The next thing Lindsay remembered was someone slapping her face gently. She slowly opened her eyes, still feeling groggy. The smell of burning flesh had been replaced by a sharp strong smell which made her eyes water. A female police constable held a brown bottle under her nose. She grimaced.
“Smelling salts, you fainted, do you feel better?”
Lindsay looked over the WPC’s shoulder, but other than the two of them, the room was empty. Was she losing her mind? Was she hallucinating? Where were these awful visions coming from?
“Yes, I feel a little better thanks. I haven’t really eaten since Saturday, can’t stomach food.”
“I’m not surprised. You must be traumatized. Can I take you home?”
“If they’re finished with me I’d love to go home.”
“Let me go check with the boss. I think you scared him.” She left the room and returned with the Detective. He looked visibly shaken. Did he see something?
“Lindsay you can go home now. I don’t think you should be on your own though. You scared me. You looked terrified, like you’d seen a ghost, or worse. What the hell happened.”
“I’m not sure,” Lindsay lied, “Delayed shock maybe. Your questions triggered it I think.”
“Can you stay with someone?”
“Not really! My parents are in France in their caravan. My brother lives close so I can call him if I need company. I’ll be alright, I think I just need to get something to eat.”
Detective Denham looked at the young WPC. “Barbara, take her home and stay with her for a while.”
“No that’s really not necessary.”
“I don’t mind,” the WPC said. “I’m on duty until midnight anyway so I might as well be on duty at your house. We could pick up Chinese food on the way home.”
The Detective smirked. “You know a lot of cats have gone missing in Richmond. Are you sure Chinese is a good idea?”
“OK, maybe fish and chips then.” she said.
“Here, it’s on me.” Detective Denham gave her a five-pound note. “No need to report back to the station Barbara. Stay with Lindsay and then go straight home.”
Lindsay sat in the Police car outside the chippy on the outskirts of Richmond. She was weak, tired and very scared. Why did she keep seeing the disgusting, terrifying vision of her dead friend? Lost in her misery, she screamed out loud when someone tapped on the window. The dark haunted eyes of a young man peered in at her. It was the same man she’d seen several times since the fire. Lindsay wound down the window quickly, eager to talk to him, but he fled when he saw the WPC returning. She didn’t have the energy to chase him.
Barbara opened the driver’s door, struggling to keep hold of the fish and chips, bundled in newspaper. “Here hang on to these while I drive. They smell great don’t they? Mind, they’re hot! Who was that standing by the car?”
“I don’t know his name, but I’ve seen him two or three times since the fire. He’s usually in a white car. I think he wanted to talk to me.”
“Damn, did yo see which way he went?”
“No, but I have a feeling he’ll be back soon.”
Dead of July by Sandra Thompson is available on Amazon.