borrow this to cover that fancy top. He looked mighty mad to me. I’m Fran, by the way. She’s Jo.”

The top which I’d thought becoming and attractive now seemed to be sending out signals like a homing device. Almost on cue, I saw his car nose slowly round the corner at the top of the street.

“Thanks!” I dragged the cardigan on and ducked my head.

“That him?” Jo asked.

“Hmm.” I squinted sideways at his grim profile. “Maybe I’d better keep out of his way for a while. Let him cool down.”

“Don’t you mean dry off?” Fran giggled. “The water’s quite cold today.”

“I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before,” Jo said. “You’re not local are you?”

“No, we live about four hours drive away.”

“He certainly didn’t go to my school.” Fran said. “I’d’ve remembered!”

“He could have lived here once. He says it’s his special place of extra special memories.”

“That’s it!” Jo said, excited. “It was when I was waiting tables at Anton’s.”

“That’s where we had lunch,” I said. “Lovely food.”

“And expensive,” Fran said. “No one ever takes me there.”

“He was saying exactly the same things to that blonde girl…you must remember, Fran?”

“The girl who was washed up on the beach?”

“What?” I said. “Drowned?”

“Presumed to be suicide.”

I stared at her, feeling chilled.

“What exactly are you trying to say?”

“Her parents weren’t at all happy with the verdict…”

“But still…” Fran said. “That must be almost three years ago, time enough for—“

“Fresh evidence to surface?” Jo said. “He was also in Antons with Debby Taylor. Twice.”

The two friends stared at each other.

“Who’s she?” I asked.

“He didn’t come to her funeral, which I thought very strange,” Jo said.

“Funeral?” My voice ratcheted up. Heads turned. “You mean she’s  dead?”

“It must be eight months ago now. Her body was found buried in the sand dunes.”

“I’ve—I’ve been going out with him for six months…”

“Strikes me you’ve had a lucky escape, girl,” Fran said soberly.

I was surprised to find I was trembling. I pulled the cardigan tightly round me, wrapping my arms round my waist. My mind tried in vain to dismiss what Jo was implying.

“Are—are you sure about this?” I asked. “He’s kind, considerate and—well, I admit he can be quite annoying and smug, but—” I broke off to watch him drive slowly past. “He’s going back to the car park. I hoped he’d be on his way home. Maybe he doesn’t want to leave me stranded—”

“Shouldn’t risk it, if I were you,” Fran said.

“He’s obviously looking for you,” Jo said. “He’ll check the shops next. Go to the Ladies and I’ll wait here to get a good look at him, to make sure.”

I hesitated, then quickly bolted when I spotted him striding down the street.

The doorbell jangled. I cracked the door open a smidgen.

His glittering eyes checked the customers, and he headed to where I had been sitting.

I’d left my mobile on the table. He’d obviously seen it. He got his own from his pocket.

Jo pushed her chair back, smashing into his thigh, and reached for my phone.

“Forget my head if it was loose,” she said. “Don’t know why you had to swap tables, Fran. Oops, sorry, sir. Have I hurt you?”

“My fault entirely,” he said pleasantly, in his deep baritone, smiling. But his eyes still glittered. “I was looking for my girlfriend. Must have misunderstood her directions—“

“There’s another tearoom further on,” Jo said helpfully. “Have a nice day.”

With a last searching glance round the room, he left.

I waited a few minutes, to make sure that he wasn’t going to double back, catch me out.

“Well?” I asked.

“Definitely the same man,” Jo said. “I’d recognise that sexy voice anywhere.”

My lips tightened. I was going to give him another memory to add to his special place.

Something entirely unexpected.

I picked up my mobile, briefly wondering why I’d been spared, and jabbed 999.

Copyright ©

Photo by courtesy of






Brad and Lucy …13

Last week we left an uneasy Brad trying to stop Lucy knocking on the backdoor of the old cottage, looking for Mr Ing…


“Lucy, no!” Brad said, when Lucy rapped on the door again when no-one answered the first time.

“Mr Ing?” she called loudly. “Is there anyone there?”

Brad felt a shiver of apprehension at her choice of words. But there was no reply—from this world—or the next—

“It really is time we were going,” he said. “We’ll come back tomorrow, in daylight.”

“Torch,” she said impatiently, glancing at him over her shoulder. “You have a torch!”

“Must’ve left it in the car.” His fingers closed round it to stop it clanking against the heavy iron door key. “Silly me, shall I go—”

Just GO, his brain shrieked when, unexpectedly, the ancient door slowly jerked open an inch at a time to reveal a larger segment of darkness.

