Prologue - Late November 1996
It's three a.m., and I want to murder my boss. Though my head feels as though he has already beaten me to it - and with an axe, at that. I'm tired. Tired beyond exhaustion. My brain cannot take in any more maths. I'm rambling. Time to go to bed.
I envy every sleeping cricket and every grey loerie awakening in the apricot tree. For they don't have to go into the office tomorrow. They don't have to face James. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
It's now five past three in the morning, and I still want to murder my boss.
Christine squeezed between her desk and the bookshelf. She opened the window, the small side one that actually could open, and pressed her face to the burglar bars. As though she had already murdered James and were now paying the price.
The fresh air tasted good after the stale heat of her study. Through the window, the summer darkness poured in, cloying and viscous like blood. It was too late for crickets to serenade in the tangle of the unmowed lawn, too early for the birds to chirp and twitter and trill in the honeysuckle bushes below the bedroom window. Even the incessant barking of the neighbours' guard dogs had ceased.
So quiet. As silent as only the African night can be. As silent as murder. Murder….
... James lay crumpled in the street, his temple crushed by the fender of her Ford Escort. Chips of yellow paint had lodged into his skin at all angles, giving the already paling cheeks a hint of smallpox. The blood was congealing slowly in his hair.
A mosquito buzzed by her cheek. She swiped and missed. So much for her murderous intentions. It was time to go to bed.
Tom woke up when she slipped in under the top sheet, which served to protect them from the insects rather than to keep them any warmer than they already were.
“James is going to kill you tomorrow if you fall asleep at work,” he murmured as he tucked the sheet around them both.
Not if I kill him first, she thought, already on the threshold between reality and sleep.
Weeks later, when she realised that she had indeed killed James, she remembered her notions. And she felt guilty. But not too guilty.
It was her vanity that had provided the means for the murder. Which only goes to show that vanity can be as great a sin as some religions claim it to be. But just the same, perhaps not altogether without merit.
Title: Murder @ Work
Author: Yvonne Eve Walus
My website: http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/