32 Weeks – Part One
The day of the wedding
Councillor Dustin Harris takes a few breaths of oxygen using the breathing mask. “Why are you doing this Constance?”
“Don’t you understand?” Constance huffs. “I’m protecting the Helling family name.”
Dustin suddenly lets out a beleaguered laugh. “The Helling family name?” Dustin continues to laugh. “You’re protecting the Helling family name?”
Constance gives Dustin an evil glare. Dustin grimaces with pain as he holds his chest.
“Constance,” Dustin says as Constance turns to walk out of the room. “You’re not even a blood Helling!”
“How do you know that?” Constance snaps.
“Your grandmother told me just before she fell to her death,” Dustin persists. “She told me about her and my father. Jack and Elias were my father’s sons as well.”
“As far as anyone will ever know, my grandparents are Robert and Gretel Helling. I am a descendant of the great Helling family!”
“It’s all a lie!” Dustin yells. “Your whole life has been a lie.”
“Shut up, you fool!” Constance is beginning to become angry.
“I am your uncle, Constance,” Dustin tries to reason with the woman.
“Shut up!” Constance yells. “No one will ever know the truth! No one is ever going to believe you! You are a murderer!”
The heart rate monitor suddenly starts beeping rapidly and Dustin Harris grabs for his chest. Constance can see him struggle to reach for the breathing mask.
“I really must get going, Dustin. I have a wedding I must get back to,” Constance says, regaining her composure.
The sound of the monitor suddenly breaks out into a long continuous sound.
Constance looks over at the screen as it shows a solid flat line. “No one is going to miss a murderer.”
One month earlier
Constance parks her car on the side of the road, looking out of her window at the destruction in front of her. In only one short month, the caravan park had been closed down and the bulldozers had been in to completely flatten the land. Akemi Helling had returned to town to take control of what Constance believed rightly belonged to her. This land had belonged to her father, not her step-mother.
Akemi Maki had won Constance’s father’s heart about 20 years ago when she arrived in town on holiday. The Japanese woman’s tenacity had instantly won her a fan in Elias Helling’s eyes. They were married soon after and lived in the small town for 10 years. Akemi had worked hard and became a successful real estate agent. So successful in fact that she opened up a whole chain of her own real estate agencies. Thirty years younger than her father, Constance knew that Akemi would not be around forever. The beautiful woman was highly sought after by many suitors, and eventually she left Constance’s father for a millionaire developer. She never remarried.
Constance steps out of her car and walks across the construction site. Akemi was intent on building one of her hotels on the site.
“What you’re doing here is illegal!” Constance shouts at a construction worker. “I will make sure each one of you pays for what you’re doing to my land!”
“It’s not your land, Connie,” Constance can hear Akemi suddenly behind her. Her father was the only person who called her Connie.
“This land belonged to my father!” Constance shouts.
“Yes, and now it belongs to me,” Akemi says. “I have the legal paperwork to prove it.”
“That stupid mayor, Dustin Harris, has no right to offer you this land!” Constance argues. “I inherited it!”
“You’re wrong, Connie. I was still married to your father when he died.” Akemi flashes a diamond wedding ring on her finger.
“Stop calling me Connie!”
“You must have it in for Dustin Harris.” Akemi smiles at Constance.
“If you must know, he confessed to me recently,” Constance snaps.
“Yes, he told me he killed my grandmother,” Constance says. “He killed all those innocent people too. He showed me the jewellery box that he kept all their teeth in.”
73 years ago
Gretel Helling had only recently been buried. Edward Helling visited her gravesite daily to adorn it with fresh flowers.
He would also regularly visit the gravesite of his step-son, Jack Helling, who was killed in the war, as well as the gravesite of Gretel’s first child, Maria.
Walking up to Maria’s gravesite one day, flowers in hand, Edward noticed a man kneeling on top of the grave. “Can I help you?” he asked the man.
Edward Helling received one of the biggest shocks in his life when the man turned to face him. Looking back at him was his brother, Robert Helling.
“Robert?” Edward had asked, surprised. “I thought you were in the asylum.”