Creak— creak— creak— and then it stopped—

Brad had the uneasy feeling that the house was waiting—like a spider in a web

Lucy leapt back with a surprise yelp, then started to giggle.

“He’s playing games! Mr Ing? May we come in?”

She confidently stepped into the darkness and Brad had no choice but to follow.

“Our eyes will soon adjust,” she said, when he bumped against her. “Just stand still a moment.”

The blackness morphed to patchy greyness, and Brad thought he could detect movement in the darker area behind the door.

“Mr Ing?” he said, trying to drag the torch from his pocket and at the same time keep a hold on Lucy, who was edging forward. “Enough of the fun and games!”

They both jumped when the squirrel leapt between their heads and landed on the next beam.

Lucy squealed in surprise. “Sammy Squirrel!” she said. “You scared me half to death!”

It had been so damned close, Brad thought, heart racing. He could’ve sworn he’d felt the brush of fur on his cheek.  Or was it just displacement of air? He scrubbed at his cheek, thinking ‘fleas’.

“There looks to be kindling in that old fireplace,” Lucy said, peering into the gloom. “Maybe Mr Ing was planning to settle down for the evening, and then we turn up!”

“Where is he then?” Brad asked.

“Maybe he’s nipped upstairs to get changed from his work clothes. He must’ve been here to open the door, and I’m sure he won’t mind if we light the fire. There’s quite a chill in the air. Have you got a match?”

“I’m not a blasted boy scout,” Brad snapped. “prepared for everything!”

“There’s no need to be so ratty!”

Brad’s answer was a grunt.

He shuffled half a step forward, his foot hovering like a metal detector, and stopped abruptly when his toes reported a gap— a missing section. Did floors have pot holes? Perhaps old ones did. He fumbled the torch from his pocket.

The owl hooted and Lucy grabbed his arm.

He dropped the torch and resignedly waited for it to smash on the stone-flagged floor.

After what seemed an eternity of pregnant silence he heard a muffled splash.

“What was that?” Lucy breathed, shrinking against him.

Copyright ©


More tomorrow….









