The drive took an hour longer than I expected it to because I had a flat tire half-way through. Grateful that I knew how to change it but irritated at the loss of time, I continued on the longest journey of my life.
When I got to the hotel I ran to the desk which was thankfully open 24/7. There was no one there, but I heard the distant sounds of a television from somewhere. I shouted that there was an emergency and a moment later a bald man in his 40s scurried out of a back room.
“I need to know what room Pete Turner is in. NOW!” I cried.
The desk clerk looked confused, and paused before telling me, “I’m not sure I can give you that information, Madam.” His attempt to treat me professionally told me he was not taking my urgency seriously.
I snapped his head off. “His wife has showed signs of violence towards him! Just a few hours ago, she tried to kill him. This will be on your head if something goes wrong, so I suggest that you take me to my brother immediately. He’s in danger, and…”
The clerk held his hands up to me to silence me. “Madam, his wife went up to his room ten minutes ago. I assigned her key card myself. She was quite calm and clearly not a danger to anybody.”
My heart dropped. I told the clerk to call the police and that we needed to go to Pete’s room right away. He went into the back for what felt like forever, then came back with a bunch of keys and cards and led me to the lift so we could go to my brother’s room. I wanted to scream at him to hurry up but I was aware that I was the one that currently looked deluded, so I tried my best to stay calm.
On the slow approach, I realised with dread that it had been stupid of me to suggest Pete come back to the hotel he had been staying at. Of course she would have known where he was.
The clerk insisted on knocking the door, but there was no answer. When I eventually convinced him to open it we were greeted by silence. We entered but the room was empty. As a shadow flitted by the bed and I screamed, making the clerk jump. But it was just a curtain blowing in the breeze of the open window.
I ran out then, leaving the clerk in the room alone and bewildered. I made my way back to my car as quickly as possible to make the ten minute drive to Pete and Jodie’s home.
As I pulled up I could see them both in the living room. I was terrified but at least he was standing. I ran to the door and threw it open, letting myself in. The scent of the home I had once known so well overpowered me. So many memories. So many awful memories.
When I got into the living room I saw my brother smile at me. He was so pleased to see me after all this time. And I was pleased to see him, too. I’ll cherish that smile till the end of my days. My god, I’d missed him. We’d been through so much together throughout our years at home together, then after too. He had done his best to protect me from our mother. He was a lot older than me for a sibling and had once looked after me like a daughter. Until Jodie had fucked everything up. I looked at her then and saw her grinning snarkily at me.
“The wanderer returns!” She said, her tone gleeful and bitchy as she held her arms up in mock exaggeration.
I turned to Pete quickly, ignoring her. “Where’s Mikey?”
He held his hands out in an attempt to calm me. “He’s in bed, don’t worry Annie, it’s fine!” I could hear in his voice that he thought I was overreacting and I felt a familiar sense of devastation flood over my body like ice cold water.
I took a deep breath. “Why are you even here, Pete?!” I asked, confused and angry.
Pete frowned at me. “You said you’d be in Sheffield in 3 hours! When you didn’t arrive at the hotel, I thought you must have meant you were coming here… Plus, Mikey wasn’t settling well in the hotel so I just came home about 40 minutes ago.” I saw his eyebrows raise in concern as he asked gently, “It’s no big deal Annie. Listenn, Is everything ok?”
I was losing his trust by the second and I knew it. I couldn’t keep the anger from spilling out, though. “What?! No! Of course everything isn’t fucking ok! She tried to kill you, for fucks sake! Did you not read my fucking message?!”
She barked a laugh. “I told you she’s crazy.” She sneered, smiling knowingly at Pete.
“Pete,” I cringed to myself when I heard the whine in my voice. “I’m so confused. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know what you think you saw, Annie, but Jode obviously didn’t try to kill me.” He let out a nervous laugh. “I know things have been bad and she’s upset, but…”
“Upset doesn’t cover it, Pete.” She snapped. “You’ve broken my heart.” I heard her voice choking up, like she was trying not to cry. I knew it was an act, though. She had always played the victim.
“I’m so sorry, Jode. You know I never meant to hurt you, I swear. It’s just all been so hard…” Pete was staring deep into her eyes and I could feel him melting. I couldn’t stand it, not again.
“NO!” I shouted. I grabbed Pete by the arm and dragged him up the stairs towards their bedroom. In my haste I tripped up a step but quickly picked myself up and carried on. We entered the bedroom.
“Look at the fucking sheets!” I cried, pointing frantically at the bed they had shared for so many years as I gazed at him, my eyes begging him to listen to me… Just this once. Me, not her.
“Annie… I’m worried about you.” He muttered. We stood at the foot of the bed and I looked at the sheets. There wasn’t a rip or tear in them. But she’d obviously fucking changed them!
A shadow fell over us from the doorway. She stood there, smiling cockily at me. “I’ve been telling people for years that you’re delusional, Annie. Maybe they’ll see for themselves, now.”
I couldn’t believe the cheek of it. I saw red, and felt years of pent up rage flooding to the surface. I turned and ran into her, rugby tackling her down to the ground. She started screaming like a maniac then I felt my body being tugged away as Pete dragged me from his wife.
