The knife slid easily across the throat of Margaret Hanlon. Her house was a silent house and had been for many years since her husband had gone missing. He had always been an outdoors man, river and sea fishing had been his idea of enjoyment until he took up clay pigeon shooting after they had visited a local fairground one Saturday afternoon. The shooting gradually took over his life and then it became the shooting of birds that besotted his life. Margaret had become used to both the silence and loneliness as the years passed bye. She wasn't rich by any means but unknown to her, James had left quite a sizeable sum of cash money locked in a hidden safe within the house. Margaret had never known about the safe and was unaware that there was over £30,000 inside.
The warm blood trickled down Margarets chest and ran between her breasts, she tried to gasp air into her mouth but no air entered, her last thought was had she turned off the gas cooker before her eyes closed and the silence within herself and the house was now forever. The tray with her plate of food and cup of tea she had made for her evening meal slid off her knees and onto the floor.
It was Anne who found her mothers body four days after she had been killed.The police spent many days searching for clues within the house and the only evidence found was the two muddy footprints on the small entrance mat at the front door. Photographs were taken, the mud analysed and the door handle checked for fingerprints but there was nothing conclusive that they could act upon.
Anne, Margaret's daughter and only child, had put her mothers house up for sale in the late autumn and it had been on the market for almost two years. It was thought that If it had been closer to the village it would have sold quite quickly but, being over a mile from the village people who have viewed it were reluctant to buy as it was so isolated.
"There is also the murder of your mother to be accounted for within the sale and people are frightened that the murderer may return someday and murder the new occupants." Informed Trevor, the man from the house sale company.
Anne was quite aware of the circumstances regarding the house location, and the murder of her mother. Andy, Anne's husband suggested that they sell their town house and move into her mothers house. It had five bedrooms and they had three children, one bedroom for each child and a spare guest room. They could have the very large master bedroom with the on suite and shower. There was a double garage, one garage each for their two cars. He would arrange for double glazing of all the windows and a new security door at the front and rear with an alarm system. The children could attend the village school which is only one mile away instead of the school they attended in the town which was four miles away. He would have a children's playground installed with swings, slides and those roundabout things.
It took some time for Anne to realise that Andy was right and that they should sell up in town and move into her mothers large house. She would need a new kitchen of course with all the mod cons to go with it. It would also need re-decorating throughout with new flooring, curtains and carpets.
So, the decision had been made, Andy had arranged everything that Anne wanted replacing in her grandmas house and once on the market, their town house sold very quickly at a goodly profit and they moved into grandmas house.
The children really enjoyed their new school, it was more a one to one situation with their teachers as there were only 36 children in the whole school. Friends were made quite quickly and they seemed happier than when they were at the school in the town. At weekends they invited their friends to come and visit the playground with swings and roundabouts was the main attraction.
Anne and Andy made new friends all due to their children's friends parents and life seemed to be more family orientated than it had ever been before.
Andy now worked from home for most of the time once the super fast internet had been installed and this allowed him to be at home with his family rather than spend days at the office and nights in a hotel in town. It was a compromise that worked well for the family and allowed him more time at home with his family. Anne had mentioned to Andy a few times that she had the feeling that someone was inside the house, she had never seen anyone though and just past it off as "getting to know all the quirks and noises an old house makes."
Wednesday, June 25th. The same month and date Ann's mother was murdered.
Anne was sitting in her living room reading a new book lent to her by a friend. Andy was in his study busy with his business work and now and again she could hear his voice as he was speaking on the phone. It was quiet and serene In her living room with the sun shining through the large window, she was sipping her tepid cup of coffee and she felt at ease and content with her life. Suddenly, she felt afraid, she didn't know why she felt this way and she turned quickly and surveyed the quietness of the room. She had an eerie feeling there was someone watching her, but the room was empty. She glanced at the window expecting a friend to knock on the glass as they did at times because the footpaths to the front door was outside of the window. Andy suddenly appeared from his office.
"Are you ok sweetheart" he asked in a tone of voice that was rather concerning. "I thought I heard someone in here and had a feeling you were in some kind of distress."
