“So, what was that stupid mistake you were talking about?” Deborah asked Jenny curiously, when they had finished talking to Norm on the footpath just outside the beach house.
The question made Jenny blush with shame. At the same time, Jenny knew it was better for both her and Deborah to get it off her chest. So, she cleared her throat and began to tell Deborah about the mistake that was troubling her.
“You mentioned stalking back there and that’s when I realized who could be stalking you.”
Deborah’s eyes opened wide as she listened closely to her sister’s words.
“Let’s go inside,” she suggested.
“Good idea,” Jenny replied, and they went inside through the front door.
Once they were seated in the living room, Jenny continued telling her story.
“The day before yesterday, I was at Woolworths when I bumped into Angela.”
The name ‘Angela’ rang a bell with Deborah, but she could not match the name to anybody she knew.
“You know, our babysit when we were kids,” Jenny explained when she saw Deborah struggling to remember.
“Oh yes, I remember her now,” Deborah exclaimed with a smile, “She was so kind to us.”
“Yeah, she was,” Jenny agreed. “Anyway, we started chatting about old times when your name came up.”
On hearing this, Deborah smiled warmly.
“She wanted to know how you were doing. So, without giving her any details, I told her that you had had some hard times and were now getting some rest at the beach house. So far so good, until Angela began telling me about Marcia.”
Deborah remembered Angela’s daughter Marcia, who was her age and in the same year as her in primary and in High School. She also remembered Marcia’s tendency to talk behind other people’s backs.
“It appears Marcia really lost it after high school. According to Angela, Marcia just couldn’t deal with the way her dad had treated her and her mother.”
“I remember now,” Deborah interrupted. “Her dad left her and Angela when Marcia was in the sixth grade.”
“That’s right, sis. Angela told me what few people knew but what our family suspected all along. That her husband not only verbally abused her and Marcia, but was actually physically violent too.”
Deborah shuddered as she remembered how their own dad became frustrated over his attempts to alert the police about the aggression in the Sullivan’s household. The police did not take him seriously. They even cautioned for making false accusations without substantial evidence.
“That explains a lot,” Deborah replied. “Marcia was very edgy and once in Phys Ed when she jumped to catch a netball, her T-shirt lifted to reveal a massive bruise on her ribs. I remember we were all shocked. The teacher, Mrs. Tracy reported it to the headmaster, but he just ignored it.”
“Oh, him. He was a real ‘who’s your father’,” Jenny scoffed. “He swept a lot of things under the rug and must have known more about Marcia’s family situation. Well, anyway, things went from bad to worse. It was a bloody miracle that Marcia finished high school and got that job at the garden centre.”
“Still, she began hanging out with the wrong crowd. She experimented with drugs, fell in love with some bloke who was into Satanic rites and began dabbling with black magic herself. That was when even Angela couldn’t get through to Marcia. Luckily though, Marcia still visits her once in a while. Apparently she lives in an abandoned prospector’s hut somewhere back of beyond. I reckon Marcia contacted Angela just after I spoke to Angela the other day.”
“I reckon you’re right, Jen,” Deborah said, putting her arm around Jenny’s shoulder. “Not to worry. You couldn’t have suspected what was going to happen.”
“Nah,” Jenny answered glumly. “But that still leaves us with psycho Marcia who’s out to do who knows what to you.”
“You know what? Let’s forget about it for a moment. Our next step will surely come to us. Besides, what could happen to me with my little sister here to protect me?” she added affectionately.
“Too right,” Jenny laughed.
That night Deborah lay in bed with the image of Marcia’s sad face before her and felt Marcia’s pain. She cried herself to sleep.
‘Alice Springs in Summer’ by Charlie Lawrence on Freeimages.com
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