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- Story Listed as: Fiction For Adults
- Theme: Mystery stories
- Subject: Crime story
- Published: 09/15/2018
The Woman on the TrainBorn 1957, M, from Belfast, United Kingdom
The Woman on the Train
The body on the beach, the Banana Splits and Rot in hell Betty Reinford.
Rockport is a small town in Essex county Massachusetts. In the 2010 census the population was 6,952 and it is located exactly 40 miles Northeast of Boston at the tip of the cape Ann peninsula. According to the United States Bureau the town has a total area of 17.5 square miles and is surrounded by water on three sides. There are three neighboring islands named Straitsmouth, Thatcher and Milk. The towns shore is mostly rocky north of Lands End but some what less as you go south of there. Rockport Harbor and Old Harbor provide deeper water for boats to dock in near the center of the town. It was in the latter of the two that Walter Hope caught sight of two police cars parked close to one of the wooden jetties which jutted out about a third of the way into the water.
From where he was sitting on the bus three officers were standing over what looked like a body lying on the shore while another was busy talking into his car radio mike that he’d stretched out of the open window. But he couldn’t be sure it was a body because the bus lane didn’t come quite close enough to the edge water for him to be a hundred percent certain, and as it rounded left by County Hall what he briefly witnessed was now well out of sight behind him and he didn’t want to come across like some morbid weirdo by craning his neck to get another look.
Instead Walter glanced at his wrist watch and saw it was 7.59am, two things came to mind as he did so. One, this was the first time in over a month the Silver route 127 Cape Ann transportation loop was on time. Which would mean for a change he wouldn’t have to make a painful dash across the foot bridge with the aid of his walking cane at the terminus to catch his 8.20am connection train to downtown Boston, like he did most working days. And two, if a body had washed up on the beach it was probably going to be one of those obnoxious up state tourists who hire out boats from the Marina at the Good Harbor Beach Gloucester and who scout the coastline getting inebriated on cheap wine and beer as they go before stopping in Rockport. He’d seen a few falling into the harbor on occasions before, mostly rowdy collage kids, while he tried to enjoy a Saturday morning coffee outside Rudy’s café’ across from the quay. Which left him pondering as to why the town councilors stood for such dreadful behavior year in year out. Surely, visiting vacationing drunks added very little in financial gain towards the towns treasury, when you consider most stock up from Gloucester Liquor Locker supermarket before they sail, and never mind that they bring down the tone of the place.
Times had certainly changed around Rockport since he was a youngster growing up in the sixties, he thinks; recounting fondly the simpler days when there were no cell phones, internet or digital radio. He remembers the Banana Splits playing on Saturday morning kid’s television on the only set they owned, a Philco 25inch color, which took pride of place in the corner of their living room. It boasted a crafted teak surround and fishbowl screen. Daddy had bought it brand new from Radio Shack in the summer of 64, especially for the super bowl NFL final, the first ever televised on CBS.
He even recalled the advertising blurb that accompanied the sales pitch brochure that came with it, inset was a gloomy looking lady in a small black and white picture, ‘’So you told your wife you’re not getting a color T.V until someone makes it as reliable as black and white? Better get a new story or a Philco’’ it read.
Now how did the Splits opening tune go, he thought? Oh yeah, -Nah Nah Nah, Nan Nan Nan Nah, Nan Nan Nan Nah, Nan Nan Nan Nah. Walter smiled to himself then glanced around just in case he’d accidentally sung that out loud. He sure loved the Banana Splits; thankfully no one on the bus was staring in his direction. So everything was A.O.Kay on him not looking like some nutcase who had just escaped from the loony bin. But Batman was his ultimate TV favorite, with Adam West as the caped hero and Burt Ward as Robin. He remembers reenacting the fight scenes after every episode in the backyard with his younger brother Tom, who reluctantly, mostly had to play the parts of the villains like the Penguin, Riddler or the Joker. Sometimes he let him be Robin if he cried too much though. Ma used to chastise him if he made Tom cry, the little wimp. What a pity he had to die so young.
