“I’ll tell you what, let’s go outside and get some fresh air,” Jenny suggested.
Deborah took a sip of wine and nodded.
“Yeah, good idea, sis. I could do with a walk.”
On hearing Deborah say the magic word ‘walk’, Dougie leapt up out of his basket and began running circles in the living room while wagging his tail with enthusiasm. The two sisters burst out laughing.
“Go on, fetch your leash!” Deborah cried out to her faithful little dog.
Dougie needed little encouragement and was back within seconds. Deborah attached the leash. The three of them then left the house, after Jenny had made sure all the doors were locked.
As they walked along the road to their favourite spot on the beach, Deborah picked up the mesmerizing sweet fragrance of a jacaranda that was flowering in one of the front yards. Instantly, she found herself in a daydream. A gentle woman’s voice whispered: ‘Magpie child, open your eyes and see what is to be seen.’ Deborah frowned at such an obscure message until it finally got through to her. She grasped the meaning of the strange occurrences that had taken place in the last few days. Sure enough, someone was out to get her, but that was not what this was about.
“What’s on your mind?” Jenny asked, interrupting Deborah’s dream.
“Uh, sorry, come again,” Deborah said, confused.
Jenny smiled empathetically.
“Having one your daydreams, were you?”
“Yes, it all makes sense now.”
Jenny gave her an intrigued look.
“The four events, I mean,” Deborah began to explain, “together they make up a symbolic message.”
“I’m all ears,” Jenny said.
“Well, it all began with the conch on the dining room table.”
“Conch?” Jenny interrupted.
Fear grabbed hold of her heart as Deborah realized her slip of the tongue, but fortunately she instantly regained her composure.
“Yes, the conch,” she repeated. “Before the incident with the headless magpie, there was this conch. I found it on the dining room table on the day I arrived at the beach house. And in it there was this little wad of paper that had the same note written on it as the one daubed in blood on the wall of the house.”
Jenny gazed open-mouthed at her sister, who could clearly see the expression on her face was genuine.
“What, ‘You know I’ll always love you’?”
“Yes, that’s it.”
“Now I understand why you panicked, Debbie. I would ‘ve freaked out too in your situation.”
Deborah smiled, now Jenny was really beginning to comprehend what she was going through.
“But what does it mean, according to you?” Jenny asked.
“Well, the conch is telling me to let myself be guided by my spirit, who talks to me in my dreams at night by way of the wind. It’s warning me to stay true to myself, so I won’t be distracted like the magpie.”
“Which is like your totem animal,” Jenny cut in.
“That’s right. I need to be aware of what’s going on around me, then I’ll be able to notice important things like the cricket ball in the backyard and people stalking me.”
Jenny gasped when she heard Deborah mention the word ‘stalking’. She realized something she had failed to see up until now.
“Oh no, Debbie. I think I made a stupid mistake.”
“Come quickly, we’ve got no time to waste,” Jenny said as she grabbed Deborah by the arm. “We’ve got to go back to the house.”
Deborah wanted to ask why but did not get the chance. Before she knew it, Jenny had started running, tugging her along with her.
When they arrived at the house, out of breath, they met Norm from next door coming out of their backyard.
“Huh, what are you doing here?” he asked, looking at Jenny with surprise written all over his face.
“We could ask you the same thing,” Deborah replied in her place.
“Yeah, what are you doing in our yard?” Jenny added.
“So, you’re not the stalker after all,” Norm answered.
“No, of course not. How could you think such a thing?” Jenny retorted, clearly annoyed by the assumption. “And you still haven’t answered my sister’s question.”
“As I told you this morning, Jean spotted someone in a hoodie lurking around your place. When we walked back to our house, I noticed your car,” he explained pointing at Jenny’s car, “and that there was a hoodie just like the stalker’s lying in it. That made me very suspicious and seeing I didn’t want any harm to come to Debbie here, I decided to keep an eye on you. Just a minute ago, I spotted someone, who I thought was you, peeking through your back window. So, I bolted over to your place, but the person was gone when I got there. And then youse turned up.”
“Okay, that sounds likely,” Deborah concluded. “Thanks for looking out for me,” she said, smiling at Norm. Then she looked at Jenny and asked: “What was that stupid mistake you were talking about?”
‘Jacaranda Flowers’ by Melodi2 on Freeimages.com
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