Summer Soap (Episode 5): What happened to Hannah?

Welcome to The Echo’s second Summer Soap of 2022. Now in its seventh year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which started on Monday and runs till Saturday week. Called Kilroche, this is about a woman who falls downstairs - apparently in an accident caused by her long hair. But was it an accident? It was written by Assumpta Curran  of the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. Catch up with previous episodes at In the fifth episode, the mystery over Hannah’s fall deepens
Summer Soap (Episode 5): What happened to Hannah?

Maura, exhausted and lost in her own world, needed a warm bed and a strong cup of tea, Jack thought

DR Murphy pulled out the front door of O’Connors, making sure it was securely locked, and climbed into his car.

He decided he’d call to see how Maura was, and to update Din. Maybe he’d manage to talk some sense into the clown.

He drove down to the far end of the street and pulled up outside the Garda station. There was no sign of Din Rua’s car. Walking in, he heard a strange noise coming from the rear of the building. 

Not for the first time tonight, he saw poor Maura O’Connor in a state of complete chaos. 

Through the glass panel of a small back room, he witnessed her rocking back and forth, in a motion best described as childlike, and howling something he couldn’t quite make out. He tried the handle but it was locked. Jesus Christ, what the hell was Din playing at? As Maura’s doctor, he had a duty of care to her, so he went back into the front office and, after searching the phone directory, dialled Din’s home number.

“Hello?” his wife Eileen answered swiftly.

“Hi Eileen, Jack Murphy here, could I have a quick word with Din please?”

“Oh, hello Jack, how are you? I haven’t spoken to you in a long time. Tell me how is poor Peggy? Someone said that she was having trouble with her back again?”

“All is good Eileen, thanks for asking. Would it be possible to talk to Din, it’s fairly urgent?”

“Gosh, I can’t help you there Jack, I’m afraid. Din is working tonight. You should catch him at the station.”

“But I’m… oh, never mind, that’s fine. Thanks Eileen. I’ll try the station so, goodnight.”

“No bother at all, Jack. Regards to Peggy.”

Jack opened the drawer beside the phone and without much difficulty found a big bunch of keys. He tried them all in turn and finally unlocked the door. Maura was zoned out and completely oblivious to his presence. He placed a steadying hand gently on her shoulder.

“Maura, Maura?”

The rocking and the muttering continued.

“Maura, I have good news for you. Hannah is alive, she’s gone to the hospital and Fr Cleary has gone along with the ambulance.”

Something registered with her on a subconscious level, because bit by bit the rocking slowed, and Maura turned towards him, her face a picture of grief and devastation. Jack repeated himself.

“Hannah is in hospital Maura, she’s alive.”

Maura raised her face, streaked with tears, and leaned in against Jack. Her chin began to tremble, and her breathing became distressed and shallow once more. Jack placed a protective arm around her.

“There, there Maura, don’t worry, this will all sort itself out. You’ll get through it and I’ll give you all the help you need.”

The door burst open suddenly with a loud bang, and there, crazy-eyed, stood Din.

“Well well, if this isn’t cosy, the doc comforting the murder suspect. And by the way, you’re trespassing, Jack.”

Jack looked at Din, a flash of contempt crossing his face.

“I will be taking Maura home now, Denis, and I suggest that you call Eileen. She’s confused as to your whereabouts.”

Din straightened up at the mention of his wife. It was well known in the local community, that while Din wore the hat, Eileen most definitely wore the trousers in the Sheehy house.

“You’ll do no such thing. She’s responsible for murdering her sister,” Din began.

“Hannah is alive,” Jack said, getting to his feet. 

“I will also be reporting the scene I witnessed at O’Connor’s this evening, not to mention what went on here at this station tonight, to your superiors. Come on Maura, let’s get you home.”

Din offered no resistance. Stunned into sobriety, he stood to the side as Dr Murphy, supporting Maura, led her to his car.

The short journey to the top of the village was taken in silence. Maura, exhausted and lost in her own world, needed a warm bed and a strong cup of tea, Jack thought. On reaching her house he accompanied her to the back door.

“Would you like something to help with the anxiety and stress of tonight, Maura?” he asked sensitively.

She surprised him when she turned to him and spoke with a strength that he didn’t think she possessed.

“Jack, thank-you, you’ve done more than enough for me. You have gone over and above your own call of duty, and I appreciate it greatly. I’ll be okay. I have soup in the fridge, I’ll eat that and then go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.”

Jack retreated from the house, wondering where this petite lady got her incredible fortitude from. He would go home to the comfort and warmth of his own house, to Peggy, and to a nice dinner together. He felt the need to close the lid on this evening’s events until tomorrow. The question still remained - what had actually gone on a number of hours earlier, at this small seaside boutique?

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