29 February 2008

a new life - part 11


Francis' transition to a new life was tantalizingly close. The days of a hollow career, a sad marriage and crippling debts were sliding behind him but a few sticking points remained. Francis was number one suspect in a murder and in the frame for bank robbery. His amnesia had been real enough, though his ability to maintain it for three months should earn him an Oscar. There was no incriminating money in his possession and the gun was safely stowed at Waterloo. He reckoned things were buried deeply enough not to betray him.

But the voice in his head whined on: you walked out of a banking career then the bank was robbed. You know which way suspicion will fall... and you know the cops always hunt for a murderer close to home, don't you... they aren't looking beyond you. Soon the doctors will say you're fit for serious questioning. You'd better get ready to run.

***

Black and his surveillance footage had linked Francis to the key theft. He kept coming back to that. How could he have been so stupid? At least now he had no wife to identify him. When dividing the cash with her he had wondered if she would ever get to spend any. No way. Letting her think she was in on it had been a temporary move to buy him thinking time. But what he did to the back of her head... that hadn't been in his original plan.

One lunchtime back in the summer Francis had made a discreet enquiry in a pub, that same evening he was the owner of a gun. It had been amazingly simple. After the shooting he had hauled Jane’s body down to the car under cover of darkness and driven through the night. Before dawn he had reopened the earth in that remote corner of his father’s Hampshire farm and buried Jane along with her suitcase of cash right beside his own two parcels.

Now get back to London, lay low and let the dust settle, he advised himself. Yet the other nagging, harping voice filled his head, they''ll be coming for you. Would the voices ever stop haunting him? When the dust had settled and he ran would he ever stop running?

***

Francis flopped onto the spare bed just before the first glimmer of dawn. He lay thinking about the night’s ghastly events. His frown turned to a grin when he thought about how he had called the cows over to tread the ground. That was smart.

Suddenly he sprang from the bed in alarm. The gun, the bloody gun, he thought. Lunging under the bed he grabbed the cold lump of steel and thudded back downstairs two at a time. He grabbed a small backpack from the coat rack and slammed the front door behind him.

4 comments:

boulies said...

I love the image of him grinning at the thought of the cows treading the ground. The photo is great with this. Well this is one messed up fellow. I don't see where he has much choice. Will he be a fugitive for life? I can't see him turning himself in. He would have to feel guilt in order for that to happen. This character is heartless. If I were him, I'd take a big iron frying pan and hit myself on the head with it, in hopes that my amnesia would return. But that's just me:) I'm anxious to see where you're going to take us. One thing I do know, I don't like this guy one bit. That "thing" he did to the back of Jane's head leaves an indelible impression indeed.

Can't wait to see what happens.
Great post PV. Glad to know we'll have answers before too long. I'm grinding my teeth in anticipation!

Neetee said...

Oh what a wicked web!

You've written this so well that it makes me tired just trying to keep up with all of the little hiding places in Francis' mind.

You and boulies should collaborate and write a new crime blog. Of course, there would go my sleep!

Great work friend.

Perfect Virgo said...

Boulies - thanks for mentioning the photo. I took it in the heart of rural England when we flew back to visit last summer. I have tried to put an appropriate image with each instalment.

I decided to leave the murder as a straightforward statement and not elaborate. I think the absence of description makes it seem all the more callous.

Neetee - crime fiction is indeed a favourite for me as is mystery. Thanks for staying with me on this rather long journey.

cocaine jesus said...

Long journey? Not for me. Snappy and sharp like all good crime fiction.