Chapter 5

Written by: Linda Alley

Yorkshire, England - July 2008

It was dark by the time they got home from the police station. Horizontal rain whipped through the streets. Lilian listened for the click of Scarlett’s bedroom door and then waited until she heard Issac turn on the shower. Decking herself out in a mac and wellies, she paused by the back door and looked back at the framed photograph of her wedding day. 9 May 1945, the day after the war had ended.

“We all got it wrong, dear,” she whispered to Derrick.

Chesbrook Nursing Home was only at the end of the street, but by the time Lilian arrived her hair resembled a gorse bush and water was dribbling down the back of her neck. She found Enid in her room, straight-backed in her armchair, despite her painful arthritis. Lilian eyed her sister’s recent perm and pressed trousers. She looked smarter than the politician who was being interviewed on the TV in front of them. Enid finished her row of knitting and looked up.

“Jumpers for refugees,” she said, patting the wool. “It’s awfully cold for them here after Somalia.”

Lilian perched on the bed.

“I was up on the moors with the children today. Issac found that cave.”

“Oh?” Enid’s voice was too casual. “Didn’t the council seal it off?”

“When has that ever stopped a 12-year-old boy?” Lilian watched her sister closely. “He found the missing mail, Enid.”

Enid dropped a stitch, but quickly carried on.

“It was Roy, wasn’t it?” 

Enid cursed as the ball of wool fell from her lap and unravelled across the beige carpet.

“The murder.” Lilian leaned forward. “He was in the area. He sought me out at the end of my shift.”

Enid dropped all pretence of trying to knit and glared at her. “So he told me when he found me afterwards.”

Lilian stood up. “He was seen, wasn’t he? Then he tried to cover his tracks by hiding the mail bag and making it look like a robbery.”

“Gran?”

They turned and found Scarlett dripping in the doorway.

“I was worried. I saw you leave from my bedroom window. Hello, Auntie Enid.”

Lilian felt suddenly exhausted. She shuffled to the door, clutching Scarlett’s arm.

“What does it matter anyway?” Enid fixed her eyes on the TV. “Roy never was good enough for you.”

They didn’t speak until they got home and Scarlett had poured Lilian a steaming mug of Yorkshire tea.

“Do you really think Roy was the murderer?”

Lilian noted the absence of ‘uncle’. Scarlett and Issac had grown up knowing all about the dark horse of the family. Roy had made headlines in December 1941 when he was shot dead trying to cross the Channel at Folkestone.

Before she could reply, the phone rang.

“Hello, Scarlett speaking. Yes, that’s right. Are you serious?! OK. I’ll let her know.”

Scarlett dropped the phone and stared at Lilian open-mouthed.

“That was the police. They found a telegram in that bag – addressed to you.”

Comments

Your style is so easy to read. It flows and the interaction between the characters flows naturally and easily. The key to this is that neither character launches into long speeches. They are sparing in what they say. We also get a clear idea of the kinds of people they are by the way they speak and what they speak about. Smooth transition to 2008.
Thanks, Suraya. I'm enjoying having more time to explore the characters in this serial.