Episode Seventeen


The newspaper clippings sit on the floor surrounding Constance Helling. They all date back to 1965. Constance picks up one of the newspaper articles and skims through it hastily before throwing it to the side and picking up another. She had found the clippings in an old folder sitting next to the jewellery box she had found in the shed.

“I don’t understand…” Constance says to herself as she picks up another clipping to read. She skims the first few lines of The Holgate Times article:

At least 40 human skeletal remains have been located at the site of the old dam in the small town of Peppercorn Patch. Local law enforcement have advised that the bodies have yet to be identified, however all have been found to be missing their teeth.

“I wonder…” Constance says to herself again as she looks to her grandmother’s jewellery box filled with human teeth sitting on the floor next to her.

Mark throws the stack of papers to the table and grabs Melody’s hand. “We’ve been approved!”

Melody looks at Mark uncertainly for a few seconds before wrapping her arms around him excitedly. “Are you kidding me?” She laughs.

“I’ve got the paperwork here to prove it!” Mark says, as he shows Melody the approval for the home loan from the bank.

“You are unbelievable, you are,” Melody says as she starts kissing Mark’s face all over. “Unbelievably talented!”

Mark reluctantly pries himself away from Melody. “You know what this means?”

“We can crack open some champagne to celebrate,” Melody calls out as she turns towards the kitchen to grab the bottle out of the fridge.

Mark laughs and adds, “More importantly we can buy that apartment.”

Melody stops and turns to face Mark. Her eyes grow wide as a large smile works it way across her face. “I love you. You’re a keeper.”

Melody pours two glasses of champagne and hands one to Mark. “To us and a new beginning,” she says as their glasses tap.

“To us,” Mark says and takes a sip of the champagne. “Now,” he says as he places his glass down on the table, “I really must get going.”

“You have to leave already?” Melody pouts.

Mark takes Melody in his arms and pulls her in, kissing her on her forehead. “I’ll be back soon. But I really must be getting home.”

“We’ll have a home together soon. Just the two of us,” Melody says dreamily.

“Yes, Mel. Soon we will. But for now I must get home to my wife.”

“So, tell me,” Amber Harp pulls a note pad out of her brief case and starts making some hand written notes, “what happened on the night that Richard Evans was killed?”

Senior Constable Kyle Cook clears his throat. He feels slightly uneasy sitting opposite The Holgate Times reporter. He looks around The Grand Hotel from the table they are sitting at. There are only a handful of patrons in the establishment, all seemingly minding their own business.

“I remember thinking I needed to find Thomas Helling as quickly as possible before anything happened to Richard,” Kyle starts. “I knew that if we didn’t find Thomas quickly, then Richard was in trouble.”

“How did you know that?” Amber asks.

“He’d already attacked Joanne Evans and left her to die in the burning house. I knew Richard was in trouble.”

“How did you find them?” Amber scribbles some notes on her pad.

“I remembered that the house on the hill was owned by the Helling family. I thought I’d go check it out.”

“And then what?” Amber presses.

“I heard voices and I knew I had found them. I knew I had to act fast, otherwise there would be trouble.” Kyle takes a deep breath. “Thomas must have heard me. By the time I entered the room, he was holding the scalpel to Richard’s throat.”

“Did he say anything to you?” Amber asks.

“I don’t remember,” Kyle looks to the floor. “It all happened so fast. Before I knew it, Thomas had killed Richard.” Tears start streaming down Kyle’s face. “I tried to save him, but it was too late.”

“Richard was your best friend, wasn’t he?” Amber grabs Kyle’s arm to comfort him. Kyle nods his head and wipes the tears from his face.

“I can’t believe he’s gone,” Kyle looks up at Amber. “Poor Joanne. That bastard better not survive!”

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.”

“Thomas may have written this before he was shot,” Sergeant Michael Anders holds the hand written letter that Joanne had received in his hands. “Who else could have written this?”

“I don’t know,” Joanne says fearfully.

“I think Thomas was trying to scare you. He’d obviously prepared these letters in advance,” Sergeant Anders tries to reason with Joanne.

“What if it’s not Thomas?” Joanne asks.

“Like who?” Sergeant Anders almost laughs. “Everybody loves you Joanne. We all want to see you get better.”

Joanne looks up to the police officer from her wheelchair and gives him a smile. “You’re right,” she says.

Sergeant Anders kneels down to face Joanne, “I know it’s been hard for you. We’ll charge Thomas with Richard’s murder as soon as he wakes up from his coma. Doctor Smith says that should be pretty soon.”

“I want him to suffer,” Joanne says quietly.

Sergeant Anders puts his arms around Joanne and gives her a hug. “I’ll make sure of it, Joanne. He won’t get away with this.”

As he pulls away from Joanne, 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?”

“He woke up and I went to his room to check on him straight away,” Doctor Smith says frantically.

“Doc, I don’t understand,” Sergeant Anders says.

“Sergeant,” Doctor Smith sighs, “Thomas Helling is gone. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow he escaped.”

Next Episode – Monday June 22

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