FOWC with Fandango — Inconspicuous
Patty’s hand, was suspended above her open handbag. Very smoothly, he came alongside her and with a calm yet calculated movement he took hold of the keys which she was holding onto, pulled them out of her hand, and took them to a drawer in his safe that was off his Study, which was where they were standing. Patty had been about to leave and go home. It was four o’ clock on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day. He had made an appointment with her to go and see him so that she could tell him how Christmas Day had gone in her new home. The meeting seemed quite inconsequential to Patty. Just a quick half hour, and she would be gone. She really hadn’t expected to be there long, and Sam was at home awaiting her return. They had only moved into their new house a few days before Christmas, and Patty was very excited ti be there. It had been their dream to actually own a house again, and especially in this area of the country.
Patty was startled as he took her car keys off her, dropped them into the drawer, and then put his hands gently but firmly onto her shoulders, pushing her into the living room. The room glowed, with a beautiful soft orange light from the table lamp on the coffee table in the corner of the room, and the Christmas tree lights added to the feeling of warmth in the room. On another coffee table in the centre of the room were goodies of all kinds. Sweets, nuts, pastries. Patty saw that Edward was there, on the other side of the room to where she was standing, and to the side of him was Diana, Hugh’s wife, looking towards her with a triumphant smile on her face. Patty warmed to the atmosphere. Christmas had never been a happy time for her. Too many bad memories. But here, now, in this place, she responded momentarily in her heart to this homely glow, and the warmth of the welcome.
“Edward has not been well, so he has been staying with us,” announced Diana. Patty greeted Edward. She knew him slightly. He had been a journalist in London, but was now retired, and had come back to his hometown to live.
“Would you like a drink?” Hugh asked Patty. In fact Patty was desperate for a cup of tea, but Hugh was offering her sherry. Patty declined the offer.
Suddenly, Diana got up, disappeared for a few minutes, then returned, carrying a nightdress, dressing gown, flannel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and towel, and placed them in Patty’s lap. A chill went through Patty. No longer did the room feel warm and homely and welcoming, but menacing. Patty realised that she was not going to be allowed to go home. Panic coursed through her body. What was she to do? How was she to get out? The front door was locked, and her car keys were locked away in the drawers in the safe. Sam was waiting for her at home, and would soon be worrying about her.
The telephone in the Study started ringing. Hugh went to see who it was. He could see without answering that it was Sam. He returned and told Patty that it was Sam, adding,
“But we don’t need to answer to him do we?”
The phone kept ringing. Hugh steadfastly refused to answer it.
Patty could hardly believe what was happening. What had these people turned into? She had trusted Hugh, as he had listened compassionately to her life story. But one thing had troubled her. He had told her that her marriage was a blasphemy. Such emotive words, from a vicar, went shockingly deep into Patty. Blasphemy was a very strong word to yse. Granted, her life with Sam had had its ups and downs, and many of the downs were terrible. But they had weathered them, and had moved to this new house to get their lives together again. Hugh had constantly told Patty that she was a fool, trusting Sam again, but Patty had always fought back, determined not to let his words affect her. It had almost become a battle of wills though, and on one occasion Hugh had said to her,
“I could never get you under my control. You are too strong for me.”
Bedtime arrived, and to her horror Patty was ushered up the stairs by Hugh, and shown to a bedroom, which had been prepared for her. Diana followed, with a sickly smile on her face. Patty had at one time thought that Diana was pretty, in a very soft, mumsy kind of way. But now, she looked Machiavellian.
Once they had installed her in the bedroom, they left her. Patty shook violently. What were they going to do? Suddenly these people had turned into monsters. How could she escape? The house was very high, and she was on the top floor.. There was no escaping out of the windows. There was nothing for it but to lie down on the bed and wait for morning.
At about four o’clock in the morning, Patty was startled by Hugh bursting into her bedroom. She must have fallen asleep, for Hugh told her that the police were here. They had, he said, knocked loudly and insistently on the front door. He had answered, and they had asked if Patty was there. He had said that she was, but they wanted to actually see her.
“Don ‘t say ANYTHING,” said Hugh, pushing Patty down the stairs. He followed close behind, his body almost touching hers.
“Are you Patty Shimwell?” the policeman asked, when she reached the front door. There were two of them, and Patty was so relieved to see them.
“Yes,” she said, whilst looking one of them straight in the eye, trying to communicate to him that something was wrong. Hugh by now had his hand on her back, in warning, whilst at the time trying to make himself INCONSPICUOUS
“Is that your car out there? “ the second policeman asked.
“Yes,” Patty replied.
“Is everything alright?” asked one of the policemen. Patty felt Hugh’s hand digging into her back. She looked even more intently at the policeman, trying to signal something to him. But he was not cottoning on.
“Yes, I’m fine,” she said.
With that, the police left, and Patty almost cried. But she knew that she must show no emotion whatsoever.