This is the twenty-fifth part of a fiction serial, in 730 words.
Sylvia Townsend stood up. “They have gone now, Darren. It’s up to you to work out what they meant, but I’m sure you have a good idea”. I asked her why I couldn’t see them, and if they would appear again to help me. “They wanted your attention, and they got it. You will never see or hear from them again. They trust you to do the right thing, and find them peace. Anyway, you are not a true believer, despite what has happened. So you would never be able to see them”.
With that, she walked to the door, and opened it. Her husband raised his eyebrows, and she nodded. Turning to me as she closed the door, she spoke quietly.
There was no chance I was going to get more sleep, so I went and made myself a bacon sandwich, still trying to take it all in. Sylvia had been right about all the details, and though I had found out most of them before her visit, I was pleased to have it all confirmed. And she had earned her money, as dad and Terry had undoubtedly communicated with her, and added that they wanted me to do something bad to the Holloways to give them peace.
I was outside the newspaper shop as soon as they opened the door to customers. Barging past the owner, I grabbed a copy of each one of the papers he had just finished laying out on the counter. That amounted to five popular tabloids, and three broadsheets. I also bought two packets of cigarettes and a Twix. I ate the Twix on the way home, still feeling hungry despite my pre-dawn sandwich.
Mark sent me a text as I was laying out the papers on my living room floor. He wanted to know how it had gone with Sylvia. No doubt he had been up all night fiddling with his computers. I replied that I would call him later, and pretended to still be in bed.
Each paper took a slightly different slant on the news. Being a Saturday, they also had some feature articles, and things like cookery columns and ‘where to go’ suggestions. The back pages were full of sport, as most football was played on Saturdays, as well as Rugby, and Cricket news from abroad.
But most of the stuff was, as always, about Royals and celebrities. It didn’t seem to matter if the paper was a cheap rag, or a supposedly ‘serious’ traditional one, all they seemed to do was to trap on about who was dating who, and who had been a bad boy, or a bad girl.
There were paparazzi photos of course. Slaggy-looking girls I had never heard of, showing their bits as they got out of cars. Film stars being where they were not supposed to be, and with someone who wasn’t their wife. And one very famous politician in disgrace due to a homosexual affair, with a photo of him leaving his boyfriend’s flat.
The back pages were better. I found a decent article in The Express about Southampton’s new manager, Brendan Holloway. It said he had a three-year contract that was worth over seven million pounds. It also mentioned that he had his own agent.
Football had changed a lot since I was last interested in it.
All of the papers seemed to be interested in the same main story though. A very famous British disc-jockey who had been accused of messing around with underage girls in his heyday. They had all crucified him. Photos outside his house, trying to doorstep his wife and teenage kids, and demanding a full investigation into what were basically unsubstantiated allegations.
He had been fired by the BBC without real proof, and was quoted as ‘Refuting all allegations, and standing by his family at this difficult time’.
That was about the time the penny dropped. Despite the fact it was still mid-morning, I celebrated with a large Jack Daniels.
‘No smoke without fire’ came to mind.
The other thing that came to mind was former Inspector Holloway boasting at the golf club about his wonderful son who had just been made manager of Southampton. And Brendan himself, though techincally blameless, I reckoned he must have known what happened.
Let’s see how his seven million salary looked after what I was about to unleash.