Episode Fifty-Four

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One


June, 1983

Number Six sniffs a couple of times, wipes her face and looks the priest in his eyes.

“What are you talking about, dear?” Father Bolton puts an arm out to try and comfort her.

“I didn’t mean to kill Henry Smart,” Constance Helling weeps.

Father Bolton takes a step back and brings his hand to his mouth in shock. “Constance?” he says, bewildered.

“I killed her, Father,” Constance continues to cry. “I didn’t mean to do it. We were fighting one moment, and the next thing I knew she was on the ground. She hit her head on a rock.”

“Constance,” Father Bolton says, ushering Number Six into his house, “you need to start from the beginning.”

Present Day

Anna-Maree Axe walks down the main street of Peppercorn Patch. Even though it was the middle of winter and cold, the sun was out and it had turned out to be a pleasant day. Anna-Maree’s newly coloured hair was hidden under a beanie. A scarf swamped her neck and sunglasses kept one third of her face hidden.

She passed people in the street. Peppercorn Patch townsfolk who had no idea who she really was. She was now Anna-Maree Axe. And that was how she wanted it to stay.

Anna-Maree had a problem. In fact, Anna-Maree had more than one problem. But she seemed to have dealt with all of the problems that she was faced with. Most of the time she just ran away from her problems.

She now had a loving husband. She wasn’t about to run away from him. But she did need to fix one of her problems first. And that was the reason why she was in Peppercorn Patch.

“Can I help you?” the bank manager asks Anna-Maree as she enters the small bank.

Anna-Maree goes to take her sunglasses off, but stops herself, realising that she needs to keep her identity as hidden as possible. She doesn’t recognise the bank manager standing in front of her, but knows the bank’s cameras would probably be filming her.

“I have a security deposit box,” Anna-Maree says. “I’d like to view it.”

“Of course,” the bank manager says, leading Anna-Maree over to a desk in the back corner of the bank. “I’ll need to see some identification.”

Anna-Maree is suddenly nervous. A wave of fear floods her thoughts. She hands over the false identification to the bank manager.

“Thank you,” the bank manager says, taking the card. “You’ll need to remove your sunglasses.”

Anna-Maree hesitantly slides the sunglasses down her nose and then completely off her face. She pushes them onto the top of her head.

“Thank you, Ms Strong,” the bank manager says, handing back Anna-Maree’s ID and taking a key out of the desk drawer. “Have you got your key with you?”

“Yes,” Anna-Maree rummages through her handbag and pulls out a golden key.

Anna-Maree follows the bank manager through a back door and into the safety deposit room. “Number?” the bank manager asks.

Anna-Maree looks at her key and sees the number engraved at the top of it. “Thirteen,” she tells the bank manager.

The bank manager leads her over to the table in the centre of the room. She takes a seat as her box is retrieved. After the box is placed on the table in front of her, the bank manager slides a key into one end of it. Anna-Maree takes her key and inserts it into the other side. There is a clicking sound as the front of the box separates from the rest of the box.

“I’ll leave you to it, then,” the bank manager says. “Use the phone to call me when you’re done.”

Once the bank manager exits the room, Anna-Maree pulls the box towards her and slides the lid off.

She pulls out some paperwork and quickly flicks through it. She drops the stack of paper on the table and pulls out more, flicking through it as well.

“Where is it?” Anna-Maree says out loud. She pushes the paperwork over the table, frantically searching.

She can feel her face redden as the paperwork on the table is pushed in every direction.

“Please, please!” She says, frantically. “Where in the hell is it?”

Frustrated, Anna-Maree lets out a howl that is only muffled by the thick, soundproof walls of the safety deposit room. As she gets to her feet, she pushes the table away from her, the paperwork and safety deposit box on it flying across the room.

Geraldine Jenkins unlocks the front door of her daughter’s unit and assists her daughter up the front steps.

“You know, you really don’t have to stay,” Mark Gilmore says, carrying his wife’s bags into the house.

“I’m staying for my daughter,” Geraldine snaps. “Someone needs to look after her.”

“I appreciate your offer to help,” Mark says to his mother-in-law, “but Cathy is my wife, and I’m sure I can look after her.”

“Like you’ve looked after Cathy all this time?” Geraldine snaps again. “Good protective husband you are!”

“I didn’t send her the cookies,” Mark protests. “I didn’t poison my wife.”

Geraldine turns to face Mark and wags a finger at him, berating him like a small child. “The police might believe you, but I have my doubts!”

“I don’t want to harm my wife!”

“But cheating on her with that mistress Melanie…”

“Melody,” Mark interrupts.

“…Melody! That was okay, was it?” Geraldine reprimands him. “That wasn’t hurting my daughter?”

“Be quiet! The both of you!” Cathy Gilmore suddenly shouts. She bends down to pat her Ragdoll cat. It purrs and pushes its body through her legs.

After a moment of silence, Geraldine turns to face Mark again. “I’m staying to look after my daughter. She needs me at the moment. I think you’re best off finding other accommodation for the time being.”

“But where would I go?” Mark asks.

“Why don’t you see if Melody has a spare room,” Geraldine quips. “Actually, it probably wouldn’t matter if she didn’t, would it?”

“Number Six came to me,” Father Bolton says to Kelly Driver. “She attacked Henry.”

“But we looked up to her!” Kelly holds back tears. Kelly tries to hold back her anger. “We looked up to Constance.”

“She tried to prevent Henry from leaving.”

“I was supposed to leave with her,” Kelly adds, reminiscing. “Henry wanted me to leave with her.”

“Constance said that she was trying to look after Henry,” Father Bolton explains.

“So she attacked her?” Kelly is incredulous.

“It was an accident,” Father Bolton says. “Constance didn’t mean to hurt her.”

“What happened after that?” Kelly asks, becoming increasingly impatient with the Father who she looked up to as her own ‘father’.

June, 1983

“It was over here,” a 22-year-old Constance Helling says to Father Bolton, leading him to the location where she had attacked Henrietta Smart.

They both step timidly through the dark forest, the glow of the flashlights leading the way.

Constance shines her light over near the rocks and sees Henry’s bicycle glimmer. “She’s over here,” Constance says.

Father Bolton steps over closer to the bicycle and uses his flashlight to search the forest floor. “Where is she?”

“I don’t understand,” Constance says, her flashlight darting quickly around. “She hit her head here.”

“She’s not here, Constance,” Father Bolton states. “Maybe you were mistaken, child.”

“I know what I saw!”

“Come on,” Father Bolton says. “Let’s head back. We can search for her in the morning. She might have returned home.”

Without saying another word, Constance Helling and Father Bolton begin their trek back out of the forest.

Present Day

 “I don’t understand,” Kelly says. “Where was Henry?”

“She wasn’t there,” Father Bolton tells her. “So she must have survived the fall.”

“But how do you know?” Kelly asks. “Constance could have hidden her body somewhere else.”

Father Bolton takes a deep breath and takes Kelly’s hands in his own. Their warmness is a comfort to Kelly. She wished he was her real father.

“My dear child,” Father Bolton says, closing his eyes. “Henrietta Smart survived.”

“You saw her?” Kelly asks.

“Yes, Kelly,” Father Bolton whispers. “In fact, I’ve seen her recently. She’s back in town.”

Kelly Driver lets out a gasp.

Father Bolton smiles. “And I think she’s changed her name.”

Next Episode – Thursday August 18

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