Those sad feelings hung with him for awhile as the bus trundled along Main Street and down past the courthouse towards the terminus, and inside he wished Tom, Ma and Pa were still around because he hated being lonely. He often thought if only he had really been like Superman or Batman then he could have stopped the car that day with his tremendous strength or lighting reactions, that day when Tom was killed as they walked home from school. He’d pushed him clear, or so he thought, and the car had hit him instead shattering his left leg from hip to knee and leaving him with a permanent limp because it was now one half inch shorter than the other. Yes he’d pushed Tom clear of the car, but Tom had hit his head on the sidewalk real hard when he tumbled awkwardly out of its way, cracking his skull open like a hard boiled egg on the inside. When he’d crawled over to where Tom lay it was as if he was just sleeping, there were no marks on him that he could see except for a trickle of blood from his nose and left ear. He remembered shaking Tom by his shirt begging him to stop messing around and just wake up, the kinda thing little brothers do to get back at you. But some woman was screaming, another was shouting for somebody to call 911, there was a smell of gasoline and then it all went black.
A week after the accident police officer John Dunwoody, a tall thin man with a nose like a pecans beak, and who apparently was first on the scene, had gone to see him in hospital after his surgery to repair his splintered leg bones, which the doctors had fixed with screws and a steel plate. Walter’s parents were in the room when he came in. Dunwoody was nervously holding his hat and reverently bent at the shoulders like a nervous school boy being brought before the head teacher. After shaking Ma and Pa’s hands and offering up his sincere regret for their loss, he’d turned to him. ‘Can you remember what happened son?’ he quietly asked.
Walter recalls only shrugging and thinking simply he was never going to get to play Batman and Robin or any other games with his baby brother Tom ever again.
Dunwoody then spoke to his parents ‘There’s no easy way to say this Jim so I’m just gonna come right out with it’ he said. ‘I think both of you know Betty Reinford.’ Walter's father frowned a doubtful look. ‘well you do don’t you?’
Katy Hope nodded. ‘Isn’t she the head mistress at the school?’
‘Was’ Dunwoody replied.
‘So the rumors are true then?’
‘Yes Ma’am fraid so,’ Dunwoody agreed. ‘looks as if it was Betty who was driving the car that hit Walter. From what they can tell she suffered a heart attack at the wheel and mounted the sidewalk striking your son before her vehicle burst into flames when she crashed into the school wall. Walter here must have seen her out of the corner of his eye at the last moment and then pushed Tom and Nancy Kettle (Walter now remembers they were all walking together on their way home, Nancy was the same age as Tom and in the same class) out of the way just in time. I’d say this boy was a hero for saving her life, wouldn’t you, yes sir a real super hero’- Walter didn’t feel like any kind of hero, Tom was dead and that was the be all and end of it, and he thinks maybe his Mother blames him a little bit.
‘By the time the fire department had put the fire out she was burnt almost to a cinder, they couldn’t tell who it was at first, because the body was barbequed like a pig on a spi—‘ Katy Hope gave out a short gasp that sounded like a hurt dog’s yelp in response to Dunwoody’s over zealous and morose description of poor Betty Reinford’s untimely demise.
‘That’s enough John, I think we get the picture’ her husband Jim luckily interrupted.
‘Pardon me Ma’am’ Dunwoody quickly apologized. ‘It was only by the license plates and dental records that we were able to find out who was driving’
Katy put the palm of her hand across her mouth and shook her head. ‘Poor woman’ she said from behind her fingers. While he lay there hurting Walter knew his Mother was a god fearing Christian who wouldn’t wish ill on anyone, and went to church regularly every Sunday, but he knew by the look on her face inside she was hoping Betty Reinford was rotting in hell for what she’d done.
