Monday, April 26, 2010

Column # 22: Death the great Equalizer

Perhaps its because it's raining, or because I'm morbid, or maybe its just because I've just been thinking a lot lately but I thought I would write a blog about one of the most depressing topics ever:


To some it's a terrifying thought, to others it somehow doesn't exist; like most things in life, it's a different thing to different people. I for one can honestly say that, while it does frighten me a little, I don't have a problem with it. Then again, when one looks at the past nine years of my life:

2001 - Mother died of ovarian cancer
2003 - Father diagnosed with prostate cancer
2007 - Grandfather died of a staff infection after being healthy as a horse for 70 years
2008 - Classmate killed in a car accident
2010 - Grandmother dies suddenly in her home

I kind of have a good reason to feel that way, I mean from 13 on it seems as though death (and near-death) and I are BFF's. However, it's one BFF I definitely don't want to take to the movies. I've come to discover that death, for all of the heartache it brings, gives a whole new meaning to life. I've found that trivial things annoy me, gossip is a bore, and I laugh at people who think they know everything.

It never ceases to amaze me how people think that they are entitled to something or that they deserve the biggest reward possible. Now don't get me wrong, dreams and goals are fantastic but don't think that you're entitled to a frickin' medal when you achieve them. I hate to break it to you, but we aren't entitled to a damn thing. There are three things that are the same with every single person on this planet: 1.) Our genealogy can be traced back to ONE woman 2.) We are all born the same way and 3.) We all die. We came into this world a screaming wad of flesh, and we're going to leave this world an (hopefully) old sack of skin. We came here with nothing, we were just a naked and wet baby. What happens in between is what matters, but the one thing that pisses me off is this sense of entitlement people get. Who do you think you are? Last I checked the air you took into your lungs wasn't any different from the air I breathe, and while you may do something better than I can you should remember that I can do something better than you can. You are no different from me in that aspect.

Throughout history people have tried to erase the aspect of death, deeming it too scary or inappropriate. Ironically, when we do this we loose so much of what is important in life. We don't appreciate things the way we should, we don't love as much as we could and we certainly don't have as much faith. In ancient civilizations people looked at death as a passage to a new life or as a blessing to the tribe, they viewed it as one more ancestor to watch over them. Today we see nothing but the negative, as I said it does bring pain like you can't imagine but some people never quite move on from that.

Dylan Thomas, one of my favorite poets, wrote a brilliant, and widely celebrated villanelle for his dying father: 'Do not go gentle into that good night'. The speaker is begging for his loved one to "Rage, rage against the dying of the light.", to not leave them behind. As someone who has lost a parent, I can understand this sentiment. I can't tell you how many times I begged God to give my mother the strength to "rage against the dying of the light", but, like Thomas, my prayers were all for naught.

Death sucks, there's no question or denial there. However it's how you deal with it that determines the rest of your life. I know some people that struggled for months and then finally overcame their sorrow, then there are people I know who just can't seem to let go. It changes people, in good ways and in bad.

As the title suggests, death is in fact the one thing that makes us all equal. It doesn't care who you are, what you do, or how much you have; sooner or later (hopefully later) it's going to come to your door. It's nothing to be scared of, it just gives us a better reason to enjoy life; to live each day as if you're not going to wake up tomorrow. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow, nor are we entitled to anything. So live it up now.

At least, that's how I see it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

St. Columb - Epilogue


The sun is just now breaking over the horizon, soon the nightingale will be replaced with the lark and soon my husband will be stirring. Dougan and I were married a few months after the incident at St. Columb, we found a small house in Greenwich; which is closer to London, allowing me to go in and out of the city with ease.

Emma and Grace decided it was too difficult to stay at St. Columb after the tragedies that had occurred there, Parliament agreed and made sure that they got exactly what the house and property was worth; they left the business to the Ashley's, who are now the happy parents of two children they adopted. Last I heard the orphanage was doing splendidly.

Lynsay is going to Oxford, pursuing a degree in education and art. She graduates this spring, and will go on to teach art and psychology. If you recall, I mentioned a charcoal sketch earlier in my story; she finished it after we moved to Greenwich. It sits on my dressing table in a frame, it depicts her and I along with Dougan happily enjoying everyone's company.

Celia, Phillip and little Dona, who isn't so little anymore, are all residing in a suburb in Brentford. Dona will be starting her senior year in high school this year, and her little brother middle school. Celia, Emma and I meet for tea at least three or four times a month to catch up.

As for myself, I suppose telling you this story has been somewhat therapeutic. I feel much lighter now, and though I was awakened by a night terror, I think that will be the last of them for a long time. I realize now that Robby can't harm me anymore, he's gone forever; and though I will always be haunted by some of the events of the past I can't dwell on them. Besides I have many more wonderful things to look forward to in the coming years. Dougan and I are expecting our first child next month.

She just kicked.

St. Columb - Chapter Fifteen


The rain was falling harder now, it stung my eyes as I ran down the path from the shack and into the woods once more. I heard him call my name and laugh, my heart pounded as I tore through the underbrush trying to get to the creek so I could follow it back to the orphanage. Dear God please, please let me make it to the creek. Run Rachel, run as if the devil himself were chasing you! My body began to ache from the kick that I had previously received, I later learned that he had cracked four or five of my ribs but adrenaline kept me from focusing on it. I heard the branches snap behind me as Robby closed in on me, I managed to gather up some sort of strength to run faster. I made it to the clearing and ran down the side of the bank, trying to keep my head about me so as to not slip and fall in; the creek had risen, flood waters splashed on the bank causing parts of it to be soft and unstable. I didn't see the softer spot in the soil, my foot sank in, causing me to fall. I tried to get up in time but it was too late, he was already upon me.

“You know I was hoping that you would put up some sort of fight! It gets rather boring just killing someone and all they do is beg for their life.” he laughed, grabbing me by the arms again.

I was not going to just let him kill me; not after all he had done to Dona and the other children, how he had killed poor Beatrice and Max, how he had defiled Julian's name and murdered him, but most of all how he shot Dougan and left him out in the wilderness like yesterday's trash.

“Good, I'm glad that I can provide you with entertainment!” I yelled; I turned and curled my fist and struck him.

I remember regretting that decision because I added three broken fingers to my list of injuries. He staggered back and smiled at me, I saw the gun tucked in his belt; suddenly I remembered something, and felt the cold steel against my wrist.

