Roses Are Red - Miranda Rijks


Adam Palmer. He thinks he is so superior, blessed with intellect and good looks. At the top of his game, living in a period English house, surrounded by his loving family. Money is no object for Adam Palmer. Perhaps I should rephrase that. Money allows him to buy whatever objects he desires. You only have to look at the ostentatious Bentley parked outside his front door to know that.

But Adam Palmer is just an animal, as we all are. A creature of habit. He may think he holds all the cards, but he doesn’t.

I do.

Because I know him as well as, if not better, than he knows himself.

This evening he arrived home from work. He grabbed a beer from the fridge. He had a screaming match with his wife. Nothing unusual there. It happens most nights. Then he disappeared into the bowels of the house, and now, ten minutes later, here he is, naked except for a pair of garish yellow-and-green tropical-print swimming trunks, striding towards his outdoor swimming pool. A large blue-and-white striped towel is draped over his left shoulder, a designer brand, no doubt. His Rolex watch is strapped to his wrist. It’s an Oyster Cosmograph Daytona made from platinum with a blue face. It costs nearly sixty grand. I know because I Googled it. He is fit for his forty-eight years. Broad shoulders, a well-toned stomach, a dark hairy chest and a confident gait. It’s his hair that gives away his age, receding at the temples and on the crown of his head, dark brown waves splattered with grey. I’m surprised he hasn’t got himself a hair transplant.

He drops his towel on a sun lounger and then lifts his arms up into the air, swinging them in large circles.

My heart is pumping now. The time has come.

He stretches his left leg and then his right leg, and now he takes five paces to the end of the pool. If he looks, he might see it. A tiny wire that runs across the grout line of the pale stones surrounding the turquoise pool. A thin wire that touches the base of the metal steps. Pace one, two, three… His eyes are fixed on the horizon, that sweeping vista of ancient woodland that surrounds the five-acre garden. He has stepped right over it and hasn’t noticed.

I let out my breath and for the first time register the burning pain in my legs. I’ve been crouching behind a bush for too long. And now, here he is. Ready to go. Climbing up onto the diving board at the deep end of the pool, flexing his muscles, and then, with his hands held together high above his head, he makes a little jump and dives neatly into the pool with a modest splash.

A grin edges at the corners of my mouth. I press the button on my phone. The remote control.


I’m ready to show myself, to execute the next step.

But there is silence.

Where the hell is he?

I expect gasps and spluttering.

I wait. Ten seconds, twenty seconds, a whole minute. I have a good view of the house and the pool. There is no one outside.

Adam Palmer hasn’t surfaced. It’s worked. Wonderfully well.

And then I have to control my laughter. It’s hilarious, really. He’s just sunk straight to the bottom. Now I need to get out of here without leaving any evidence behind. I scroll through my mental checklist.

I pull the wire. It’s five metres long and easy to pull back. I coil it up and put it in my rucksack. And now I tiptoe along the perimeter of the garden, darting behind large oak trees and rhododendron bushes, keeping in the dark shadows, holding my breath every time I accidentally step on a twig, until I reach the barbed wire fence that edges the public footpath. I crawl underneath it and then walk briskly along the wooded trail. People walk their dogs along here, but I’ve got that one covered. If I see anyone, I’ll call out for my imaginary Buster – an Irish wolfhound perhaps, or a Staffie.

But I don’t see a soul.

I’m safe.

Shame about Adam Palmer.


There was a summer storm last night. Torrential rain and heavy wind whistling through the hairline cracks in our old, creaking house and pummeling the thick, verdant branches of the English oaks and beeches in the garden. Perhaps it was a pathetic fallacy, a forewarning of what is to come today. But this morning, the sky is a clear pale blue, and everyone except me