About the Author
A member of the Australian Society of Authors and a diploma graduate of a world-renowned correspondence tutoring group, The Writing School, Alida van den Bos was born in Arnhem, Holland in 1930 and was later educated in Tilburg.
With her husband and two children in 1959, Alida immigrated to Australia where adventure beckoned. The family tried opal digging in South Australia’s Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge, where she wrote at every opportunity using life experiences to produce a series of short stories.
Then came the move to the mid-western city of Orange where Alida gave birth to her third child and started a horse stud aptly named Running Hoofs. This led to successes on local and metropolitan racecourses, and all the time she stored ideas and data to develop fictional novels of which she has now written seven.
ennifer had just come out of the shower, feeling great, after having been in Brussels for the last nine months helping her sister Linda who had been bedridden all through her pregnancy. She had finally given birth to a healthy baby boy. Looking into the mirror, she saw an attractive girl with blond wavy hair and wide blue eyes reflecting back at her. When she heard footsteps, she grabbed her nice fluffy bath towel and put it around her naked body.
Thinking it was her mother, she called out, ‘Guess what, Mum, I’m back!’
As the bedroom door opened and Jennifer saw a strange man entering her bedroom, she put the towel tightly around herself and yelled, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here? Get out!’
Making no attempt to leave, the man looked appraisingly at Jennifer, then uttered, ‘Um, new girl, very nice.’ Slowly he moved closer to her and she tried to get away but had nowhere to go. Cornered, she wanted to scream, but nothing came out. She was terrified, realising that the man must be one of her mother’s customers and was there for one thing only.
Seeing her terror, the man put his hand over her mouth and with the other hand pulled away the towel. ‘Don’t act scared’, he said, throwing her onto the bed, ‘you must have done it plenty of times before.’
He was a big strong man in his forties. Jennifer tried to scratch and struggle, but was powerless to prevent him from taking her.
‘Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?’ he asked while pulling up his pants.
At that moment, her mother entered the room and found her daughter in tears having just been raped by one of her customers.
‘You bastard!’ she screamed. ‘My God, Leo, you raped my daughter, how could you?’
Looking confused, Leo turned to face the distraught woman, ‘I didn’t know, I’m so sorry. Why weren’t you home anyway? And you never told me you had a daughter, I really thought she was the new girl. Come on, Carrie,’ he consoled her as he took her by the elbow and led her out of the room, ‘she’ll get over it.’
Jennifer’s mother was really angry, raising her voice as she told him, ‘She could go to the police, you know.’
Jennifer could hear them arguing for a while. She was still in tears when her mother came back and sat next to her on the bed. ‘Please Jenny, don’t go to the police, can’t you see, it was a genuine mistake, if you do, it will all come out and how else can I make a living?’ She was pleading with her daughter. ‘Your father doesn’t give a damn, since we divorced he doesn’t have to pay maintenance, please Jenny, promise? Here’s a hundred pounds he left for you, take it, we can’t undo what’s done, so you’d better have it.’
Jenny grabbed the money and threw it at her mother, ‘I don’t want that bloody money, don’t you see, if I take it, I’m guilty, I’d feel like I was a prostitute.’
Putting her arm around her daughter, Carrie stroked her hair. ‘Go take another shower and I’ll make you a cup of tea, okay?’
Drying her tears, Jennifer responded, ‘Yes I’ll take a shower and then first thing in the morning I’m leaving. I wanted to do that anyway.’
‘Look Jenny, you don’t have to go, I’ll make sure it’ll never happen again.’
‘No, Mum, my mind is made up, I’m going to Uncle Louis in Pinehurst. I’ve always wanted to go there, and I won’t tell him what happened. Let’s forget the whole thing.’
Jennifer had never intended to stay with her mother. She was twenty-two now, about time she did something for herself. She was really disgusted with her mother who, she had discovered while still in Brussels, was a prostitute. Having lived with her sister and brother-in-law in Brussels, she had not realised that since the divorce had come through, her mother had no income. But surely, she could have tried for a job? She was still young enough and healthy.
Jennifer had already telephoned her Uncle Louis, and he had offered her accommodation until she found a job. She packed her bag and left the next morning. Again her mother had tried to make her stay but Jennifer had been adamant, her mind was made up, she was going to Pinehurst. Her mother had asked her not to tell her brother Louis what had happened.
‘What happened?’ was her reply. ‘Nothing happened.’
Louis Parker had moved to Pinehurst soon after he graduated from the police academy. He had married his long-time girlfriend, Emily Foster, and both had decided to make a life for themselves in Pinehurst. They thought it was a better place to live and bring up children.
After two years, Emily had become pregnant and Louis was over the moon with the news. Then came disaster. Emily had stumbled and fallen down a few steps. Seven months pregnant at the time and her contractions had started. She was rushed to the local hospital. Doctors and nurses had tried everything to save the baby, but to no avail.
Inconsolable, Emily had started to haemorrhage and the doctor couldn’t stop it. She didn’t survive. Louis was devastated, throwing himself into his work as a senior detective with the police department in Pinehurst. Now, twenty-five years later, he was nearly fifty. Still good looking, with his dark hair greying at the temples. He’d had plenty of opportunities with women, but he’d not wanted to remarry. No one, however beautiful, could take Emily’s place.
He was really looking forward to having Jennifer stay with him. He thought she was a lovely girl with a bubbly personality, always with a ready smile. He could have an intelligent conversation with her, as she had a wide variety of interests. She reminded him a bit of Emily when he had first met her. He admired her for quitting her job at a real estate agency and going to the aid of her sister Linda in Brussels. But now Linda’s baby had been born, she wasn’t needed there any more. She told him on the phone that she didn’t want to stay with her mother. She wanted to be independent.
Louis knew what the real reason was and had argued with Carrie many times, but his sister had flatly told him that it was none of his business.
By the same author:
The Story of Prisoner Number 329
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