“Well my dear you have more fire in you than I thought.” he said, his voice low again. “However I tire of this, and now you've ruined any chance of my going back to St. Columb. That I cannot let you get away with.” he said, drawing the gun and pointing it at me.
“Go on you coward, shoot me like you shot Dougan. You'll never escape, Celia knows who you are and you can be damned sure that she will search all of England and won't rest until you're rotting in a bloody cell!” I said, I hoped that he didn't notice my hand fooling with the fabric around my wrist.
“Oh you're so noble, I'll give you that. However I've won Rachel, soon I'll go and find your sister and kill her too. Then I'll be on my way on the next barge out of England, so sorry.” he laughed, clicking the hammer; I had to act now.

Celia was coming down the creek when she heard the shot, she drew her gun and ran towards the noise. She came upon the scene: I was on the ground trembling, as was Robby; I heard him laugh and Celia's gun go off. I knew then that it was over, I sat up and tried to come to my senses.
“Rachel! Rachel, oh God are you alright?!” Celia cried, coming to my side.
My shoulder felt like it was on fire, and the fabric around it felt warm; I looked over and saw the switchblade sticking out of Robby's abdomen.
“H—He was going to kill Lynsay...I—I had to do something...he killed Beatrice and Max and Julian...and...and....oh God Dougan!” I ignored the searing pain in my shoulder and fell into Celia's arms weeping.
“Shh it's alright Rachel you're safe now, we have to get you back to the orphanage so we can bandage you up.” Celia said, stroking my hair; she tore the sleeve from her jacket and wrapped it around my wound. I nodded, wiping the tears from my eyes; I noticed that the rain had subsided to a light drizzle and the wind had stopped howling.
“Can you walk?”
“I—I think so...”
“Alright then, come on.” Celia helped me up, I tried to stand, but the fatigue caught up with me instantly and I almost fell over.
“Whoa, careful darling. Perhaps you should just lean on me.” Celia said, managing a smile; she shouldered me and we slowly made our way back to St. Columb. The last I saw of Robby was him lying on the bank of the creek, a knife sticking from his abdomen, blood staining his mouth and a gunshot wound to his head. Try as I might, I still cannot purge those insane brown eyes that still stared at me even in death, from my mind.

I must have blacked out when we reached the orphanage, for I have no memory of arriving or of being placed on a cot in the parlor of Emma's house. I awoke to my shoulder in a sling and an immense pain in my side where Robby kicked me; I realized that I was propped up and saw Lynsay asleep in the chair closest to me, Emma and Grace asleep on the couch, and Gavin on the couch opposite of them. I saw how badly beaten both Emma and Grace were and felt fresh tears form in my eyes, I couldn't imagine how it all came to this.
“Somehow I knew that you would be the first one awake.” Celia said softly, leaning on the door-frame; the glow of the fire cast shadows on her face. She had changed from her soaking wet uniform to a light blue dress, her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail, some stray locks falling in her face; her badge still remained on her left hand side, I almost wanted to ask her where her gun was but refrained from doing so.
“How are you holding up?” she asked, coming over to my bedside and sitting on the coffee table.
“Alright I suppose, as well as anyone who's just been shot can I imagine.” I said, smiling a little.
“I'd say you're doing pretty bloody fantastic given your circumstances.”
“Celia...did Robby do that to Emma and Grace?” I said, glancing over at them.
“Yes...yes he did....there's no lasting damage, at least physically anyway.” she said softly, looking at them.
“Is Gavin going to be alright?”
“Oh he'll be back on patrol before you can say Bob's your uncle. There's not much that can keep him away.”
“I'm glad to hear it...” I said, my voice trailing off. Celia knew what I was thinking about, she gently took my hand and smiled.
“There's someone who wants to see you Rachel.”
“What? Who are you—“ I stopped when I saw him standing in the doorway. His shirt was open, revealing a large bandage covering the right side of his chest; he had a few scratches and bruises but he was otherwise alright.
“D—Dougan? You're alive?” I whispered; Celia stood and walked over to the edge of the couch where Gavin lay asleep.
“Rachel...” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. He walked towards me, and sitting on the coffee table, took my hand in his; stroking my cheek with his other hand. “God...I'm so glad you're alright. You have no idea what it's been doin' to me waiting for you to return.”
“Oh and do you think it was a picnic watching you get beat up and then shot, afterwords tumbling down the hill like a rag-doll?” I said, smiling through my tears.
“I'm sure it wasn't a very pleasant sight was it?” he laughed, leaning closer.
“Oh shut up Dougan.” I whispered. I pulled him to me and kissed him, I felt as if we had spent years apart and were finally reunited again. He gently pulled me close to him, I felt the warmth of his body and felt as if no harm could come to either of us ever again. I was home.
“Oh Jesus, will you two give it a bloody rest.” Lynsay groaned. She was leaning forward in the chair, her head resting in her hand, she was doing her best to look disgusted with our display of affection for one another; she wasn't succeeding. We pulled away and laughed, I gestured for Lynsay to come to me; she willingly complied, throwing her arms around my neck and kissing my cheek.
“Oh Lynsay now we can start a new life, together.” I said, glancing at Dougan who put his arms around both of us.
“I think we make a rather happy little family.” he laughed.
“Rachel you really mean it? We all can be a family?” Lynsay said, taking our hands.
“Of course I do darling, I think it's about time we pick up where we left off.” I smiled. I was unaware that our little scene was being watched by not only Celia, but Gavin, Grace and Emma as well; we all finally noticed them smiling at us.

