AN: This is the first chapter in my new short story, or maybe long story - I don't know yet. It'll probably run over 15,000 words at the rate it's going (I have a basic plot and outline, just don't know all of the filling yet). This is a fantasy story, though it doesn't look or feel like it in this chapter. Think of this more as a kind of prologue.
So, without further ado, the story:
Jillie Jenson, previously Amelie Littleway, previously Ivory McQueen watched with a perfect mask of grief on her face as her late husband was lowered into the hole. This was her second husband to die in such a way, murdered by your common household burglar. She had keep up appearances by shedding a few tears and babbling on about how 'wonderful' he had been. On all accounts she was a good friend to the family and was even now being taken under their wing. Their sorrowful expressions matched her own as they consoled her and invited her back to their house for a 'light lunch' and a 'mingle'. She refused, knowing that she must cover her tracks before moving on again - a different city, a different target, a different name. She was getting good at this game.
She had started out working late nights in pubs, then, after dealing with one rowdy customer too many tried nine-to-five jobs in admin, then, bored with that life moved on to gardening. Nothing seemed to suit her fast paced, social, carefree life. All jobs had been too restricting, too demanding.
So she'd become a small time golddigger. At first still holding on to one of her more flexible part-time jobs and simply using men, dumping, running and seducing a new one every few weeks. Soon she could differentiate a mans true social and bank status from the way they stood and the clothes they wore and the affairs started getting longer. She caused many a man to fall in 'love' so suddenly and then so abruptly cut them off that she was nicknamed 'The Queen of Hearts' after her last name, though her small circle of closer friends called her Queenie.
Eventually there came the time when she had been forced to leave the city she'd been residing in since birth. One of her 'tools' had become violent and threatening when she'd dumped him, making it dangerous for her to stay. She'd packed her possessions, or those she cared the most about, and got on the next train south. In the new city she changed her first name and decided she was ready to find a 'life' partner. A suitable target tripped into her snare and married her, unwittingly giving her access to the full sum of his money. She subtly made him filter his money into her account and sat prettily on top of her growing mountain until she got bored with his slow mind, his feeble advances.
After months of careful planning the then named Amelie Littleway murdered her husband in cold blood. Setting up an unsuspecting bystander as the burglar who did it. Her subterfuge working and soon off she was to try her luck in a different city, in a different country, with a different name.
And so she found herself in London as Jillie Littleway, met herself a man and concocted the steely plan again. This time working as well as the last.
This is where we find Jillie Jenson, preparing to run from the scene of the crime and never look back. Jillie Jenson, the woman who lives like she'll never live again, has tried everything from sky-diving to fencing to go-kart racing. The women who finds herself now needing money for moneys sake and the cheap thrill of having someone's life in the palm of your hand, which she found the best 'activity' of all.
As she drove up the driveway and parked the car the woman once named Ivory McQueen shivered, her killing high disappearing now that the funeral was over and done with. Now the nightmares would start, dark things that never left her alone, unless, it seemed, she killed again. She'd like to think she had no conscience but the night terrors betrayed her inner turmoil to the world. Or at least to the men she slept with.
She sighed, rubbing her eyes and resting her aching head on the steering wheel for a second before getting out of the car and making her way to the front door. She unlocked it and went inside, first dumping her bag on the side and then making her way to the bathroom to take off her make-up. The one bad thing about her way of life - she always had to look picture perfect.
After that task was done she spent a few seconds staring into the mirror, mildly worried by the way the world was suddenly spinning around her. Feeling sick she rushed to the toilet, but before she could open the lid the feeling passed and she stood, shaking slightly and bewildered.
Must just be the aftershocks, she thought to herself.
She walked to the room she had shared with Mr. Benjamin Jenson and looked around, almost expecting to see the angry ghost of her dead husband standing beside the bed. She didn't, but the feeling of uneasiness remained.
Willing herself to calm down she strode to the wardrobe and walked in, smiling as she did so. She'd never got tired of this particular commodity. How many girls did she know when she was growing up that said that one day they wanted a walk-in-wardrobe? Too many, and here she was, successful in that endeavour. All she'd needed was a bit of sexual appeal.
Her stuff was already packed, waiting in neat piles in the corner.
She'd prepared a note to tell the family the version of things she wanted them to believe, it was sitting downstairs on the dining room table. It read:
Gone to be with Ben, I'm sorry.
A longer note, she suspected, wouldn't have held up under inspection and the last thing she needed was the police on her tail. She needed to at least change her name first, and her bank account, and everything else.
She left the house looking as if she hadn't planned on leaving alive and drove the car seventy-five miles away before finding the woods she'd chosen specifically and parking as far in as she could get.
