Episode Thirty-Nine

Avoid Spoilers! Read from Episode One

Awry
[adverb, adjective. away from the expected or proper direction.]

The day of the wedding

A beeping sound can be heard coming from Amber Harp’s pocket. Her heart suddenly races as she realises she has been caught out.

She can see the anger intensifying in Leading Senior Constable Kyle Cook’s face.

“What’s that?” Kyle quickly jumps up and grabs at Amber, reaching into her pocket. She tries to stop him but he finds her mobile phone. “You’re recording me?” he bellows, before pitching the phone violently across the other side of the room.

“I’m sorry,” Amber says, frightened.

He grabs Amber by the shoulders and pulls her close into him. His lips brush her face. “You silly, silly girl,” he says to her. “Now you have to pay!”

Amber tries to free herself. “I wasn’t recording you,” she lies. “It was just my phone receiving a message.”

Kyle Cook spits in Amber’s face and grips her shoulders even tighter. “You just had to come meddling, didn’t you?”

Realising she needs to act quickly, Amber swiftly brings her knee up and it makes a sickening connection with Kyle’s genitals. He howls in pain, releasing her from his grip and dropping to the floor.

Without hesitating, Amber pulls the high-heeled shoes from her feet and makes a quick dash for the front door of the police station.

As she races down the front steps of the building and onto the footpath, she suddenly feels dizzy. She continues running down the footpath away from the police station, trying to keep her balance.

A shooting pain in her head overwhelms her and she collapses to the ground, her body twitching in involuntary spasms.


Three Months Later – Present Day

Inspector Wesley Manning pushes a few pieces of paper inside a folder and places it inside a filing cabinet. “My work here is done,” he says, looking up at Kyle Cook.

“You’ve been a great mentor,” Kyle says. “Thanks for everything.”

“You’re a great police officer,” Inspector Manning walks over to Kyle and reaches his hand out. “You’ll make a great Sergeant here one day.”

Instead of shaking the Inspector’s hand, Kyle Cook outstretches his arms and embraces his superior. Inspector Manning pats Kyle gently on the back, unsure of what to make of the hug.

“I know you’ve been through a lot,” Inspector Manning says. “Losing Joanne like that must have been hard.”

“It has been hard,” Kyle is suddenly saddened and the two release from their embrace.  “You’ve been a big support. You’ve been like a father to me.”

Inspector Manning places his hand on Kyle’s shoulder. He feels touched by Kyle’s honesty.

“I wish you could stay,” Kyle says.

“I’ve got to get back to Holgate. You’re in charge here until a replacement is sent.”

“What about Michael Anders?” Kyle asks.

“The investigation is ongoing. Michael Anders is currently still suspended from any police duties.”

After saying their goodbyes, Kyle Cook heads back to his desk, reaches into the bottom drawer and pulls out a black book. He opens the small book and flips through a few of the pages before settling on a particular page.

He peruses his handwritten list:

Mother
Father
Richard Evans
Thomas Helling
Michael Anders
Amber Harp

He grabs a pen and adds a name to the bottom of the list:

Wesley Manning


Cathy Gilmore walks over to the hospital’s waiting room and sits down next to Constance Helling. “They’ve both just come out of surgery,” the nurse informs Constance. “Why don’t you go home and get some rest. They’ll be out of it for a while yet.”

“Yes, I guess I probably should. Thank you for everything, Cathy,” Constance says.

Cathy smiles and puts her hand on Constance’s shoulder. “It’s been a tough time for everyone.”

Constance reaches over and rests her hand on Cathy’s. “You’ve been so strong.” Constance looks to Cathy’s hands which are both missing their little fingers. They were cut off by the Poetry Predator, Doctor Peter Smith.

Cathy sighs, looking at her hands. “I’ve tried to stay strong for Valerie. She’s lost everything.”

“That poor woman. She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved.”

The two women reflect for a moment before Constance breaks the silence. “I met Melody this morning. Piece of work she is.”

“Don’t get me started,” Cathy sighs heavily.

“I still can’t believe she turned up to your wedding.”

“Neither can I. Stupid whore!” Cathy reflects for a moment. “Mark promised me that he wanted to change. That’s why he wanted to renew our vows. She just couldn’t accept that.”

“Still doesn’t seem like she’s accepting it. Do you think she ever will?”

“Who knows! I know one thing for sure, though,” Cathy says. “If I see her, I’ll strangle her!”

Constance gives the nurse a quizzical look.

“Yes, Constance,” Cathy laughs. “I’m sure I can still strangle someone with two missing fingers!”


Kyle Cook opens the front door of the house slowly. He pauses to listen for any movement inside its walls.

He removes his holster and places it on the table next to the front door. He drops his car keys on the table next to the holster.

He makes his way slowly to the lounge room where Kelly Driver, the local park ranger, is sitting on the lounge watching television.

“Thanks for helping out today,” Kyle says to Kelly.

“My pleasure,” Kelly replies, handing over the package she is holding to Kyle. “It’s been no problem at all.”

Kyle takes the package and holds it in his arms.

He looks down at the small baby.

“Daddy’s home,” Kyle Cook says to his son.


Next Episode – Monday March 14

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