This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 860 words.
Having nothing in for lunch, Lyndsey phoned a local Indian restaurant and had some food delivered. There was still a lot to go through, and the two sisters were happy to stay for as long as it took. Once they had eaten, she started to lay it out for them.
Handing over a pair of rubber kitchen gloves, she spoke first to Marian. “Over there is a plastic folder, new in the box. Next to that is a box of large brown envelopes. I want you to carefully pick up all the press cuttings concerning Lee Fowler, place them inside the plastic, then put that into the envelope. When you find out from Denise where he is working at the moment, send the envelope to his employer with no covering letter or note. I haven’t touched any of them without gloves, and you can keep the ones I just gave you. Use a post office a long way from both Hatfield and Hackney. Maybe drive into Essex, and post it from there”.
As Marian started to do what she asked, Lyndsey continued speaking.
“First off, we need to lose him his job. Without a regular income, he won’t be able to make the payments for Daisy, or run whatever car he is driving at the moment. This is going to take time, and also involve some personal sacrifice. Over the next week, I want you to discuss which one of you is prepared to make that sacrifice. Believe me, it will be a big deal, but there is no other way to make it work. If he gets another job in the meantime, we repeat the process, and make sure he doesn’t stay employed. You are going to need a camera too, not just a phone. We will need photos”.
Rosalind was confused.
“What do you mean, ‘sacrifice’?” Lyndsey lit a cigarette.
“One of you is going to have sex with him, apparently willingly.” Ros stood up, and picked up her handbag.
“Then we might as well stop this now, because that is not going to happen. Is that really the best you can come up with, Lyndsey?” But Marian held her arm, to stop her leaving.
“Let her speak, Ros. I think I know where she is going here”. Ros sat down again, and Lyndsey went to get a bottle of wine from the fridge.
For the next hour, the overall plan was discussed. They would not only get in touch with Denise, but also the shut-in, who was called Amanda O’Neill. She could potentially offer accommodation, and she had every reason to help them get the man who had destroyed her confidence, and ruined her life. Lyndsey seemed to know a lot about her.
“She comes from money, and now lives in a nice house on the edge of Welwyn Garden City that once belonged to her parents. That’s close to Hatfield, but not too close. Her recent inheritance enables her to not bother with working, and she does nothing all day except to sit behind her numerous door-locks and alarms, being terrified of Lee Fowler. I suggest you put a letter through her door outlining the case with Rosalind, then wait and see if she agrees to meet you. I think you should do that tomorrow, before contacting Denise another day”.
Marian seemed to be completely on board, but Ros remained unconvinced.
“How does this help anything, Lyndsey? That woman refused to press charges all that time ago, so what makes you think she will help us now?” It was her sister who answered her question.
“Because she doesn’t have to do anything. Only give us some kind of base of operations. We will do all the hard work, and she will never have to see or contact Lee again. By helping us she gets some justice, and satisfaction by proxy. I agree with Lyndsey, and I reckon Amanda will go for it”. Ros slurped down half her glass of wine, and held it out for a refill. Then she nodded at the cigarettes. “Can I have one of those, please?”
Watching her sister light the cigarette, then smoke it as if she had always been a smoker, Marian was surprised.
“What, you’re smoking now? When did that happen?” Ros laughed.
“Since I was sixteen. But everyone around me was always so disapproving of anything I did, I never told anyone, not even you”. I was the shit daughter. There was the beloved son who got a medal for being killed in Afghanistan, then the wonderful older daughter who did so well in her studies. Then there was me. Shoe-shop girl who had boyfriends, and couldn’t give a stuff about qualifications. So I smoked, and I liked a drink too. Even now I am just a bloody hindrance, leaving you to sort out the problems in my life. And this woman wants me to become some kind of sacrifice, to solve what happened with Lee. What’s the point of me?
Reaching out to hold her sister’s free hand, Marian sounded very serious.
“You are my sister, and I love you. I am going to be the sacrifice, Ros”.