by Stef Hall
by Stef Hall
He was effete and she was absolutely certain she never set eyes on him before. He appeared at her elbow while she was taking tea, his sudden words startling her so badly she almost spilled it. He was short, his head two inches above hers when seated, his voice polite, well modulated yet she found him unnerving.
"Ms Lewis, may I speak with you?"
Bethany glanced around. Her divorce six months previously had caused a stir among the country club members. To be seen taking tea with a stranger ten years her junior would not help.
"I'm sorry, I'm not in the habit of taking tea with strangers."
"Please, Ms Lewis, it's most important. You see, I had a vision and you were in it," he sat down uninvited.
Scandalised, Bethany rose from the table and left the room without looking back.
When she had drunk far more Chardonnay than appropriate, Bethany retired to the bed that seemed cavernous without Stephen. When she was drunk, sleep came rapidly and she was grateful; although she instigated the divorce, she had not adjusted to being alone. The country club members admired the way she held herself together, not realising the adhesive she used was expensive wine and valium.
She was driving the red convertible she won in the settlement. She knew she was dreaming; instead of purring, the engine made a moist rumbling sound and bubbles drifted around her. The bubbles were shiny scarlet and left bloody splatters where they burst in her blonde hair.
"Please, Ms Lewis, I really must insist that I speak with you."
Bethany turned. The young stranger from the country club sat in her passenger seat, his delicately narrow face pinched in consternation. Bethany tried to stop, but stamping on the break only made bubbles spew faster from the exhaust pipe. Within moments, she could barely see him through the glistening scarlet haze.
"I thought I made it perfectly clear-"
"It really is important. I had a vision, you were in it..."
His words drifted away as Bethany leaned across, opened the passenger door and let him tumble from the car.
The street was bathed in sunlight; children on summer vacation ran giggling along the pavements, blowing bubbles from multi-coloured wands.
Bethany hung up on Stephen's lawyer and brushed away humiliated tears. Stephen's girlfriend was expecting a baby—the one thing Bethany had never been able to give him—and he wanted the house.
Upset she threw the car into reverse and screeched out of the driveway. There was a sickening thud and she slammed both feet onto the brake.
She cut the engine and sat for a moment as bubbles drifted past, bursting in her hair. There was a babble of voices.
She pulled the keys from the ignition, removed her seatbelt and slid from the car.
In a pool of blood lay the young stranger. He saw her face peering down.
"Ms Lewis. I had... this vision..."