It is only footsteps at first. Then come the voices. There are two of them. A man and a woman. Who are they? What do they want? What are they doing there behind the wall?
The voices come and go, as though they are walking in and out of a room.
A room behind the wall.
‘It’s so cold in here,’ says the woman. ‘So very cold.’
‘Don’t, Kate,’ says the man. ‘I can’t bear it in here.’
The creak of a door and they are gone again.
I like her voice. In my mind she looks like my mother. But the man sounds angry like my father. And yet these are not my parents. They are just voices.
I want to tell someone about them but who can I tell? There is no one.
‘We have to do something about it,’ she says.
‘What can we do?’ he snaps.
I am scared he might hurt her. There is fear in her voice. And fear is something I know about. I want to help her but how can you help a voice?
‘It’s such a waste,’ she says.
‘What do you suggest? We can’t turn it into a nursery knowing what we know,’ he replies.
They sound close today.
‘It’s probably just a draft or something,’ says the woman.
‘There’s no draft. This isn’t something you can sort out with insulation. I should never have let you persuade me to buy this house.’
‘But it was such a bargain.’
‘Because of that poor girl bricked up in that wall.’ His voice is loud and clear. He sounds even more angry than before. ‘Killed by her own father,’ he says. ‘The police said if he had been a better builder she might still be in there, decomposing.’
‘Yes, but he wasn’t and she’s not,’ she says. ‘The body is gone so why can’t we use this room?’
‘You know why,’ he replies. ‘It’s cold because a part of her soul lingers on. We can’t make it into a room for our child when Mary’s ghost is still here behind that wall.’
Mary, I think.
That’s my name.