The moment was interrupted by the loud, booming voice of Richard Bingham outside. We heard him demand to know where Celia and Phillip were.
“Oh no...bloody hell someone must have let the damned cur out of his cage.” she muttered, walking to the front door; she didn't want him coming in and disturbing us, frankly we were all grateful.
“Thomas!!” he boomed, his eyes nearly bulging from his head. “Arrest her! Throw her in jail for assault on an officer, withholding evidence and jeopardizing a criminal case.” he said to the two officers that were with him. They were dressed in more formal attire, both bearing the badge of the commander's precinct
“Arrest me?! If it wasn't for your bigoted mindset, asinine behavior and downright incompetence we wouldn't have had nearly as much trouble with this case in the first place. You're the one who almost arrested the wrong man! You nearly fucked up the entire case and let a murderer walk free!” Celia said, not backing down.
“Your naïve little mind would concoct such a ridiculous story such as that.” he said in a venomous tone. “Face it Thomas, I've won. And you will never be able to show your face in London again.” he said in a low tone so the two officers couldn't hear him.
“I wouldn't be so sure of that Bingham.” Phillip said, he had come up behind them while Bingham and Celia were bickering; neither had noticed.
“Ah, Delaney how kind of you to save me the trouble of hunting you down to put cuffs on you.” he said, sneering at Phillip.
“That's Commander Delaney to you Bingham.” he said, flashing his badge. Richard Bingham turned pale, and suddenly lost the ability to speak.
“D—Did you say...” Celia began, her eyes wide.
“Commander, yes I did.” Phillip answered, smiling at her.
“When were you going to run that small little detail by me?” Celia said, walking over to him and putting her hands on her hips.
“I was going to get around to it eventually, when the time was right. What was it you said? ' There's never a bloody good time to say anything'? Did I get that right?” he said, smiling at her. She glared at him, trying not to show her excitement.
“Richard Bingham, I hereby remove you from Scotland Yard and place you under arrest for forgery, bribing, bigotry, jeopardizing a criminal case and just being an all around asshole.” Phillip said as the other two officers placed Bingham in handcuffs. He said nothing as he was carried away and placed in the back of a patrol car.
“I didn't know you could arrest someone for being an asshole.” Celia said, facing him.
“Well you can't, it was just bloody good luck that he happened to do all of those other things too.” Phillip smiled, earning him a laugh from Celia.
“Celia...I hope you understand that I couldn't tell you because if I did, everyone would have acted differently than they did. If they thought I was just some proby sent by the Commander then they would be more likely to act natural. I wanted to see how terrible of an officer Bingham was. Despite what you may think, I received every one of your complaints. That's why I came.” he smiled.
“You, you read them?”
“Every one, I must say given the fact that Bingham was a monster of a man to deal with, they were all very professional.”
“Well I assumed that if I said what I really meant, they probably wouldn't get read.” They laughed, Celia locked eyes with him, “Thank you Phillip—I mean, Commander.” she smiled
“No, it's just Phillip to you.” he said, stroking her cheek. “By the way I'm still dreadfully in love with you. I know that little lie about being a proby probably damaged what little trust you had in me, but know that I do still feel the same. I suppose what I would like to know is if you feel the same way towards me.” he said
Celia smiled and laced her arms around his neck, “What does this tell you?” she asked; she kissed him softly, feeling his arms wrap around her waist and pull her close to him. When they pulled away, she called over her shoulder:
“I don't know what you all are bloody staring at but if you don't get back to work I know several officers that will be out of a job!” she said to the officers who had stopped and observed the scenario before them; not wanting to see if she would own up to her threat, they quickly went back to what they were doing.
“You know, I don't know what it is but I find it very alluring when you bellow at your team like an angry bear.” Phillip smiled
“Well good, because that's not going to change darling.” Celia laughed kissing him again.

They were making their way back to the house when Celia saw little Dona rushing towards them, she remembered her promise to her and knelt down to scoop her up in a hug.
“Dona! It's so good to see you!” she laughed spinning around with the child in her arms.

Dona's laugh carried over the grounds, I remember feeling a surge of joy when I heard it inside the house. We all were aflame with curiosity, and against the doctors orders, went out on the porch.

“Miss Celia! You came back!” Dona laughed.
“Of course I did darling, I promised I would didn't I?” Celia smiled as if the child were her own.
“Yes you did!” Dona said, throwing her arms around Celia's neck; Phillip smiled, knowing he was seeing something precious.
“Miss Celia...I was wondering if I could ask you something.”
“Of course darling, anything.”
“Well...I was wondering if...maybe you could be my new mum.”
Celia's heart nearly flew out of her chest, a mum? Her? Was she fit to even be a mother?
“D—Dona....are you sure you want me as a mum? I don't think I would be any good...”
“I think you would....and I do want you as a mum.” she smiled.
Celia felt tears well up in her eyes, she hugged the child and swore that she would be the best mother that she could be. “Alright then, yes. Yes I'll be your mum Dona.” she said; Dona threw her arms around Celia's neck again. Celia put her down and stood in front of her with hands on her hips in mock seriousness.
“Now if I'm going to be your mum, there's a few rules that you'll have to follow is that clear?”
“Yes miss!” Dona said, saluting her.
“Just because you're adorable doesn't mean that you can get away with anything, and if you break these rules there will be consequences understand?”
“Clear as a bell ma'am!”
Celia laughed and picked up her new daughter, holding her tight.
“Miss Ce—I mean mum, who is going to be my dad?” Dona asked; at that moment, Phillip stepped forward.
“I think I can help with that.” he said, smiling at Celia
“Really? Is Mr. Phillip going to be my dad?” Dona asked, turning to Celia.
“I think Mr. Phillip will fit in quite nicely as your dad.” Celia smiled, holding Phillip's gaze. He leaned in and gave Celia a quick peck.
“Celia, I can have the paperwork ready for you in an hour.” I called, my smile growing wider by the second.
“What of the observation period? You can never be too careful these days.” she said, smiling back at me.
“I think this time we can make an exception, what do you think Emma?”
“I think that's an ace of an idea.” Emma replied, putting her arm around Grace.

Monday, April 19, 2010

St. Columb - Chapter Fourteen


The noise from the gunshot echoed throughout the woods, I'm told that they even heard it at the house. Celia told me later that nothing scared her more than hearing that shot, and my scream.
“Shit!” she said, hurrying through the woods towards the location of the noise.
“Rachel!! Dougan!!” she called, not receiving an answer she went to the top of the hill to see if she could see anything. “Godamnit all to hell...” she said, stopping. “Come on Celia, pull yourself together for God's sake! You're no good to them fussing about like a child.” She continued down the hill, hoping to find some sort of clue.
Lynsay had heard the shot too, fear surged through her as she ran through the woods. Please, please, please let me find Robby dead and not Dougan or Rachel. She thought it wrong to wish death upon someone, however he did kill three people so she figure he probably had it coming to him anyway. She came to a clearing at the foot of the hill, and stopped when she saw Dougan lying in the underbrush.
“Oh no...Dougan!!” she cried, running towards him and rolling him over on his back, laying his head in her lap.
“Dougan, Dougan please say something!” Tears were forming in her eyes; she saw that he had been shot in the chest, blood had stained his shirt and the ground where he had lain. She kissed his forehead and held his head to her chest, “Please....please Dougan...” she whispered. He coughed, startling her.
“Lynsay....” he groaned
“Oh thank God you're alive!” she said
“Rachel...he has her...I've got to...” he tried to get up but stopped, the pain was excruciating.
“You're not going anywhere you've been shot! From the looks of it by someone who can't shoot worth a damn because he missed you're heart. You're bloody lucky.” she replied, tearing her dress again to create a bandage and opening his shirt.
“Lynsay...he has Rachel....” Dougan said, wincing.
“Celia and Phillip are hot on the trail of both of them, they'll get to her Dougan I know it. Just lie still.” she said, trying not to sound as scared as she was; she reached into her satchel and pulled out the flare gun, she fired one into the air.
“Help will be here soon, just lie still and keep your eyes open.” Lynsay said, stroking Dougan's hair; she prayed that Rachel would be alright.

