Tonight was Hasiwriters night. We meet twice a month as Haslingden Library. The theme this evening, 07/06/2016, is taken from the French drama: The Disappearance. I came up with Backstory. 560 words. 30 mins. Incomplete.
I walked along the passage. Next door down was number ten. I was there.
Knock – knock – knock.
Slowly. Let them know I’d plenty of time. I waited. No noise. I checked my watch. Give it two minutes.
Knock – knock – knock.
Was there the faintest of sounds coming from inside? I waited some more. Nothing. These apartments didn’t have bells but I checked anyway. A dour, worn door kept its secrets, and hid its occupants as well. It was the same colour as last week’s cheap blonde who’s broken her promise to fix her hair; dark smudges under a garish cream. Mind you anything would look bleached under these lights.
A gust of wind lifted dust from the corners and a sweet wrapper rustled into flight. I checked my watch again. 9:23. Evening was closing in. I raised my fist ready to batter the door. It opened as if on cue.
A scruffy guy, in his mid-forties I’d say, in vest and shorts guarded the entrance. “What d’ y’ wan?” and unshaven face demanded.
My gaze flicked from broken capillaries to a dishevelled mop of black hair. It was an easier sight than the mess littering his hallway. Did he do hygiene? “Billy Crydo?”
“Fer Gawd-sakes, another bleeding investigator! I’m sick to the back teeth o’ you lot. Why don’ cha go ‘n bother someone else for a change?”
I’d say a Yorkshire accent but I wasn’t there to offer my observations, I was there to check his story. “Billy? it is Billy, isn’t it?”
“Whadif it is?”
“Billy, I’m here to confirm certain aspects of your evidence in connection with the Young Women at Risk Support Group Initiative. You’ve been cited as someone who frequents the places where young Maddie Smith was known to go. Reliable witnesses have come forward to say you’ve been seen talking to her, before she disappeared. Can you account for your movements from that point?”
“Look – I go out – people talk to me. If they’re not nosy creeps I talk back. It’s that simple. Maddy this, Maddy that – yer livin’ in a plonkers paradise. I don’ know no Maddy.”
“But Billy,” I continued, “patient and calm, “it’s a fact you’ve been seen with her. All you need to do is give me a run down of the events, two nights up to last night.” I’d been warned of confronting him but I also had a bit more detail. Maybe he would trip himself up if I got lucky.
His eye – bloodshot green – took on a calculating look. “Okay, lemme see. Two nights? that’d be after Jamie’s bender but before Saturday Night out in the town centre.
I leapt on that, “Town Centre? Where?”
“Oh, I dunno. Lots of places – a pint here, a mixer there. Plus cans. Only thing I can say is not near the football ground.”
“‘Cos they’re already heaving. You like fightin’ your way to the bar or something? Anyway, where am I supposed to have met this Maddy what’s ‘er name?”
“That’s for you to tell me Billy.”
“Lissen,” he said, conspiratorially.
I leaned forward wondering what was coming next.
“I need the john.”
“I’ll wait here.” I ground my teeth. Still, the longer I waited outside, the more pressure he’d feel – at least I hoped so.