Episode Eighty-Two

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Act 6

“Maggie Harris is suing you for defamation,” Sergeant Michael Anders says. “She claims that you know who the real killer is and you’re covering it up.”

“I told you before to get out!” Constance Helling suddenly snaps.

“Constance,” Sergeant Anders tries to reason, “if you lose the defamation case you’re going to lose everything. Not only that, if you have information about a mass murder that you haven’t disclosed, you could be in serious trouble. Obstruction of justice could land you behind bars.”

“I’m not speaking to you anymore without my lawyer,” Constance says, suddenly calm.

“Constance, let me help you.”

“There’s nothing to help with,” Constance dismisses the police officer.

“Where is the box of teeth?” Sergeant Anders asks.

Constance looks at him quizzically.

Sergeant Anders steps in close to her. “Let me help you hide them!”

“Sergeant? Hide them?” Constance asks, bewildered.

“I’m joking with you, Constance,” Sergeant Anders replies. “I’m sure you would have turned in the box if you ever had found them. I’m sure you would have wanted to make things right.”

Constance stumbles over her reply. “Oh, of course. Of course I would have handed it in.”

“I must ask, though, before I look like a fool,” Sergeant Anders says, “you have no knowledge of anything that could land you in trouble?”

“Nothing,” Constance says, almost too quickly.

“That’s the only way I can help you, Constance,” Sergeant Anders explains. “I will be forced to get a search warrant from the Department of Justice soon to search your property. I need to know that you’re being truthful with me.”

“You can trust me,” Constance tells the officer.

Joanne Evans feels like she is twelve years old again as she splashes in the dark water with her aunty by her side. How she had longed to reminisce like this, thinking back to happier times.

“Thank you,” Joanne says to her aunty. “I needed this.”

As she wipes the water away from her face, she looks to the water’s edge.

In the darkness, almost hidden behind a tree, she can make out someone watching them.

“Who’s there?” Joanne calls out bravely.

From behind the darkness of the tree, Doctor Joel Prasad steps into the hotel’s security floodlight. “It’s just me,” he calls back.

Joanne begins to exit the water, picking up the clothes she had hurriedly thrown off before entering the river. Standing in only her underwear, she tries to pull the clothes on over her wet body. Joel smiles at her warmly, suppressing laughter.

“I went to your house,” Joel explains, “but you weren’t there, so I thought I’d come looking for you.”

“Oh, my goodness,” Joanne says, pulling her shirt over her head. She realises she has forgotten that Joel had asked her out on a dinner date. “I’m so sorry. I forgot.”

Joel laughs warmly, gently pulling on the shirt to help her to get it on. “No worries, we can always reschedule.”

“Never!” Joanne and Joel both turn to see Valerie Pickering exiting the river, her clothes drenched. “You two have been meaning to meet up for ages!”

“Aunty Val is right,” Joanne says to Joel, “we shouldn’t cancel.”

“Great,” Joel says eagerly, unable to hide how keen he is to finally get a chance to take Joanne out on a date. “Dinner was booked for 7, but I’m afraid we’ve missed it. Should we just grab a pizza?”

“My favourite,” Joanne says as she tries to wring the water from her hair. “Let’s grab a pizza on the way back to my place so I can change into something dry.”

“I’ll leave you two lovebirds to it,” Valerie says as she pats Joel on the shoulder. “I need to go and run a hot bath!”

Akemi Helling holds her breath as she looks to the attacker’s hand. A large knife covered in blood is gripped tightly in it.

“You?” Akemi struggles to say. She is confused. “But how could you have done this?”

She looks to the bloodied knife again as the attacker’s hand moves upward.

Doctor Peter Smith’s eyes penetrate her soul.

“Please, just put the knife down,” Akemi pleads.

She can see the knife drip with blood as its blade is pointed directly at her.

“You don’t have to do this,” Akemi pleads again. “Just put it down.”

Her eyes dart between Doctor Smith’s eyes and the knife’s blade. She doesn’t know where to look.

“We can put this all behind you,” Akemi says, taking a step backward.

“You can’t leave!” the attacker suddenly screams, the blade pressing up against her.

The combination of wet clothing and the cool night air make Valerie Pickering start to shiver. As she walks along the footpath towards Joanne’s townhouse, she longs for a hot bath to soak in.

Valerie laughs to herself. After so much pain had taken hold of Joanne and herself, there was nothing else left to do but laugh about it. Who would have believed her if she had told them of all that had happened. If she didn’t laugh, she would have cried.

As Valerie continues her walk, she reflects on her relationship with her niece.

She wishes she could have done more for Joanne as she didn’t have anyone else. Valerie was the only family that Joanne had. And for most of Joanne’s upbringing, Valerie had been under the influence of alcohol.

She had to try and make it up to Joanne. She would do anything for her niece.

A flash of bright light suddenly interrupts her thoughts. She sees it coming from the cemetery.

Valerie Pickering lets the bright light lead her through the cemetery gates and over to her brother, Benjamin Pickering’s, grave.

She looks down at the grave and lets out a loud sigh.

“Jo, honey,” Valerie says down to her twelve year old niece, “your father would have wanted you to continue being the amazing human being you are.”

Joanne continues to cry as she looks down at her father’s grave. She holds tightly on to her aunty’s hand.

“I promise I will look after you, honey,” Valerie tries to comfort her niece on the day of Benjamin Pickering’s funeral. “I will do everything in my power to make sure you are safe.”

Valerie Pickering realises the bright light is still illuminating the cemetery. She looks around her but can’t seem to locate the source.

Another beam of light shoots out of nowhere to her right, then suddenly another to her left. Before she knows it, the lights start spinning, sending the beams of light dancing across the ground.

Valerie Pickering looks above her.

She cranes her neck upwards and squints into the night sky.

The bright lights almost blind her.

She sees the large grey object suspended in mid-air, a low whirring sound echoing throughout the cemetery.

Valerie Pickering feels her body leave the ground. She floats upwards towards the grey object.

The lights spin around her frantically as she climbs higher into the air.

Valerie Pickering feels peaceful as the unidentified flying object takes her on board.

Next Episode – Monday June 11

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