The butterfly effect

In 2013 best friends Helena and Xanthe are trying to get a place at a brilliant University and enjoy their last year living at home. In 2025 primary school teacher Chris Stirling is worried about his Wife; ane of her colleagues was recently stranged and to death and he thinks it might bring back the horrible memories of the murder of his Wife's best friend.


2. Chapter 1

An extract taken from the Daily Express on the 24th February 2024:


Yesterday a woman was brutally strangled on the top deck of the no. 72 bus to Kew Gardens. The body was discovered at roughly 6:30pm by fellow passenger Marjorie Glendenning (81). In response to the police’s questions about how Mrs Glendenning discovered the body she made this statement:


 “I boarded the bus at 6:25 due to the awful weather. It had been pouring with rain for at least half an hour and so you couldn’t move a muscle on the lower deck without colliding into someone. Everyone was pushing and shoving and with my new hip replacement I couldn’t risk being knocked over, so I went up to the top deck. I was just about to sit down and start my Sudoku puzzle when I spotted someone lying face down on a seat further up the aisle. I assumed that they had fallen asleep or had an epileptic fit so I turned her over. It was only when I saw her face that I realized that she was dead. I was utterly horrified! Many years ago I worked as a hospital nurse so I have seen dead bodies before however the shock was unfathomable. I was completely unaware of how much time passed before I managed to come to terms with what I had witnessed. However I do know that I telephoned the police and notified the bus conductor before my stop.”


Early this morning construction engineer Harold Bradley (54) recognised the body as that of his Wife Catherine Bradley. Mr Denver called the police after his Wife failed to show up at the Golden Palace restaurant where they were due to have a meal to celebrate their 15 year wedding anniversary. “Catherine was always very punctual so I was surprised when she didn’t arrive. I tried ringing her mobile and got no response so when at 10:00 I still hadn’t heard from her I started to get very worried.


“When the police notified me this morning that a woman had been found strangled on the No 62 bus to Kew Gardens answering her description I honestly believed it must be a coincidence and that the woman would be someone else. The shock when I saw Catherine’s body was indescribable. She always caught the No 36 bus to Notting Hill so I can’t think why she caught a completely different bus. Also I have racked my brains but I no idea who on earth would want to murder my Wife. She didn’t have any enemies and nobody stands to gain much from her death; it just doesn’t make sense!”


Mrs Bradley was last seen by her colleague Eleanor Gardner (37). Miss Gardener states only that she glimpsed Mrs Bradley leaving the foreign office out of the office window at around 5:45pm. She cannot be any more accurate because she was busy talking on the telephone with a representative from the Cyprian embassy. As to whether Mrs Bradley was in any one else’s company Miss Gardener has no idea due to the lack of visibility caused by the heavy rainfall.


Mrs Bradley’s corpse was examined by Dr Lisa Hunt who pronounced the cause of death as an unmistakable case of strangulation. Although they cannot yet be certain the police believe the weapon was the woman’s scarf. DCI Sarah Robinson is in charge of the investigation she told reporters that “it’s very early days, however so far the investigation is progressing well. The positive identification of the body allows us to investigate many potential lines of enquiry. We have no knowledge of possible motives as yet however I stress that our team is very efficient and we are working immensely hard to bring this crime home to its perpetrator.” 


DCI Robinson urges anyone with any information connected to the case to get in contact as soon as possible. Article written by John Roland.   



Chris Stirling- 25th February 2024


Oh god! I just saw the article in the paper; Catherine Bradley worked in my Wife’s department. They weren’t particularly close but my Wife’s best friend was murdered at their school prom. I just have no idea how she will react to yet another tragedy. Although she always seems calm and in complete control no matter what happens: when I was so nervous I accidentally split coffee over her on our first date she mopped it up without complaint and asked if I would like another one, when a child started eating our wedding cake she laughed and took a photograph; even when she over heard my parents insulting her she smiled and was even lovelier to them. Essentially she has superhuman mastery of her emotions.


But, unlike a relatively harmless and mildly amusing mishap concerning cake, she can’t laugh off unexpected brutal death. Until the murder Helena and Xanthe were inseparable and although every time it’s mentioned her eyes threaten but I have never seen her cry about it. I’m just worried that like last time she’ll be forced to go to the inquest and be thrust mercilessly into the limelight. Worst of all she might be pursued by what Helena and Xanthe would have described as a herd of wilder beast masquerading as reporters.

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