Student Stories

Neighbour problems


They’d been at it for half an hour now. 32 minutes to be precise. Paige turned over in her bed, facing away from the clock beside her. It read 1:46. She had work in the morning and needed her sleep; yet every word of Mr. and Mrs. Cope’s argument rang out clear from their open window. Her neighbours had been like this for weeks now, keeping her up every night. This nights quarrel was a particularly vicious episode, with threats punctuating their every sentence. 

 At 2:21 Paige had had enough. Swinging her legs out of bead, she briskly crossed over to the window and opened it. Before she could say a word, however, Mrs.Cope spotted her. A look of fury etched on her face, Mrs.Cope slammed the window shut and closed the curtains. Finally, she could get some rest! Paige sank back into her warm, comfy bed, enveloping herself in the velvety folds of her duvet. It was then that she heard a muffled gunshot, echoing from the Cope’s house. 

Jamie-Leigh was walking, as quickly as she could, desperate to get into her home, and of the dark, dangerous streets. It had been a mistake to go out this late, of this she was certain. Shadows threatened to snatch her away at every corner, and she had to make a lot of effort not to break into a run. The silence of the night scared her even more; not a sound could be heard. She was nearly back now, just 10 more minutes and she would be home. If she could survive for that long. Suddenly, a silhouette appeared out of a house. Jamie dived behind a wall, not wanting the figure to see her. Afterwards Jamie would consider this a silly thing to do, but at the time fear took hold of her, and concealing her presence seemed perfectly sensible. It was well that she did, for, to her horror, as the figure ran frantically out of the house and down the street, a trail of dark red blood trailed behind her. Somehow, something switched inside Jamie’s mind. The fear was gone, replaced by a sense of anger and duty. With a sudden burst of adrenaline, she leapt after her, sprinting down the road which she had disappeared down. 

Shakily, Detective Cox ventured out of the pub. Maybe 5 coke and vodka’s had been a little adventurous; especially seen as he was on shift the day after. The cold night air was sobering him up fast. Already a pounding headache was developing – he dreaded to think about how he would feel in the morning. As he strolled down the quiet, peaceful road, something caught his attention on the pavement below him. His eyed widened in shock as he realized the red stains on the floor for what they were – blood. Looking up, he saw someone running into the distance. More importantly, as he new he would never be able to catch up to the person, a little way down the road was a purse. As the detective picked it up, a small card fell out. It was a driving license; complete with an address and photo. 

Detective Cox paused with his finger over the doorbell, wondering whether to continue. He wasn’t even on duty – and in his condition he may well do more harm than good. But he knew something was wrong. Very wrong. The doorbell chimed an inappropriate, cheerful ‘Ding-Dong’, and was shortly opened by a wild looking woman in her mid twenties. The detective glanced down at the photo in his hand; frizzy hair, green eyes and covered in freckles. The woman standing at the door resembled the photo roughly, although at the moment she looked scared, with eyes so wide she could have been possessed. ‘Are you Jamie-Leigh Bentley?’ His rough voice sounded.

A very timid ‘Yes’ served as his reply. ‘I need to ask you some questions’ he said, showing his detective ID. A panicked look flashed across her eyes, but she nodded and beckoned him inside.
Jamie showed the detective into the living room, where he sat down into a squishy armchair. She managed to croak ‘Tea…’ and turned to leave, but before she could take a step, the mans hand had snatched her arm, pulling her towards him. ‘No.’, he said, his serious eyes boring into hers, ‘This is important’. Jamie swallowed and sat down on the sofa. ‘I believe you dropped this.’ Detective Cox handed the purse to her. ‘Where do you think you dropped this?’ He demanded. ‘It… it must have been when I was running…’ the detectives harsh, questioning expression forced her to continue. ‘I was going… going down the street yes, to get home. This person stepped out of their house and I… I panicked. Ducked behind a wall, watched her run off… trailing blood.’ She swallowed again. ‘I followed her. Ran. When I caught up with her, she just stopped. Turned round, she looked wild, crazy, her hands were covered in blood…’ Jamie stopped for breath again. The Detective’s expression was bland, emotionless. ‘I got scared, fell to the floor. Must of been knocked unconscious, ‘couse I remember everything going black, then waking up and she’d gone.’ The detective folded his hands in though. For five minutes, no one spoke. Reaching a decision, detective Cox stood up. ‘Take me to the house that she ran out of.’ Jamie hurried out of the room, quickly grabbing her coat from the peg by the door.  

The Detective strode forward, with Jamie almost jogging to keep up. They walked in silence, apart from Jamie’s heavy breathing. After a while, Jamie called for him to stop. Timidly, she pointed at a house. The detective nodded at her, and strode towards the open door. Jamie leant against the wall, and sank to the ground, with her head in her hands. She couldn’t bring herself to move – whatever happened, she was going to stay put.

A movement to his right caught Detective’s Cox’s attention. Another scared looking woman was staring at him from her window next door. She was shaking her head. The moment he saw her she closed her curtains in a panic. He decided to find out what was happening before going into the house – who knew what was waiting for him inside? He passed Jamie unnoticed, and made his way up to the door of the house where he had seen the woman. Without hesitation, he knocked, making sure that whoever was inside could hear him. It was a full 3 minutes before the door was opened, slowly. He flashed his ID at the woman, and demanded that she answer his questions. The time for politeness was past, and this woman seemed like she had seen something. The woman began to shut the door, but, quick as a flash, the detective’s foot was in the way. Before she could blink, he had grabbed hold of her hand, twisting it behind her back. The woman shrieked, and the man gasped, for covering the innocent looking, young woman’s hands, was a thick coating of dried blood. 