I awoke on the floor of a dingy building, upon later observation I saw it was the same building that Lynsay had stayed in before Dougan brought her to St. Columb. It took me a second to piece together what had happened, Robby was the murderer and 'monster' that Dona was always talking about, he killed Beatrice, Max and Julian, and tried to frame Dougan; Dougan, who probably lay dead in the woods somewhere. I felt fresh tears form in my eyes, I quickly wiped them away when I heard that familiar, ominous laugh.
“Well, it seems as though Sleeping Beauty has awakened.” he smiled, coming from the shadows.
“Robby...why are you doing this?” I asked, standing.
“You stupid bitch! You still haven't figured it out have you?!” he laughed manically.
He grabbed me against and pinned me against the wall. I cried out in pain, and tried to get away; this only caused him to laugh more and tighten his grasp on my arms. I mustered the courage to look into his eyes, I saw there was nothing except insanity and a sheer animalistic fury.
“R—Robby whatever you did, or are going to do; Whatever you're feeling—I—I can help you. I can get you the treatment you need to—“ I was thrown to the floor and kicked.
Robby put his hands on his knees and laughed as if it were all a grand joke, “Oh you naïve little fool! Oh perhaps I should just tell you then!” he laughed and patted my head like a child.
“You see I knew from the start that I was different from other boys. The older I got, the younger my taste in girls became. Little girls in their birthday dresses were far more beautiful and alluring to me than a raven haired beauty in a red gown. Why the way they would flit about in the meadow, the wind catching their dresses would just drive me mad.” he shuddered with desire; I can't describe the sheer horror and vulgarity I felt.
“I knew that dear old mum and dad wouldn't think that proper. It just wasn't done! My desires were confirmed when Germans were first starting to bomb London. Of course we had a shelter that we retreated to. Well I had a cousin who needed comforting during this horrible time, her skin was soft like silk, a creamy white. She had the most charming blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair. Why when I found her most sweetest spot how could I go back? I can still feel her...” He closed his eyes and licked his lips, as if he was remembering the moment.
“But you see the desire within me was unstoppable! When I turned fourteen I could barely contain myself; I suppose that's when I decided I had to do something. You see I knew that nobody would suspect as seemingly helpless boy of only fourteen to be a cold blooded murderer. ” he stopped turning to me, his eyes dark and calm.
I felt the color drain from my face as I stood, I scrambled to the other side of the table that was in the center of the room; I wanted some sort of barrier between us. “You murdered your parents so you could come to St. Columb....and you made it seem as though it was a war crime. This entire've been the one. You've been raping these girls, you, you killed Beatrice and Max...then you killed Julian and framed Dougan. It was you all're the monster Dona talks about!” I cried, tears of hatred streaming down my face.
Robby mockingly applauded me, “Bravo dear Rachel! You may make a better detective than I originally suspected!” he laughed. “Yes! I killed them! You see I knew where dear old daddy kept his pistol, he was stupid enough to show me. He wanted me to know 'just in case I had to use it against an enemy'. Little did he know that he was my enemy.” his voice was gruff, it oozed with hatred.
“Me being the clever lad I am, stole the key one night and snuck into the parlor where mum stayed after dinner to read. I crept ever so silently up behind her and shot her in the back of the head. Of course the noise brought father in from the other room, and that's when the struggle ensued. I underestimated dear old dad's strength, however I knew that he couldn't very well kill his own son even if I had just killed his wife. I began to weep, when I felt his grip soften I took my the gun from him and shot him in the face. His blood and brains covered my face and chest. I simply wiped the chunks off and pretended to weep over his dead body.” he laughed, enjoying his triumph.
“I never wanted to kill Beatrice, she was probably my favorite, even more so than Dona. But you see I couldn't let anyone else have her....” he said, his voice dangerously low.
“So I took her into the woods and spent one final moment with her, then I killed her so those fucking parents you had assigned her wouldn't take her from me. Max just knew and saw too much, that little bastard couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it.”
“How can you talk of them like they're pieces of meat in a marketplace?! They're children! Human beings! You have no right to decide if they can live or die!!” He reached across the table and silenced me with a smack, the blow almost caused me to fall.
Robby laughed, “This coming from a woman who decides where they spend the rest of their life! Oh Rachel how hypocritical you are!”
“I am not hypocritical....” I said through my teeth, my head to turned to the side.
“Of course you aren't darling.” he said reaching across and patting my head again, I smacked his hand away; he laughed as if he were laughing a child trying to defy an adult.
“I killed Julian because he and I are about the same size. I knew that bloody Captain friend of yours and her little team would see that he was the perfect fit. And of course Dougan was the perfect choice to frame, he was always such a fucking sentimental bastard. Daft too, he made it quite easy to lift his knife and use it to kill Julian.”
I thought I was going to be ill, I leaned on the table to steady myself. This boy is mad...and now I know his story. He's going to kill me like he killed his parents...I have to get out of here.
“So you see Miss Winter, the poor tormented boy known as Robby is actually a brilliant madman! I murdered my parents so I could have my fill of little girls in their birthday dresses with cream colored skin!”
He began to laugh like a maniac, I knew that I had to figure out some way to escape before I was added to his list of victims.

Celia saw the flare go off, but didn't stop; relief surged through her as she made her way through the forest, following the creek.
“Thank God...Lynsay found Dougan. Now if I can just find Rachel, God please...please keep her alive until I get there!” she prayed.

