The weight of Sarah’s body held her trapped to the floor. Lynda tried to push her off but it was impossible while at the same time keeping a hand on Sarah’s neck to staunch the blood.
An odd thought suddenly manifested in her head: she’d never realized how heavy a dead body could be. But Sarah wasn’t dead? No, she wasn’t dead. What more could she do? If only she could reach her phone to call for an ambulance, but it was on the desk on the far side of the room.
Think! Think! Using her elbows as levers, she slithered and slid, inch by inch, across the floor, dragging Sarah with her.
Each second seemed to take an hour, but she finally reached the desk. She tried to reach up for the phone, but it was impossible unless she pushed Sarah off her. How long would it take for Sarah to die if she took her hand off the wound?
The strap of her bag was hanging over the edge of the desk.
Keeping her hand pressed on the slash in Sarah’s neck, Lynda reached out with her other hand and pulled the strap. Her bag came tumbling down, spilling the contents across the blood-covered floor. Grabbing the scarf she’d bought on the way to the charity to give to Georgina as a birthday gift next week, she thrust it against the wound in Sarah’s throat.
She hated Sarah, but she hadn’t really wanted it to come to this. Or did she? Yesterday she would have been glad to know Sarah had died in agony. Lynda had handled it all wrong.
She hadn’t meant for things to go this far. Her gaze fell on the knife laying in a pool of blood. Her fingerprints were on the handle. All she’d planned was to confront Sarah and get at the truth. Make her admit what she’d done.
‘Don’t die,’ she whispered. ‘Please, please don’t die. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I didn’t really want you dead.’
Was Sarah still breathing? The flow of blood felt more sluggish now. Did that mean she was close to death?
‘Help me!’ she yelled again. ‘Somebody, help me!’
She could hear sirens. Were they coming this way? Yes, they were getting closer and closer. Someone must have called the emergency services. Thank God!
‘Hold on, Sarah. Hold on.’
The siren’s howling crept closer until it seemed to stop right outside. Why wasn’t anyone coming in?
‘Help! Help! She’s dying!’ she screamed.
The charity door burst open and suddenly the room seemed to be full of uniformed bodies. Sarah was gently lifted off and Lynda was able to move again. She tried to get to her feet, slipped in the blood and fell down again. An officer reached out and pulled her up. She turned from him to see what was happening to Sarah, but there were too many people in the way.
She moved forward, taking small steps on the slippery floor.
‘Can you save her? I never meant for this to happen. Please, can you save her?’
She felt a hand on her arm and was pulled round to see a police officer facing her. It was the same one who’d helped her to her feet. He looked too young to be a policeman.
‘You need to come away, miss, and let the paramedics do their job.’
Lynda nodded and allowed him to lead her towards the main door of the charity office. The floor seemed to be covered in blood. How had it spread so far? Can someone lose so much blood and still live? She turned back to see a paramedic leaning over Sarah.
‘Is she going to be OK?’ she asked. ‘I tried to save her. Honestly, I did. I didn’t mean for this to happen.’
The paramedic glanced up, but avoided her gaze. Instead, he looked at the policeman still holding on to her arm and shook his head.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘She’s gone. There’s nothing more we can do.’