From personal experience with the difficulty of baggage she'd only packed things that were easily carried, she only had a rucksack and an old school gym bag. She was wearing inexpensive, discreet clothes and no make-up.
It was easy from there to walk to the other side of the woods, out onto the road and to act like a hitchhiker. She'd walked over six miles before she'd managed to get a lift but since she'd expected to have to walk the whole way to the next town before getting a bus to the nearest city that was fine with her.
Along the way she'd chatted to the driver, weaving herself a complex web of lies that made perfect sense. She'd been practising the story for months and had even the smallest details down. This was the type of life she enjoyed, planning, acting and always having that nagging feeling like your luck couldn't last…
Her luck really couldn't last. Already the police were looking for her. They'd frozen her account, though luckily not the new one she'd transferred most of her money to, and managed to locate the area she'd dumped her car. They hadn't found it yet but it was only a matter of time.
Picking at a loose thread on her jacket, she sighed. She's already died her hair black and put in coloured contacts, in the photo they'd used of her she had on heavy make-up and designer clothes. So far she hadn't caught anyone looking at her weirdly but she couldn't shake the feeling of paranoia that had taken her over.
She tried not to let it show but it was like fighting a losing battle. She knew that once she started acting off someone would notice, luckily she'd made it to a city before the news story had appeared, otherwise she might have had a problem. With the amount of people around you could lose yourself easily enough in a city, no-one looked at you twice, especially if you were 'normal'. She'd have to lie low until this whole thing blew over, but she'd never had any experience of that, despite her two-month training session in which she had pretended that she was on the run. It had been a fun experience but looking back on it now she could see where she'd made mistakes that would have cost her her freedom and if the police were any good at finding missing persons then she was sure she wasn't clued up enough to avoid them for long.
What she needed was to make her way to someone she could trust.
She had contacts in America, France and London but she hadn't been in Britain long enough to find many out-of-town 'friends'. She'd changed her name through a friend of a friend but she didn't trust him enough to go back there, the only thing stopping her from running to another city being the fact that he hadn't asked any questions and didn't seem interested either.
Suddenly she found herself at the front of her line, breaking her reverie. She payed for the few grocery's she'd picked up, smiling at the bored cashier before making her way quickly back to her small, run-down apartment. Her money meant that she could afford better, but her face said otherwise, the police expected her to be a high-life, caring about appearances, social etiquette, that type of thing. She'd encouraged that by the way she'd lived when she'd been with Benjamin Jenson, now she had to sneak under their radar, slumming it a bit at the same time. It wasn't particularly hard since she counted this as 'fun' and 'educational' in the grand scheme of things.
The door to her apartment was lower than the street level, which meant she had to navigate down some narrow, steep steps to even get to her door. She fumbled around in her handbag for a key while she juggled plastic bags and tried to pick up the junk mail on her doorstep. It wasn't long until she was barrelling her way inside, past peeling paint and the smell of old socks and disinfectant - the latter coming from her quick cleaning effort.
The kitchen was bare but for the counter, microwave, sink and small fridge-freezer. She didn't have a phone, or a washing machine, but such was life. The launderette down the road would do just as well for clothes and she didn't have anyone to contact anyway, nor did she want anyone to be able to contact her, she knew the police could trace calls.
She put her shopping away quickly, stopping only to make herself a small salad and to pop a micro-meal in the microwave, which was her only cooking appliance, not that she was worried about her figure, she did enough exercise to burn off any extra calories and micro-meals where always getting healthier anyway.
Sitting down and taking out the paper was her next job, updating herself on the world's events. She read the small article about herself and smiled a grim smile. Hoping that they wouldn't catch her, that she'd be good enough to escape them. She didn't think the boring monotony of prison life would do her sanity any good.
She was just putting her food on a plate and getting ready to eat when she heard an imperative knocking at her door.
The breath immediately went out of her body and she felt a cold dread settle itself in the pit of her stomach. The knocking came again, louder this time, accompanied by the voices she'd never wanted to hear.
"Open up in the name of the law."
Her eyes darted round, she glanced at her back door, it lead upstairs, but they'd have the place surrounded.
The world started spinning around her again, making her nauseous. They were going to break in and put her in jail, where she belonged but didn't want to be. She'd probably go in for life.
She feel to her knees, head pounding in time with the sudden splintering of the door. It wouldn't hold them for long. She took several deep breaths, trying to calm herself.
Killing a man was wrong, she'd known that, done it anyway. This is what she got for playing God, for taking a persons life from right under their nose. This is what she got for enjoying the thrill of the chase. This is what she got for trying to live like it was always her last day, last hour, last minute.
She deserved this.
Blackness embraced her just as she heard the sound of her front door breaking.