If you haven’t already seen it you can find Part 1 and 2 here:

The lady at 54 (Part 1)

The lady at 54 (Part 2)

I woke up feeling like one of my bed springs had broke through and was stabbing me in the ribcage. Upon rolling over I realised it was the corner of the notebook. I can’t remember exactly where I read up to so I picked it up and started skipping back through the pages looking for some kind of reference point. What I do remember is feeling my eyelids getting heavy, my head drooping occasionally and barely drifting off only to twitch and jump out of my skin once or twice.

I glimpse over at my alarm clock featuring a cartoon character I haven’t particularly liked for at least two years now and see it’s only ten to seven. I had time to read more of the notebook before I had to make a move. Most of the scribbles inside seemed to have nothing to do with anything; little poems, questions with no answers like “what if I was good at painting instead of maths?” or “Should I have said yes to Geoff?” there were a few doodles that I didn’t think were half bad. One of a little girl with a top hat and cane and another of a big house with five big windows on the front and a large deck outside the front door.

After the first ten or so pages of drawings, poems and stand-alone scribbles there began diary style entries but with no dates or background info I don’t know when this stuff happened or even if it did happen. I skimmed the first few pages, letting them remind me of what I read the night before.

Lana talked about her work as an accountant and how she enjoyed it. That a woman called Judy made her laugh every single day. How she sat alongside Judy and five other people and they were all lovely, except Diane who was older and kind of a bitch. She talked about how much she loved the work night’s out organised by Geoff; the man she wondered if she should have said yes to. She talked about her small, cold flat. About how much she misses the lack of space, having just a few pieces of furniture and a small kitchen. How easy it used to be to clean and tidy and how she wasted so little food because she never bought much because she didn’t have anywhere to store it all.

I remember reading all of this and while I could clearly see absolutely nothing interesting was happening I just could not stop. There was something so exciting about reading someone else’s diary. Getting a taste of their life, a taste of adult life, picturing her in this little flat of her own, picturing myself there too or even instead of her.

I have now passed the point I got to last night and whilst reading about another work night out I knew the drama began when I read the line:

John was a friend of Geoff’s from another department and he was nice but nothing particularly stood out

Later on that particular night out Judy had joked that John was free to show her his technique, apparently he was a technician and therein lay the joke. Lana mentioned that she appreciated John’s confidence and that he seemed fun, based on the fact he got up and sang karaoke – badly. She did mention this could be the alcohol though, more than John himself.

A few pages were ripped out before the next available entry that started with ‘John is coming over tonight’. Lana had cleaned the flat, bought flowers to brighten it up, picked out the perfect music to play in the background as he arrived and ended with ‘Absolute nothing is happening, but have shaved my legs and bought protection just in case!’

While I was reading I heard the door knock downstairs and my gran answered but as I turned the page I heard the pounding of somebody running up the stairs. I quickly closed the notebook and shoved it under my pillow, turning toward the door as it flung open.

“Wake up come quick!” Joey shouted before he even laid eyes on me

He frowned as he processed seeing me turn to the door in shock while covering myself up

“Put your dick away and come on” he laughed, as he turned and made his way back down the stairs. I threw on my jeans from yesterday but with a clean, different colour t shirt. Socks and trainers followed before I made my way down the stairs, I hasn’t washed or brushed my teeth or even wiped the sleep out of my eyes. I opened the front door to Joey and Donny bouncing like a pair of puppies desperate to go for a walk.

I asked what this was about as we approached the corner of my road, glancing at number 54 as we passed. Lana was in there. What was she up to? I saw nothing through the windows. My eyes roamed her house and drive. Seeing the bin I wondered if the pieces of paper removed from the notebook were in there, maybe even more notebooks.

“Look!” Donny pointed, as if it was needed.

Three police cars, still with sirens on, an ambulance, a gazebo-like-tent and a group of maybe forty people.

“Murdered” said Tara behind us, making Donny jump

“I heard it was the witch” said Kelly, one of Tara’s gaggle of girl friends

“She saw him walking past her knocked over bin, and this morning – dead” said another

“Bullshit” replied Joey, facing them “how would you even…”

“HEY!” shouted an older girl from a path leading in to the woods, making a few of the crowd of onlookers turn and look.

It was Tara’s older sister, Erin. She’s fifteen, very bossy and to be honest scary as hell. She stomped over and Tara naturally took a defensive position. Erin demanded to know why we were there and when one of the girls blurted out that the witch at 54 killed somebody Tara shot her a look as if she’d just released a deep, dark secret in to the world. Erin laughed, called us stupid kids, and told us to head home now before she gets us all in trouble. We turned as a group and slowly made our way back to the green. As another conversation about the witch’s involvement broke out I looked over toward the woods and swear I saw Colin Cod-eye looking over at us.

Update: Part four is live here

The lady at 54 (part 4)