Mavis arrived just five minutes late for her date. No problem, she decided the first time she meets a man that she does not know, she would not arrive too early. Nothing more embarassing that being ordered and not picked up. It was a jump into uncertainty, but she decided she had been alone long enough. She had loved her husband and he had loved her, they had been together for so many years. Shared so much, visited museums, on holiday in far away places together and exchanged views on their favourite books. Now she was alone. Joe had a stroke that took him from her within five minutes and she had missed him and their common interests.
She felt lonely afterwards. Her friends had at first invited her to visits, shopping trips, meals, but she realised it was a false picture that was painted of their interest. If you were alone, you were alone, and not having a partner meant that you remain a figure on the edge.
Mavis took her courage in her hands and wrote and received an answer. His name was Grant, two years older than herself, and widowed. He was looking for someone to share his interests and so was she and a meeting was arranged. They both had a photo of each other, although the photo from Grant was a bit blurred at the edges, but she found he looked ok. Above all a clean gentleman, well dressed, and not fraying at the edges. Just to be sure Grant said he would meet her at the new restaurant in town, known as the Orangerie, and would be wearing an orange tie to elimate any mistaken identity.
Mavis stood at the restaurant entrance and her eyes scanned the tables, all suitably covered with an orange table cloth. It was then that she saw him, at least she saw the orange tie, looking a bit colourful with his dark blue shirt. Mavis was wearing a dark blue costume with white blouse, so she decided they would at least suit each other in colour. She walked over to the table and Grant stood up. He was a few inches taller than she was, "at least the size was right" she thought.
"Hello Mavis, pleased to meet you" he said whilst he pulled a chair out on the opposite side of the table to seat her. "Seems you have noticed my orange tie" and he laughed showing two rows of perfect white teeth.
Mavis was impressed. This Grant was a man that took care of himself, despite the orange tie and dark blue shirt.
"Yes Grant I noticed the tie straight away. It certainly suits the surroundings."
The waitress appeared at the table with her pencil and paper ready for the order.
"What would you like to drink Mavis" Grant asked. "A coffee perhaps?"
"Yes please. That would be fine."
"We would recommend our apple tart and freshly whipped cream as today's speciality" the waitress suggested.
"That would be just right and you Mavis."
"Oh yes Grant" and the waitress disappeared to fetch the order.
Grant and Mavis were now left alone. Mavis felt a little nervous.
"It seems you are also now alone in the world Mavis" said Grant "as I am". My wife died a year ago and it is not easy being on your own."
"I know what you mean Grant" and Mavis began to tell him about her loneliness since Joe died and Grant listened.
"It must have been hard for your Mavis, I know what you have been through. Since my Philomena left me, I have felt exactly the same. It seems there is no enjoyment going out alone without a partner to share with you."
And so the conversation continued. The waitress brought the coffee and apple tart which was a perfect dot on the "i" and Mavis found Grant to be a very nice gentleman.
After an hour Grant suggested they would now leave the cafe and perhaps take a walk in the nearbye park together. Mavis had not been on a walk with a gentleman for so long, she was happy and they walked amongst the flower beds arm in arm.
Mavis noticed the sky getting darker and heard the clock on a nearbye tower striking six in the evening.
"I should be going home Grant. It is getting late and I have to travel to the other side of town."
"Yes Mavis" was the answer. I will accompany you to the bus stop, but not without asking if you would see me again. Perhaps next Sunday afternoon. I could meet you at the park gates and we could take a walk through the park and catch up on the last years of our lonely lives."
So Grant accompanied Mavis to the bus stop and waited to see her depart, thinking next Sunday is the day for us both. It will be a triumph I am sure.
When Grant arrived home he removed his orange tie and put it away in the box he had in the cupboard, together with the red tie he was wearing a month ago. He liked order in his clothes and these ties were special. He reflected on the days when he was a boy at school. Oh how the other children laughed at him, today it would be called mobbing. Just because his mother had a thing for colours. Yes she was a colourful person and Grant was the object of her colour tick. A red shirt with a green pullover. She always knitted the pullovers with contrasting colours, so probably there were a few colourful stripes, some yellow and black to make him stand out even more. But these days were almost gone, just almost.
The memories of the beatings and fights and laughs of the kids at school still haunted him sometimes. His mother was still alive, although she did not really recognise him when he paid a visit at the mental hospital where she now was. An old lady, still knitting colourful socks for the other patients. They all loved the socks, Alzheimer came in strange ways.
The next Sunday Grant prepared for his afternoon date at the park. This time he was not wearing a tie, although he had put the orange tie in his pocket, together with an orange. The weather was warm and he was wearing a short sleeved shirt, also orange, but more in a pastel shade. He waited at the gate and Mavis arrived a few minutes later. She had been watching from the shadows of a tree. Again she did not want to be the first.
They wandered again amongst the flower beds talking and Grant said he felt a little tired, perhaps they could find a bench in the shade a sit awhile. Mavis was glad and so they searched for a bench, but most were occupied.
"I know where we might find an empty seat" said Grant,"just follow me"
Mavis followed, but somehow she felt at unease. The path lead to a thicket of trees just where the forest began
"Come on Mavis, don't worry, just follow. You will be safe with me" and then Grant suddenly disappeared. He was walking in front of Mavis, but she was alone, no Grant to follow. Yes, Grant was very clever and sly, most murderers were.
"Here I am Mavis" and those were the last words Mavis heard, as Grant pulled his orange tie tighter around her neck. He put the orange in her hand and left removing the tie from her neck and putting it in his pocket.
"Old ladies die quickly" he thought and Mavis was quickly no longer. His car was not parked far away and he was soon home again, putting the orange tie next to the red one in the box.
"Two down and five to go" he thought. His mother taught him "Richard of York gained battle in vain" meaning "red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet" the colours of the rainbow. Grant at last saw a claim to fame, being known as the Rainbow Murderer. It would take some time for the police to find out who and what was happening. Perhaps they might even get the answer when he would use the violet tie on a victim, the last one in the row, who knows. And if they did not, he would just have to start again.
He remembered last month's victim, her name was Rose and he strangled her with the red tie in the box which was now laying next to the orange one. He even placed a red rose in her hand to emphasise the colour.
He was already thinking ahead, buy a yellow tie and perhaps a Grapefruit or banana for the finishing touches. Yes, the Rainbow Murderer will strike again.