This is the eighth part of a fiction serial, in 1177 words.
Lucy didn’t notice the raised eyebrows of the girl at the reception desk, as she checked in with Eduardo. The drive down had been exhilarating, with Eduardo’s hands all over her in the car, as he was barely able to suppress his desire. The lakeside hotel was classy, in an old-fashioned way, reminiscent of old hotels seen in films. Discreet, tucked away, not a place sought out by families, or groups of youngsters. The receptionist could clearly see through the couple. The older woman, younger man. It was generally the other way round of course, so she was used to it. She handed over the key with a cold smile. “Have a nice stay, madam”.
Eduardo hadn’t hesitated once the door was closed behind them. He literally dragged Lucy onto the bed, and made love to her without hardly removing any of her clothes. As Lucy stood under the shower afterwards, she tingled, and not just from the force of the water. This was how it was supposed to be.
The young man stretched out on the bed, glancing around the room. It was no big deal, and nowhere near as luxurious as he had thought it would be. There was no sign of a mini-bar, just some complimentary bottles of water on a side unit, along with a kettle and some cups, a basket-weave container holding some sachets of tea and coffee, and two tall glasses. The main feature of the room was the full length balcony he could see thought the glass doors, with an uninterrupted view of the lake, as they were on the third floor. He looked around, and found a folder with some basic information, and a list of local sights of interest. Boat hire was available, and the hotel had a gym, and small swimming pool, but there was no mention of Room Service anywhere.
Eduardo had only been there for thirty minutes, but he was already very disappointed.
Alex was up bright and early that morning. There was a forecast for rain later, and he had things to do while it was still dry. After putting on his gardening clothes, he was busy digging in the loose earth next to the shed. He felt much stronger today, and the work was easy. Perhaps because he had slept so well last night following that delicious dinner, and relaxing later watching an interesting DVD about the Vietnam War. When the hole was deep enough, he got the incinerator from behind the shed. At the bottom, he placed some newspapers, twigs and branch cuttings he had saved. Then he added the plastic sheet containing the protective suit, goggles, face mask, and old gloves. On top of the pile, he placed more twigs, and some waste paper saved from parcel packaging. A quick squirt of barbecue fluid, and he lit the fire through a hole in the bottom. It caught quickly, and started to burn fiercely. As the smoke began to rise, swirling in the breeze, he turned to look next door, up at the bedroom window overlooking at the garden. He pictured Allan’s body in the hallway, awaiting discovery.
While the fire carried on burning nicely in the container, he checked the fence above the storage box. There was no sign of any residue left by the protective suit, no orange fibres or snagged pieces of material. The suits were designed to be durable, and he had suspected that he would leave no clue. Rubbing his hand on the rough wood of the fence-top, he could see no blood left on his fingers or palm. There might be microscopic traces of course, but even if they were discovered, they would be Allan’s blood, giving no clue to the identity of his killer. Once the fire died down, he poked around in the ashes with a metal rod. Everything had burned well. The suits were intended to be incinerated, and even the large sheet of plastic had melted into nothing. But the gloves had not disintegrated completely, and the metal parts of the goggles remained too. He allowed the hot ash to settle, and went inside to prepare a late breakfast.
Jean walked over to where Don was cooking some sausages on the camping stove. He could have done that in the small kitchen inside, but he always liked the feel of the outdoors. He looked up at his wife as she spoke. “The radio says it will rain later, Don. Do you think we should make a move, go home early? He shook his head. “It’s the last trip of the season, love. Let’s make the most of it, rain or not”. Jean grinned, and started buttering the bread for the sausage sandwiches. Don was a good man, always so kind. Let him have the extra night.
Once the ashes had cooled, Alex reached in and removed the metal clips that had been on the strap fastening the goggles, then fished out the charred gloves too. Inside the house, he washed the clips in the kitchen sink, then took them with the gloves into his shed. Placing the clips in a plastic box containing assorted screws, nuts and bolts, and other small metal parts, he picked up a sharp carpet-knife and began using it to shred the gloves on top of the work bench. By the time he had finished, the gloves resembled little more than clump of unrecognisable fibres, which he took back outside and threw on top of the ash in the incinerator. Using his new gloves, he picked up the still-warm metal container, and tipped the contents into the hole he had dug earlier. Then he walked over to the back of the garage, to pick up the two fuchsia bushes that he and Lucy had purchased two weeks earlier. Spreading earth into the ash, he planted the shrubs two feet apart, then added some water from a watering can, before filling in the hole, and tamping down around the new planting.
The ashes would be good for the young plants, and would soon disappear into the earth.
There had been no time to drive Eduardo into town to buy clothes. Lucy was rather miffed that he hadn’t packed anything smart enough to wear in the restaurant, but the hotel had supplied a steam-iron and board when asked, and she had pressed a short-sleeved shirt and some chinos, so he would at least look respectable. Once they were ready, she was definitely overdressed, compared to her lover. Her new lacy underwear was complimented by some suspenders and black stockings, all concealed under a low-cut midnight blue dress that shone in the evening light. Even with four-inch high heels, she was still a head shorter than the handsome young man, and for a moment she really worried that they might look more like mother and son, than a couple. But the table was booked, and she was looking forward to a romantic meal, overlooking the peaceful lake.
To be continued…