Family Lies Chapter 5: Rock

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 5: Rock chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden

It was the weekend.  Jenny and Carole were both on days off. Emily’s youngest daughter Kym was staying with her, to help care for Elsie.

Emily and Kym were changing sheets on Elsie’s bed. 

“I didn’t know adult nappies could leak so badly,” Kym said.  “And Jenny always says she could look after Grandma in a couple of half hour visits a day.”

“I think Jenny overstates her efficiency a little,” Emily said, “Although she’s a good nurse and I can’t fault her work.”

Emily stretched her aching back.  “I wonder if it’s time to hire a weekend nurse as well,” she said.  “Jenny has the flat, which was probably servants’ quarters when this place was built, but a weekend nurse could stay in one of the guest rooms.  It’s really only Christmas when you girls are all here that the guest rooms get used.”

Kym finished making the bed.  “I heard Dad’s been hitting you up for money again,” she said.

“Oh you heard?”

“Yeah, he called both Allanah and Jody and complained he wanted to take their kids to a theme park but you were being mean and wouldn’t give him the money he needed.  They both told him you’d already given them and the kids annual passes to all of the Gold Coast parks.  Jody offered him fifty for petrol.”

“I gave him a thousand, in case he actually was going to take the kids out.”

“A thousand? And he’s still complaining!”

“He wanted a hundred thousand.”

“For a trip to a theme park – was he going to one overseas?”

“For a new car.”

“He got a new car not long ago.”

“Two years ago, apparently.”

They looked at each other and laughed.

“Anyway, Allanah’s coming to help you with Grandma next weekend, and Jody and I are taking the kids to Dreamworld on Saturday. I haven’t seen the kids since Easter, so it will be good to see them, hype them up on sugar and walk away. Being an aunt’s great, all the fun and no responsibility.”

They were interrupted by the sound of glass shattering. Following the sound, Kym ran and Emily walked to the entry hall.  One of large windows beside the front door was smashed. Among the shards of broken glass, on the marble tiled floor, was a rock, with a piece of paper wrapped around it and tied with string.

“Well, that’s an uncivilised way to send a message.  Yesterday’s nasty note was just dropped in the letter box,” Emily said.

“What nasty note?”

“An anonymous person called me a bitch and claimed I owed them an unspecified amount of money.  I called Jessica Flowers.  She told me to keep it in case the issue escalated and we needed to call the police.”

Kym carefully stepped through the broken glass, and removed the note from the rock.  “I’d say this is an escalation,” she said.

She handed the note to Emily.  Again in untidy capitals, it said, “YOU GOT EVERYTHING. I GOT NOTHING. GIVE ME MY SHARE OR DIE!”

“I’m going to call Jessica,” Emily said.  She called Jessica on her private after-hours line.  Jessica advised her to avoid touching anything they hadn’t already handled, and wait for her to call back.  

Ten minutes later, Jessica called back and advised that a police officer, Detective Carstairs was on the way to see them.

Detective Sergeant Angie Carstairs arrived with Detective Constable Eric Morley and a team of forensic technicians.  

They took both notes, the video file from the first note, and video of possibly the same person in a hoodie hurling the rock over the front fence and through the window.  

“That’s actually quite a good throw,” Emily said, watching the playback.  “Maybe plays cricket or something.”

Emily answered the expected questions.  No, she didn’t owe anyone any money. The only person who had asked her for money was Jack.  No, she couldn’t think of anyone who would do this.  

The police officers took notes.  The forensics people took photos and made measurements and took the rock and string. 

Eventually Detective Carstairs gave Emily her business card and asked her to call if anything more were to happen.  She promised police would have an increased presence in the area, at least for a while.

Kym had gone to sit with Elsie.  Emily swept up the glass, and called a glazier.

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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