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from P.S. by Liberty Henwick

Book One
Chapter One Johannesburg - A Weekend in Oct 2004

Jennifer Pendergast had twenty two pairs of heels - one pair of shoes for each working day of the month plus two extra. And twenty two different lipstick shades – which she picked not according to their colour but only if they had interesting names. It was her Granny who had taught her to feel she was undressed if she left the house without at least her lipstick on. Besides, she wished to draw attention to her mouth and away from her hair which was red and unruly with curls. In order to tame them she cropped them below her ears, however, she also hated her freckles, and ignored her dark green eyes, but actually she was beautiful, she just didn’t know it.

She carefully applied the shade ‘Tainted Love’ which was a dusty rose pink and wriggled her toes in the nude strappy wedges she’d picked for today before grabbing her handbag and A4 leather work folder. She was late already for work. Lydia was coming in to clean today and Jenni had spent some time writing out a note of tasks for her. Why was it she always missed the spider webs? Jenni shivered, probably enough of them in there to stop a Boeing by now.

‘Abigail, out you come!’ A golden labrador heaved her bulk off the coolness of the kitchen floor and ambled out after Jenni. ‘Good girl, see you later, Mommy won’t be late tonight. Would you like a walk and a nice swim at Emmarentia Dam later, my beautiful doggie?’ Abigail smiled at Jenni with her tongue dropping dots of saliva which formed dark circles on the dusty earth as her tail idly swung from side to side. ‘Ok then, don’t let David bully you too much today, goodbye Darling.’ She kissed her dog on the top of her head as she rubbed her neck. Abigail sauntered off and flopped in the shade of the bougainvillea tree, it was set to be another blistering Highveld day, and it was only the 8th of October.

David, prompted by the sounds of Jenni locking the flat door came trotting around the side of the house and over to where Abigail lay. He popped himself down next to her after digging a little into the shallow dust basin he’d previously made. Jenni tutted as a cloud of sand settled on to her dog’s behind. David was the Jack Russell terrier owned by Jenni’s landlord Frank and his boyfriend Marc and he was deeply in love with the larger dog, much to Jenni’s disapproval. Jenni’s apartment was a smaller subdivision of the house and the rent was cheap enough to allow her to afford to live in Melville. Being a trendy neighbourhood, she couldn’t have bought a house here on her income alone. The colonial style house had been updated with a stainless steel kitchen and glass walled bathroom and the interiors painted shades of plum, lime and Dove grey - Marc was an interior designer. She also felt safer not living entirely on her own as a single woman.

Her bunch of keys was heavy, a key for the door, one for the security gate, another for the main gate onto the road and a spare one for Frank and Marc’s house. Her car key was also somewhere in the bunch and the smallest of the lot which made it tricky to find....

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