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Click to read the prologue 1862

Beethoven Symphony 9 in the Nude

Played at volume 15, Beethoven’s music could be heard for several cottages down. Dulcie did not mind at first as she was in the garden enjoying a heatwave by planting out some pansies. She carefully patted in the last of the small plugs, gently dosing it with water. Just enough to quench its thirst but not enough to drown it. She laughed out loud remembering her father saying that many, many years ago. Standing up she winced as the pain kicked in for a moment. Early onset of OsteoArthritis the doctor had told her. She kept it under control most of the time and the warmth of the sun helped. Gently moving her leg in a circular motion to stretch it out, the pain receded and she smiled, grateful for the respite. Brushing her hands off on her trousers, already dusty and grimy from the garden, she promised herself a shower before taking her husband up to the Plough for lunch and to pick up her charity box she left there every week. She then noticed the music was still loud and still ongoing.

Symphony #9 could be heard now through Gerald’s open window. Dulcie seriously considered putting on Radio 1 full blast just to spite him. He was a lovely old gent though and she would think it perhaps but never do it. His dementia had been more noticeable recently and she wondered how much longer he would have in his own house. His son was already making noises about homes, and hospitals. Dulcie and her husband did what they could for the old man. They shopped for him when in the nearby town and often sat with him for afternoon tea where he regaled them with stories of his youth. He had a remarkable knowledge of the local history and often strayed into tales of this and that, telling them stories of the Hall, where Dulcie’s great friend Alice now lived with her husband. Mark.

Instead of turning on the radio she sighed, loudly, and signed to her husband that she was off for a shower. He put up his thumb and then went back to his paper.

Keeping the window of the bathroom slightly ajar because of the heat from outside, and the steam of the shower inside, she took a complete wash to Beethoven’s music which seemed to have no sign of abating. She tutted. It was a good job the Parkinson’s in the cottage between Gerald and them were away. Alfred would not have stood for this that long. Or, perhaps Gerald knew they were in Kent this weekend and he knew Ken and she wouldn’t mind as much. Whatever, it had to go off now, it was getting annoying and couldn’t be good for his ears.

Ken smiled at her when she told him they would have to call in on Gerald. Of course he had heard nothing but he loved visiting Gerald whenever the opportunity arose, even though the man would insist on continuing to talk with his back turned to Ken as he got up to get more biscuits for their hearing dog Harry, forgetting often that Ken could not lip read if he could not see Gerald’s lips.

Shall I go with you? he signed.

If you like, responded his wife, we could then pop down to the Plough if you like, and grab a bite? I was going to say earlier but thought it could be a nice treat for us?

Ken nodded happily and coats not needed in this heat they clipped the lead on Harry’s collar and headed out of the door.

The Labrador charged on ahead, yanking on his lead, trying to sniff every blade of grass and every stone in their path. Ken clicked his fingers and Harry immediately came to his side ready to work. Dulcie laughed, waving the new and empty charity box that she had grabbed from the hall stand on her way out, in his face.

‘The money raised in these boxes goes for another Harry’ she said to the dog and laughed again as he looked knowingly at her as if agreeing that it was a good thing to do.

The music was now even louder as they got nearer, voices singing out from Gerald’s open window. and Ken pointed at Gerald’s door which was half open. He pushed it open as Dulcie walked past him and into the hall.

‘Gerald’ she called. ‘GERALD!’ she shouted. He would never hear her over that music for heavens sake!

Storming into the lounge she stopped suddenly. Shocked, her hand went straight to her mouth as she stared at Gerald, sitting in his wingback chair, looking straight back at her, legs open and fully naked.

She was about to apologise profusely for barging in, when she saw the amount of blood on his chest and the chair, and the scissor handles poking out of his neck.

She shrieked as a hand touched her shoulder but it was only Ken, who pointed at the phone just beside them. Police, he signed. She looked at him shocked. He gently shook her. Now! he mouthed.

Harry sat, looking at the old man in the chair, head on one side waiting for him to get Harry his biscuit.



This is sort of chapter one of my new book to be told in episodes on my blog. You are reading it all in it’s natural state, before being looked at by others so please forgive mistakes, bumbling sentences and the odd other mistake. I can also be found here at the side, watching you read, looking rather supercilious…after all, I know whodunnit…. Isabella

By Abbie

I'm an oil painter and photographer, who also makes time to paint with words through my short stories and published poetry. Seascapes and animals are the primary focus of my oil paintings Experienced Community Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the fine art industry. Skilled in Human Resources, Technical Support, Oil Painting, Community Management, and Digital Art. Strong marketing professional graduated from Longcroft School. Head of the Technical Support Department for the largest international art site on the web. Founder of Our Arts Magazine