Deception Unlimited…. continued


Yesterday we left Thomasina at the roadside, in a thunderstorm …


A heavy-goods wagon delivered a tidal wave of dirty water and I ineffectively swatted at my designer jeans. I hesitated to flag a driver down. I could end up raped or dead or both. On the other hand, what mentality were they, ignoring a maiden so obviously in distress?
No sign of a roadside phone. My mobile was in my bag. In the car.
The hum and swish of the traffic and the drumming rain reminded me of the gangster movie. Stop daydreaming, I told myself, straining to hear the mysterious bump-bump from the hire car. Do something!
One foot on the tufted grass, one in a shallow puddle, giving the car a wide berth, I edged along until I was level with the passenger door. The rain was easing off at last. I should be able to hear clearly.
But the car remained silent.
The gangster movie and the similar weather in the here and now must have clouded my sanity. There was nothing wrong with the stupid car. And didn’t bombs go tick-tick not bump-bump?
But before this thought had properly gelled, the car went bump-bump-bump again.
My heart shot into my mouth.
The noise was unmistakably coming from the boot.
A low cloud base had turned early morning into late evening. The traffic, headlights glinting on the slanting rain, hissed past unheeding. I wasn’t really surprised that no-one had stopped. Would I have stopped if I had spotted a bedraggled woman stalking a car? I would have been wary of being knifed by a maniac. There were incidents reported in the press every day.
I sidled to the rear of the car, feeling my eyes cross as I stared at it. How could the noise be coming from the boot? All it held were my two bags. True, I hadn’t checked if it was empty when I’d heaved my things in, so maybe a tool kit had bounced around when I drove.
Flawed reasoning. The car was now stationary.
Bump-bump-bump, it went again.
Had an animal got in when the car was cleaned? Such as a cat? Cats mewed. A squirrel? What noise did squirrels make? Certainly not bump-bump. Could it be a bird? Shouldn’t that be flutter-flutter?
Shivering, I listened to a repeat of the uneven bump-bump-bump. No other noises. I would have to unlock the thing. The keys were still in the ignition.
I jogged round the side of the car, to generate body heat, and reached in for the keys. Back at the rear, I stood irresolute. I didn’t want to do this. Should I drive to the nearest police station? ‘Officer, there’s a strange noise coming from my car boot.’ I giggled nervously, reminded of my father’s childhood joke: ‘Waiter, there’s a hair in my soup.’
I stretched to insert the key, flung the boot open and leapt back, arms flailing to keep my balance on the uneven ground.
Nothing emerged.
I let out a gusty breath. I think I had been expecting a genie.
I tiptoed closer … closer still, until I could see my matched luggage. As I stared, my holdall convulsed and heaved as if about to vomit. Startled, I stumbled backwards.
What was inside? And how had it got there?
As per the airport posters, my holdall hadn’t been out of my sight. I’d carried it on the plane, put it in the overhead locker— I knew tropical spiders stowed away in bananas, but my bag contained no fruit, no plants: just overflow clothes from my suitcase. If it was a spider it must be the size of a baby octopus. I edged up to the boot again, took a deep breath, and reached for the zip. The holdall juddered and bulged. I wrenched the zip back and did a sideways ballet-like leap out of range.
Nothing emerged.
I craned my neck. The bag bulged and rocked and twitched along the floor. Bump-bump-bump.
I yelped and jerked back. Wrapping my arms tight round my waist to still my trembling, I shuffled a step nearer. A tan patch was visible, jerking and hairy. I’d never heard of hairy spiders, but if it was… my scream would halt the traffic in a two hundred mile radius! I reached out with cold fingers and tweaked the holdall open. Bulging brown eyes, pleading and afraid, rolled in my direction, whites showing.
“Such a fright, you gave me!” I scolded the pup. “How did you get in there?”
I scooped it up, grimacing at the stench of dog pee. I was aghast to find the pup’s jaws and legs were bound together with silver duct tape.
“You poor little thing. What monster’s done this to you? Don’t worry, you’re safe now.”
I scrambled into the car, cradling the trembling pup, and rooted in my shoulder bag for my make-up pouch. I tipped the contents on the passenger seat, looking for my nail scissors. Sugar! US Airport Security had made me put them in my hold luggage. I scurried through the rain to get them from my suitcase in the boot.
Crooning baby-talk, I carefully snipped the tape free from the long facial hair. A pale limp tongue licked my fingers. Next, I tackled the tightly bound legs. The poor thing lay in a collapsed heap on my lap, making no attempt to escape.
“Who put you in my bag?” I asked, stroking the tangled fur. “And why? And when?”
I switched the engine on and turned the heating up. We were both shivering. I was cold and wet, and the pup was probably in shock. That made two of us, I thought, settling him on the passenger seat and angling the heater vents. The sooner we were both warm and dry, the better. I would make better time when we reached the motorway. The storm had passed over, but white light lit the skyline and thunder rumbled in the distance.
I eased into the traffic and flicked the radio on. Music always stimulated my brain, and I needed all the help I could get to figure out the mystery of the pup in my holdall. Jet lag wasn’t helping, either. I stifled a yawn, glad to see the slip road to the motorway. I was even gladder to find a Services sign a few miles further on. I needed to get out of my wet clothes. I pulled into a parking bay, pleased it was no longer raining. The pup sat up, tongue lolling in an idiotic grin.
“You can’t come. Be good and I’ll bring you a sandwich,” I said, giving it a perfunctory pat. “I won’t be long.”
I swung the boot lid up, releasing a strong doggy odour. Sugar! I’d forgotten the pup’s little accident in my holdall. Would there be anything fit to wear? I lifted my new black tee-shirt between a cringing thumb and finger. My mouth dropped open in surprise. Black boxers, scattered with red shooting stars, dangled from my fingers.
First a dog and now them— my holdall was like a magician’s hat— or maybe it was the car boot. I frowned. This really was bizarre. I wished for a bundle of cash, in case either one of them were still in magic mode. I had no luck, of course.
I upended my holdall in search of my camera before I dumped the whole malodorous lot in a rubbish bin. The damp assortment of clothes wasn’t mine.
This couldn’t be happening, I thought. The magic was still ongoing.
Trying not to breath, I leaned closer. Men’s gear—
An image flashed into my mind— my sinister neighbour hoisting his navy holdall from the rack in the plane. He’d obviously made a mistake and taken mine. I was unsure if my holdall held anything to identify me. I imagined him at my door, a rare smile on his lean face, expecting an exchange.
I couldn’t hand over an empty bag.
I rammed the whiffy things back. Let him sort the mess. Serve him right for being so cruel to his pet. His dash from the plane made sense now. He must have been worried it would suffocate. Why had he done it? Couldn’t he afford the fare? He looked affluent enough in his expensive business suit. But appearances could be deceptive, as I well knew.
I had never expected laidback Mitch to shoot me.


More tomorrow …