The Saga Continues September 14
The three shots that Sergeant Michael Anders fired at Thomas Helling with his handgun on that climactic night three months earlier were only meant to stop and disarm the attacker. One bullet entered and exited Thomas’ right thigh and another went through his left fore arm which was holding the bloody scalpel. The third bullet was aimed at Thomas’ left shoulder. As Thomas moved, reeling from the first two shots to his body, the third bullet exploded through his chest, narrowly missing his heart.
Sergeant Anders can feel his mobile phone vibrate in his pocket. “Sergeant Anders,” he says into the phone.
“Sergeant,” he can hear Doctor Peter Smith say on the other end of the phone, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how it happened!”
“Doc? What’s wrong?” Sergeant Anders asks.
“I went to see him as soon as I heard he was awake…” Doctor Smith starts to say.
“Hang on,” Sergeant Anders interrupts. “Thomas Helling is awake?”
“Sergeant,” Doctor Smith sighs, “Thomas Helling is gone. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow he escaped.”
Valerie shakes Amber’s hand and looks quizzically at the young woman in the expensive looking suit. “Amber Harp,” Valerie thinks out loud. “Amber Harp from The Holgate Times?”
“That’s me,” Amber smiles.
“No, no,” Valerie says. “I told you over the phone that I wasn’t speaking to any newspaper, Ms Harp.”
“I only need a short amount of your time,” Amber says. “Anything at all for my story.”
“You’re very persistent.” Valerie is getting frustrated. “I’ve been telling you for months that neither myself or Joanne are interested in being interviewed for your story.”
“But Joanne has such a great story to be told,” Amber tries to reason. “Surviving her attack, dealing with her husband’s murder, and now her long recovery back to full health.”
“Who do you people think you are?” Valerie snaps. “I think you need to leave, Ms Harp. How many times do I have to say no before you understand?”
“I wouldn’t be a very good journalist if I stopped every time someone said no to me now, would I?” Amber picks up her brief case and heads towards the front door. “I’ll be in town for a little while if you change your mind and want to talk.”
“Richard was your best friend, wasn’t he?” Amber grabs Kyle Cook’s arm to comfort him. Kyle nods his head and wipes the tears from his face.
Amber stares at Kyle for a few seconds without saying anything, before making a few more notes on her note pad. “I’m sorry for your loss, Constable,” she says to him. “I’ve just got one more question.” Amber Harp gives the police officer a curt smile before asking, “Don’t you think it’s curious that Thomas is right-handed?”
“I don’t follow,” Kyle says, fidgeting in his chair nervously.
“Richard’s throat was cut from right to left,” Amber offers. “His throat was cut by someone who is left-handed.”
“I don’t understand how Thomas Helling could have done this,” Amber says. “He’d just been in a coma, with life threatening gun shot wounds.”
“He’s proven to be a very dangerous person,” Sergeant Anders replies. “We don’t know what he’s capable of.”
“It just doesn’t make sense.” Amber refuses to concede.
“So I’m guessing you have a better idea than I do?” Sergeant Anders says impatiently.
“Yes. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you since I arrived in this town,” Amber exclaims. “I don’t believe that Thomas Helling killed Richard Evans.”
“I was there when it happened, Ms Harp,” Sergeant Anders says.
“You weren’t there when he was killed, though. But there was one other person there at the time. I believe Kyle Cook is the man that we’ve been looking for.”
“I don’t understand,” Joanne Evans says to the woman in red standing in front of her, “my mother died when she gave birth to me.”
The woman slowly brushes the flowing red hair out of her face and she smiles again at Joanne. She gently touches Joanne’s cheek with the back of her fingertips. “You’re more beautiful in real life.”
Joanne pulls away quickly from the woman’s touch. “I’m sorry, I must get going.” Joanne starts to manoeuvre the wheelchair away from the woman.
Suddenly, Joanne can feel the warm touch of the woman’s hand on her shoulder. “I am your mother, Joanne. Don’t believe anything you have been told about me.”
“Tell me about my mother,” Joanne says.
“She was very much like you,” Valerie Pickering says. “Kind, caring, beautiful. She would have loved you dearly.”
“How did she die? Have I been told the truth? Did she really die?”
“I’m not sure what you mean, honey.” Valerie is confused. “You know the truth.”
“She died when she gave birth to me?” Joanne asks.
“Yes, honey. She lost too much blood.”
“Are you telling me the truth?” Valerie could now see the tears forming in Joanne’s eyes.
Valerie looks deep into Joanne’s teary eyes. “Honey, it is the truth. I was holding her hand when she died.”
Valerie Pickering enters from the kitchen with a tray of coffee mugs and passes a black coffee to Father Bolton. “I think I have a new addiction,” she says. “Coffee.”
“You’ve been an inspiration, Val,” Father Bolton lifts his mug as if to applaud Valerie. “How long have you been sober for now?”
“Just on three months,” Valerie says. “All credit goes to Joanne.”
Joanne looks to her aunt and smiles at her as she is handed a mug of coffee. “We’ve been helping each other,” she tells Father Bolton.
“You’ll be walking again in no time,” Valerie throws her arm around her niece’s other shoulder.
The glow from the bed lamp sends imposing shadows down the hallway and as Joanne wheels herself down it, she makes out a dark figure near the hallway’s end.
“Aunty Val?” she asks, hesitantly. “What are you doing?”
