This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo. https://suejudd.com/
The man from the garage told me that the tyres on my car had been let down without being damaged. They put air in them and returned the car to work for me. There was still going to be a hefty bill for the low-loader though, charged to the company account. If Gregg was trying to get me to notice him, he was doing a good job, as well as making me very angry with him.
That Friday, we held the very last of our auctions for the items from the Hall. It was common knowledge that work was starting on the Country Park the first of next month, and the builders planning to convert the place into luxury flats had already screened off the building and the land that would be used for the golf course. Perhaps because it was the last sale interest was high, and it did much better than we had expected. After sandwiches and coffee at work before we closed up, I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing.
On my driveway, I locked the car and dropped the keys. As I bent down to pick them up, a hand grabbed my head from behind, and pushed it into the side of the car with great force. Before I could scream or do anything, it happened again.
Three more times.
Sitting on the gravel with blood streaming from my nose and tears rolling down my cheeks, I managed to find the keys and get into the house in a half-crawl. I reached the phone and dialled 999 for the police, telling them I had been attacked, and was bleeding. Then I rang Norma, who said she would be right over.
For the rest of that evening, I felt I was in a dream. The ambulance arrived ten minutes before the police car, and they patched me up, suggesting I go to hospital. When the police came, I blurted out that my estranged husband had attacked me, and gave them his name and a description. I didn’t know his address of course, but told them he was living in Gloucester, and might be driving an old battered Fiat. When Norma arrived, I sent the ambulance away, telling them if I needed the hospital, Norma would take me.
Norma’s face was like stone. “This time, you are going to prosectute. Did he say anything? Did you see him leave? What was he wearing?” She fired questions at me so fast I didn’t have time to answer one before the next one was asked. Eventually, I just broke down in tears and said nothing. It was a good hour before I could make sense and explain to Norma that I hadn’t seen who attacked me as it had happened so quickly and nothing had been said. She helped me get properly washed and cleaned up, shaking her head at how swollen my nose was. But despite her suggesting I should, I didn’t want to go to hospital. The police had said they would try to find Gregg and let me know what happens next.
It was almost midnight when someone from the police rang. They had found Gregg, which implied they must have had dealings with him at the new address. Trouble was, he had a cast iron alibi, backed up by two men who also rented rooms in the house. They all told the police that they had been drinking in Gregg’s room since just after six, and none of them had left Gloucester. The officers confirmed that all three men were very drunk. One of them was also the registered owner of a 1971 Fiat.
As I had not seen my attacker, and Gregg had his solid alibi, it was decided not to arrest him. The woman on the phone was sympathetic, but also realistic. “He would never be charged, Mrs White. It’s your word against his, and he has witnesses, which you sadly don’t. Are you even certain it was him? To be honest, it could have been anybody”.
When I told Norma what the police had said, she nodded. “Just as I suspected. Even if you had lied and said you had seen him attack you, that alibi would have meant no charges. But this has got to stop, it really has”. I was crying again, and told her I didn’t think it would ever end. She put her arm around me, and replied in a measured tone.
“Leave it to me, I have an idea”.