She couldn’t resist. The man had her completely pinned. ‘You have the rite to remain silent, anything you say or don-’ ‘Wait!’ The Woman cut across his voice. She spoke hurriedly, she seemed desperate to explain. ‘You have to listen to me! It’s poor Luke sir, he’s dead!’ The detective snarled. ‘Exactly! Your under arrest on suspicion of mur-’ He spat out, but the Woman interrupted him again. ‘It wasn’t me! I went into their house, I didn’t think! I’d heard a gunshot, I thought it must have been an accident, not meant to kill…’
The detective tightened his grip. ‘Explain’ he hissed. The Woman shrieked again, as the man’s hands dug into her arms. She managed to gasp ‘They were arguing! I went into the house, to check if they were ok –the door was open – I ran upstairs, to their bedroom where I’d seen them arguing and on the floor was Luke. I turned him over, saw his eyes… It was terrible… and so much blood…’ The detective finally loosened his grip. ‘ Yes… that explains the blood…’ the woman nodded, frantically. ‘Then I panicked, ran outside and down the street, trying to put as much distance as I could between me and… me and the body’ The detective let go of her –‘I believe you’. The woman nodded her thanks. ‘The killer… his wife?’ He inquired, gently now. ‘It… It must be.’ She stuttered hesitantly. ‘Ok. Stay here… I have to go in.’ before she could protest, he had stepped out side and closed the door behind him.

He slipped passed Jamie, who was now muttering to herself. The door was before him again. He paused for a second or two, and then carried on in.

No lights were on in the house. He had to guide himself by touch to the stairs, which he began to climb cautiously. The stairs creaked under his weight, betraying him to anyone listening. He stopped, then continued more slowly, being careful to distribute his weight evenly as he carried on up. A quick look around at the top of the flight revealed no one, but an ajar door stood straight before him. He put his hand on the handle, took a breath, then burst into the room ready to jump on anyone inside – but body was there. No one alive at least. 

The body lay spread-eagled beside the bed, Sprawled in an unnatural posture. Bracing himself, the detective moved in for a closer inspection. The wound was plainly evident, a small hole in the mans chest, surrounded by blood. He reached out, his hand shaking, and closed the poor mans eyes. He was just about to get up and leave when he heard a muffled shriek from under the bed. He got down to all fours, and peered under it. Under the bed, tied up and gagged, was a woman, of about the same age as the one he had just spoken to. At first, he thought that the woman was signaling for him to untie her, but as he looked into her eyes, he realized that they weren’t looking at him. It was then that he heard the small click of someone releasing the safety on a gun.

‘Turn around slowly’ said a young, female voice. The detective did as he was told  - and couldn’t help himself gasping as he saw her face. ‘You! But…’ he looked from the woman under the bed to the woman pointing the gun at him, looking confused. ‘Can’t work out what happened?’ she snorted. ‘Some detective!’ A look or realization dawned on the detective. Slowly, he reached out and pulled the woman out from under the bed. Under the light, he could now see the woman’s hands… which were covered in blood. 

She spoke in a sweet girly voice. ‘Aha! The penny drops! Clever girl, aren’t I? My husband had just written his new will… leaving his entire savings to me in the event of his unexpected death! Earlier tonight, I knew darling Paige here was watching me and my husbands ‘argument’. I knew that she would come running if she thought someone was hurt! I planned to wait for hear at the door, make sure she had a little accident with my club downstairs… but I ah, needed to clean my self up first.’ She sniffed. ‘Can’t go about doing my business covered in blood now can I? So I missed her while I was in the shower. I planned to plant this on her’ she waved the gun ‘and then pretend to be downstairs, acting the innocent housewife, not knowing that my poor husband was about to be shot by our evil hag of a neighbor! I was going to clean the gun up, wipe my fingerprints of it… but what about a motive, I hear you ask? Well…I’ve made sure that my husband and dear Paige have a history, yes I have! I’ve been making sure that my now deceased husband has been going round to Paige’s every day for the past month now, complaining about this and that. But, she got away… I was watching, out of this window, as Paige ran out of the house. I knew that she would go back to her house eventually so I planned to get her then. Then I stepped in all this blood, and spent a minute wiping it off, and was just about to go when I saw you, detective! Now, I thought, this complicates things. But I got you, yes I did!’ Paige struggled against her bonds and tried to stand up, but Mrs.Cope was to fast. ‘Don’t even bother!’ she said, abandoning the girly voice and adopting a much more sinister tone, as she pushed her victim back down again. ‘This is the clever part!’ she said, back to being sweet.  

‘I saw you run off, following the trail of blood, but I knew you might turn back and follow it to my house! So when Paige came back, I was waiting for her! After I’d introduced her to my club I dragged her back here, and tied her up where she couldn’t interfere with things. I ran back to her house, and waited… for you this time! But instead of just clubbing you I tricked you!’ she let out a giggle ‘tricking the detective… he he! I made sure you noticed me at the window, made sure you turned back and came to Paige’s door! And look! See my hands! I got my hands dirty, bloody to be more precise, and told you that beautiful story! Like my acting? My teacher always said I was the best… he he! Lead you back here, didn’t I? And now I’ve got you just where I want you… and a much better story. A drunken man, off the street, spots a pretty girl in the window and an open door… next thing you know, he’s lying dead on the floor, along with my husband who he tragically managed to kill before I turned his own gun on him! Brilliant! You see? I planned it out! Every single detail!’
‘Except me’ whispered Jamie from behind her, as she brought the club down, as hard as she could, over Mrs.Cope’s head.