Once again the interviewers dialogue is in italics.
The larger man left the room and returned a few minutes later with two cups of black coffee.
“Jim, drink this. Then we must get on.”
Jim took a sip of his coffee, wiped his eyes and continued.
“Where was I, oh yeah, the napkin. I’ve still got that napkin after all these years. Keep it in my desk at work. Look at it every day.”
“Jim, focus please, what happened next, after she left you in the pub?”
I was disappointed that she’d left so suddenly, but I suppose I loved her unpredictability. The next time she called was a week later. Again we arranged to meet in Dirty Dicks, in fact that place became a regular meeting place for us for the rest of that year. We met there once a week. We’d talk, drink wine, have a kiss and then she’d leave. We still hadn’t had sex. I think for both of us we wanted it to be special. We wanted to take our time. We didn’t want it to be some quickie somewhere. Every time we met she always asked me the same question just before we parted.
“Would you do anything for me Jim?”
“You know I would.”
I thought it was just a game that she loved to play. A game that proved to her how much I loved her. Then sometime in 2009, March I think, we met up as usual. She looked worried about something.
“You okay Kathy; you look as though you’ve got something on your mind.”
She smiled, but it was a reluctant smile.
“I’m fine Jim. Can you get away for a weekend?”
“Well it would take some planning but, yes, I’m sure I can.”
Now she was back to her old self. She giggled.
“Well, my family have a small holiday cottage in Whitstable. It’s only an hour away. They don’t use it much and so I thought I’d stay there for a while. Come and stay with me Jim, just for a weekend?”
“I’m going to move in at the beginning of May.”
“Okay, I’ll try to sort something out.”
“I do so love you Jim.”
We kissed, finished our drinks and she left.
I began to sow the seeds indoors. I mentioned about a sales conference being planned for some time in May. Then I pretended to be angry that the company was planning it for a weekend. Then I wrote myself a letter on company headed paper and sent it to my home address. It confirmed that my presence was required at the sales Conference in May. I had to be there on the Friday night and would return Sunday afternoon. My poor wife believed every word. As the date approached we both became more and more excited.
Then it was time. I met her at the cottage at seven o’clock on the Friday evening. We took our time. Both of us didn’t want to rush. I did some shopping on the way there and got us food and wine. I cooked. She loved the fact that I was making a fuss of her. The cottage had no television so there were no distractions. Just the two of us.
She stood up suddenly, took my hand and led me to the bedroom.
I did. Slowly. As I took off each layer of clothing, I kissed her skin. She tasted wonderful. When she was naked her skin was milk bottle white.
“You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
She smiled at me and lay down on the bed. I undressed and lay beside her. We didn’t have sex. Sex doesn’t describe what we had that night, nor does making love. It was more, much more than that. There was something else, something words can’t describe. Intenseness, almost like our bodies had become one. It was the best night of my life. In fact that first weekend was something that will live with me forever, even when I’m gone.
We stayed in the cottage for the remainder of that weekend. I’ve never felt so close to another human being in all my life. I didn’t want it end. But sadly it had to.
Just as I was getting ready to leave. She asked me a question.
“Will you keep me safe?”
It was a strange question. But I answered it honestly.
She smiled at me with those big blue eyes. Then asked me another question.
“Would you do anything for me Jim?”
I loved her. What could I say?
“I left on the Sunday afternoon. Not really wanting to. She waived me goodbye. We both had tears in our eyes.
After that weekend I made regular trips to Whitstable. It was only an hour away and I would skive off work and go see her and still be home early evening. I started booking early appointments so that I could be finished by two in the afternoon and be in Whitstable by three. This went on for months. Then one day she told me.
“Jim. You know you always say you would do anything for me?”
I gave my usual reply.
“Would you take someone’s life for me?”
At first I thought she was joking. But her face told me she wasn’t.
“Jim, you keep saying the same thing. She asked you to kill her. I need to know why.”
Jim sat forward and finished his coffee.
“I loved her.”
“You’ve said that many times now Jim. So WHY did you kill her?”
She had an illness. A rare disease of the brain. One in ten million gets it. She broke down as she told me.
“It could happen at any time Jim. It’s dormant at the moment but when it starts to react the changes will happen quickly. My doctor says that I’m lucky to still be here.”
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. I held her hand.
“What will happen?”
“I’ll hallucinate, lose my memory. I won’t know you Jim. You’ll be a stranger to me. I couldn’t bear that.”
“There must be something Kathy, something they can do?”
“It’s incurable Jim. No pills, no operation. I’ve accepted it now.”
