The Lottery Killer

TWO

The bale twine sat on the passenger seat next to him as he drove out of the bed and breakfast. The owner and his wife had been very pleasant and the food had been first class. He set off on the same journey he'd taken everyday during the past week, feeling a tinge of remorse that this would be his last visit to Long Marsh Farm.
As he headed up the quiet high street his stomach began rumbling and he wished that he'd had time for breakfast. He quickly dismissed the thought and concentrated on his plans.
Long Marsh Farm belonged to Jack Roberts. He had inherited the farm from his father, as had his father before him. Jack had lost his wife to cancer five years ago and with just one son who he never spoke to, had become very lonely and a bit of a recluse. The farm had deteriorated during the year that followed the funeral, but Jack had finally pulled himself together and had pitched all his energies into getting the farm back up and running. It consumed him and became his way of dealing with the grief. It was a simple arable farm with just a few sheep and chickens, but it kept Jack plenty busy.
Butch was his faithful old sheepdog and had been good company during those tough years. It was only during the busy summer months and hay making when Jack hired the help of some of the locals that he spent any time with other people. Just him and Butch suited Jack just fine. The village was five minutes away in his green Landrover and he made just three visits a week for soup, bread, milk and a few other items.
Jack's life followed a strict routine. He was up at five o'clock every day and had a cup of tea. He let Butch out while he fed the chickens and checked for eggs. Feeding the sheep was next which he did on his tractor with the feed in the scoop bucket. By eight he would be back at the house and he would stop for another cup of tea and two slices of toast. Most mornings Jack would then spend time in his vegetable garden.
The rest of the day was inconsequential. The plan that included poor old Jack Roberts was to take place this morning. He smiled as he steered his car out of the village and towards Long Marsh Farm. It was six thirty. Jack and Butch would be out with the sheep and wouldn't be back for at least an hour. That should give him plenty of time.
Arriving, the gate was open as it always was and he drove his car down the muddy track past the barns on the left and up to the farm house. He reversed his car into the side barn by the house. It was huge and the hay bales between the other barns would hide his car nicely.
Stepping out he opened the trunk and took out a pair of Wellington boots, put them on and walked to the house. The muddy track was deep with water from the recent rainfall and he got his feet stuck in the thick mud a couple of times. The front door was unlocked as always and having removed his boots, he stepped into the musty old house. The hall way carpet was threadbare and the kitchen in need of modernising. There was very little in the way of cupboards, just a big sideboard on which all Jack's simple needs sat. A box of teabags, sugar, bread, bottles of pills and some biscuits. Perfect, he thought. He placed the old kettle on the stove and turned on the hob. No such niceties as gas for Jack.
He took his hot mug of tea with him as he look around the house. Jack was definitely a man of simple needs. No television in the lounge, just a comfy old settee and a radio. He could just imagine the long summer nights whizzing by. He laughed to himself and shook his head. Poor old Jack. He climbed the creaky staircase minding not to touch the grubby banisters. The carpet had been green in colour when new, but where it wasn't completely worn through; it was now a murky brown colour. The walls had been painted once, but the paint had flaked off long ago and had been replaced by a pattern of damp and mould. Upstairs consisted of Jack's bedroom, a spare room and a bathroom. He grimaced as he saw the state of the bath with all the stains of time around it. By the side of Jack's bed was a photo of his wife. You'll be with her soon enough Jack. He grinned.
He wandered back downstairs and sat waiting for Jack in his kitchen.
Jack drove the tractor effortlessly back across the field and along the track towards the house. Butch was sat on the floor next to him panting happily. 'Not far now. We'll pop the kettle on and have a nice cuppa and few biscuits. How does that sound Boy?'
Butch woofed his approval and Jack laughed. He skilfully parked the tractor back in the barn and made his way up the garden path. A couple of wood pigeons were cooing in the barn and Butch chased after them. Jack tutted cheerily and shook his head. Dogs will be dogs he thought.
He noticed the Wellington boots on the mat and scratched his head. They certainly weren't his. He opened the front door and called out 'Anybody there?' No reply came back. He took his own boots off and walked in. He left the door ajar for Butch and went into the kitchen. Before he knew what was happening, somebody had pounced on him from behind and he felt something constricting round his neck. He couldn't cry out, he tried to form an "O" with his lips so he could whistle for Butch, but no sound came out. The pain was incredible. Jack tried kicking out but quickly lost consciousness. The last thing Jack heard was Butch barking in the distance.
He lay Jack's body down on the hallway floor and stretched Jack's neck back allowing his mouth to drop open. Fiddling in his pocket he found the round item and dropped it into Jack's mouth.
Standing up he stepped back to admire his work and laughed. He turned and headed out of the house and made his way back to his car.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Armour