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Dead By Her

Own Hand

Laura Marshall

The fox circled, looking for a way in. The sitting targets lay in wait. All he needed

was an entrance point. The tinged black of his ears stood out from the warmth of

his brown coat. Always listening, always watching.

Ruth was listening as the city flashed by, snippets of train

conversations wafting towards her becoming the accompaniment to

her thoughts. ‘Adam… Adam Wynn Jones. I’m new here. I’ve just

been hired to raise the profile of market research. I’ll be taking a

look at potential deals, like you, only more from the money side.’

Why had they hired Adam? Ruth thought she was doing a perfectly

good job at market research. He had to be a replacement. Her heart

sped and her hands moved instinctively to her mouth. The dirt

under the surface of the cracked nails was perhaps her only

imperfection. The rest of Ruth shone. Her hair was a silky brown

and her eyes darted with curiosity and cunning. She thought of her

contacts. Who did she know that had the expertise to break into

Adam’s firewall – planting potentially illegal documents?

The hole was almost just large enough. With dirt flying off around him getting

under his claws dirtying his almost perfect appearance. The fox’s eyes were

encased in a sea of dappled brown, they flitted quickly around displaying his

shrewdness. Panic filled the henhouse as feathers fell in a frenzied snowstorm. He

was in, looking around he saw in his peripheral vision a brown hen. Pouncing

quickly, his agility and cunning outsmarted the hen. The crescendo of life and

movement excited the fox’s instinct for the hunt. The clutter of the tin buckets

hitting the ground was drowned out by the forte of shrill squawks, agitated calls

for help made by the hens. With hen in mouth the fox scampered away having got

what he had come for.

Ruth took off her high-heels and left them at the door. The pol-

ished marble felt smooth through her sheer stockings. Ruth dialled

the number whilst looking out onto the city skyline illuminated in

the evening sun.

‘Ralf, this is Zoe… Do you remember me? You did some work for

me a couple of years back – helped me get into a few places. I was

wondering if you still supplied the same services.’

‘Yes, Zoe I do recall the work. And yes I do still operate in, let’s say,

pest extermination. Same fees apply if you could send me the stuff

and the name the pest will be gone, I guarantee.’

‘Right – and the money, box 24?’

‘By Monday.’