In 1979 when his mother was a relatively young woman she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Walter believes the stress and the anguish she suffered after Tom’s death may have been a contributing factor. In those days treatment was limited with little or no chance of survival. His Father was hopelessly inadequate when it came to caring for her during the months she was being administered with chemotherapy after her initial surgery. Preferring to pray to god every evening for a cure that was never gonna come and taking long solitary walks along Rockport beach most days. Walter had only just graduated from Salem St College the year before and was planning taking on an internship with the Committee for Public Council services, the state run agency in Massachusetts responsible for providing legal services to the poor in civil and criminal matters. In his eyes this was his way of helping those in need, by becoming an attorney, a notary version of Bruce Wayne if you like, aka Batman, albeit with a walking cane. Alas his dream was not to be, for three years he stayed at home and cared for his mother until she succumbed to the disease that ate away at her like a parasite.
Another ten had since slipped by before his Father eventually followed her, dying peacefully in his sleep.
The 8.20am to Boston, Mr. Mayfield and Felix Unger.
Walter got off the bus when it at last stopped in the terminus, briefly thanking the driver for his unusual punctuality, who was less than amused as you can imagine. But credit where credit is due, Walter thought, stepping down onto the concrete, and if he took it the wrong way then that was his problem, he wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. He began to walk towards the exit gateway following the crowd heading to the train station and keeping up the best he could in the flow of bodies with his gimpy leg. All around him voices of the bustling commuters echoed like crashing waves bouncing off the white painted steel purloins which stretched like a thick spider’s web holding up the vast aluminum and glass roof. Voices interrupted only by announcers intermittently giving out destination and platform information over inaudible Tannoys, and the odd blare of a buses horn, the smell of diesel and exhaust fumes hung heavy in the air.
Before boarding Walter always bought a newspaper to read on the train and that meant a short diversion to Mr. Mayfield’s green concession stand, who he thought was a dead ringer for Stan Lee, the marvel comic guy. His is the kind that also sells women’s magazines, candy bars and picture postcards of Rockport’s harbors for the tourists.
Mayfield gave Walter a big toothy grin when he saw him come up to his booth. ‘Hey Mr. Hope how’s things with you on this fine Monday morning, and may I say you’re looking quite excellent today in that fancy blue suit. Have you bin splashing the cash lately, or maybe you’re fixin on meeting a lady friend later huh? And I betcha can’t wait to start counting all that lovely money in that bank of yours’ he snorted with a hee-haw laugh. ‘Bin least two whole days since you seen it last’
‘Like I said many times before Mr. Mayfield, I don’t own the bank, I just work there as a teller, and there’s no lady friend’ Walter mockingly replied, removing his wallet from his back trouser pocket and then slipping out a crisp new five dollar bill.
‘I’s just messin wit ya,’ Mayfield said. ‘An how come you never call me Buster like I always ask you to, hell you’ve bin buying newspapers off my stall for over twenty five years. I think by now we should be on first name terms don’t you?’ Mayfield hee-hawed again, almost choking on his own high spirits. ‘Your usual?’
‘Thank you Mr. Mayfield,--I, I mean Buster’ Walter replied quickly correcting himself.
Mayfield took the note and then held it up so the fluorescent lights of the Terminus shone threw it, like he was pretending to check if was real or not. Walter rolled his eyes and sighed, this was something Buster did every time he gave him paper money, and after twenty five years this same comic routine was wearing a bit thin.
‘Seems like the dollar is going to take a hit again according to the stock market forecast, there’s also a write up about those two brothers who bombed the Boston marathon last month and it looks like we got a serial killer on the loose’ Mayfield said pointing to the newspaper. ‘Front page news; see for yourself, they’re calling him the Interstate Strangler on account of the way the bodies have been found in each state from Texas all the way up to Virginia, five I think up till now. They know it’s the same guy, because he has an indistinguishable modus operandi by the way he bushwhacks them over the head with something, I expect that’s to render them unconscious before strangling them with a rope, a clothes line I think they said it was.’ Walters mind suddenly flashes to the police he’d seen on the beach from the bus. ‘Nothing like that happens in Rockport’ he says shaking his head. ‘besides he’s most likely making his way to Ohio by now, that’s if the police don’t catch him first.’