“Calm down, Annie!” My brother shouted, grabbing me by the arms and turning me to face him. I started shouting and swearing at him, all my anger suddenly directed at him. I felt utterly betrayed.
“How can you still fucking believe her over me?!” I cried out. “How can you be this fucking blind?!” I tried to beat his chest with my clenched fists but he held me tightly to him. I started sobbing with frustration.
In the background I could hear Jodie talking frantically into her phone. “Yes, police please. It’s my sister in law – she’s attacking me and my husband!”
I roared with anger. “You fucking bitch!” I screamed, trying to get out of Pete’s grip so i could get to her.
“NO ANNIE!” He yelled. “JUST STOP! PLEASE! PLEASE STOP THIS!”
I heard her telling them to come quickly before cutting off the call. Then I watched my brother’s eyes widen and his skin turn white as he stared behind me in Jodie’s direction. Fear engulfed his face and I saw in his eyes something that I recognised. This was his glass shattering moment. I felt myself hurled to the side abruptly. I crashed down onto the floor, the wind knocked out of me with no idea what was going on.
I twisted around frantically to see what was going happening and there was Jodie, stabbing my brother again and again and again. The carving knife she clutched plunged into his chest and stomach repeatedly with a disgusting, wet slicing sound.
I watched him look down at his own bloody body in shock as my heart tore in two. I tried to wail but I couldn’t even breathe. I had to watch helplessly as he slumped backwards onto the bed, lifeless. Then she turned to me with the bloody knife glistening in her hand. She began laughing maniacally.
“You’ve always been a pair of idiots. My idiots, though. I was quite fond of you both. As if I’d ever let either of you leave.” Crimson red dripped from the knife to the cream carpet as the metallic smell of my brother’s blood hit me. I sobbed inwardly, grief stricken. She took a step towards me.
“This is all your fault, Annie, do you know that?” She hissed. “It’s all down to you. But it’s ok. The best thing is that this couldn’t have gone any better for me!” She laughed again, her cackle full of insanity. Then she ran up to me and rammed her foot into my face, her boot colliding with my eye socket with a sickening thud.
I fought hard not to lose consciousness as pain screamed through the left side of my face. My eye instantly swelled shut, but I watched with my right eye as Jodie stabbed herself in the shoulder. She grunted with pain but still smiled that evil grin.
She walked over to me, wincing as she moved. She crouched down next to me then wrapped her bloody palms around mine so that I was clutching the knife that had just ended my brother’s life. I threw up in my mouth, instinctively spitting it out onto her so I wouldn’t choke.
“You dirty bitch,” She sneered, then spat on me. I felt her warm saliva stinging my messed up face. She got up and made her way to the bed, leaving the knife in my hands. I dropped it in disgust and threw up again.
I tried to shout, I tried to move, but I was still fighting hard not pass out and I could only lie there, feeble and defeated.
Of course, I had realised by now what she had orchestrated here. She had murdered my beautiful brother, and framed me for it. Even though I had suspected she would do something sinister, I still felt in total shock. I sobbed silently as she lay down on the bed next to him, wrapping her arms around him as she pressed her body into his corpse. It was clear she was constructing an excuse for the blood that covered her, and getting ready to play the part of the grieving widow to the police.
I pulled myself up and felt searing hot pain swamp my entire head. I knew my eye needed urgent medical attention but I couldn’t think about that now. I staggered over to her and she grinned up at me.
“I knew I’d get you, Annie. Run while you can. They’ll catch you soon.”
I did as she told me and I ran from the house as fast as my hazy body would allow me to. I didn’t get my nephew, though every part of me ached with the horror of having to leave him there. But I knew he was safe for now. Or that’s what I told myself. Taking him would only lead to me being accused of murder and child abduction. I decided I could deal with the kids once I had figured out how I would clear my name.
I drove quickly away, my shaking hands struggling to grip the steering wheel. Instinctively, I managed it. I heard the sounds of sirens in the distance but I kept driving while the sun rose around me.
I booked into a dodgy looking motel 100 miles from my brother’s house, paying double cash in a silent agreement that the owner would let me rest in peace for a while. I saw her looking at my eye in horror. When I got into the room I looked into the mirror and saw why. It was totally swollen shut and my eyelid was the size of an orange. I clearly should not have driven in such a state but I had had no choice. It was a gross shade of black and purple. The pain was more intense than even childbirth, and I strongly suspected the retina had been detached due to the force of her kick.
I’m writing this on the ancient, pay as you go computer they have in the room I’ve rented. I need to log everything quickly because I know that the police are going to lock me up immediately for the murder of my brother and the attempted murder of Jodie. It won’t take them long to find me. I’m going to hand myself in soon, but I needed to get it all down first. I could have simply told everything to the police immediately, of course, but I couldn’t risk them twisting my words and putting thoughts in my head before I get the true version down.
I’m terrified. I know she will manipulate them like she has manipulated everyone, and I need to have everything straight in my head before I try to fight this shit storm.
I hope I can get justice for my brother, and for myself. I hope I can see my children soon. If it weren’t for them waiting at home for their mummy, I think I would have hanged myself, right here in this grotty room. I need to try for them though. My other half helped me save myself from her once before, maybe he can help me again. Surely, there’s a chance?
I don’t know though. I think she might have won.