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A Kind of Drowning by Robert Craven

A Kind of Drowning by Robert Craven

Author:Robert Craven [Craven, Robert]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2021-05-03T16:00:00+00:00


16

Crowe couldn’t count how many times he had made the walk up a pathway to someone’s home to deliver the worst possible news. His gut twisted instinctively as he opened the old fashioned wrought iron gate to Thea’s home. More and more of his wrecked police nerve-endings were starting to reconnect and spark. The house was a renovated two-storey with a red brick façade. Everything apart from the gate looked spruce, modern, and well maintained. The windows shone in front of white New England shutters slanted closed, stifling any available sunlight. The driveway had an engine oil stain, framed by faded tyre tracks that reminded Crowe of a birthmark. This led via a shady passage to a gate into the back garden. A wall-mounted basketball hoop stood forlorn and limp on the corner of the house, the netting swaying in the sea breeze.

It was unseasonably warm. The sun burned through the sky and made Crowe sweat beneath his fleece as he rang the doorbell. Somehow it seemed the most silent house on the planet. The shuttered interiors inhabited by ghosts.

He gave the bell two more presses.

He heard the sound of a key turning and Grace Farrell stood staring at him. Her clothing was as uncoordinated and misshapen as his,

“I’ve come to pay my respects, Mrs Farrell,” said Crowe, “my deepest condolences on your loss,”

Grace’s skin was sere in the harsh sunlight. She had clearly abandoned make up. Her hair hung limp and unwashed. She was a woman barely forty now passing for seventy.

“Thank you,” she murmured, then gave a sudden shake, “I’m sorry, I don’t recognise you?”

“My name is John, I worked in the café with her, with Thea,”

Grace’s gaze suddenly bored into Crowe, starting with his unkempt pink hair, and working down taking in every inch of him. She showed a flicker of pity at the state of his shoes.

“Mr. Grumpy?”

“Yes. That was Thea’s name for me. She was an amazing, wonderful soul,”

“She talked about you a lot. Come in. I have a pot of tea on.”

“I won’t take too much of your time,” said Crowe.

“I’ve all the time in the world,” she said.

The hall was a shrine to Andrew Farrell, the footballer. Every inch of wall space was covered with him and older photographs of a man who must have been his father. Both sinewy warriors in shorts and football jerseys. A framed newspaper article showed the father and son holding a trophy and grinning broadly. As Crowe walked along the hall he glanced at more pictures of numerous golf outings, groups of men all red-eyed and shiny behind the glass.

There were no pictures of Thea.

Laminate timber flooring, scuffed by countless boots and shoes led to a huge bright kitchen. A stack of unwashed pots and pans sat on the draining board. The kitchen smelled of old grease and fried bacon,

“Please, sit down,” she said.

Crowe pulled a chair out; a smear of mud lay caked on the wooden seat. He eased himself down, avoiding as much of it as he could.



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