Chapter 5

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Sister Iglesias had been right about my febrile imagination. I used it all the time, to break the monotony of telling young school girls not to slouch and ordering them to do twenty push-ups for PE.

I had written many scripts that were like the situation I was in; chased by a maniac in a chequered shirt and captive behind a metal door that mysteriously opened.

I stumbled out into the bright sunlight. The yard I found myself in was stacked with shipping containers. Someone had unlocked the one I was in and, I presumed, fled.

I nervously made my way around the crates until I found the gate. A chain and padlock held it fast.

“Damn,” I muttered.

Somewhere behind me, a banging door turned me frigid. I ducked down. The crack of a gun broke the still silence and a dull thud marked the place above my head where a bullet embedded itself in a nearby crate.

Far away, a dog barked.

Although not very strong, I frantically parted a piece of the wire mesh fence by unhooking each piece until I had made a hole large enough to squeeze through. With bleeding fingers, I crawled toward a nearby bush.

“God,” I breathed as I hid behind it.

As I sat on the river bank and watched the river flow idly by, I realised something quite disturbing. The market bustled behind me with vendors calling to customers. I could see no assailant despite my bleeding fingers.

I looked around guiltily, half expecting  to see Sister Iglesias pointing a long accusing, arthritically twisted finger at me. I could hear her saying as she jabbed the air with each syllable, “See, I told you, your imagination would be your undoing.”

For some reason I had flicked into that world Sister Iglesias often caught me visiting….the world of my imagination.

I scowled. I had not imagined my dead husband in our flat.

With the recollection came a whiff of that same terrible smell that had greeted me as I opened my door. That was real. Definitely real!

Viola sat beside me nursing a steaming cup of coffee.

“It might have been a heart attack?” she said, looking out across to the mountains beyond the river.

“I guess we won’t know until the autopsy report comes through,” I mumbled, not wishing to alarm my sister, but certain that someone helped Simon on his way.

She heard the tone in my voice and recognised my suspicions. She became defensive on his behalf.

“I can’t imagination Simon would be mixed up in anything sinister. He was as straight as they come.”

I cast doubtful eyes at her and looked back at the bustling market. Next to Huang Fu was the man in the chequered shirt serving his famous, delicious hamburgers. I looked at her empty stall.

“Why aren’t you open today? You hardly ever miss a day.”

Her eyes slid away from mine and I knew she was hiding something.