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Chapter 4 Norman

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There were no other cars outside the motel, and the office was empty. Marion stood outside the office and waited. Looking up, she saw a large old house on a hill behind the motel. On the first floor of the house she could see a light in a window. There was a shadow moving behind the curtain. The shadow of a woman, Marion thought.

She went back to her car and waited for someone to come. • At last, through the darkness and the rain, she saw someone outside the house. It was a man, and he was running down the hill towards the motel. Marion got out of her car to meet him. He was a young man, tall and thin, with a friendly, boyish face.

'I'm sorry I wasn't in the office,' he smiled.

'Do you have a room?' Marion asked.

'Twelve rooms, all of them empty,' the young man laughed. 'You're wet. Come into the office.'

Inside the office, the young man watched her carefully as she wrote her name in the visitors' book. Not her real name, but: 'MARIE SAMUELS'. Then he thought for a second before choosing a key from the small cupboard behind the desk.

'Room One,' he smiled.'It's next to this office.'

The young man carried Marion's suitcase from the car, and she followed him into her room. He turned on the light, and opened the window.

'It's small, but it's comfortable,' he said. 'And look. There's a shower in the bathroom.'

'Thank you, Mr Bates,' Marion smiled.

'My name's Norman,' he said. 'If you want anything, I'll be in the office.'

'I just want to sleep. But before that, I need to eat.'

'There's a restaurant about ten miles away, outside Fairvale. But I was just thinking ...' he said, lowering his eyes with a shy smile.'It's a long way to Fairvale and it's still raining. Maybe you'd like to have dinner with me instead? Nothing much. Just bread, milk and cheese. But you can come up to my house with me, if you like.'

'You're very kind,' said Marion.

Norman looked up, his eyes shining with excitement. 'I'll be back when everything's ready. With an umbrella!'

Marion closed the door behind him and smiled for the first time in twenty-four hours. 'What an amusing young man,' she thought. 'Just like a little boy.'

But she was tired, and she had important things to thin about. The money, for example. Marion looked round the roor for somewhere to hide it. There wasn't much furniture. Sh decided to put the envelope inside her newspaper and leave i next to the bed.

While she was doing this, she heard a loud voice. It came fron the big house on the hill. She went to the window and listened It was the angry voice of an old woman.

'No, you can't bring strange young girls up to this house.'

'Mother, please ...' Norman replied.

'First you bring them up to the house.Then what? Music after dinner? Holding hands and kissing?'

'Mother, she's just a stranger. She's hungry and it's raining.'

'She's not having food with my son in this house. Do you understand, boy? Are you going to tell her, or shall I come down and tell her?'

' Shut up!' Norman cried. 'Shut up!'

Then everything was silent.


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