Buster nods and sucks in some air through his teeth then blows out his cheeks ‘I sure hope you're right about that’ he says.
Walter decides he won’t read the newspaper until he’s sitting down on the train, he much prefers to study it that way, spread out in full on one of the tables by the window if he can get one. A habit he cannot shake no matter how much of an urge he has to open it. That’s why he knows it’s so important for the bus to be on time. Routine is utmost in Walter’s life almost to the point of obsession. If the bus arrives at 7.45am at the stop where he gets on, at exactly when it should, then he can easily get to the terminus on time, buy his paper just like today and be able to be one of the first onto the Boston 8.20 express. This then increases the opportunity of securing a window seat with a table allowing him to spread out his daily. By commandeering said table it would then put off anyone from taking the seat opposite thus preventing him from encountering someone who may indulge in unwanted idle small talk. A pastime he could never fathom and venomously hated, why would anyone want to tell their whole life story to a perfect stranger. The most he could hope for was if all the planets aligned he would happy customer. He liked it when things were in order, that’s why he kept his black socks on the right side of his bedside drawers and white to the left. Underwear must also be similarly coordinated, as too his shirts and suits. Every time he uses the bathroom it's imperative he washes his hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least three minutes, which is the recommend time specified in all the hospitals for doctors and nurses.
Equally important was the need to not step on pavement cracks or walk under a ladder, or to remember to spit each time he saw a single magpie, all would bring good luck. Silly things he knew, superstitious nonsense by others, but if accomplished in order his world would be harmonious. Even at work, unless his three pencils were equally spaced above his notepad all pointing the same way, right of course, then he felt a cold sweat come over him. Some of the guys at the Bank liked to pick on him about his obsessive behavior and were always making jokes about how orderly his desk was compared to theirs. One time he’d overheard a few of them talking in the gents bathroom at lunch break, unaware he was in one of the stalls. One said laughingly of how he reminded him of Felix Unger, A 1963 film character made famous by Jack Lemon alongside Walter Matthau in the Odd Couple. It is the story of two divorced men - neurotic neat-freak Felix Unger and fun-loving slob Oscar Madison - who decide to live together, even though their personalities clash. In away he could see the similarities, the only difference between Felix and Walter- he was never divorced, let alone had a wife. One lady did come close to being Mrs. Walter Hope however and that was Connie Robinson.
Seat18F and Two Peas.
The MBTA, or Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, provides the 8.20am service train from Rockport to Boston, it’s a modern silver and red eight carriage passenger locomotive pulled by a 6000 horsepower 4,500kw diesel electric engine. In each carriage there are 6 double window seats with tables making a total of 96 possible spaces overall, not counting those without. Walters favorite place is 18F, simply because it faces forward (he hates traveling with his back to the engine, he always feels sick when he travels backwards. he remembers reading somewhere it’s the static electricity it generates), plus its close to the bathroom should he need to go, all in all a perfect spot to read his newspaper.
Walter joins the thong of bustling commuters as they juggle and dance around each other all eager in their own way to get on board, everyone keen to find their own desired spot. Most people don’t like to admit it but they all are creatures of habit in one way or another. Some for example, he’s noticed prefer to buy their morning coffee every day from the Starbucks stand subtly placed right beside the main entrance to maximize footfall. Others like to bring their thermos on board allowing them to choose their own preference of hot or cold beverage with their yuppie energy bars. Most bring with them a pre-packed lunch in little brown paper bags which they’ve dutifully made each evening saving them a few bucks each day which they spend on smokes. Walter falls into the last two categories except for the disgusting cigarettes. For him routine is what makes the world go round and most should think more about throwing stones in glass houses before judging anyone.