“Hello, Joanne,” she hears a haunting voice, realising that the figure is not her aunt. The dark figure swiftly rushes at her. Joanne lets out a short scream before her mouth is covered.
She hears the voice again:
A pocket full of posies,
Now Joanne is mine!”
Joanne Evans doesn’t recognise the song, but she finds it haunting. It had been on repeat since she had arrived.
In dreams I walk with you.
In dreams I talk to you.
In dreams you’re mine all of the time.
We’re together in dreams, in dreams.
Suddenly she hears footsteps approaching her from behind. She tries to spin her head around to see who it is but her abductor is just out of sight.
“Hi, Aunty Val,” Joanne Evans says as she wheels her wheelchair in to Valerie Pickering’s hospital room.
“Jo, honey, how is the baby?” Valerie cries out.
“I’ve just been for an ultra-sound,” Joanne gently rubs her belly and smiles at her aunty. “Everything is okay.”
Kyle Cook takes both of Joanne’s hands and holds them in his own. “I promise to take care of you, Joanne,” he says to her. He pulls her in close to him and they embrace.
“I promise, Joanne,” he says again. “I will look after my family: you and I.”
“And our baby,” adds Joanne.
Kyle Cook reaches down and rubs Joanne’s belly. “I promise.”
“I came over to show you something,” Cathy says to Valerie.
Cathy pulls a folded piece of paper out of her pocket. “I received another letter,” she says as she passes it to Valerie. “It was in my mailbox when I got home.”
Valerie squints at first to read the handwritten letter, before pushing a pair of reading glasses onto her face.
She reads the letter:
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
I want to make you scream!
Mark and Melody stand together on the doorstep of their newly purchased unit in Holgate. Melody plants a kiss on Mark’s cheek before sliding the door key into the lock.
“I still can’t believe it,” Melody says to Mark as they take a step into the house. “It’s ours.”
Mark embraces Melody and kisses on her on the forehead. “We deserve it,” he says to her.
Mark heads towards the kitchen and notices an envelope from the real estate sitting on the counter.
“Congratulations Mr & Mrs Gilmore!” the front of the envelope reads.
It was true, Mark Gilmore thought to himself; he was married, but not to Melody.
Pulling off her jacket, Cathy skims through the envelopes sitting on the table. One of them catches her eye. Addressed to Mr and Mrs Gilmore, it is correspondence from a bank in Holgate.
Tearing open the envelope, Cathy reads the contents:
Congratulations, Mr & Mrs Mark & Melody Gilmore on the purchase of your new house in Holgate.
Everyone here at Holgate Bank wish you all the best for your new future together!
“Melody?” Cathy says out loud. Cathy’s head spins as she thinks about why her husband’s receptionist is listed as Mrs Gilmore. Her head continues to spin as she remembers all the extra work that her husband has been doing of late. Her husband seemed to have been working away from home in Holgate more and more recently.
Cathy throws the letter on the table in disbelief and she tries to hold back tears that are starting to well up. “That bitch!” she says in anger. “That bastard!”
She collects her thoughts for a few moments before rushing quickly around the unit and packing a small suitcase of clothes. She pulls out a pen and scribbles down a message on a piece of paper:
Enjoy your life with that whore!
Please do not come looking for me. I am going to head to my mother’s place for some time to think about what I’m going to do.
Do not even try to contact me!
Your forgotten wife.
She pins the note to the front door and slams it behind her. She is thrown in darkness. The streetlight that normally lights the front of the house has been out for a few days.
Opening the boot of the car, she throws her suitcase into it. Suddenly, she can feel something grab her from behind. She tries to turn around and free herself from the grip, but before she knows it, she is lifted from the ground and hoisted into the boot. She tries to let out a scream, but the boot is swiftly closed. Thinking quickly, she reaches for her mobile phone, but realises that she doesn’t have it with her anymore.
Cathy starts banging on the roof of the boot with her fists. She tries to scream out as loud as she can.
The car’s engine starts and she rolls abruptly around the boot as the car jolts forward.
The Poetry Predator pushes his foot down on the accelerator and the car disappears into the distance.
“Let me go!” a petrified Cathy Gilmore screams out from the boot of her car. “Someone help me!”
Without warning, she hears a key entering the lock and the boot door shoots open. She can see the stars twinkle in the night sky above her. She is overcome with fear as a dark figure leans down over her. The small light glowing from the boot illuminates her captor’s face.
“Hello Cathy,” the Poetry Predator smiles at Cathy.
“You’re not Thomas,” Cathy manages to reply.
“Thomas? That idiot! Of course I’m not Thomas!” the Poetry Predator laughs.
“What do you want with me?” Cathy tries to remain calm.
“Cathy, I think you know,” Cathy’s captor says eerily. “You’ve known the truth about me for a while now. You’re the only one that knows.”
“I won’t tell anyone, I swear,” Cathy says, trying to stay strong.
“Have you told anyone yet, Cathy?” the Poetry Predator snaps at her.
“No one, I swear. Please let me go.”
He forcefully grabs Cathy’s left wrist and places a pair of pliers over the bottom of her pinky. “Who have you told, Cathy?” he screams at her.
Cathy screams out, sobbing uncontrollably. Fear has taken over and she is unable to answer.
“Mary, Mary, quite contrary,”
the Poetry Predator recites out loud,
“How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And Cathy’s fingers all in a row.”
With that, the pliers around Cathy’s little finger is clamped together. The crunch of bone is masked only by the sound of Cathy’s scream.
Season Three begins Monday September 14.
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