We sat there in silence for what seemed like an age. Then she spoke.
“You promised Jim. You said you’d do anything.”
“But not that Kathy, I couldn’t do that.”
“If you don’t do it, I’ll die and not remember you or our time together. You wouldn’t want that for me, surely?”
“Of course I don’t but…”
She put her fingers to my lips to stop me from talking then she kissed me on the cheek.
“So how did this “arrangement” happen then? Was there a time and place that you were supposed to do it?”
Jim was silent. He was staring at the ceiling.
“JIM, JIM, come on, we’re close now. How and when did it happen?”
Jim snapped out of his trance and stared at the larger man.
“You do understand that I had to do it don’t you. I promised.”
“So you say. Now tell me, how and when?”
It was in Whitstable about a year later. She made me promise that as soon as she started to feel unwell it would be time. I went to see her one afternoon and she was acting strange. She didn’t seem to know why she was there in the cottage. She thought she was being held prisoner. I knew then that I had to do it. She eventually calmed down and fell asleep. I stayed with her and lay by her side. When she woke up. She shouted.
“Get away, get away from me!”
“Kathy, it’s me Jim. Calm down.”
She thrashed about on the bed and I held her down until she went back to sleep. I took a pillow and held it down firm over her face. She didn’t even struggle. I think that she knew what was happening and just let me get on with it. I kept me promise to her.
“And that’s what happened was it Jim, you killed her because she was ill and she wanted you to?”
“I had to. I promised!”
The larger man put down his pen and paper and stood up. He walked around the desk then sat back down.
“That’s a very interesting story Jim. Now let me tell you another story.”
Jim’s head had dropped. He was now staring at the floor.
“We spoke to your wife Jim. Lovely lady your wife. Did you know she keeps a diary?”
Jim looked up. He looked surprised.
“Yep Jim she writes in it every day. Do you know what she wrote on June 27th 2008?”
Jim looked back at the floor.
“She wrote. “Jim didn’t come home tonight. Very worried. He’s not answering his mobile.” So that part of your story is correct Jim. But that is also the date that a twenty seven year old lady called Katherine Weller went missing. She was last seen in a café near Holborn. She was supposed to meet up with a group of friends at the Dirty Dick pub at Liverpool Street later that day, but never made it.”
Jim didn’t react. He just continued staring at the floor.
“Let’s talk about Whitstable shall we Jim. You are registered as the leaseholder of a lock up railway arch there aren’t you? We spoke to some of the other leaseholders. They say they’ve seen you coming and going over the past few years. They said that you were very secretive about the contents of the arch. You told one of them that you were restoring a classic car. Then last week, British Rail needed access to the arches. Seems there was a problem with the track above. They couldn’t get hold of you Jim so had to force entry. Guess what they found in that old arch of yours Jim?”
For the first time Jim looked straight into the face of his questioner. His face showed no emotion.
“Well the first thing they noticed was the smell. Horrible smell Jim. It was coming from a pit. You know the sort of pit that mechanics use so they can see the underneath of a car. Big pit it was. Five feet deep and about four feet square. Covered over with planks of wood. Guess what was inside that pit Jim?”
Jim started to shake his head.
“I promised to keep her safe, always.”
“They found a chair, some rope and human remains Jim. That’s what they found. We did some analysis Jim and discovered that they were the remains of a woman. A woman in her twenties. It was Katherine Weller Jim. Experts say that she died about three years ago. Which means that you kept her there alive in that pit for about two years? Visiting twice a week, probably giving her food and water, just enough to keep her alive. It’s difficult to determine the cause of death after all this time Jim. Perhaps you can tell me.”
“I promised to keep her safe, always. Then she started shouting. It was the illness. She thought she was being held prisoner. That’s what the illness does it makes you hallucinate. She told me that, she said it would.”
“Shall I tell you what I think Jim? I think that after she been in that pit for a while, she asked you to kill her. She must have been in so much agony that every time you visited her she would plead with you to end it. Then one day, maybe she struggled, shouted and you decided to give her what she wanted. So you killed her. Am I close Jim?”
“She told me, no, begged me to do it. You see, she was in pain. It was the illness you see. The illness.”
The larger man pressed a button under the desk and two officers entered the room.
“Okay, we’re done here for now. Take him back.”
They grabbed Jim by his arms and lifted him from his chair. Just as they were about to leave the larger man called out.
“Just one more thing Jim. Have there been any others. Any other young ladies that have asked for your help?”
Jim turned round to face the larger man. He was thinking.