When he reaches 18F he finds it happily empty, but then as he gets closer his moment of elation is short lived, 18G opposite is occupied and not by a man. He quickly scans the rest of the carriage to see if there is another free table, but there is none. His worst nightmare is unfolding; the alignments of his planets are crumbling before his eyes, everything is falling apart. He’s beginning to tremble. Should he take the seat and endure a journey of his dreaded unwanted small talk, or should he move on, but that could mean he could end up standing. neither is preferable. then to cap it all he feels the beginning of a cold sweat forming under his suit. He looks again at the empty place and the lady now smiling at him. On the other hand though, he thinks- she does look extremely pretty.
‘May I?’ he asks pointing with his paper. The lady indicates at the seat ‘Of course, please do’ she says.
Walter awkwardly slides in and spends a few seconds adjusting him-self while trying hard not to make too much obvious eye contact. ‘Looks like we’re on time for a change’ he says tapping dynamically at his watch with his finger as the train jolts forward. ‘First in over a month’. he expects her to say something at his timely information remark but is surprised when the lady only nods and smiles once more before she goes back to looking out of the window. 'What are you doing for Christ sake?’ He thinks. ‘'Here you are trying to make small talk, just what you hate, and maybe, who knows, maybe she hates it too, so stop making a fool of yourself’.' Walter fidgets at his tie and looks around rapidly feeling inept. This is exactly why he prefers to sit alone.
‘I’m sorry’ the lady says unexpectedly, which startles him slightly. ‘Its just I hate talking to strangers.’
‘Me too’ he says with a half laugh. ‘isn’t that funny two people like us should end up sitting together’
‘Do you work in the city-aah?’
‘Walter Hope, ma’am, or just plain Walt to my friends,’ he smiles reaching over to shake her hand. (Walter is aware he doesn’t have any real friends, but she won’t know that. Just the guys at the office and he’s not sure you could count those.) ‘And you are?’
‘Connie West, pleased to meet you Walt’
‘Likewise’ Walter says letting go. ‘I knew a Connie once, nearly married her too, as a matter of fact.’
‘Oh! I’m sorry to hear that, what happened?’
The office guy’s analogy of him he remembers overhearing suddenly jumps into his head as a fitting description of his doomed love life, on this occasion.
‘Have you ever seen that old movie the odd couple, the one with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau? Well that was kinda us, with me starring as Felix Unger. I met her on a dating website, but we just didn’t work out.’
‘Yeah I know that movie, sounds just like my ex husband and I’ Connie admits turning down her lips.
‘Really?’ Walter declares moderately, only now he's thinking she’s dropped a hint and is secretly suggesting his pretty new traveling companion may be possibly single. As they begin to chat longer about what they have in common the more Walter starts to open up about his obsessive behavior. Even admitting to seeing a shrink about it. Both of them start to laugh when he comes clean about keeping his black socks to the right and the whites to the left.
‘I do too!’ Connie chuckles. ‘Just like my shirts and skirts.’
Walters eyes open wide at her revelation. ‘’oh my god’’ He thinks ‘’this is the woman of my dreams.’’ The more Connie talks how alike they are the more Walter begins to see just how beautiful she is. Her striking blue eyes, wonderful cupids bow lips, which she keeps moist with a sexy brush of her tongue every now and then. Her perfectly groomed auburn hair cut just to her shoulders. She’s dressed in a Hugo Boss gray pinstripe suit over a white blouse, not the power type cut; sharp and tight like he had seen on some of the top banking women who occasionally came into his branch for a meeting with the big brass from head office. No, a more regular cut, softer style, something maybe an attorney or a big store manager might wear. How old was she? Forty five maybe, fifty tops, he thought, just right -a woman who knows what she wants, and he’s just noticed she isn’t wearing a wedding ring. Walter is besotted.
‘Do you know what Connie?’ he says when she has finished talking. ‘We are like two peas in a pod’
‘I guess we are’ she smiles.
‘Its been real fun talking with you Connie’ Walter says. ‘I’ve always avoided small talk, never was comfortable with it, but today with you I’ve realized how enjoyable it can be and how much you can learn from someone. I’ve told you all about my weird habitual life, where I work and live, what I like to do in my spare time, practically everything. Something I would never have dreamed of doing yesterday’
‘I like you Walter’ Connie says out of the blue.
