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Mark Hendry
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Ten Months

 

by Mark Hendry

 

 

Mist swirls towards me from the wood. There’s a crackle of twigs from a tentative footfall. A white shape moves through the trees onto open ground.

 

It’s a woman in a crumpled shroud. She sees me and starts to shuffle in my direction. Her head rolls to one side as if her neck can’t support it. Her face is a putrid gray. Long chestnut hair hangs limply down her shoulder.

 

My whole body is shaking. I can’t move my legs. Louisa is dead, I tell myself.

 

She stops and gives me a lopsided look. Her cracked lips part but no sound comes out. The mist is all round me now and it smells of decay.

 

“For God’s sake, leave me alone!” I scream, as my knees buckle.

 

“Cut!” The Director shakes his head. “This is not in the script, Jason. What are you playing at?”

 

I get to my feet. The film crew are looking at me now. I know they’re thinking I’m not up to it anymore.

 

Judy, the actress in the shroud, walks up to me. She puts a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Are you all right, Jason? Maybe you need a break from all of this. It’s only been ten months since . . .”

 

I tell her I’m fine. The Director gives us ten minutes before we re-shoot our scene. I complete Judy’s statement in my head: Ten months since Louisa disappeared.

 

The police can’t find any trace of her. They’ve no new leads to follow up on, but I keep seeing her face.

                                                                                                                         First it was in mirrors. I would catch a glimpse of her standing behind me. Now I see her in shop windows, in doorways, in the back of taxicabs.

 

Louisa is dead, you see. Ten months ago, she told me she was having an affair with a cameraman she’d met on location. I pleaded with her to end it but she wouldn’t listen.

 

She broke her neck after I pushed her down the stairs at our place. I buried her body in a wood where no one will find her.

 

There is only one thing I can do now to get her out of my head. I take out my cell phone and scroll down the names.

 

I come to Joe Mancini, the police officer investigating Louisa’s disappearance.

 

 

 

 

Mark Hendry lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has recently started to write flash fiction stories and has had one other published on Postcard Shorts.  

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