It’s a crime

She stood before the post box holding the package over the slot and finally let go.

Marcia turned, her houndstooth gabardine overcoat swished against taught calf-muscles as she stepped purposefully down the platform and on to the train.

‘It’s done. We’re free,’ she said, looking down at Graham, who was straightening up at the entrance to the carriage having deposited two mis-matched suitcases in the racks.

‘Then, let’s hope we leave on time,’ he smiled. ‘I’ve found us airline-style seats, facing forward, mid-way down, just as you like them.’

He led her into the carriage and then stood aside to allow her into the window seat. He sat beside her, tucking his long legs neatly under the seat in front of him.

They turned to look at each other and shared a flickering smile.

Marcia took two tickets out of her purse and read them for the fourth time. One way. First Class. 15.38. Ebbsfleet- Lille Europe.

‘The ticket reservations are for the table seats down there. Shouldn’t we be in those?’

‘We can move, but these seats are free and we’ve more privacy here,’ he reassured.

It was true. The train was less than a third full and it was only a few minutes to departure. No one else would want these seats now.

Marcia was in the midst of breaking the law and defying a host of personal and family taboos. Yet, she knew that if the guard were to demand that she and Graham move to their proper seats, she would feel a deep sense of shame.

She shivered, just as the platform seemed to move backward. They were moving. There was no going back now.

***

He shook his head. ‘No’, he repeated. ‘There was the envelope, the CD and nothing else. No card, no note, no explanation. Just the CD in the envelope.’

The officer made a note and told Mark to take a seat. She turned away from the desk to speak to a colleague at the back of the office.

Mark read disbelief and boredom on their lips as they discussed him and what he claimed to have witnessed on the CD. They turned and looked at him in silence, weighing up the possibilities.

At last the second officer nodded, moved forward and with a decisive wave of his arm ushered Mark into a private interview room.

Mark went through the details again. His name, address, date of birth. The same for Marcia. Yes, he and Marcia lived together. Yes, she had gone away. She went to stay with a friend from her old days up at Durham where she did History. No, they were fine. No, there was no row, no argument, no differences. No, there was no-one else.

‘Are you going to look at the CD? Are you going to watch it?’ Mark demanded.

The officer placed his fingers on the disc, still protected in its dust cover. He slid it a few millimeters closer and paused. He looked up at Mark and held his gaze.

‘You need to know, your story makes no sense.’ The officer seemed conciliatory. ‘You need to know, the only way to make sense of what you say, would mean that you are in very serious trouble. You need to understand that. There will be no going back.’

‘That’s what I keep telling you people,’ Mark cried. ‘It’s her. It’s me. But it can’t be. It didn’t happen. It couldn’t have happened. It came with the post this morning. I came straight to you, but none of you will look for Marcia. None of you will do anything. None of you will look at it.’

***

The officer picked up the CD, slipped it from its protective covering and inserted it in to the machine. He pressed play.