Let me bring you up to seed if you’re just joining:
Pensioner, TED HARRIS, is troubled by dreams of his wife’s death and the painful part he played in it. Local busy-body GERALDINE BUTLER-THOMPSON is determined to uncover the secret of Ted’s magnificent garden, but Ted is worried what other secrets her meddling will uncover. We’ve learned that Ted and his wife, SISSIE, enjoyed a wonderful life together until things started to wrong for them, culminating in Sissie’s death. The actions he took at that point trouble TED, and as others in the village close in on the truth, Ted is finally forced to admit the truth, as Butler-Thompson’s grandson, JORDAN, discovers part of a bone buried in Ted’s garden.
I’ll start with the final paragraphs from last time, then go from there:
“Fine. Call them. You can explain this to them.” He held out something to Ted.
Ted had to move closer and directed the torch at the boy’s outstretched hand. He held what looked like the lower part of a jawbone. Ted staggered back a step. His heart rate leapt, and he felt sweat forming on his forehead. “Where did you find that?” He managed to keep his voice calm. Perhaps the boy wouldn’t know what he held.
“In there.” Jordan pointed to the composter. The little door at the bottom had been opened, and some of the compost had been dragged out.
“It’s not what you think.” Ted could see exactly what it was that the boy held. He needed to play this carefully. “Maybe it’s a bone from a bird?” he ventured.
Jordan looked at the bone again, holding it close to his face. “I don’t think so, grandpa.”
“It could be,” said Ted. He suddenly felt very warm, and pulled open the front of his dressing gown slightly.
“Well, I’m not certain,” Jordan paused and held the bone out towards Ted, “but I reckon that,” he jabbed a finger at one end of the bone, “looks like a tooth.” He pulled the fragment of bone back to his own face. The moon offered little in the way of light, and he squinted. Dropping the hand slowly back to his side, Jordan looked at Ted. He broke into a grin and began to laugh. Silently at first, his shoulders moving up and down, then he threw his head back and brayed a laugh. “It bloody is, isn’t it?” Ted’s shoulders had slumped. “This is a bone. From a mouth, right?” Never the quickest of boys, Jordan’s conclusion was sound. Ted offered a silent prayer that he had reached the limits of his intellect, but the boy pressed on. “Is this,” he paused at the realisation of what he was about to say, “your wife?” It was Jordan’s turn to take a step back.
Ted lowered his head. “Yes.”
Jordan stared at the old man across from him. “You killed her.” It was a statement, not a question.
Ted looked up at him. “Yes, but you can’t say anything. No one will understand.” He spoke through his tears. His voice wavered as he stepped towards the boy.
“Don’t you come near me, freak.” Jordan took another step backwards.
“I’m not going to hurt you Jordan. You’re too big for me to do that.” Ted stepped back, aware that he had been advancing on the scared boy.
Regaining a modicum of composure, Jordan stepped back towards Ted. “Yes, I am aren’t I? I’ll take this with me.” He put the muddy bone in his sweatshirt pocket. “I’ll tell my grandma about this, and she’ll call the police. Then you’re finished here.”
Ted stepped in front of him. He suddenly felt every one of his seventy years. He held the spade and torch out in front of him. “No, Jordan, please don’t! At least let me explain!”
“Get out of my way, murderer!” He pushed past Ted and walked back towards the front garden.
Jordan’s words struck Ted. He had murdered his wife. There was no escaping that. Now everyone would know and perhaps that was for the best. But in the search for evidence, they would destroy her garden, her memory, her legacy, and he didn’t want that. As the boy walked past him, he dropped the torch and grasped the spade with both hands. He swung it at the back of the boy’s head. There was a resounding clang, and he dropped to the floor. Not wanting to give the teenager a chance to stand, Ted lifted the spade and brought it down several more times on the back of his head. When the crumpled, bleeding body had stopped moving, Ted dropped to his knees and threw up.
He sat back and looked at the body of young Jordan Butler-Thompson. It lay, unmoving. Ted crawled over and checked for a pulse. When he couldn’t find one, he drew his hand back, as if from a flame, and moved away from the body. What have I done? His heart was hammering in his ears, and he put the heels of his palms over his eyes. His head was throbbing.
He looked up towards the front of the house. He was still alone. No one had heard the altercation, and if they had, they had not come out to look. Jordan’s body lay at the side of the cottage. It was partly hidden from view, but it needed to be moved. Standing, Ted gripped Jordan’s ankles and began to drag him back into the back garden.
Although still only a teenager, Jordan was heavier than Ted could manage. After struggling for almost half an hour, he had only managed to drag the body a metre or two. His shed was still five or six metres away, the back door a similar distance. Dropping the ankles, Ted fell to the floor, exhausted. He considered his options. None were favourable. He lay back on the patio slabs, contemplating his next move. Turning himself in to the police seemed to be the most sensible option. He may be able to explain his wife’s death, but now he had killed a teenage boy. A boy! He wouldn’t be able to explain that as easily. It was murder, and he knew it. The judging for the competition was only days away, and he needed to win for his wife. He had made a promise to himself following her death, and he didn’t intend to let anything get in the way of that promise. He had work to do tomorrow to get the garden back in to some sort of presentable shape, but the more immediate question was what to do with the body?
Staring up at the stars, he knew what needed to be done. He had done it before.
That’s it for today. Check back next Saturday for the next instalment. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, you can read the whole thing for FREE by going over to my author website.
Any thoughts on how this will end? How would you like it to end?