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A Screwdriver, a Flat Pack and Heartbreak
By Marian Wood
Knocking her to the floor, he now grabbed the first thing that he saw — the screwdriver with its red handle urging him to do something he was going to regret. In the moment, his rage flowed through him, like a waterfall cascading down rocks. This was it, the bitch was not going to hurt him anymore.
Detective Jim Monroe now surveyed the scene of the evident vicious attack with the screwdriver pointing towards the sky, the Ikea ‘Billy bookcase’ unfinished next to her. He had built many flat packs but what had made this person so angry? He was certain that it wasn’t Ikea. Observing those around him, he watched Inspector Tessa Miller talking to the dead woman’s husband, Phil Jakes. Mr. Jakes appeared upset, but was he really? In so many cases it was the person closest to them that was driven to murder. This looked brutal. There must have been a good reason, but what was it?
Writing in his small notebook, he now watched the dead woman’s mother trying to play with the children. It was Christmas time. Not the best time, if there was a best time, to lose a parent or a child. He could see that she was being strong, holding back tears that would keep flowing once she started.
Her father sat staring at his newspaper in silence. Detective Monroe was not sure what to make of the scene, no one was giving anything away. The family was showing life as usual, as if Julie had not just been carried away in a body bag. What had he missed?
The Christmas tree was surrounded by presents. The only person visibly affected was Mr. Jakes, and he was their main suspect. Scratching his head, he now walked out to his patrol car to make some phone calls. There was something really wrong here.
On top of the cliffs
Sitting on a bench on the top of a cliff, he stared into the far distance. His eyes were wet with tears. He knew that his life was over. Knowing that he shouldn’t have let his anger control him, he put his head in his hands. He knew that the pain he now felt was nothing compared to little Rosemary and Jack, they had lost their mummy and they would never see her again.
Not knowing what to do now, he wanted to run with the guilt consuming him. It had gone too far, and he couldn’t turn the clock back. Thinking of the children, he could feel his head was pounding. He told himself that he needed to hand himself in, but he was scared. Life in prison would give him shelter and food, but he didn’t want to go. Picturing the red screwdriver, he felt pain in his stomach. Feeling the pressure in his head growing, he knew what was about to happen before he started vomiting. Maybe he should have just concentrated on building the ‘Billy Bookcase.’ He wouldn’t be in this terrible situation now.
The house was silent as Phil Jakes sat alone at the kitchen table. Working through the beer in the fridge, he couldn’t imagine life without Julie. Losing his wife, he was devastated. Looking at their wedding photograph hanging on the wall, he remembered how happy they both were on that day. Her beautiful smile — they were meant for each other.
They had recently been having some problems which they were working through, and with all the stress of Christmas, he hadn’t paid her as much attention as he normally would have done. The extra hours he had worked to ensure that the children could have nice presents. Jack and Rosemary had both wanted new bicycles. A few nights ago, he had finally purchased them and brought them home. They now sat in the garage waiting for Christmas day. Julie had been overjoyed to see them and had given him a hug for working the extra hours.
Julie would never know about the bracelet he had bought her. The extra hours worked and haggling on the bikes and cashback had contributed to it. He had been looking forward to the 25th, now just two days away, and it was ruined.
He had let his in-laws put Jack and Rosemary to bed. At five and seven, they were too young to understand, they just kept asking where mummy was. They had been incredible but he was sure that his mother-in-law, Deborah Miller, was going to crack soon and once she did then his father-in-law, Brian, would as well.
“Are you sure?”
“Why else?” Detective Monroe thought. “There always has to be heartache involved.”
“Okay, so who is he?”
“Sir, his name is Mark Wells. He is an engineer at the local power plant. Julie was one of the secretaries.”
“Always the office party, too much Prosecco and fun. A spurned lover had seemed too obvious.”
“Okay, you and Inspector Jeffries please go and bring him in. We will question him at the station.”
Walking to the hot chocolate machine, Detective Jim Monroe was now thinking again about the ‘Billy Bookcase.’ Was it significant to the case? Or was it just coincidence that it was nearly half done? Death by screwdriver was really not the way to go.
Striding back to his office whilst enjoying his warm comforting chocolate, he wondered again about husband Phil.
Pulling out his chair, he now sank himself into it and placed his cardboard cup on his desk. Why was the bookcase bothering him?
It was now 9:00 am, not too early for a phone call. Dialing Mr. Jakes’ number, he willed him to answer.
“Hello, Mr. Jakes, it’s Detective Monroe.”
“Oh hi, any news?”
“Just wondering, errr, who was building the bookcase?”
Embarrassed, Phil said, “I started it, but gave up. There seemed to be parts missing.”
“Hmm, sounds about right for a flat pack. So, was someone else building it?”
“Julie had decided to do it herself, but I would have been surprised if she had completed it. She has never built a flat pack.”
“So, any ideas whose DNA we might find on the screwdriver?”
Phil thought. “Well I know she has been friendly with one of the engineers at work, someone called Mark. Don’t know why he would kill her though. The bookcase might drive someone insane but not to murder.”
“We will keep you informed, Mr. Jakes.”
Hanging up the phone, Jim Monroe played through the events in his head. They must have been having quite a conversation for Mark Wells to stab her with the screwdriver. His phone rang, making him jump.
“Sir, it’s Tessa. Err, Wells, he’s missing and no one has seen him since yesterday.”
“Right, I’m going to phone the lab, check what has been found on the screwdriver.”
“We’ll keep looking, sir.”
“Yes, can you alert the local services and the coast guard, we need to find him.”
“I will do that now.”
“Let me know if you have any news.”
Dragging his hands through his hair, he picked up the phone again.
“Hi, it’s Monroe. Do you have the results?”
“Yes sir, fingerprints on it match with a Mr. Mark Wells.”
“Thank you very much.”
He put the phone down. So that’s confirmed. Death by screwdriver from a man who was used for a little bit of fun. Senseless entertainment that had led to an incomplete bookcase and a blood-covered screwdriver.
So, what has happened to Mark Wells?
Sitting on the cliffs in despair, Mark did not know what else to do. He had nothing to live for. He had murdered the lady he had really cared for. Standing up, he walked to the cliff edge. He took a last look around before closing his eyes and hurling himself off the cliff. Hitting the water with a force that hurt, he let the icy waters take over.
Julie had died at his hands, and now he let the water’s cold embrace take over. Death was better than prison.
A day later, his body washed up on the beach, and a couple walking their dog found him. Detective Monroe was not surprised when he was informed. He looked at the screwdriver sitting in his desk drawer. He would never see a flat pack in the same way again or a small screwdriver. A sad story that had ended in the death of two people and a family heartbroken.
Time to speak to Julie’s family again. It was now Boxing Day but felt like any other day. Jim Monroe picked up the phone again. All in a day’s work and all because of a screwdriver in the wrong place.
Please visit Marian’s blog: https://justmuddlingthroughlife.co.uk/