The Portrait of Isabella Simmons
The day has faded to a distant memory when Johanna steps onto the front hall of her home. She listens for a moment, and only the chimes of the house clocks break the silence. Her thoughts turn to Francesco who should be now asleep, or at least, out of her way for the night. Removing her coat, she steps forward towards the stairs leading to the lower level of the house. The kitchen lies in darkness except for the low illumination shining from the front hall light. Ignoring the body lying prostrate across the floor, she moves emotionlessly towards a cupboard, and reaching for the lower drawer, she removes a dark brown sheet and her garden wear consisting of an old pair of trousers and green plastic jacket. Quickly removing her clothes, she dresses for her task ahead. Blanking out all emotional thoughts, she steps through the back door and into the garden. Driven by her job at hand, she reaches the garden shed at the rear of the garden and removes the wheel barrow. She dares not look upwards at Mrs. Milner’s house next door, but a quick glance reveals it’s in darkness. Johanna returns to the darkened kitchen, pushing the wheel barrow inside and turning it on its side.
Opening the brown sheet, she places it next to the body of Sally and heaves her heavy body onto it. Johanna regrets now having taken the course of action she did, but it escaped her how best to remove Sally from the situation without her causing too many issues. It’s Sally’s sheer size which bothers Johanna. She is grateful she is not tall, but she makes up for it in width. Wrapping the sheet around her body, she ties it tight and then proceeds to wrap tape around it, ensuring the cover is well secure. Standing momentarily, she studies the wrapped corpse lying on her kitchen floor and the overturned barrow next to it.
Manoeuvring the body until she has Sally’s bum sitting over the edge of the barrow, Johanna reaches in until her fingers grip the side of the curved barrow on the kitchen tiles. Exhaling deeply, she heaves the barrow upwards and Sally slips outwards against her. Releasing her grasp of the barrow, she positions the body again, straightening it slightly. Johanna’s fingers retake their position and she moves her own body against Sally’s to keep it from slipping. Ignoring the heat rising to her face, she heaves the barrow upwards again, her arms burning under the pressure until the barrow comes to an upright position.
Standing, she regains her composure and lifts the barrow, wheeling it towards the rear door of the house and into the garden. She notices her legs are a little unsteady with the weight she is wheeling, and she pauses once outside in the darkness. Pulling the hood of her plastic jacket over her head and securing it at the neck, she steps lightly towards the side gate exit and glances up and down the roadway in front. It’s a dry but cold night with an overcast sky keeping the moon and stars at bay. She is thankful for this, casting her eyes around once more to ensure no one is around. Returning to her barrow, she stops and wishes that no one will see her until her task is complete. Religion and God cross her mind briefly which she dismisses with a nod. She has got to be where she is in life by her doing and her planning, and not by praying to God. She had once prayed each night without fail and he placed her in a house with a man who wished to rape her. She ponders whether she has been blind to some act from God, but it always escapes her.
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