“I had to come and see her and say my goodbyes,” Robert had replied, pointing to his daughter, Maria’s, gravesite. “I’ve left her a gift.”
Looking down at the gravesite, Edward could see a wooden jewellery box. He recognised it as one of Gretel’s.
“I’ve been searching for a while now for the perfect set. Now she has plenty to choose from,” Robert informed his brother.
“Perfect set of what?” Edward asked.
Robert didn’t reply, instead turning and walking off into the distance. Edward didn’t know what to do. He was shocked to see his brother.
Edward didn’t realise it at the time, but it was the last time he would see or hear of his brother again. Robert Helling disappeared without a trace.
Reaching down and picking up the jewellery box, Edward curiously opened up its lid. Peering down inside, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
He knew straight away of all the terrible things that Robert had done. His brother was a murderer.
It now made sense to him. Robert had returned to town not to seek retribution, but to collect the perfect set of teeth for his beloved daughter. His brother was indeed insane.
Edward knew he couldn’t leave the box where it was. He would take the box and hold onto it. He would give it to his step-son, Elias, at just the right time.
The truth, in time, would finally be revealed.
One month before the day of the wedding
Michael Anders still had friends within the police force. Even though he had been stood down, he was still able to get all the information he wanted.
Recently he had gotten his hands on the police report regarding Cathy Gilmore’s car. It been dumped in bushland. The police had found no clues inside. Only personal items belonging to Cathy.
“Only one set of fingerprints was located inside the vehicle,” the report had read. “Whoever disposed of the vehicle must have been wearing gloves.”
Michael Anders reads the same line over and over again. “Gloves?” he asks himself again. “Cathy’s abductor was wearing gloves.”
He closes his eyes and an image quickly flashes through his mind:
“Your everything hasn’t been good enough!” Inspector Manning bellows. “You’re off this case.”
“You can’t do this!” Sergeant Anders is furious.
“Watch me,” Inspector Manning says as he pulls on a pair of latex gloves. “I’m afraid it’s the end for you, Sergeant.”
Inspector Manning pulls on a pair of latex gloves.
A pair of latex gloves.
Joanne Evans sits at the desk opposite Doctor Peter Smith. She had come to meet the doctor in his home office because she still needed to find out some answers about her real mother. She felt that Doctor Smith was her best bet to get the answers she needed.
“How are you going Joanne?” Doctor Smith asks.
“Just counting down the weeks now,” Joanne says, rubbing her pregnant belly.
“Only four weeks to go now, isn’t it?” Doctor Smith asks.
“Yes, not long. Kyle and I are very excited.”
“As you should be, Joanne. You’ve been through so much pain lately. It will be good for you to finally have some joy in your life.”
“I still have nightmares. The medication you’ve been giving me doesn’t seem to work,” Joanne informs her doctor.
“You’ve got to be careful with your baby, Joanne.” Doctor Smith stands from his desk and goes to head out of the room. “I’ll go get you a drink of water.”
“Tell me about her,” Joanne stops him. Doctor Smith looks at her curiously. “Aunty Val told me about my biological mother. Please tell me more about her.”
Doctor Peter Smith lowers his head and rubs his temples. “I’m afraid I don’t know much about her, Joanne. It was years ago.”
“You have to remember something,” Joanne urges the doctor.
“Let me go get you that drink,” Doctor Smith says, leaving the room.
Joanne feels exasperated. She had sought the doctor’s help and he was not forthcoming with any information.
She picks up a few medical journals on the desk next to her, rifling through a few of them before setting them down again. She picks up another journal and that’s when she sees it. The image of a man playing a guitar. She recognises the man as Roy Orbison. A record album cover. In Dreams.
Joanne can’t stop the song from repeating continuously in her head.
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.
Joanne can suddenly hear footsteps. He’s returning.
Without hesitating, she runs from the small room quickly and heads for the front door. She tries to open it, but it’s locked. She can’t get out.
The footsteps are getting closer.
She turns around and opens the closest door she can find. It’s dark inside. She steps inside and closes the door behind her.
Joanne Evans locks the basement door.
She hides in the darkness.
She hides from Doctor Peter Smith.
She hides from The Poetry Predator.
Next Episode – Monday November 23