Mrs. Crew lived in a bungalow by herself on Croombe Road.
By herself, with a parrot.
I had seen the parrot through the window. I heard it ringing, ring, ring, like a telephonic device. I heard it through the letterbox.
On Tuesdays Mrs. Crew was visited by a nurse. From the nurse I learned Mrs. Crew first name was Nancy. I can’t call her Nancy. I’ve come too far with Mrs. Crew. I’m starting to love the name. I want to sing it out loud, Mrs. Crew, Mrs. Crew, I do, I do, oh, I done did kill Mrs. Crew.
I stared at the picture much longer than I should have done. The figure is gonna float around my dreams. It looks like a woman, but only because of the long hair. The body is thin. Spindly. It could be a man. My daughter. Stop conforming to gender binaries, Dad. It doesn’t matter. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter. Emerging from the hedge is a person, and I bet, I know, it was the person who killed Mrs. Crew. It fits right in with Terry’s last sighting of her at 10:45 AM. At 11.00 AM Mrs. Crew is found, stuffed in her cart, by a mother and her two young sons. This figure. This figure emerges from the hedge at 10:55 AM.
Jerry had tried to find the figure, him, her, it, in other frames, but the cameras at the market building haven’t been updated for two decades. The person vanishes. Who knows. This picture…it’s a lead. Stick-thin, long-haired, in a blue top and grey tracksuit bottoms. At that mouth.
Wide, gaping mouth. A black smudge on the image in the centre of the face.
It’s a mouth that wants to swallow me. I tuck the picture under my pillow and stare at the empty spot in the bed beside me before drifting off to sleep.