FOWC with Fandango — Sketchy
Two days after her meeting with Cynthia in the Wheatsheaf Jenny turned the television on. The local News contained a statement by the police They were no longer looking for the murderer of Sarah.
Jenny immediately telephoned Cynthia.
“Have you heard the News?” she asked.
“Yes, replied Cynthia. And I’ve seen Monica too. They’ve arrested Jill.”
“JILL!” exclaimed Jenny. “Yes,” said Cynthia. “And George has had a complete breakdown. He’s being cared for at the vicarage.”
Jenny felt a rush of sympathy for George. He had in many ways shown real affection for her, despite being a complete rogue. She had been used and abused by him, but she felt she understood him, and he hadn’t had the best start in life. Learning to smile from the dog spoke a million words. And the losing of everything when the bailiffs came to his home was tragic. In fact, his whole childhood had been tragic. It didn’t make what he had done to her right, but it explained it at least to some degree.
“I must go and see him,” Jenny said to Cynthia. “Would you like to come with me?” She did not feel too confident about going alone, and Cynthia was the one whom George had turned to to talk when he needed a confidante.
“O.K. I will come,”replied Cynthia. “As long as the doctor says it is O.K.”
The story as announced on the television was quite SKETCHY as yet. But Jenny and Cynthia hoped to find out more.
“Let’s try and arrange it for tomorrow,” said Cynthia. “It will give George a bit of time to settle down. And he might be better able to talk by tomorrow.”
“O.K.” replied Jenny.
It was a beautiful day the next day, and George was sitting out in the garden. The garden that Jill had tended with such care. He had a faraway look in his eye, but he came to when Jenny and Cynthia sat down beside him.
Immediately he began to sob. All his barriers were down, and he blurted out the whole story, through huge gulps, his body shaking.
“It was Jill,” he sobbed. “I never knew she had it in her, but it was all my fault. I should never have had the affair with Sarah. And I should have seen what was going on between her and Hugh. She was insanely jealous of Sarah, and I should have realised more from the showdown that occurred. Hugh would have done anything for Jill, and he did. He murdered Sarah. I suppose he thought he would never be caught, but he was seen walking with Sarah late at night by the river. Then the note about the watery grave was found in his flat. Other things then began to present themselves. There was a coded letter in Hugh’s flat from Jill, which the police managed to decipher. It was talking about the planned murder. Afterwards though, Hugh was filled with horror and remorse at what he had done, and that, coupled with his own health problems and advancing years made him feel that life was not worth living. The police found the taxi driver who took him to the entrance to the reservoir. The taxi driver thought he was going to the nearby pub, but later in the night, Hugh must have made his way through the trees to the reservoir. He was found the next morning.”
“So was it you who put the postcard into the book telling me not to talk?” asked Jenny.
“Yes,” said George. “I realised what I had done in telling you that I had not yet moved to the town when the previous murder occurred, and with the case having been reopened, I was afraid that I might come under suspicion because of the lie. In fact, I had been visiting the town for a couple of years prior to the murder, and was having an affair with someone. I also realised that I had let out to you that I had the type of car that the police had said had been seen near to the murder scene, and I was scared. I didn’t commit the murder, but I know who did. It was confessed to me, but I was under the seal of the Confessional and could not say anything. My mind was in a whirl. I didn’t know what to do, but knew I could say nothing.”
“Oh, what a dilemma,” said Jenny. “That must have been awful.”
“It was,” said George. “But I think that that is about to resolve itself.”
“And what about me then?” asked Jenny. “Why did you do what you did to me?”
“I am about to retire,” said George, “and I wanted to go out on a high. I wanted to see if I could do what I had always wanted to do, and you already had a floundering marriage, and a non functioning family. I did genuinely care for you, and thought I could give you a better life. I thought that maybe my own family would adopt you, but my son was not up for it. I became very angry at one point because things were not working out, and I took it out on you that day I had the explosion in the kitchen.”
“Oh my God,” said Jenny. “What a story.”
“I never really loved Jill,” admitted George. “But I knew she would make a good vicar’s wife plus she had money. I never ever wanted to be poor again. And she did make a good vicar’s wife. But she craved love, and she realised that I didn’t truly love her. So she became deeply depressed. Then, when Hugh came along, well, that was it.”
There was a stunned silence as George finished his story. He picked up the bottle of wine on the garden table, and poured them all out a drink.
Jenny shuddered, realising that she could have been Jill and Hugh’s next victim had not Hugh committed suicide, and had she not had the sense to get out. She sat and sipped at her wine in shock.
“Perhaps I will never get involved with vicars again,” she thought.
Eventually Jenny and Cynthia left, preparing to wait for the next announcement from the police about the murder that had taken place some years previously.
“Stay in touch,” said Cynthia to Jenny.
“Oh, you can be sure of that,”said Jenny.