His voice is low, gravelly, secretive. It’s something like the voice he uses in bed, beneath the sheets, pressed skin to skin, but it’s more tense. It’s further away. His breath isn’t against my ear, hot and ragged. I don’t have time to think about such things.
I try to sound rosy. It doesn’t work, my voice cracks. I hear him take a short breath down the phone, deliberating over what to say for. He never struggles to talk normally. When he hasn’t seen me for a few days, I can’t shut him up. He catches me in his arms and tells me all about those missing hours. It’s been five weeks. God knows what his days are like now.
“I’ve not got much time.” he says.
“Okay, how are you doing, are you sleeping any better? How’s the food?”.
Too many questions at once. Not enough time for any of them.
“The food is fine Lovely. I’m allowed more time outside in the courtyard for good behaviour. Good to get out my room.”
His room. His cell. His calmness overwhelms me. I can’t help myself.
“Tell me you didn’t do it.” I blurt.
“Now Claire.” he warns.
His tone frustrates me. I distance myself.
I remember us pressed up against the wall, his hands skimming underneath my blouse, feathering over my waist. I can recall perfectly the feeling of his lips kissing behind my ear and down my neck. I remember the front page headlines, that girl, face down in the marshy woodlands ten minutes from our house. Perverted, they’d called the killer, a monster.
“Please.” I whisper.
He sighs. There’s a pause and every news report that I had sat and watched with hunched shoulders, sobbing into my own hands, plays on the cruel reel in my head.
“The electric carving knife.” he mutters.
“What!?” I laugh nervously, confused, and then it hits me.
“I’m out of time, goodbye Claire”.
The electric carving knife. I’d been rooting through the drawers to find it to cut the beef with for our Sunday roast with my parents.
“It wasn’t working, I had to chuck it. Don’t worry, I’ll get you a new one.” he’d said to me, hand on the small of my back, “Mmm, dinner smells delicious Darling.”
That was the missing link. The mysterious blunt muder weapon used to slit her throat.
He hangs up. The receiver clicks and the call ends.