This is the fourth part of a fiction serial, in 910 words.
Rest and Reflection
The traffic was bad on the way home, and Jenny was feeling overwhelmingly tired. But she had things to do first.
The stuff she had used and taken had to be dumped. All separated into unrelated piles, she had placed it into black rubbish bags, and tied them up securely. Various spots on the way back served as dumps for them. Council waste bins, the communal containers behind some flats at the edge of town, and even on top of some other rubbish dumped in a lay-by on the ring road. It would all be removed in dustcarts, and taken away for destinations in landfill or incinerators.
Jenny had reason to thank at least three local authorities for their lacklustre provision of recycling.
One last stop, at the corner shop near her flat. The strongest non-prescription painkillers she could buy over the counter, and a sad-looking Cornish pastie to heat up for dinner. The car was left in the space allocated to her flat in the underground car park, and she dragged herself into the lift feeling exhausted.
The pain under her left arm was more of a nagging ache. The tablets would sort that out after a bath and dinner, but it was the extreme tiredness that really worried her. She felt like someone in their seventies, and it was hard to still believe that she was only forty-three.
Feeling better after a bath, and having to admit that the pastie had been very tasty, she thought back on the events of the past few days. It hadn’t really dawned on her until that moment that she had killed three people. That was a big deal, even for someone who had spent a life obsessed with hatred and revenge.
The light was flashing on the house phone, indicating a message. Pressing ‘play’ she listened to the voice of the hospital consultant’s secretary. “We haven’t heard back from you about our letter, Miss Pettifer. Can you please call me back on the usual number? Mr Abdullah would like you to come in for a talk”.
Jenny deleted the message. It would be good to know how much time she had left, but she couldn’t spare the time to find out. Opening her laptop, she checked out the news.
Phil’s death wasn’t even reported nationally. Too many murders, so only the really interesting ones made the headlines. She checked the local paper’s website for where Phil lived. The police there had described it as an ‘Aggravated Burglary’. No forced entry, and a suspicion that the woman was only killed because she might have been able to identify her attacker. The murder was described as ‘frantic, and unusually brutal’ by the detective in charge. He concluded by saying that ‘investigations are ongoing’.
Tabs had made the national news though. The ‘horrific acid attack’ was described by the lead detective there as ‘racially motivated’. Jenny smiled at that. It hadn’t occurred to her that they might think that. That was an unexpected perk. She spoke out loud. “Thanks for that, Mr Detective”. There were the usual appeals for anyone who had seen anything to call a hotline number, and a sombre police chief stating that ‘suspects were being interviewed’.
Mrs Wilkinson didn’t feature anywhere, national or local. They probably hadn’t found her yet.
Jenny wasn’t stupid. She knew it wouldn’t be too long before they started to trawl CCTV. To find out who might have been in the area, what cars were seen more than once, and who had been buying drain cleaner in every shop that sold it. But so far, all they had was her unregistered car, and some footage of a blonde woman wearing heavy black-framed glasses. They might get to the seedy car salesman who had done her a deal for cash, but she had been wearing a disguise that day too, and hadn’t given him her real name.
With any luck, she could keep one step ahead of the investigation. After all, she had driven well over one hundred miles away to carry out all the killings, and there was no connection to her that was glaringly obvious.
She went to bed after closing the laptop.
Lying in the dark, she was hoping her body would last as long as her resolve.
The following morning, Jenny went through her notes. The victims were being chosen as much for the potential ease of getting to them, as well as their geographical locations. But this one was a very long way away, though suitably vulnerable. Nobody had expected her to turn out the way she had, that was for sure. She would have put money on her becoming the best of all of them, with a glowing academic career.
Instead, a bad choice of boyfriend had led her into a very sleazy lifestyle, and she was enjoying boasting about how she was ‘recovering’ from that on her social media profiles. Why anyone would list a catalogue of being a porn star, prostitute, and drug addict so that they could bore everyone by telling them that she had ‘turned her life around’, was beyond Jenny’s comprehension.
So now she was born again, and had found Jesus. So what?
Was he going to forgive her for making a schoolgirl’s life a misery twenty-five years ago?
Well he had better, because Jenny certainly wasn’t going to. She closed the notebook.
There was a long drive to make.