I remember Celia saying something about predators showing pride in their work, if I could figure out a way to distract him so I could escape....
“Tell me many girls have you taken advantage of since you've been here?” I said, disgust in my voice; I really didn't want to know the answer but I knew of no other way to distract him.
“Well one looses count after almost four years.” replied, sitting down in the chair and placing the gun on the table. “Lately I've been consumed with ideas of how I'm going to stay there.”
“Of course...because it would be such a bloody tragedy if you left.” I said through my teeth, I was disgusted with him; but I also feared him, though I would never admit it out loud.
“Oh wouldn't it?” he laughed. “Well if you want to continue to live, I think you're going to be the one to help me achieve that.”
“You bloody well know that I would rather die than help you with anything.” I tried to make it look as if I was trying to get away, maintaining the helplessness on the outside but very aware of how close I was to the door. I also felt some sort of metal rod against the wall behind me, I gripped it tight with my hand; I had to be ready to use it at any moment.
“That's true, but can you say the same for your sister? She's not quite my type, but she'll definitely be satisfactory every now and then. You don't help me, I kill her. While having my fun in the process.” he chuckled.
Something inside me snapped, perhaps it was the way he threatened my sister; at any rate I gripped the rod with my hand, “You demented son of a bitch, you won't touch her!” I said; I hit him across the face with the rod, causing him to fall in the floor. I ran out the door and into the storm.

I remember praying then, something I hadn't done for years. To this day I can still hear the wind howling and the rain pounding the earth as I ran into the forest. I wish that those sounds would overpower the sound of that haunting laughter.

St. Columb - Chapter Thirteen


I started out towards the wooded area, now seeing why the others were worried about me going out in this horrid weather. The rain was falling rather hard, and the wind blew every now and then causing a terrible chill.
“Another bloody gorgeous English autumn.” I muttered, pulling my shawl tight around my body. I walked around to the playground and followed the trail into the woods, not knowing that I would soon be much safer in this terrible weather than in the warm house where Emma and Grace waited for me.

“Do you think she'll be okay mum?” Grace asked, handing her mother a dish towel.
“I think so dear, Rachel is very self-reliant. She'll be chilled to the bone when she comes back though.” Emma replied, smiling at her daughter
“I hope she finds Dona...I must have searched the playground at least three times and I couldn't find her.” Grace said, looking down and picking at her nails
“She has to be in the woods, there's no other place she could be darling.” Emma replied, trying to hide her concern by focusing on the dishes
“What if that evil man has her?”
“He doesn't.”
“But how can you be so sure? What if—“
“Because I just bloody do!” Emma snapped. She immediately regretted her decision once she saw her daughter's face, Grace looked as if she'd been struck.
“Oh Grace darling, I'm so sorry.” she said, pulling her into an embrace. “I've just been so scared lately that it's all I can do to keep what little hope I have...” she whispered, stroking her hair; Grace clung to her mother, embracing her like she did when she was scared as a child.
“Oh mum what are we going to do? Why is this happening?”
“I can't answer that dear. But we can't falter now, not when Rachel and Celia are so close to finding out who the bastard is that is doing this. We're going to be okay Grace, do you hear me?” she said, cradling her daughter's face in her hand. “We're going to be okay.”
“You've said that before, and you were right.” Grace replied, smiling.
“What can I say darling? I have a knack for being right about those kinds of things.” Emma laughed embracing her daughter again. “Come on then, let's finish these dishes and have a nice hot meal ready for everyone when they return.”
“Alright then.”

They were startled by the commotion that was going outside the kitchen, it sounded like two men fighting. Before they could investigate, the intruder had entered the kitchen; he was smiling as he held a switchblade dripping with fresh blood.
“Oh my can't be...” Emma said, her eyes wide with terror; she immediately put herself between the intruder and her daughter.
“Mother...that's...that's” Grace said, trembling behind Emma.
“Surprise.” he said, smiling as he walked towards them.

I made my way through the winding trails of the woods, checking every side road and hidden cranny. I also was careful to avoid soft spots and deep puddles of water, especially when I neared the creek. I learned later that the flood had delayed Celia and the others.

“Well this is just fucking perfect!” Celia said, looking angrily at the flood waters that had blocked the road.
“Celia! There is a child in the car!” Phillip said
“Oh trust me, it's probably nothin' she hasn't said before.” Dougan smiled, glancing at Lynsay who elbowed him. “Look we can walk it's not that far.” Dougan said, he and Lynsay getting out.
“Well I suppose that's alright, we can't bloody well drive through this. Dougan are there other ways of getting back to the orphanage?” Celia asked as she and Phillip also exited the car.
“Yeah, if you take the road up about a mile or so, there's another turn that'll lead you right to St. Columb. It's a bit out of the way, but it's higher up there so there won't be any floodin'.” he said.
“Right then, you and Lynsay go on ahead. Unfortunately, Phillip and I have to stay here and wait for the rest of the team. Radio when you arrive.” she said.
Dougan and Lynsay carefully crossed the flooded section of the road and were at the end of the drive way within minutes.
“Dougan...why is the front door open?” Lynsay asked, her voice trembling.
“Shit!” Dougan said, taking off up the drive way; he ran as if the devil himself were on his heels, Lynsay close behind him.
They entered the foyer to find Gavin on the floor, surrounded by a puddle of blood.
“Gavin! Good God what happened?! Lynsay! Hold this to his wound.” Dougan said, handing Lynsay his handkerchief and propping Gavin up; he groaned, opening his eyes.
“D—Dougan...don't...worry with me....check to see if Grace and Emma....are okay....” he said, blacking out again. Lynsay tied off the handkerchief around his wound, then took the hem of her dress, tore it off and tied it around the handkerchief to make a tourniquet. Dougan made his way back to the kitchen, pausing at the door to ready himself for what he may see. God, please....let them be alive. He opened the door to find them both on the floor, Emma lying by the stove and Grace in the corner by the pantry; he ran to Emma's side, propping her head in his lap. He saw that she was badly beaten, the right side of her face was badly bruised, her left eye was nearly swollen shut, her neck and breast bone had several bruises on it, and she had a nasty gash on her forehead; she winced when Dougan lifted her, signaling that several of her ribs were probably broken.
“Oh God...Emma...Emma, can you hear me?” Dougan said, gently brushing her dark red hair out of her face; part of it was sticky with blood from where it had covered the gash.
She opened her eyes, “Dougan...” she whispered, wincing. “Oh hurts.” she said, tears forming in her eyes. “Grace, where's Grace? Grace!” she said, attempting to get up but was stopped by the agonizing pain.
“She's over in the corner there, I think she's just unconscious.” Dougan replied. About that time, Lynsay had come into the kitchen. She stopped when she saw Grace.
“Grace? Grace!” she said, rushing over to her friend's side. “Dougan she's breathing but not waking up...she's got a terrible gash on her head, and...oh looks as if someone beat her! She has bruises on her arms, neck and face!” she cried, stroking Grace's hair.
“As long as she's breathing that's a good sign. Did you call for help?”
“Yes Celia and Phillip are on their way, the rest of the unit will be here shortly. She said they were under a mile away but they aren't going to wait for them. I also alerted the few officers here on the property.” Lynsay said, dabbing Grace's forehead with a damp cloth she had taken from the counter.
“Good work.” he said; he turned his attention back to Emma. “Emma, did he say anything about where he was going?”
“Where Emma, please you must tell me...”
“He said he's going after Rachel...”
“Who is 'he' Emma?”

