I thougt it wasn’t him

It was a quite night, fog was all over the place and streets were desert. A man and a woman on a bench were waiting for something, silent, the look elsewhere. As hours went by the night became colder and colder and these two unfortunate people seemed to be frozen and unable to move away from this devilish place.

 

«13th October 1852, London. A man and a woman have been found frozen on a bench in a desert street, far from the city centre, without signs of abuse. The police can’t undersand why those two people were there, given that it was the coldest night of this year’s autumn and, normally, nobody is seen there at night. The street was used only by paesants during the day to carry their cattle and vegetables to the market…»

I was reading my husband’s newspaper on Monday morning, soon after he decided to go out with his friend Mr Lockwood. He always said he regretted our marriage, because we were too similar. Obviously he joked, we were happy together, but he couldn’t stand that I woke up earlier than him to read the newspaper first. That morning he didn’t care much about it, and I could understand why: it was boring. Nothing new, except for the strange case of those two people dead on the road for Windsor, and James didn’t like reading crime news, he always used to say: ‘ What’s the point of it? I don’t care about everyone’s death!’ Though …. something was wrong with his behaviour that morning, he had strict habits and the most important one was: never leave the house on Monday morning! Why? I actually don’t know. I decided to get the best of it and ordered to prepare my coach. I wanted to go out by myself, as I did every time I could excape without being discovered. Meanwhile I organised everything for the lunch and told the servants that I was ill for everybody if they wanted to see me, because neighbors could begin talking too much about me leaving the house without my husband, so I had to be foresighted. As I was walking in my coach along Winter Avenue I saw James with a couple of shady people talking in a narrow street and I was surprised to see no Mr Lockwood somewhere near. I thought about it for a while and finally I decided to have a look, just to be sure he wasn’t in danger: I never saw James with such suspicious people in five years marriage. I promised myself to stay hidden, unless it was worth letting him see me. I approched and stopped where I could hear what they were saying.

 

          … he didn’t obey me and that’s what he deserved!

          Gordon, didn’t I tell you they weren’t to be killed?!

          Yeah master, you told me so, but this Smith annoyed me too much!

          And the woman, what was with the woman?

          Nothing, his wife was there, she discovered me, I had to kill her too…

          And how did you do that?

          I drowned him and broke her neck with a stick. It was perfect, perfect! You can’t see any sign on them. They believe they died frozen.

          Well, ok. And you two: were you with him?

          Yes Sir!

          You three disobeyed my orders, I should kill you too. If the police understands, I’m finished. Do you hear me? Finished! I’d want your heads on my desk but I can’t dirty my hands with your blood…

          But master, we disobeyed you, but done better!

          Sssh … you’re worsening your situation. I don’t want to see you anymore. Keep away from London, better, from England. Go and make fortune in the colonies. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOU THREE NOMORE. Ok? I suppose you know I won’t be so merciful next time…

 

Shocked. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe a word, but those words came out from my husband’s mouth. I walked home as fast as I could because I couldn’t imagine what would become of me if he discovered I was out without his permission.

 

As I imagined, he was nervous when he returned home but I decided to risk and questioned him about his morning. Where had he been and what had he done? How was Mr Lockwood’s family? Everything was going well and he had had a difficult morning because of some business matters. Looking at him, I couldn’t believe of what I had seen that morning, he was so kind with me! Thus I resolved to talk with him about what I had heard, maybe I was wrong: it could be another man and I thought to see him.

 

At night, as we were going to bed, I told him, gently, about that morning. I never saw him so upset to hear my voice! He shrieked and cried and his face became red and it was difficult to understand if he was angry with me because I wasn’t at home or because I was listening to his conversation or because I accused him of a crime of that kind. All that I know is that from that moment on he absolutely forbade me to go out with or without him or anybody else. He also decided to sleep in the next room but didn’t explain me anything. I was definitely sure that I had to go to the police, because, even if I couldn’t believe it, James was a criminal, maybe a murderer. But how could I? I was locked in my own home and coulnd’t even see my mother! I assumed that sooner or later someone – at least my family! – would be suspicious because I wouldn’t be seen in town. But as days went by I understood that I was going to die in that house without being missed by anybody. Was this my destiny? No, it wasn’t! I corrupted my servants to disobey their master, but problems weren’t at the end: some kind of guards controlled the entrance. I wasn’t allowed to make any mistake, because that would mean the end of all my hopes. I told myself repeatedly: ‘I must not fail!’ Therefore one Friday morning I managed to excape, before my husband went away, so that the guards weren’t there yet. I knew it was dangerous, but I was resolute: nobody could prevent me from living my life freely. Besides, I felt responsible for Mr and Mrs Smith’s death if I did nothing to shed light on their murder.

Once on the street, I ran as fast as I could to be away from my house neighborhoods and I only stopped when I was exhausted. Late in the morning I reached one police office and there I told everything I knew to a young policeman, who seemed to believe me and wrote everything on a sheet. They begged me to wait some time there because they had to question me in case something wasn’t clear. I remember I sat on that chair for nearly one hour and a half, also because eventually I didn’t have any idea of where to go. Then I saw James coming in and heard a policeman – not the same as before – asking him if I really was his wife. He answered: ‘Yes, she is’ and added that I was affected by a strange pathology which made me mad.

I couldn’t understand what was going on and from that moment on I only remember that they took me and carried me away in a police coach. I heard somebody saying the word: ‘Lunatic assailem’.

 

Carbone Roberta

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