Belinda left her workplace far later than she anticipated, this was always the case. She had been in the teaching profession for 5 years and loved it. The job was her passion. On that particular evening, she had decided to stay in the school and finish marking the children’s exercise books. She hated being behind with anything and always set herself deadlines. It was the journey home she dreaded, she hated nothing more than travelling along the dingy country roads alone with only the strong beams of her car headlights to go by, especially when it was late. The night was bitterly cold, Belinda was grateful for her red woolen finger-less gloves, no matter how hideous they looked. She gingerly stepped sideways into her little car. As she revved it up, the small engine began to splutter as if it was suffering from a bout of pneumonia, about to give up the ghost. Please don’t give up on me little car she prayed silently. To her relief the engine started and seemed to be going smoothly. She turned on her headlights which beamed brightly, leading her way in the gloomy night.
Belinda quickly switched on the radio. She hated travelling alone and it was a rare occasion that she did. She always shared lifts with Zara her classroom assistant. It was just on the off-chance that Zara was off work today, forcing Belinda to drive without company. She was deep in thought recalling the conversations which had been had that day. There was one pupil in particular who wasn’t reaching their potential and it saddened her, her mind then switched to what she’d buy as a secret santa present with Christmas looming.
As quick as a flash, something flitted past her wind screen. Belinda startled, she wasn’t driving at a fast pace. It didn’t appear to be the usual branch or hedging, more clothing-like. Belinda rapidly halted her car to try to clarify what she’d actually seen. There in front of her stood a woman approximately 30 in age. She was soaked to the skin, her long straggly blonde hair clung to her thin cheeks. She was poorly clad in a shabby dress which was at least 2 sizes to big and very dated. Belinda rolled down her car window, not something that she’d normally do.
“Hey are you okay?” Do you need any help?” There was concern in Belinda’s voice which caused the girl to halt and spin around on her heels. “Do you need a lift?” Belinda continued.
“Please” the girl mumbled, her eyes looked red. Belinda wasn’t sure if it was rainwater upon her unwashed cheeks or silvery tears. Belinda nodded and opened the passenger door.
“Where do you want me to take you?” She hesitated.
“To Old Farm Close”
Belinda nodded although, she felt quite confused, she was positive no-one lived there . She continued to run queries inside her head. Elspeth sat quietly beside her, she seemed so distant as if she was deep in thought. Belinda noticed there were prominent scratch marks on her arms, they looked fairly fresh.
“It’s just here” Elspeth stated interrupting Belinda’s reverie. “Thank you so much for the lift” She attempted a sad smile, gazing out of the window. The building was unkempt with a wild over grown garden. Surely this can’t be it? Belinda thought, it looked desolate .
“Are you going to be okay?” Belinda stated.
Elspeth nodded and smiled a sad smile. “Yes, he can’t hurt me anymore.”
Belinda was frightened by her reply, what on earth did Elspeth mean? She nodded and drove away. She felt bewildered and saddened. Elspeth was so young, yet so unkempt. Something was deeply troubling her Belinda thought. The following day she seemed distant at work, countless members of staff asked if she was feeling alright. She was far from her bubbly talkative self and seemed quiet and distant. Belinda shrugged off their comments stating that she was fine but just felt a little under the weather.
The next day a trip to the news agents confirmed her sinister suspicions “GIRL MURDERED BY CRAZED BOYFRIEND IN DRUNKEN ATTACK.” Now Belinda understood, Elspeth hadn’t had time to find peace, she was trapped in between.