THE JAGUAR CONVERTIBLE SNAKED its way
through the dimly lit streets before slowing down and then stopping and
reversing into a dark laneway. The driver dressed in dark clothing, slid out
from behind the wheel and walking to the entrance of the alleyway glanced
furtively up the street to the right and left, it was eight pm with most of the
houses in darkness. The only sign of life was the characteristic blue glow
emanating from television receivers, easily distinguishable through the curtains
of suburban homes.
To the West, twenty kilometres away a
storm was brewing as forked lightning licked through low clouds, accompanied by
a low rumbling of thunder. Wind gusts came in spasmodic bursts, hurtling old
newspapers and dust ahead of its fierce onslaught. With a sudden drop in
temperature an eerie atmosphere suddenly enveloped the area as whole and the
wind suddenly, with no apparent reason dropped off. The surrounding area
suddenly became quite still with lightning becoming more prominent and distinct,
which gave the driver of the vehicle an added incentive to hurry.
sign was fixed to a telegraph pole indicating the location of Prescott Street in
the southern suburb of Woodbridge
which loomed out of the darkness. Parking the vehicle beneath a tree situated a
short distance away and stealthy with extreme caution, the driver walked in from
the intersection. It was only a matter of a minute before number sixteen
appeared attached to a post box next to a front gate, which swung half opened.
Pushing the gate open, it swung noiselessly as the intruder crept through the
gardens up to the front window.
Peering through laced curtains a woman
could clearly be seen lying on a lounge in front of the television screen, awake
and watching a current movie. The intruder looked around cautiously once more
but could see nothing untoward and felt safe. Distant flashes of lightning
caused the only illumination on the front porch.
Surprisingly, the front door was not
locked and it slowly edged open, allowing the intruder to silently creep into
the foyer of a hallway. A furtive peek around the lounge room door showed the
woman languishing in apparent comfort, still blissfully unaware she had
unwelcome company with her within the house. The intruder could easily
distinguish that the television receiver was turned down low and the woman
watching it was eating chocolates.
The glow of the television
receiver revealed the woman in semi-darkness sending a blaze of rage and hate
surging through the body of the intruder. A disused fireplace held an ornamental
receptacle containing a number of brass pokers. The intruder slipped into the
lounge room on hands and knees towards the receptacle with eyes darting
furtively around here and there but still the woman on the lounge had not
detected the intruder’s presence.
It was the noise the intruder suddenly
made while rushing to the poker stand and withdrawing one of the pokers that
enabled her to realise that she was not alone. With an alarmed look her eyes
opened wide and she saw the poker sweeping downwards at her head. She tried to
call out with her heart racing heavily and instinctively, she threw up one of
her arms in self-defence to ward off the blow. The poker struck heavily,
breaking her arm and completely nullified any further feeble attempts of
defence. Desperately, she clutched at the intruder with her good arm and while
struggling; the woman dragged a bracelet from the wrist of her attacker. It fell
to the floor and rolled beneath the lounge.
The woman was no match for her
assailant, who easily pulled her arm away and brought the poker down on her
head, again and again. The ferocity and force of the attack knocked the woman
unconscious and with a sigh, she slid to the floor, but still the intruder did
not stop. Stirred by a frenzy of uncontrollable bitterness and hate, the poker
struck the inert head of the woman time and time again. Blood splattered up the
walls with the force of the ferocious onslaught and finally the assailant
stopped, breathing heavily from exhaustion.
Recovering, the attacker quickly began
to search the house, pulling open drawers and tipping their contents onto the
floor. Finding nothing in the bedrooms, the intruder recommenced the routine in
the kitchen, toppling the contents of condiment tins out onto the kitchen bench.
One of the containers yielded a bundle of money held together with a rubber
band. Quickly thrusting the money into a pocket, the intruder wiped the
containers over with a tea towel before fleeing into the night.
Outside, heavy spots of rain were
beginning to fall and sharp whip-like cracks of thunder heralded the oncoming
gale about to descend. There was no traffic on the roads as the driver pushed at
a button raising the hood of the convertible. The oncoming fusillade of rain
began to fall and the windscreen wipers clacked back and forth as the car glided
ghost-like though the deluge.
Although, the driver was beginning to
feel a little easier, the horror of what had transpired back at the house had
not yet began to register. Heroin, used to foster courage prior to the invasion
of the house was beginning to lose its effect and the only thought in mind was
to get as far away as possible without being seen in the area.
It was thirty kilometres to the other
side of the city where a party was in progress with the car being loaned to the
driver for the purpose of obtaining drugs. Now there would be no problem on that
score and not only did the money mean that the driver could now return with the
drugs as promised, but that rotten bitch back in the house had now met her
Meanwhile, Basil Netrose was taking his
time while driving to his home in Prescott Street
because of heavy rain falling in torrents and as he crawled along the rain
seemed to intensify which caused him a few problems with his demister in the car
being faulty and not operating, as he would have desired. It had been faulty for
some weeks and despite his intention to get it repaired he had not got around to
it and now he was paying the supreme price for his neglect, with the windscreen
It was a fierce storm with rain pelting
into his car’s windscreen in spasms of ferocious onslaughts causing him to drive
at a slow speed while continually wiping at the condensation on his windscreen
with a rag. Fortunately there were no large hailstones prominent within the
onslaught of the heavy rain. Flashes of lightning briefly illuminated the road
and surrounding area. But for the storm, Basil would have been home at least an
hour earlier but he had been held up at his office by a number of piddling
matters requiring urgent attention and finally he came to the street and his
He drove slowly into number sixteen and
pulled into the driveway running alongside his house. The garage was open and
after parking his car he took his brief case from the front seat and prepared
for his run up the side of the house to the front door. He did not have an
umbrella with him and hated getting wet at anytime.
Running up the front steps onto the
patio, he noticed that the front door was ajar. ‘That’s unusual,’ he surmised.
‘Whatever could Margaret have been thinking to leave the front door unlocked?
Margaret,’ he called out, ‘I’m home.’
He could see the glow of the television
from the lounge room but there was no answer. Suspecting nothing, he went into
the lounge room and almost fainted at the horrific sight that greeted him. The
sweet repugnant smell of blood nauseated him and he could feel bile surging up
into his throat when he saw the smashed and battered head of his wife. He could
not stop the vomit hurtling from his mouth and perspiring furiously, his heart
raced and pain wrenched at his stomach.