Friday, December 19, 2008
Past Life - Chapter 1, scene 3
(Latest installment. To read the story in order, go to the Writing - Past Life (story) category)
Now, as she sat with her back against the door, Katherine's mind was awash with a confusion of emotions. There was shock at the news and the disruption that it brought, anger at Jeff for having gone and got himself killed. Then there was fear over her uncertain future, and curiosity as to what Jeff had been up to at his home.
For a few minutes she sat, cycling through the quartet of emotions. Too confused for tears, her forehead furrowed, her eyes screwed up and her breath came in short, shuddering gasps as she replayed the conversation with the Inspector, creating her own thoughts and images to fill in the blanks. Already she could see herself in a courtroom giving evidence against Jeff's murderer. With a certainty that was more like a memory she could visualise the conversation with the Vice Chancellor, in which she lost her job. But the one picture she had difficulty with was Jeff's house and the computer equipment. Unless it was something like the University laboratory where they worked, but then that wouldn't look like a house crammed from floor to ceiling as the Inspector had said. It was a misty image for which she had no reference point.
Among all her emotions it was this fugitive image of Jeff's house that intrigued her the most. It piqued her professional curiosity and it was where her mind had come to rest when she finally opened her eyes and glanced in the hallway mirror. For the first time she could see the grey bags that hung under her eyes and her mousy hair dishevelled from the interrupted sleep. Her pink towelling wrap was tied none to securely around her waist, and her bare feet looked grotesque, magnified by their proximity to the mirror.
Staring at her huge feet, she realised that they were starting to get numb from the draft slipping silently beneath the door to her flat. She also realised that she had just entertained two strangers looking like a drunk that they could have picked up off the street.
"Oh, shit!" She muttered, struggling to her feet and heading for the kitchen; a strong coffee was in order: she certainly wasn't going to get much sleep during what was left of tonight.
(23/12/2008 - edited following reader comment - thanks HH.)