Walter feels like the cat that’s got the cream when he hears this. ‘Why thank you Connie and the feeling is mutual if you don’t mind me saying so. But listen to me cornering all of the conversation’ he grins. ‘what about you, we’ve a few moments before we arrive in Boston and I know little or nothing, so tell me, do you work in the city and how come I’ve never seen you on the train before, and I observe you’re no longer wearing your wedding ring, did you leave your husband?’
Boston Central, lucky number seven and Loose ends.
Walter looks at Connie with his head tilted and wide eyed like a pet dog eagerly waiting on its master to give it a treat.
‘So many questions Walter and now you’ve gone and spoilt it’ Connie at last sighs and begins to rise out of her seat, taking with her a small black rucksack from under the table and then steps into the isle before swinging it over her shoulder. ‘And we were getting on so well too’ she says. Walter looks confused, baffled by what he’s said that has made her want to leave. ’If I’ve done something to offend you I’m sorry, I was just-’
Connie bends down to his level, he hears the ripple of her suit moving up the nylon of her thighs and her lips are so close to his cheeks he can smell her perfume. Her breath is warm and has a scent like summer wild flowers. ‘I never said I left my husband’ she whispers, ‘I killed him. Just like I did all the others’
‘Others, wha- what, do you mean others?’ Walter stammers.
‘You heard me’ she breathes into his ear with a snake like hiss, so unlike the woman barely moments ago was telling him how much she liked him. ‘Not all serial killers are men Walter’ his eyes involuntarily drop to the paper on the table when she says this, as if he expects to see Connie’s name all over the front page, it's not there of course.
‘George pushed me too far’ she goes on. ‘that night he ridiculed me over and over’ she says shaking her head. ‘I don’t think he ever really understood my OCD. We were standing in the kitchen after dinner and I was washing the dishes. He’d had a few drinks, just as I had, but we weren’t drunk or anything. I like to dry each plate seven times in a clockward motion, it’s my lucky number and that’s how the world spins, you know what I mean -yin and yang. He knew that’.
Walter nervously nods.
‘But he began to mock me. So I lost it and hit him with the plate I was holding. He went down like a sack of potatoes which was surprising because he was a big guy. I thought I’d killed him right there and then because blood was pouring out of his head and ear. It was rolling down his cheek and onto his beard, but after a moment he started to moan and was trying to get up so I grabbed a new clothes line I’d bought in Walmart the day before, it was just by the sink. I was frightened about what he might do so I quickly unraveled it and strung it round his neck. Then I put my knee against his back and pulled as hard as I could. He clawed at it for awhile with his fingers trying to loosen it, but I held it tight. All this time his legs were squirming all over the place like he was slipping on ice. Then when they stopped I knew he was dead’
‘If I believe you why all the others?’ Walter asks. ‘Couldn’t you have said it was self defense?’
Connie shrugs her shoulders with a shiver like someone has just walked over her grave. ‘Maybe’ she says ‘but once I used the rope; well I figured that part would be hard to explain. As for the others it’s quite simple really. I knew the police would come looking for me, after all I’ve watched all those crime shows on TV and they always blame the wife, don’t they, for the insurance money-lah de dah? Anyway, I disappeared into the night with only my bag, my credit cards and a few clothes. As I ran to the bus stop my body was tingling with pleasure and my head buzzing with adrenalin. I had actually enjoyed killing him. Once I was on the bus heading out of town this idea popped into my head. If I disposed of a few more in the same way then the police might think it was a serial killer on the loose. You can understand my surprise when it worked. After George it was quite easy.
‘So the body I saw in Rockport this morning, that was you?’
‘F’raid so, collateral damage’
‘I don’t believe you’ Walter says matter-of-factly, ‘it’s all just a fantasy’ A Walter Mitty story he thinks, all part of her OCD problem.
