Friday, January 22, 2010

Challenge 3: Missing Frank

“My husband is missing,” she said, straining to keep the emotion from her voice. It wasn’t appropriate to cry just yet, he might just have needed some space. Frank did that sometimes, driving off to the port hills to look down on the city and clear his head. Usually, it was after an argument, but he’d always come home.

Patricia took a deep breath and forced herself to her feet, saying, “Would you like a cup of tea? I have Early Grey or English Breakfast.”

The police woman smiled politely but shook her head. Of course, Patricia berated herself, the nice cop wouldn’t want to take too many liberties while she was working.

“When was the last time you saw him, Mrs Ainsley?”

Patricia filled the kettle and put it on to boil, thinking about the day before. It had been a terrible fight. Probably one of their worst. She had come home from work early because of a migraine she couldn’t seem to shake. Frank had been sitting in the living room, watching re-runs of last night’s football match. She remembered wondering how he could even see the television through the screen of cigarette smoke. They argued about his laziness. Patricia was sick of supporting them both on hours and hours of cleaning other people’s houses. She wanted a nice place of her own.

In the end, Frank walked out of course, like he always did. Except this time, he hadn’t come home.

“Mrs Ainsley?”

“Hmm?” She glanced at the officer. “Oh yes, I saw him yesterday afternoon. He went out to do a bit of shopping and never returned.”

“Was there an argument of any sort? Any reason to think he might just have left you?”

“No…” Patricia smiled warily. “I don’t think so…”

The lady made a few notes and then stood up. “Well, I can’t promise anything, Mrs Ainsley, but we’ll do our best.”

She passed Patricia a card. “Call me at this number if you remember anything that could be important, alright?”

Patricia escorted the nice lady to the front door and waved as the police car pulled out of the driveway and sped off down the street. Then she returned to her tea, sitting at the kitchen table and watching the rain pelt down against the pavers.

It was strange, how little she really missed Frank. She wondered, for a moment, when she had ever loved him. He was hardly faithful to her. Everyone knew that. But she needed him. She couldn’t stand the thought that he would actually get up and walk out on her. Not after twenty years of marriage.

She stood up and pulled open the kitchen drawer, not exactly sure what she was looking for. Perhaps a spoon to stir a little more sugar into her tea? She took out a knife. Long and sharp. It wasn’t clean. Why had she put it away without washing it properly first?

She turned the tap on to full and scrubbed. The water turned red and then clear again. She put the knife in the dishwasher and returned to her tea. Frank would be back, soon. He always was.

Wordcount: 526


  1. You fooled me the whole way through :) Nice work, this is a nasty challenge, I've been having lots of trouble getting my head around it. I like her nervous nonchalance.

  2. Hehehehe thank you :) And I'm sure you will get there, just go with your gut and don't worry too much about getting it right.

  3. Hm, was reading this again and it struck me as being quite Roald Dahl-ian.