Chapter 6

Written by: Donna McTavish

“My son is not a bad boy,” Daisy whispered, “but his father …”. Cody listened as Daisy told rambling stories of Lakhbir’s excesses and how she had learned not to ask about the phone calls that disturbed the silent house, fracturing her sleep and leaving Lakhbir angry and restless, or the men in smart suits who arrived in BMWs with dark tinted windows. Cody imagined a younger Daisy, newly married, listening to ice cubes clinking in vintage crystal glasses and voices low and insistent. To these men, Lakhbir had paraded her as an expensive prize but in private, even so early in their marriage, he had ignored her. Daisy’s childish dreams of romance had been ridiculed then crushed to a fine dust. It was only Rajdeep who had kept her dry heart from turning to stone. 


Daisy had lost her son to the poisonous ambitions of his father but still she left his favourite sweets on his pillow every night. She cherished the moments when she could watch him without being seen, or share a quiet conversation out of earshot of Lakhbir. She remembered the night Rajdeep had met Jessica and how, much later, he had taken her hand and told her how he had met a wonderful, beautiful girl. Her silenced heart had sung for him.


It had been their secret and Daisy had glowed with pleasure as she watched her son’s love grow. She looked apologetically at Cody as she described how fearful she had been of Lakhbir’s reaction, after all Jessica was not from a wealthy family and Lakhbir expected his son to make an important, and beneficial, marriage. Cody felt nauseous as Daisy described how Lakhbir had cajoled, bribed and finally threatened his son. Rajdeep had refused to end the relationship and two weeks later Jessica had been murdered. 


Both women sat without speaking as the the sky’s rosy shades were slowly extinguished by the blue tint of night. Daisy twisted the fine fabric of her sari around her fingers and a thousand questions exploded in Cody’s head but she kept silent, sensing that Daisy was not yet finished. 


“The jury’s decision was right Codyji. Rajdeep would not have murdered Jessica. He loved her,” she said softly. 


“I do not know who killed her but there is a man who does know. Lakhbir.” Daisy’s body shuddered as she said his name. “I have lost a son and you have lost a daughter and so we must help each other. Tomorrow, I will return with Shankar and you must find Sekar. My husband has long arms in Delhi but Sekar is not one of his people.”


When she was alone again, Cody crawled under the bedcovers, drained by what she had heard. Despite her questions, she was at peace for the first time since arriving in India and she closed her eyes and whispered a promise to her daughter.  I won’t give up, Jessica.


Great chapter Donna. You carried the story forward so convincingly. So much has been revealed, but the mystery of Jessica's murder remains. You have unfolded the story beautifully and yet left enough for the next writer to work on.
Very nicely written. I enjoyed reading this piece. It evokes feelings.
The ambience of this chapter is evocative and it held me. It is a terrific piece of writing in that you made me believe I was with the characters, hearing their voices and smelling the smells. Beautifully crafted. You also took the story to the point where we would expect it to be at this stage, quietly revealing the truth, hinting at it and developing the character's relationships. Fabulous!
What a stunning chapter Donna. Very well done indeed and an absolute pleasure to read. The ebb and flow of information, emotion and situation is so very convincing. You have added real depth to the story and it's characters..