Jenny was startled by Deborah’s outburst on hearing Jenny tell her about the spare key sticking in the lock on the back door. Admittedly, their dad had told her that Deborah had not been feeling well lately, but she had not bargained on her sister behaving as dramatically as this. Fortunately, she immediately remembered how to respond to Deborah’s panic attacks. She simply let Deborah screech all she wanted and get it out of her system.
After a few minutes, when she had finished screeching, Deborah cupped her face with her hands and wept. Jenny grabbed hold of her and held her tightly. As Deborah cried out all the heartache she had bottled up over the years, Jenny alternately kissed her on her forehead and whispered soothing words to her:
“I’ve got you, sweetheart. Everything’s gonna be alright.”
When Deborah stopped crying, Jenny held her gently by her shoulders and looked into her eyes.
“Well, that was a long time coming, wasn’t it?” she said smiling.
“Yeah, you bet ya,” Deborah nodded and brushed away her dark long curly hair from her face. “Jen?” she asked.
“Do you think Dad’s going to, well,” Deborah hesitated.
“Top himself?” Jenny interrupted to make it easier on her sister. “Nah, I doubt it, although the same thought crossed my mind years ago when Mum passed away.”
“Oh then, no, I meant now.”
Jenny looked at her in surprise.
“After our conversation, it felt as if the world had collapsed around him,” Deborah explained. “We had been recollecting the past and I could tell it hit him really hard.”
As she spoke, Deborah sensed Jenny’s respect for her. However, she could not help but feel a hint of doubt, and so, she decided to be very careful about what she told her. Meanwhile, Jenny listened attentively to what Deborah was saying.
“Dad told me how hard it had been for him to see me suffer after Gio left me. And I can relate to that, although at the time I felt so depressed, I wasn’t able to sense what anyone around me was feeling. I didn’t even realize Mum was gradually slipping away from us, Jen. Even now, I just can’t comprehend what actually killed her. Was it grief?” Deborah asked with fresh tears in her eyes.
Jenny did not answer but nodded instead.
“Anyway,” Deborah sniffed, “Dad has had a rough time of it. Mum was depressed. I was depressed and hanging on by a thread. After the cards he’s been dealt, it was all too much for him and when he was over at my place, he simply broke down. I felt so sorry for him, Jen. And scared too. He didn’t get his nickname for nothing and I’m not used to him acting so vulnerably.”
Jenny smiled faintly.
“After our late-night conversation, I had this really weird dream. I was standing in a wheat field. The wind made the stalks go to and fro. And then,” Deborah hesitated, “then it whispered to me.”
“Whispered to you?”
“Yes, it whispered: ‘Deborah, your day will come. Be patient, it won’t be long now.’ After that I felt a lot calmer but still muddled. So, I decided to come here and let the wind blow all the cobwebs from my mind, so to speak. I haven’t been very successful, though.”
As she spoke, Deborah was overcome by an uncanny feeling. She definitely knew it was being caused by a woman, except she could not figure out who the woman was. She decided to tread cautiously.
“First of all, I was treated to that decapitated magpie on the verandah. It’s too much of a coincidence to me. The person who did it must have known I have a thing for magpies, and they had the cheek to say they still love me. How sick is that? Then there’s the cricket ball turning up out of nowhere. I didn’t see it here until you took it in with you. And last but not least, the spare key, which I haven’t touched since I arrived here, ends up sticking out of the lock on the back door. Who could possibly have known where to find it? If anything, it feels like someone is spinning a web to net me in with.”
“Now you put it that way, it is all a bit weird,” Jenny replied.
“And sinister,” Deborah added.
‘The Net’ by Stephanie Berghaeuser on Freeimages.com
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