She was just an ordinary housewife and Mother to a toddler, going about her usual household chores and looking after their first born Son. Her Husband worked in the City and would leave early in the morning and return generally around 6 pm. She loved being a Mother and delighted in her little Son who was not only a handsome little boy but a rather bright little boy as well, when his Daddy would return from the office of an evening he was the apple of his Daddy’s eye and liked nothing more the toddler than to climb onto his Daddy’s lap and suck on his bottle, or “bockle” as the toddler called it, whilst his father would enjoy a cup of tea.
She would be busy in the kitchen preparing the Dinner for them both, just an ordinary couple living a rather plain life that centred around their child. She had little time for the neighbours. Her house and the care of her child came first and one thing she did not like was nosy neighbours. It turned out that on one side of them they had a very nosy Husband and Wife, well she assumed they were married. In particular the Husband was not only nosy but rather strange and often she would find him peering over the 6 ft fencing that her Husband had erected all around their property. She worried when she would play in the garden with her little Son and on sunny days she would read to him Noddy or Rupert Bear books and especially his favourite The Blackberry Farm stories the child loved to hear all the time. She would put on voices to the characters in the books so the little Boy could enjoy it more, often she would hear the man next door mocking her and she had no alternative but to pick her child up and go indoors.
She would tell her Husband what was going on but all he would say was “try ignoring him, thats best”, it was so difficult to ignore this man, if she took her child out he would come out of his house and try and force conversation with her, leaving her to explain she couldn’t stop then he would become rather rude to her. She did her best to ignore him but this went on and on, even the wife had started to cause trouble in that knowing the Family had a dog she would annoy the young mother by running a stick up and down the fence making their dog bark, it was all rather strange.
Then one day around late Summer she had a ring at her door, she looked out of the window but did not recognise the blond woman standing at her door, she was in her late twenties early thirties perhaps. She went to the door and the woman said “is Bill here”, “Sorry who did you want” asked the young Mother “Bill” came the reply from the blond woman, “I don’t know a Bill I think you must have the wrong address” answered the Mother then the blond woman started to describe this Bill and soon the young Mother recognises it was her neighbour. She told the blond woman she believed the man she was looking for was the man next door. The blond woman walked away and the Mother shut her door, quickly went to her window to see if the woman went to next door, indeed she did and she noticed that the woman had a suitcase with her so assumed she must be a niece or friend of them. The young Mother thought no more about it and returned to playing with her Child.
When her Husband came home she told him all about it and he just repeated what she had thought perhaps she’s a family member or friend. With that they never mentioned it again. Life continued the toddler was such a happy contented little Boy he loved their dog which was a rescue Rhodesian Ridge-back and the dog was such a good Nanny to the little boy she looked after him even sleeping in his playpen with him when the little boy became tired of playing with his toys, keeping her back to the toddler’s and watching over the little boy every time he moved.
Weeks, months past then one afternoon the door bell rang and the young Mother answered the door, two strangers stood there two men but only one spoke he showed her a card, he was an Inspector from the Local Police Station for a second she panicked thinking something had happened to her Husband but the Inspector reassured her that was not the case, he said “We wonder if you might be able to help us with some information, could you tell us if you have ever seen in the last weeks or months a young woman entering next door”. The young Mother was astounded and immediately thought of the blond woman that had called at her house asking for her neighbour. She told the Inspector about the woman and he asked “did you notice the colour of her hair” she told him “Blond” as he jotted that down he continued “did you notice if she had any bags with her”, the young Mother told him “she had a suitcase and I told her he lived next door”, with that the Inspector asked “did you see her leave if not do you know if she is still there” she told him she had not noticed the woman leaving and had no knowledge if she was next door, the Inspector thanked her for her help the other Officer gave her his card and said “if you think of anything please ring this number” they thanked her and left.
She saw to her child and then became frightened thinking all sorts what had happened to this woman who was she really what had he or they done to her, she phoned her Husband at the office told him, he was surprised and said they would talk about it when he returned home. When the Husband returned home they discussed what had taken place with the Police and then about all the noise that had come from next door for weeks on end even weekends, her Husband had said it sounded like the man next door was taking up floor boards so much banging and hammering that had taken place “do you think I should have told the Police shall I ring them tomorrow and tell them” she asked “no leave it its probably nothing best to keep quiet” he told her but deep down she felt she should say something and she worried so much about all the noise of work being done next door, what on earth was he doing. The thoughts that night went through her head did that man do something to that girl, did she leave or is she still there, was that girl under the floor boards she couldn’t sleep.
She did her best to avoid her neighbours but one Saturday morning when her Husband was working on the car and the little toddler was with his Daddy sitting in his pushchair she heard her Husband’s voice as she went to the front door she saw the man next door pestering her Husband and her Husband doing his best to not get into a conversation with him. She decided to pretend her Husband was needed on the phone and she called him into the House he locked the car up and pushed the toddler’s pushchair up the path into the house “what was that about” she asked “nothing really just him being too nosy” the Husband answered, “did he mention the woman or whatever” she asked “no of course not I told you to stop worrying, one thing that nuisance next door did say was “Your’e child doesn’t half speak posh doesn’t he” I quickly told him we have taught our Son to speak properly”, “oh well maybe we will never know what happened to her” and she went off to make coffee.
One afternoon as she sat with her Son reading to him with the French doors open to the garden she suddenly heard a noise looked up and there was that man leaning over the fence watching her, even when she was in their bedroom that overlooked the garden she noticed one day he was looking up at her, she became so worried. She discussed it with her Husband and he told her he felt it was time to move on sell that house and buy another House a long way from where they lived now.
That they did, it did not take long to sell the house and they moved a long way away but the young Mother kept in touch with a couple she had made friends with down the road where they had lived, they told the young Mother that just a week or two after they had moved that strange man next door and his wife had put their house up for Sale and left. Surprised she told her Husband who told her “well we are out of it now, forget it”, “but that woman I can’t forget her” she told him.
They settled into their new Home and had a second Son they adored as well. Time moved on and she found herself a Widow still young but she never remarried. One thing she would think of now again was that woman, that man and the Inspector, “what did happen to that woman if she never left that house what did that man do to her, the Police knew something, did they ever find a body, is it still within the house, now a skeleton” she asked herself and then wondered “perhaps one day I will do some research, who knows”.
Theme from a great TV series “Man In A Suitcase” which starred Richard Bradford who I always thought was gorgeous. – Woman In A Suitcase?
annacottage/MAY 2019. – True story