This is where the story begins. Natasha arrives at the local bookstore, and she is not yet aware of the bad news that awaits her. Kelly, who is one of Natasha’s colleagues and the only other one who is an expert in sign language, takes her to one side, as she tries to understand what is going on.
The moment I noticed the glum expressions on my fellow colleagues’ faces, I had an unpleasant feeling something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t hear anything due to my hereditary disability. But at least I had Kelly – one of my female colleagues – as my guide. I could also read and interpret her sign language gestures.
‘I take it you all heard what happened to Tracy,’ Nigel announced sadly as someone behind him was stacking the bookshelves. Nigel was facing my direction so that I could also lip-read.
‘They just found her body in the river,’ Anna, one of my other female colleagues said sorrowfully. ‘The police reckon she might have drowned. Horrible.’
The name ‘Tracy’ immediately rang a bell. I had attended university with her before we both started working at the same bookstore, not long before her disappearance. Now she was dead at the young age of only twenty-nine, apparently killed by her own hands.
‘I already knew she was depressed and troubled,’ Anna said, almost tearfully. ‘But I never thought she would do the unthinkable.’
‘Tragic end, if you ask me,’ Nigel said in a wistful tone.
‘Did she have a family?’ another young woman asked.
‘If you mean “family” as in a husband and children then I highly doubt it,’ Anna replied. ‘Probably not.’
‘That is extremely sad, the poor girl,’ the other young woman said. ‘What made her do that anyway?’
‘That is what they’re trying to find out,’ Nigel confirmed.