The Thunder of Nautilus

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Marie and John

Knowing that James’s problems had been resolved, Marie felt happy and relaxed after she said goodbye to her friends that Sunday afternoon, and the next day she decided to do some research for her writing project at John’s library. She called to asked him if it was a good time for her to come over, and when he said he was looking forward to her visit, she packed a backpack with sandwiches and a bottle of fine wine she’d bought in Germany and saved to give John on this occasion, then took a leisurely walk with MJ over to the manor.

John greeted her with his two hounds by his side, and after MJ and his dogs had sniffed each other out, John asked Marie and MJ to come into the library. Marie gave John the wine and said that she’d made some sandwiches for lunch. John looked at the label of the wine and said, “This is very special. Thank you. I’d love to have one of your sandwiches, but I’m guessing that you haven’t come to chat but to have a look at the books.”

“Well, both,” Marie responded.

John smiled and said, “You’re honest and direct. I admire those qualities; too many people I know beat around the bush, and I find that exasperating at times.”

“It’s difficult to always behave socially correct and culturally appropriate. I must admit I have these difficulties all the time,” Marie said.

“So do I, but I don’t care,” John replied

They laughed and talked about cultural differences and similarities between the English and the Germans, the war, the fact that Marie’s hometown of Hamburg had a great history of friendship with London, and how terrible it was that the fascists had made their countries into enemies in the past. Meanwhile they drank the wine Marie had brought, smoked the long cigars John always kept for special guests, and chatted until they realized that the short days of winter had turned the light of the afternoon into twilight.

Marie said it was time for her and MJ to get back to the cottage, and John offered to walk her home. She thanked him and said it wasn’t necessary, but John then mentioned that, like Duncan, he’d heard a woman had gone missing and that he thought it wasn’t safe for her to walk home alone. Hearing the same story for the second time, Marie began to feel uneasy and asked John if he agreed with Duncan that a killer might be on the loose.

“I really don’t know, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” John answered.

After John and his two hounds accompanied her home, Marie said, “And who’s making sure you get home safe?” John laughed and said he’d be all right.

An hour later, John called and said that he was really worried about her living so isolated alone and invited her to stay at the manor for the time being. Marie said, “I very much appreciate the offer, but I’m feeling quite safe here—don’t worry.” John had to accept that she preferred to stay at the cottage, but he repeated that she was welcome to be his guest at the manor if she changed her mind.

After John’s call, Marie fed MJ and began to prepare her dinner, and while she was waiting for the food to cook, she thought about how worried Duncan and now John were about her living alone. She began to worry now as well and thought,

What if there is a killer out there?

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