Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Has There Been A Murder?

There’s Been A Murder…?

It began quietly, with whispers that: ‘…something very bad has happened.’ The police, who were often been parked outside, had mentioned something about an assault. Perhaps that’s what they meant.

The following day, I met a tenant who asked if I had heard about ‘…the murder.’ What? Calmly he explained that there had been a killing on the first floor, and that the police were questioning residents living there.

I remained sceptical. Surely it would have been on the telly? Mindless slaughter is still rare enough around here to merit considerable coverage on the local news. After further consideration, I thought - oh come on: there’d be an incident room outside, with police knocking not just on the ‘relevant’ floor but canvassing elsewhere as well, and I’ve heard nothing.

Then signs appeared about a planned community meeting with local police to be held nearby, aimed at addressing tenant’s concerns about crime, which got me thinking. Another tenant later struck up conversation with the sole purpose of discussing the alleged murder. I didn’t contradict her, but she was firmly of the opinion that a man had sadistically killed his partner. Domestic violence is still shamefully under reported, but I believe that even a dismissive media would reveal any death by foul means.

Days later, there was still nothing on the news, when yet another tenant broached the subject in the lift. Details have grown worse with every retelling: here there was no corpse - well not a complete one - just random dismembered body parts hidden in the bin room. The cynic in me theorised that it’s some half-eaten takeaway chicken, but my informant was adamant. He’d heard there was trail of blood, fingers, limbs, and everything.

Still nothing on the news though, and other residents on my floor had heard nothing about it. The lower floors are certainly more dangerous, vulnerable since they present the opportunity of leaping over the balcony and straight into the lounge. The people who live on the ground floor are more convinced than those of us safe on the higher floors that something awful happened. Still nothing on the news, mind you.

Personally, I think it’s symptomatic of the sense of alienation in Dovecot Towers. With so little contact I couldn’t describe the people who live to one side of me, or opposite, nor could I pick them out in an identity parade, and god knows who lives above me, or below. Meanwhile, the story is getting worse: now neighbours are supposed to have ‘disappeared’ (or else they’re on holiday…) and bloodcurdling screams have been heard (unless it was the telly…)

Ultimately, I’m certain that nobody’s died. I’m sure we’d know. Unless there is a monstrous serial killer picking off newbuild residents, and the police are keeping details quiet so as to efficiently catch and prosecute the murderer, just like on the telly. Here in Dovecot Towers, our daily lives are secluded and dislocated. We rarely talk; how bizarre it would be if a murder encouraged tenants to chat.


Darsalon said...

It's not an unusual thing. Maybe symptomatic of society itself perhaps? In the 8 years of renting I've done I've barely chatted to my neighbours. In my current place it's only been to complain about noise I'd "apparantly" been making that the neighbour came round to talk\complain to me.
Having done renting crappy flats I consider myself very lucky to have a decent landlord and a nice small house to rent for the last 3 years. You have my sympathy!

RenterGirl said...

There's more to come on this post. Thanks for reading, and pleased to hear you're settled.