This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 767 words.
The letter was unambiguous. The consultant wanted to see her urgently, to discuss the results of the last mammogram. Jenny had no doubt that the news would be bad. After all, she could feel the lumps easily, and one of them was becoming noticeable on her left breast. She had long thought about the outcome. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy.
Months recovering, numerous stays in hospital, visits to clinics.
And the pain of course. No getting away from that.
So Jenny made a decision, and put the letter away in a drawer.
Facebook would be good. She would find them on there. All the hateful bullies and bitches who had made her life a misery. She had enough time, and now their time had come.
It was much easier than she had ever expected. They put everything out there, even using their maiden names, and old school photographs. Not that Jenny would ever have appeared in any they had taken. Photos of their houses, and the streets where they lived. Groups of friends, their kids’ schools, and where they worked. If they had to work of course. A lot of them had married well, evidenced by photos of them sitting in smart convertibles, or by their swimming pools in obscenely large houses. Not all though. A few looked like they had drawn the short straw. Numerous divorces, struggling to get by. Even asking for handouts online.
No time to feel sorry for any of them though. The cuts had been too deep for sympathy.
Later that evening, she checked off her list. She had been looking for nine, and had found seven. The other two didn’t seem to be on Facebook, and would require more investigation. She phoned her boss at home, and told her the bad news. She would be off sick for the foreseeable future, and a medical certificate would arrive eventually. Meanwhile, she would use all her accrued holiday time. Pat had been sympathetic, but couldn’t disguise the coldness in her tone. Jenny knew that she would be thinking about getting cover for the Stoneman project, and that wouldn’t be easy.
Tough luck, Pat. Swivel on this, for all I care.
Online banking meant she could transfer all her savings into the current account. She would need cash to buy a car. One that she wouldn’t bother to register in her name. Then there would be the travelling money. Cheap hotels that took cash, and no need for credit cards. After that, Jenny threw away all the drugs she had been taking. They only made her feel sick anyway, and she was no longer going to prolong the inevitable.
A bath was more soothing than a shower, and she sat back into the fragrant hot water, thinking about her plans. She thought of the old fable of The Tortoise and The Hare.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Careful planning. Lots of preparation, and no stupid mistakes. Fortunately, she was bright enough for all that, and her mind was still sharp.
Sleep came easy that night. Something about making such a huge decision was actually comforting, and the worries of those last months seemed to all be behind her now. Not that there weren’t a few doubts swirling around in her mind as she drifted off. She wasn’t that young anymore, and her fitness level was poor. That would have to be factored in. But thanks to the wonders of the Internet, most things could be accomplished.
The next morning she put her hair up, slipped on a sweatshirt and jogging pants, then got busy. Maps to explore, directions to write down. Landmarks in new towns and villages she had never visited, nearby hotels and guest houses where nobody would take any notice of a woman alone. She smiled as she thought of all those books she had read during her life, the key to solving any crime.
Method, Motive, and Opportunity.
Well she certainly had a motive, but would it be that obvious to an outsider? A police detective trying to solve random cases might hit on such a motive as revenge, that was obvious. But how far back would they go? The opportunity would have to be created given any appropriate circumstances, and the method would be dictated by those.
Being caught was not a problem, not when you had nothing to lose. But being caught before she completed her task was the worry. It had to be all of them, or none of them.
Jenny didn’t feel up to eating any lunch.
Instead, she had a chocolate milkshake, and then went for an afternoon nap.