"I'm ok Andy, I just had the feeling that there was someone in the room with me and it felt eerie and a little frightening. The feeling has gone now and there was no one else in here so I guess it was just me being silly. It's about time I collected the children from school and a little fresh air will do me good. I'll collect the children from school and then call in at Megan's and pick up the wool she got for me from town, so I will be a little while longer than usual."
Once Anne had left the house Andy felt a slight coldness in the room air. It felt like a door had opened and then closed letting cold air into the room, but the door to the passageway leading to the front door was closed. He decided to check the whole house as they were a little isolated here and anyone could have gained access but, when any outside door was opened a short alarm sound could be heard, and he had not heard any sound except for when Anne left the house.
Andy checked downstairs first, making sure all the doors and windows were closed and locked. As he climbed the stairs he also felt an eerie feeling that someone was following him and his nerves and senses became acute. He checked the landing slowly opening doors and checking the rooms one by one. When he opened the family bathroom door the panel on the side of the bath had been pulled away slightly at the bottom. His first thought was that the children and done this but, there were screws lying on the bathroom floor that normally kept the panel in place. On further inspection and as he eased the panel open a little further there was a steel container with a door and a combination dial, it was a security safe. Almost everything in the house had been replaced before they had moved in except for this bathroom as it looked new in all respects. Once the bath panel had been fully removed, Andy pulled out the safe onto the bathroom floor. It was a flat shaped safe, around two feet square and eight inches in height. The safe door was on the front along with the combination dial with figures from one to ten. Andy carried the safe downstairs and into his office.
"Now The best way to find what the combination was to check on the Internet and see if he could find a program that would give selected combinations for opening it he thought. He typed in the model name, the number of digits on the dial and waited. It took three minutes for two alternative combinations to appear on his computer screen. The first being 1,2,3,4. This combination didn't work at all so, he tried the second combination, 2, 4. 6, 8, but this didn't open the safe either. It was only by chance that he tried both combinations once again and on the second set of numbers he hit the 10, instead of the eight and the door unlocked. Inside there was a sealed envelope and £30,000 in cash money, all in
£20 notes. Other than a diamond necklace, a letter and the money, the safe was empty.
Andy heard Anne arrive home with the children and there seemed to be a lot of excitement in the living room. Jane, their oldest daughter had sat her first maths exam at school and had been 98% correct, the highest score ever at the school so celebrations were in order. Andy thought it better to let Jane enjoy her success first hand and when things quieted down he would show Anne what he had found under the bath.
"How can this be" said Anna as she surveyed the contents of the safe spread out on Andy's desk top.
"I don't really know what made me search the house like I did. There was a coldness in the air after you left to collect the girls and I felt as though there was someone or something watching me. I decided to check the whole house and when I was climbing the stair I had a feeling that there was someone upstairs. I searched everywhere and then I found the children's bathroom bath panel was loose. First I thought the children had removed it but on further investigation I found the safe. The sealed letter is addressed to you Anne.
Anne opened the letter, the single page she held in her hand was written with a pencil and it was a shock to her as she read the words out aloud.
"My dear beloved Anne. For many years your mother had betrayed me with another man. The man is now dead and gone and I made the decision to end your mothers life as she has betrayed the vows we made together on our wedding day. I left her alone after the man died and busied myself in things I loved to do like my fishing and shooting. We spent many years apart yet we were still living together in this house. Your mother lived in her lost misery of loosing her lover and I myself lived in the loneliness of life. I killed your mother and I am ashamed of what I have done but, we had not been man and wife or father and mother to you for years. I eventually poisoned myself, it felt good as I was dying, the misery that had taken over my life was ending as I loved your mother dearly.
I have left you the diamond necklace I bought your mother on our wedding day, treasure it. Also there is a large amount of cash I have saved for you, if you are reading these words, you have found the safe and my letter. I know I will wander the emptiness of the earth for eternity after the crime I have committed, but, I loved your mother dearly and I loved you equally. I will leave this house now that you know the truth and wander elsewhere far away from here. Always remember my dearest daughter, your mother and I both loved you.