The train jolts as it begins to slow down coming into Boston Grand Central. People start to get up from their seats; some lift down their bags from the overhead storage compartments. Soon a mass of bodies are lining the isle impatient to alight once the train has stopped. Connie has melted into the crowd just before his eyes like a heavy stone sinking into wet mud. He stands on his toes trying to make himself taller hoping to see her, maybe he can catch a glimpse of her getting off, perhaps call for her to wait. He looks out the window, but there are too many people. She’s gone.
Walter follows the crowd off the train along the platform and out into the central concourse. The cavernous brightly lit covered courtyard is filled with bustling crowds. There are ticket booths, bakeries and coffee shops and in the center sits the main information desk with a four faced brass clock above it, perhaps the stations most recognizable icon. Walter pauses for a moment beneath the large American flag that was hung days after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, and unfolds his newspaper. The main spread sheet just as Buster had said is indeed covering the hunt for a killer who the Police are now calling the Interstate strangler. He reads the article with great interest yet with a touch of brevity, still confident Connie’s entire story was just that, a convoluted tale for her own entertainment. However Walter’s self-assurance is short lived when he begins to read the list of names only just released. The first of the five victims was George West, husband of Connie West, who they think may have been kidnapped, possibly also murdered, but as of yet no trace of her body has been found. Walter feels a chill cascade along his spine like someone has just run their finger along it. She wasn’t lying after all, it wasn’t just a story and, she was right, they do think it’s a man.
Walter's first thought is he should find a police officer and tell him or her, he’s just spent the last hour or so traveling with Connie West, the Interstate Strangler, who’s admitted to killing her husband as well as the other victims. There’s bound to be one or two over by the Bakery, he’s sure he’s seen them there before, or outside near the Cab rank. He begins to walk briskly, then stops. Hold on, he thinks, would they believe him? he begins to wonder, and if they did, sort of, they may look into his own back ground; they’d want to know if he wasn’t just another nut case, they get plenty of those with these types of cases he’s certain. They would find out about his OCD, uncovering it was the feeling of guilt he had from his brothers death that may have been the catalyst of his behavior, after all Doctors keep records of this don’t they. He could end up a laughing stock at the bank if discredited, maybe even lose his job. And really at the end of the day its not his problem, Connie was gone, out of his life and good riddance, best to just get back to the routine he decides.
Walter heads outside more slowly this time and stands below the large 13 foot clock on the stations façade facing 42nd street. there is a cold damp nip in the Boston air, making Walter haunch his shoulders. A small queue of passengers is waiting patiently for a yellow cab; he takes his place just as he always does.
His work day at the bank is slow and sluggish with his concentration lethargic; purely because he cannot get Connie out of his head. Over and over what she said keeps running through his mind. If she was telling the truth then the body he’d seen on the beach this morning would have made six and according to the papers it looked likely she was going get away with them all. At 5pm he heads home, glad the day is over, and without thinking he sits in seat 18f on the same train, only this time Rockport bound train, habits are hard to break after all. The journey back feels lengthy and tedious.
Inside the terminus he walks leisurely to get his bus. it’s on time surprisingly and as usual after six Buster’s stall is closed. Normality is slowly returning he feels. On the way home Walter rises slightly from his seat and makes a point of looking at the area where the Police had found the body, which he now knows without doubt that’s what it was. There’s no one there of course, why would there be. By the time he turns the key in his apartment’s lock it’s nearly seven o’clock. He steps into the hallway and puts his walking cane into the coat stand rack and places his briefcase on the floor neatly covering the lighter spot on the carpet where it always sits. It's then he is gradually aware of an odor, a perfume not so long ago he had the pleasure of smelling. ‘Hello Walter’ he hears Connie saying from behind, just before he feels a sharp dull thud of metal to his head. he staggers back from the blow and tries to make it into the living room with blood now starting to run into his eyes, but he’s stopped by the rope she has now looped tight around his neck. The hall clock strikes 7pm. ‘Seems you’re my lucky number seven in every way Walter’ Connie says as she pulls on the rope. ‘I’m sorry, I really did like you, and we are, as you said, two peas from the same pod, but I hate loose ends more.’