Celia and Phillip arrived just in time to see Dougan storming out of the house towards the woods.
“Whoa, slow down there! Where in God's name do you think you're going?” Celia said.
“I'm going to go find Rachel, and kill that son of a bitch that beat Emma and Grace, and killed those children and Julian.” Dougan said, trying to push past them.
“That is not a very wise decision Dougan. My unit will be here momentarily, we need to—”
“I'm not bloody waiting for your goddamn unit when that psychopath is out there hunting for Rachel!” Dougan yelled, pushing by them and running into the woods.
“Should we go after him?” Phillip asked.
“No...we need to go in and asses the situation and find out who the hell did this. Come on!”
The other officers had rushed over and aided Lynsay in caring for the wounded. Gavin had been put on the couch and bandaged, Emma and Grace were propped up together on the couch opposite of Gavin getting their injuries treated. Grace had just come to, and Emma was getting the gash on her head cleaned.
“Oh dear God...Gavin!” Celia said, rushing over to his side. Gavin looked up at his commander, he managed to smile given his condition.
“I'm fine captain...just a bit sore...”
“Shh, don't talk. I'm just glad to see you're alive...”
“You should know it'll take a hell of a lot more than this to kill me.”
“You are a tough bastard aren't you?” she smiled, stroking his hair.
“I guess so.” he chuckled.
“Rest now, I'll be back in a while to check on you.” she said, rising. She turned to the attending officer, “If anything happens to him, you're going to find out what they mean by 'hell hath no fury...' got it?” she replied. The officer swallowed hard and nodded.
“Celia, I can't find Lynsay.” Phillip said coming from the kitchen. Outside, the rest of the unit had arrived and wasted no time in getting set up.
“What do you mean you can't find her? She was just bloody here!” Celia said running towards the door.
“Damnit, she must have gone after Dougan!” Phillip said as he followed Celia. They went outside, and as they were running past the team of officers Celia yelled:
“Stevens! You're in charge! Don't screw up or I'll hang you when I get back!” she said, and she and Phillip followed the trail into the woods; leaving poor William wide-eyed and befuddled.
“What are your orders sir?” another officer asked.
“Well you heard her, lets not make this a cock up or else she'll hang the lot of us!” William said, and he began to bark out orders as if he had been doing it his entire career.

I had nearly made it to the top of the hill, signaling that the the trail was nearly finished. I hadn't seen any sign of Dona, and had this sinking feeling in my stomach that told me something was terribly wrong.
“I suppose I had better head back...” I said, checking my map again; every place on there had been checked off. I was trying to think of other places Dona would hide as I made my way back down the trail, suddenly I heard something over the wind and rain that made me stop and listen. It sounded like crying, I focused on it and tried to pinpoint a location.
“Dona? Dona darling is that you?” I said, walking towards the sound. It sounded like it was coming from a small thicket, dripping wet, I made my way over to it; the sound got louder, and I established that it wasn't a little girls cries but a boy's.
“Who's in there? Please come out, I won't hurt you.” I said. I strained to see through the rain, I finally saw movement. It was a boy, he was dressed in jeans, a red jacket and black shirt; he shivered as he cried.
“Robby, how did you get all the way out here?”
“I—I don't know....I was so scared....” he said, standing and stepping out of the thicket; his jeans were dirty, probably from crawling around in the mud in that thicket.
“Well you can't very well stay out here dear, you'll get dreadfully sick. Come on, I'm heading back to the orphanage. We'll get you a nice hot meal and some dry clothes.”
“We can't eat...not with Mr. Julian gone...and supper isn't the same without Dona.”
“Oh darling, you can't think—“ I stopped, immediately realizing something was very strange.
“ did you know about Julian?”
“I saw it in a dream....” he said, shifting awkwardly.
“And what did you say you were doing out here so far away from the orphanage?”
“I wanted to help you search for Dona....she's run away again...”
“Robby...none of the other children knew about Dona...”

Celia and Phillip did their best to catch up with Dougan, but their limited knowledge about the surrounding woodlands made it very trying.
“Oh hell we'll never catch up with him if the rain keeps picking up. We're just as lost as a damn hooker in a convent.” Celia said, wiping the water from her face.
“We have to keep after him, he's unarmed and the perpetrator is. Dougan may be a tough chap, but if this lad knows what he's doing then Dougan is in real trouble. I don't even want to think about what he may do to Rachel.” Phillip replied.
“You're right...bloody hell.” Celia put her hands on her hips and took a second to get herself together and calm down. Phillip noticed that, even soaking wet, she still maintained a sense of dignity and beauty.
“You know, this probably isn't the best time to say this...”
“What is it Phillip? There's never a bloody good time to say anything.”
“That's quite true, well if you wish for me to be honest I think I may be in love with you.”
“I—I beg your pardon?” Celia replied, her eyes wide
“Yes, yes I do believe that I am.” Phillip laughed, taking a small step forward. “Is that so hard to believe?”
“To be quite honest yes! I'm not the kind of woman men fall in love with!”
“Well I think I'm the the best judge of that.”
“No you don't understand....I don't know when to shut up around other people, I'm loud, obnoxious, I have no couth, I say what I think, I'm not sweet nor am I demure. I'm terribly obsessed about my job, I'm disorganized around the house but painstakingly organized at the office I—“ she was silenced by Phillip's lips gently meeting hers.
“Well you are right about not knowing when to shut up.” Phillip chuckled, cradling her chin with his fingers. “But I think I've found a solution to that issue. As far as the rest of those flaw's go, I have quite a few of my own so I think we'll fit quite perfectly. That is, if you love me of course.” he smiled.

