She shakes her head and tears at her hair.
To introduce the plot - if they would only allow a larger word count – she could pay homage to the church, presbytery, and, before all, the vicar. Agatha gulps for air. But 500 words is not giving her much scope. Perhaps just stick to the bare facts.
She hits the keys of her ancient typewriter: “Murder in the Graveyard by Agatha Chrystal”.
By the way, Agatha Chrystal is not her real name. She is plain Jane Smith. Early on, in her nonexistent writing career, she knew that only a change of name might gain her fame.
“I am sitting at my window, overlooking the cemetery of Little Mellow. The grey tower of the church is just visible through the branches of a yew tree. Off on the left is the presbytery where he lives, the vicar... ”. She lifts her fingers. A vivid picture of Richard Chamberlain in the Thorn Bird appears in her mind’s eye.
Agatha’s heart is beating fast and synchronises with the clattering of the typewriter’s keys. Her eyes occasionally search out the bust of Shakespeare on the shelf.
“There she is, Dotty Sykes, slinking across the graveyard through the lichen gate, up the path to the presbytery, sliding in through the back door. A tiger stalking its prey.”
Agatha wipes her forehead. Oh, if only...
“At noon Dotty leaves humming, swinging her handbag.” She might as well be happy, the hussy.
Agatha’s throat is dry, her hands tremble. Any minute now and Dotty would be sashaying under her window, swaying her hips, adjusting the straps of her summer dress. Every day the same. She jumps from her chair.
Agatha deletes, crosses out, inserts new paper, retypes. “The body is unwieldy as it is pulled into a freshly dug grave, prepared for this afternoon’s funeral. A thin layer of earth would hide the corpse.”
The afternoon passes in a hurry. Dark creeps into the room.
“Page 2 – The End”.
She doesn’t quite need 500 words.
A loud knocking shatters the silence. Agatha limps to the door rubbing her arthritic hip.
PC Miller shakes Agatha’s wrinkled hand. ‘Have you seen anything untoward?’ he asks. ‘I see you sitting by the window from early morning until late at night. A body has been found in one of the freshly dug graves this afternoon. The vicar’s housekeeper! Her head beaten in with a bust found nearby.’
Agatha nods and passes the sheaf of paper to the PC. ‘You can have this copy.’
She stretches out her hands in surrender. ‘I won’t need it.’