Marian Wood: Sand Falling Into a New Life

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Sand Falling Into a New Life

Marian Wood

Watching sand on a Tuesday afternoon

Marjorie Jacobs believed that if an employee scored thirty out of thirty in just ten minutes it showed quick thinking, necessary in her line of work. She needed someone resourceful, someone special. Watching the sand fall, she felt a warm glow seeing Ellie-Rose scribbling furiously. Noticing others chewing on pencils, or already finished, the voice in her head was screaming that her new employee would be the scribbling blonde.


As the sand fell, I had ten minutes as the timer counted down. Reading through the questions, digging deep into my memory for answers, why was I here? I had practiced over and over, I knew I could do this.

Wednesday morning

Checking my bank account for the hundredth time, it was still empty. With bills coming out of my ears, I glanced at my old tatty sleeping bag. I didn’t need my belongings, but I wanted to keep them. If I couldn’t pay my rent this month, I was sure my landlord, Mr. Williams, would throw me on the street. I’ve seen the sad people sleeping in the Hans Town subway, not a prospect that I was looking forward to.

Yesterday had been one interview after the other, two supermarkets, a secretary and a mystery job. I love reading books and the mystery job had sparked my imagination. The interview questions had been ominous, answering them had meant quick but clear accurate thinking. I liked to believe that I could think outside of the box. The unknown company appeared to need someone just like me. I hoped they knew that.

Filling my spoon with sugar for my morning tea, I dropped it on the counter as the loud ring interrupted my thoughts. Looking at the display my heart sank.

“Hi, Jules, what’s happening?”

“Ellie, I need you.”

“Jules, come on, really.” She was my friend but a huge drain on my time, which I didn’t have right now. My life was crashing down, I’d spent months trying to fix Jules and her problems. Hanging up the phone, the accusing voice started in my head.

Downing my tea and shoving my toast in my mouth, I grabbed my coat and keys. Racing to the car, my issues tumbled all around me. Whatever mess Jules was in, this had better be good.

A bigger problem

Letting myself in, I wondered what I was going to find. What confronted me was the last thing I expected, anything but this.

Seeing the blood splattered up the kitchen cupboard, I started shouting. I heard ringing; this was not the time for a phone call. Seeing the name flashing on the screen, I had to answer it.


“Hi Miss Francis, it’s Marjorie Jacobs, are you able to come and see me today?”

“Today?” I looked around the kitchen. Where is Jules? Then checked the time. “When would you like to see me?”

“One pm?” The voice in my head screamed no.

“Okay, will see you at 1:00, thank you.”

Putting my phone in my pocket, I started shouting again at the deafening silence, blood up the cupboard, and Jules was missing. If I phoned the police, then I wouldn’t get to my meeting. Do I phone her mobile? Had the neighbours seen me enter? What was the mystery job? Why me?

Checking all her rooms, there was nobody there dead or alive. Surely all that blood meant a body somewhere.

Letting myself out of the back door, I covered my hand with my sleeve as I operated the door handle. Running across the garden, there was no evidence of a disturbance. Maybe I should report her as missing after my meeting.

Jacobs and Lees

Trying not to look flustered, I arrived at the office. This was important, and a strangely missing Jules was not going to lose me this job. Seeing Mrs. Jacobs wobbling on her high heels towards me, I could feel sweat prickling my skin.

“Afternoon Miss Francis, follow me.” Leaving the comfort of the armchair, I eased myself up. Knowing how important this was, I pushed thoughts of Jules to the back of my mind.

“So, Miss Francis, do you have any idea what this job is about?”

Observing her large sand timer, I wondered if she had a fascination with sand. Answering her I said, “I’m thinking you are needing someone who can think on their feet, I can do that.” Thinking again of Jules and her kitchen, had quick thinking made me put this job first?

“Yes, we do, how are you at working through problems?”

“Problems.” Thinking of a number of answers, I said, “I’m excellent at working through difficult issues.”

I watched Mrs. Jacobs scrape her chair back. Was this going well? As she turned around a whiteboard in the corner, my stomach took a massive lurch. Photos looking back at me, one that I recognised, what the hell was going on?

“Miss Francis, we investigate missing persons. We need someone who can search and find them.”

This was it, the hamster wheel started, missing persons. I thought of the blood again and now looked back at the photo staring back at me. Jules where the hell are you, who are you?

Missing persons

Following the meeting that day, I found a public phone box and made an anonymous call. I couldn’t get involved in Jules’s mess and I certainly didn’t want to be incriminated.

Today I had been left poring over a stack of files and found that missing Jules is actually Jane. Five missing persons and the mystery of Jane was greater due to the blood over her kitchen cupboards that matched to missing Jack Kent. Looking further into Jack Kent, I found that his story was not one his loving mother would be proud of.

The other three didn’t appear to have glowing records either. I hadn’t known Jules that long, but she had been a pain in the behind since I’d met her. I wouldn’t want to pick a man up in a bar; picking up a friend had been a mistake. Reading about her history of drugs and knife crime, I flinched. Picturing her sticking her knife into Jack, I guessed that maybe a drug deal had gone wrong.

Working as part of a private agency hired by the police force was far more than working in a supermarket. My bills were now getting paid, but this was my first case, and I was working outside normal office hours.

As the phone on my desk rang, a sharp ache smashed through my head and the world went black. Coming around to searing agony, I became aware of the men in green telling me to lie quietly. I then went into panic.

“Mrs. Jacobs, where’s Mrs. Jacobs?”

“Ellie-Rose love, just stay calm.”

“Where is Mrs. Jacobs, what’s happening?”

“She is with my colleague, we need to treat you.”

A week later

After time in hospital with a broken leg and head injury, I was relieved to be discharged. Mrs. Jacobs had been killed and CCTV had exposed the murderer as Will Franks. Appearing on CCTV had been a mistake. After the police had tracked him down, he exposed them all to help himself. Jane had attacked Jack after he had demanded favours from her. I guess a swift kick wasn’t good enough when a knife in the leg will do.

From being scared of living on the Hans Town Subway, I was now tracking people down on the subway. As sand falls through a sand timer, none of us know what the future holds in store. I’m doing something that I never imagined I would do.

Looking at more missing faces, I hoped that they were not more criminals. I am determined to be the best at putting the pieces together and finding these people. I have to be.

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