Before she could answer, she heard a soft whimper;
“ you hear that?” she said softly, putting her fingers on Phillip's mouth; he listened, and he too heard the whimper.
“Yes, I think it's coming from over there.” he said, pointing to a small knoll. Closer observation revealed that there was a rather large burrow at its foot, concealed by a bush.
“Give me your torch.” Celia said, kneeling. Phillip handed her his flashlight and she shined the light inside.
“Oh dear God...Dona...” she said softly. Dona was huddled in the far corner of the burrow, soaking wet and dirty but otherwise unharmed. She cowered at the sight of Celia and Phillip, unsure if they were friend or foe.
“It's alright sweetie we're good guys, see?” Celia said gently, showing Dona her badge and urging Phillip to do the same. Dona squinted in the light, seeing the badge she moved a little closer to Celia.
“Come on dear, I promise I won't hurt you but I can't let you stay in there you'll catch cold.”
“Okay...” Dona whimpered. She crawled out and immediately rushed into Celia's arms, she trembled as Celia picked her up and held her close.
“Shh, shh, shh, it's alright darling you're safe now.” Celia whispered, stroking her hair.
“I had to get out...I had to get away from him.” Dona cried into her neck.
“Get away from who dear? He can't hurt you now, you can tell me.”
“He snuck in through the window...he...he didn't see me but I saw him...he stole into the kitchen and took the gun that Mrs. Emma keeps in the cabinet above the sink....away from us children...then he left...” Dona started to cry again. Celia looked at Phillip, who was rubbing Dona's back; his face was grave.
“M—Miss Rachel came by, she was calling for me....but I was so scared....”
“It's alright Dona, no one's mad at you we're just so happy you're alright.” Celia said, then she realized that Rachel and this madman were alone in the woods. “Dona...Dona do you remember when Rachel came by here?” she asked, gently maneuvering Dona so she could face her
“I—I don't was when the rain wasn't falling as hard...”
“So about thirty minutes ago. Dona, I want you to be brave now....did you see the man come this way too?”
“Y—Yes....he was carrying a knife....the g—gun was tucked in his belt around back....”
“Oh God...” Celia whispered, looking at Phillip. “Dona, I want you to go with Mr. Phillip here alright? He's going to take you back to the house where you're going to get cleaned up and dried off.”
“I don't want to leave...I want to stay with you...” she said, clinging to Celia; she began crying again, it was all Celia could do not to join her.
“Darling you can't, I need to go help Miss Rachel. Mr. Phillip will take good care of you.”
“I know I'm not much to look at but I will protect you Dona.” Phillip replied, giving her a reassuring smile.
“O—Okay....but you promise you'll come back?” Dona asked Celia, who smiled at her.
“I promise darling. I promise.” she said hugging her again. She gently handed her to Phillip, who cradled her gently against his chest; her little arms wrapped around his neck and she buried her head in his chest.
“Celia, I don't like this.” he said.
“Phillip we can't very well take her with us and we both know that I'm not going anywhere, I'll be alright.” she replied, checking her gun for ammunition.
“Here, take my extra magazine.” he said, gesturing for her to reach into his pocket; she did, and put the magazine in her pouch near her holster.
“Please be careful Celia.”
“Don't worry Phillip.” she replied, kissing his cheek. “I'll be back soon.”
She hurried off into the woods, Phillip looking after her until she disappeared around the corner. He hurried back to the orphanage, he needed to make a call to the commanders office and fast.

I stood there in the rain, staring at Robby; looking back I think I knew in that moment. He stood there, shifting awkwardly as he usually did but there was something very different about his demeanor this time; I thought he was smiling.
“Robby.” he looked up at me, his face wearing a mask of fear but his eyes telling a very different story.
“How did you know about Dona? Answer me!”
“I know a lot of things...Miss Rachel.” he said, his tone of voice changing; he looked at me and smiled, his eyes looking more and more like an animal getting ready to attack. It was then that I saw that the stains on his jeans was blood, and that he was holding a knife that he had been hiding behind his back.
“Oh my's you...” I said, feeling my face go white with horror; he smiled, an evil, conniving smile and let out a low, dangerous laugh.
“Surprise.” he said, coming towards me with the knife.
I was paralyzed, I couldn't move even though every fiber in my body told me to run; I couldn't scream, no sound came from my throat when I tried. I stood there, like a gaping fool as Robby came towards me with the knife. He was still smiling as he slowly walked towards me, his pace reminded me of a cat who had cornered a mouse and was ready to strike. Suddenly I heard Dougan's voice cry out over the rain, Robby turned in time to see Dougan tackle him to the ground.
“Dougan! He's got a knife!” I cried. He didn't seem to hear me, he continued to punch Robby.
“You ungrateful son of a bitch!” he roared. Robby laughed, and managed to kick him off.
“Oh Dougan you're such a fool.” he said.
I stood helpless, watching them fight. I remember thinking there had to be something that I could do to help Dougan; then I noticed the knife had fallen to the ground.
Dougan punched Robby, causing him to fall to the ground. “I'll kill you, you limey bastard.” he said coming towards him. It was then that I saw the gun tucked in Robby's belt.
“Dougan look out!” I screamed.
“Not before I kill you first.” Robby smiled, pulling the gun on Dougan.

I heard the shot, I saw Dougan fall backwards down the hill; I think I screamed, but so much was happening I couldn't be sure. I saw Robby come towards me, I felt a surging pain on the back of my head.

Then all went dark.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

St. Columb - Chapter Twelve


We went into the kitchen and set up a game plan with Gavin. Lynsay would be sent for by Phillip within an hour, so she was the first to go out and search for Dona and go from there to Phillip. We would work in one to two hour increments, Dona had many a hiding spot and they were widespread. Thankfully, Emma had made a list over the years of where she had been found.
“The poor thing wanders off because she has night terrors, sometimes sleepwalks so I had to find a way to keep track of her. She does frequently hide in the same spot twice so I made a list of her popular ones. I've also drawn a map of the property and sectioned it off.” she said, laying a small map on the table.
“Emma I must say you are probably one of the most organized human beings I have ever met.” Gavin said. Emma smiled, and went on explaining the plan:
“Lynsay, you are to take the areas surrounding the barn. She has several there so check them off as you go. Grace darling you're to take the area's in and around the orphanage and playground, be sure to check every nook and cranny. I will take the surrounding perimeter around the property and Rachel you are to take the wooded areas. There aren't that many places for her to hide there and I've made you a separate map with checklist.” she said, handing me the map. “I'm certain we'll find her by then but just in case, I want to be very thorough.”
“And there's no need to worry about getting caught, the Captain has many allies in her unit. We all trust and respect her a hell of a lot more than we ever will Bingham. If you need help, radio.” Gavin replied, placing an extra radio on the table, giving another to Lynsay who wouldn't be returning right away. “Take this with you when you go out, we've all set our stations to the same one and Bingham won't intercept it because his is on a different one.” he turned to Lynsay, “You hold tight to that radio and don't hesitate for a second to call any of us.” he said, giving her a satchel with an extra battery and flares. “Shoot one of those up when things get sticky, we'll be there faster than you can say Bob's your uncle.” he smiled, Lynsay nodded and smiled back. “I'll radio when Officer Delaney sends for me.” she replied.
“The important thing right now is finding Dona, we'll worry about everything else later.” I replied, earning a unanimous nod in agreement. “Well then, lets get started.” I smiled.

