Leslie shut the front door with a click and almost zombie like, she trod over to the kitchen table. She was drained, confused. Robert had been fine, he wouldn't have done this, he couldn't have.
She looked to the ceiling with red-rimmed eyes but it had no answers for her. Letting out a shuddering sigh Leslie got up to make some more tea but as she stood she changed her mind and sat down again. She was lost, confused, she couldn't concentrate on anything, not even making tea. She didn't really want anything right now. Just someone to talk to.
She wandered over to the phone in the hall and dialled Alex's number and when he didn't pick up left a shakily spoken voice message.
"Alex, something awful has happened, I need to speak to someone, I just need someone here with me. I know you're busy but I could really use the company right now. Thanks. Bye."
As she replaced the handset on the receiver, the phone rang again in her hand making her jump. It seemed to have a habit of that lately.
There was just silence on the other end, the soft hum of background noise on the line.
"Hello? Is anyone there? Can you hear me?"
The silence continued unabated.
"I'm going to hang up now." Leslie said uncertainly and slid the handset back into place.
Leslie suddenly felt very cold and so on second thoughts, she decided she would make that tea. Five minutes later she was again sat at the kitchen table wondering what to do with herself. The camera sat on the far corner, pointing out the doorway and down the hall to the front door. Hanging out of it was a new photo.
She went and picked it up, looking at it in dread, almost afraid of what she might see. As she brought it to her eyes, she exhaled, realising she had been holding her breath.
The picture was blurry, out of focus. It showed her back silhouetted against the front door, Jane walking out with the police officer. She was about the drop the photo back down when something in it caught her eye. Something was in focus, in the background just over the policeman's shoulder.
It was a man stood on the other side of the road, at least, just the face of a man staring straight into the camera. At least he would be staring if he had had eyes. Instead he had gaping black pits, like twinned puckering black sphincters into pale white flesh. Leslie dropped the photo with a gasp of horror before turning her eyes on the camera.
"Why are you doing this to me!? What do you want?" She screamed at it, picking it up and hurling it away from her with all the force she could muster.
The camera flew across the room, hit the far wall by the back door with a huge cracking sound and skittered into the corner by the rubbish bin. Leslie burst into tears.
"Leslie? Leslie! Are you all right? I could hear things breaking! Leslie?"
There was thumping at the door.
Pulling herself together, she picked herself up and opened the front door. At was Alex, a look of concern on his face.
"Jesus! Leslie, what happened? I got your message and headed right over, when I saw the ambulance and the police, well, I thought the worst. Then that noise, what was that? Jesus Christ Leslie, what happened to you? Is everything okay?"
Leslie didn't answer, she just looked past him into the street looking for the ghastly face in the picture but it was nowhere to be seen. Silently she let Alex in and locked the door behind her.
"It's not okay Alex, nothing is. First the Dad, then the camera and now Robert. God, I don't think I can cope." She spluttered, hugging herself. Alex guided her to a chair and took another besides her.
"Look I'm here now, I'm listening."
Leslie took a moment to sniff back some tears and wiped her eyes on her sleeve, nodding in acknowledgement. "A camera arrived for me in the post, my old camera the one I told you I'd lost ages ago? I went to see Dad about it, to make sure."
Alex just nodded, a pained expression on his face. "It's not your fault, it's the dementia..."
"It wasn't the dementia Alex, it was the camera, it was this!" She yelled back,, fishing into her pocket for the photo of her, but she couldn't find it, it was gone. "He took a photo of me but it wasn't me Alex! Well it was, but..."
"Leslie, your not making any sense. Look you're upset, maybe we should get the paramedics to look at you while they're here."
"Don't patronise me Alex! I hate it when you do that!"
Alex just sat silently, lips pursed.
"And then Robert. Oh god."
"Robert? Who is Robert?"
"The postman. He delivered the camera. He killed himself this morning." She said, tears beginning to well up in her eyes again.
"God Leslie, I'm so sorry. So the ambulance was for..." The blood drained from Alex's face. "Leslie, where is the camera, do you have the box it came in?"
"What? Alex, what kind of question is that? Why?"
"Because if I'm right, I think Robert, and all the other postal workers didn't commit suicide. I think they were murdered."