The Butterfly Tattoo – extract

When he was sure they’d gone, Chris moved along the side of the boathouse to the front. It was a small place, big enough to contain two punts, perhaps, with a narrow wooden walkway around the inside.

He stood in the entrance and looked in. It was very dark; but he could see the glimmer of her white dress at the end .It looked as if she were seated on the planking.
“It’s all right, they’ve gone,” he said softly.

She said nothing. Thinking she might not have heard, he moved towards her. He remembered what one of the young men had called her.

“Jenny? Is that your name?”

Still no reply. He stood still, halfway along the side of the boathouse, peering closely to see if she was all right. Had she fainted? They’d said that she was not well, that she’d had too much to drink. She hadn’t seemed like that in the few seconds he’d seen her, and when she’d brushed past he’d smelled her beautiful scent, not drink. But could she be ill?

He was perturbed now.

“Jenny? Are you all right?”

He stepped on the planks at the end of the boat house, and with a faint rustle of fabric she fell forward, slowly. It was horrible. She was headless. He nearly cried out in terror, but then realized that it wasn’t her: it was the dress. She wasn’t in it. She wasn’t in the boathouse at all.

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