Snowcase #36 • 30 October 2007 • The SnowBlog
Rupert Haighs work has appeared in various publications, including Gold Dust, the Ginosko Literary Journal and Twisted Tongue. He lives in Helsinki.
Pretty Girls Make Graves is a murder mystery with thirty-something relationship element. A seemingly fatal car crash draws Giles into an intrigue that leads to the uncovering of decades-old murder and the disintegration of his marriage. A faint breeze came in through the open window, rustling the edge of the curtain. Giles lay on his back, his hand resting gently on Saras thigh. She snuggled closer to him on the pillow, pressing the tip of her nose lightly against his bare shoulder. For a minute or two, neither spoke. He listened to the sea and felt his body unwind.
Eventually, she lifted her head and said, Ive got something to tell you. I stopped taking the pill yesterday.
He pulleddrew his hand away from her thigh as if it had been stung, and turned awkwardly to look at her. His voice, when he was able to find it, came out strangulated. You stopped taking the pill? Just like that? So you mean you might be pregnant right now?
Its highly theoretical at this stage.
But you might be?
I suppose it is possible, yes.
For Gods sake, Sara. You cant just go ahead and decide something like that unilaterally.
She drew away from him, dragging the duvet across the crumpled sheets. Cant I? Why not? Its my body.
Thats not the only consideration, he said icily. Why didnt you at least talk to me about it first?
Were talking now, she replied, and rolled over onto her side, facing away from him.
Sensing that she was withdrawing into her shell, as she tended to do when challenged, Giles decided to try a gentler approach. He waited a few seconds and then put a hand on her shoulder. Sara, why are you being like this?
Because Ive made up my mind, Giles. I want to have a baby.
But why right now?
Now seemed as good a time as any. Besides, I was reading a book written by a medical expert that said youre more likely to conceive on holiday, because youre relaxed then.
Giles sighed. Yet the holiday had started promisingly. The sun had shone steadily all day long. Theyd arrived at the cottage around midday after a trouble-free run down from London, unpacked immediately and then embarked on a stout walk in the surrounding countryside. This had been followed by a couple of hours on the beach, which theyd had virtually to themselves. The evening meal, which consisted of a chicken salad which theyd brought down with them, washed down with some nicely chilled Chablis, had been leisurely and enjoyable, making the transition to bed a little before 9pm entirely natural, in fact inevitable. Theyd made love with a conviction that, Giles felt, signalled a genuine sense of renewal.
Saras revelation had destroyed his fragile equilibrium.
Christ, he muttered. Im not relaxed now.
Sara didnt reply.
Did you hear me, Sara? I said Im not relaxed now.
I heard you.
We need to talk about this. Its not good enough for to just say youve decided and thats that.
Not now, she said.
She switched on her bedside light, got out of bed, and padded across the landing to the bathroom.
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