It was a clamour in the corridor which drew Gordon from his office. The curiosity turned to panic when he saw the commotion was caused by a number of staff members crowded around Jill's office door. "What's happened?" He ran the short distance between their offices and pushed through the crowd of people without waiting for a response, desperate to get to his wife. "Jill?" He touched her arm.
Jill merely remained silent, directing Gordon's gaze to the opposite side of her office. Her old examining bed had been removed the day before due to the irreparable damage. There had been a space ready for Ken and Alun to move in the new bed. However, the space was now filled. Gordon blood ran cold as he stared.
"He must still have the spare key," Jill whispered, her wide eyes flitting to Gordon.
A nod was all he could muster. She was trembling beneath his hand. He raised his free hand, capturing her fingers and entwining them with his own. His gaze never wavered from the sight before him. There, slumped on the floor was a joke shop dummy dressed in a suit not unlike the one Jill currently wore. Some sort of red liquid pooled around the figure's legs. It dripped down the once clean white blouse, coming from one spot on the left side of the chest, from which a knife protruded…
"I… I don't understand," he finally uttered to no one in particular; he didn't expect an answer.
"That red stuff, it's not blood is it?" Lizzie whispered from the doorway.
Jill shook her head, moving to crouch at the edge of the pool. She touched it gingerly with a fingertip. "I think it's paint. It's starting to dry already." She rose, turning to face the crowd gathered at the entrance to her office. "I just don't understand why he'd come back again."
"You don't think he left summat yesterday? You know, that would incriminate him. And decided to leave this while he was here?"
"The police would have found that yesterday, surely?" Meryl replied, frowning at Ken.
"Why would he risk coming back then?" Alun chipped in. "He might have been seen."
"Maybe he's working with someone. Someone who works here!"
"Lizzie!" Matron admonished. "That's enough speculation. Back to work I think. Leave Doctor Weatherill in peace." She shepherded the staff out of the office, pausing before leaving, her words directed at Jill. "I think it's best if you come to Mr Middleditch's office later. This needs sorting out."
Once the door closed behind the older woman, Jill turned to Gordon, though to his surprise, her expression held not fear or sadness, but anger. "How dare she? How dare she waltz in here and expect it all to be solved so easily. And suggest I'm the one in the wrong!"
"Come on Darling. She doesn't think that."
"Well that's what it sounds like." She crossed her arms across her chest. Knowing Jill for ten years, he understood this to be a defensive gesture. He suspected showing her anger towards Matron and letting it grow was easier for her than dealing with her fear.
He placed his hands on her upper arms, not letting her go when she tried to shrug him away. "Come on, don't be like that."
"Well how should I be Gordon, eh?"
"Alright, I'm sorry," he sighed, seeing that her anger was now directed at him. "I'm just struggling to understand. Everything previous to this… It suggests that I'm the one who would get hurt."
"Well who knows!" She threw her hands up in the air. "Maybe he's going to kill us all and be done with it!" She was fast becoming hysterical and she hated herself for it.
"Don't think like that. The police will figure out who's doing this, it won't come to that." His words were hollow, he knew it, and Jill knew for she didn't bother replying. The attempt at reassurance was as much for Gordon's own benefit as it was for hers.
They were silent then. Jill glanced back at the dummy, at the red liquid near her shoes. She stepped away, heaving a deep sigh. "I just don't understand… What have we done to deserve all this?"
And she looked at him, really looked at him, and through the tears in her eyes he could see the exhaustion of everything weighing down on her. He stepped forward then, sliding his arms around her waist, hoping she wouldn't pull away, and feeling relieved when her arms wrapped around his neck.
He held her tighter, a feeling of fear sweeping through him. Everything previously had been suggestive of him being the target, at least physically. But now… Contemplating that someone might be trying to hurt his wife… He began finally to understand the fear that had gripped Jill since it had all begun.