- Vol. 01
- Chapter 10
Image by Katherine Fawssett
For saleAll they could hear was the faint noise of running water. The open back door had been the way in.
The front door not responding to their incessant knocking.
The newly painted side latch gate unbarred from inside allowed them around the back of the house.
There the fresh-mown lawn was surrounded by neatly planted and trimmed bedding plants, set in ordered lines and careful patterns promising blooming loveliness when their buds burst.
The back door was open, not much but enough to encourage a tentative entry. Inside the kitchen was neat, spotless and new enough to set your teeth on edge. No water spots had yet stenciled themselves on the work surfaces. No faint finger grubbiness marred the cupboard doors around the handles.
Advancing through the kitchen into the hall no answer came to repeated 'hellooows' and 'is anyone at home'. It was at the foot of the stair we heard the water first. A faint rushing, and light.
Again we called. No answer. And so we carefully set up the stairs, imagining every horror and type of terror. Advancing carefully, backs against the wall, eyes never leaving the landing above, we climbed. But again - nothing as we reached the top of the stairs, calling out. The landing was empty, the carpet too clean.
To our right the nearest nearly closed door was that of the bathroom, which announced itself through the noise of running water. Around the edges of the landing other nearly open doors invited us into well set-out rooms, spare of any tossed clothes or mess.
For saleMoving to the bathroom we gently opened the door. It stopped partway. Something soft.
We eased it open. We saw Gerry lying on the floor. His head was nestled in a pool of hair matted blood that spread over the tiles around the back of his head like a small, drab red mirror. A shiny film forming on its surface. On the floor a hand towel lay part trapped under his foot, indicating how he had slipped on the newly polished floor.
A faint rasp of breath escaped Gerry's lips and we jolted into activity. Pushing the door further open we shouldered each other into the bathroom both trying to help first. Disorganised and panicked activity indicated we were doing something. Both of us calling out the same repeated words describing what we were doing to help Gerry, even though the other one was doing it as well. After the first onset of panic, the necessity of the situation forced us both to stop. Then one of us ran down the stairs to phone, forgetting the mobiles shoved in each of our pockets. Red footprints imprinted on the stairs, to mirror the pattern of frenetic activity.