Lynsay was the first to go out and search, I would be lying if I said I wasn't frightened; after all, I had just been reunited with her two months ago. As she was readying herself, I expressed how proud I was of her.
“Oh Lynsay darling I can't tell you how much it pleases me to have you for my sister.”
“Aw Rach...c'mon you're going to make me blush.” she smiled.
“I mean it! You're brilliant, and I am so proud of how much you've grown.”
“I wouldn't have been able to do it if I didn't believe you would find me.”
“Please, be safe darling. I am very frightened at the thought of you going out there alone...”
“Don't worry Rachel I'll be fine. What is it you told Dougan? 'I've done a pretty dandy job of taking care of myself.'? Well you are my sister so it runs in the family.”
“That was different dear, you could possibly come in contact with a madman, a madman who is unpredictable and capable of terrifying things...” I said, stroking her hair.
“Rachel....for three years I held on to the hope that you would find me again, and I'll be damned if someone is going to separate you from me now. I promise, that no matter what I will come back.” she replied, taking my hands. “Have I ever broken a promise?”
I smiled, “No, no darling you haven't” I embraced her and kissed her forehead. “Just be safe alright?”
“I will.”
With that she was off. Within an hour she radioed back and reported that she, sadly, had no luck; she was going with Phillip now and would radio again when she was finished.
As the hours passed, Dona still hadn't shown up; I was beginning to grow very distressed, but I maintained a calm demeanor and hoped that I would find her when it was my turn to go out and search. Emma, Grace and I were sitting at the table; I was about to go out to search when Gavin came in to report on Lynsay's current situation, he told the following story:
Phillip found Lynsay in the barn loft.
“Dona? Dona please com's Lyn.” she said softly
“Any sign of her?” Phillip asked, coming up the ladder and startling Lynsay
“Jesus! Officer Delaney you nearly gave me a bloody heart-attack!”
“Sorry.” he smiled “Well are you ready to go then?”
“I suppose so...I've hit all of the area's on the checklist. No sign of her...”
“Don't worry, you've got three other people to search for her.”
“I know but the storm is getting worse. The weather is going to make it damn near impossible...”
“Have hope Lynsay.” Phillip said, putting his hands on her shoulders. “They're going to find her, I have faith in them. Especially your sister, she's very tenacious and won't stop until the job is done.”
“I hope you're right.”
“Come on then, lets go.”
They got into the patrol car and headed to the temporary command center.
“So what exactly am I going to do again?”
“Oh it's simple really, while I'm distracting Bingham you're going to sneak in, free Dougan, then take this car back to the orphanage to aid in the search for Dona.”
“Simple....right. How exactly am I going to free Dougan? Do you have the key to the cell?”
“No I don't, it's in Bingham's top desk drawer on the left side. At least that's where I saw him put it when he locked Dougan up. If it's not there it's probably in his pocket. I had to improvise.” he said, handing her a set of lock picks. Lynsay eyed him in surprise.
“Lock picks? What is an officer of the law doing with such degradable instruments?” she smiled
“I have my reasons.” he laughed. “Do you know how to use them?”
“If I say yes, will I get arrested?”
“No, you'll just be in similar company.”
“Well alright then. Yes I do.”
“Jolly good! I'm going to drop you off about a block from the warehouse, an officer of mine will meet you at the back door and let you inside where he'll wait with you until I send you some sort of sign. From there, you're on your own and will have to rely on those wits of yours.”
“What if I get caught? Bingham will throw me in jail for sure and you'll get eaten alive.”
“Don't you worry about me, and you won't get caught. I promise you that, Rachel told me she would make me curse the day I was born if anything happen to you, and to be honest, I believe her.”
“That sounds like Rachel....alright then I suppose I can manage.” she smiled, placing the lock picks in her satchel.
“I know you'll do fine. Here we are.” he said pulling over. “Go down that alley, make a left, there you'll find Officer Stevens.”
“Got it sir.” Lynsay smiled, saluting him. Phillip laughed as he watched her get out of the car and hurry down the alley. He arrived at the command center, hoping that the child was as quick-witted as he anticipated.

Once inside, Lynsay gave Phillip enough time to arrive and begin distracting Bingham; she and William anxiously waited for some sort of sign. Phillip entered into the main room, which housed a few desks and a communication station, the other three rooms were an evidence processing laboratory, a detaining cell, and a temporary mortuary. Celia was seated at her desk, drumming her fingers; her desk had been stripped of all police paperwork, leaving only her lamp and a cup of pencils. Her badge and pistol had been removed from her possession as well.
“It's about bloody time you got here. I was beginning to worry that something had gone wrong.” she said standing when she saw him.
“Sorry, I had some calls to make and I was a bit late picking Lynsay up. It worked out perfectly because she had finished her search when I arrived.”
“Any sign of Dona yet?”
“No, not yet. But Grace, Emma and Rachel haven't had their turn searching. Don't worry Celia, they'll find her. The child is a master at hiding it seems.”
“God I hope you're right...out of all of them Dona is the most fragile. I would never forgive myself if something happens to her.”
“Well it wouldn't be your fault.” he said, glancing at Bingham who was engrossed in paperwork. “How are you holding up?” he asked
“I'm about ready to go mad, but now that you're here its all well and dandy.” she said, placing her hands on her hips. “Is Lynsay ready?” she whispered.
“Yes, I just have to signal her and we have a but a few moments before Bingham realizes what's going on.”
“Well then hop to it!” she whispered. Bingham had already saw Phillip and was making his way toward him in his usually hulking fashion.
“Delaney, what in bloody hell took you so long?”
“Forgive me sir, I was detained.”
“Piss-poor officer you are.”
“Sir I had some things that I needed to discuss with you regarding the case.” he said, ignoring Bingham's snide remark. Celia sat down and pretended not to have any interest in what was being discussed; taking advantage of Bingham's distraction, she eyed an officer by the door and nodded. He understood and slipped into the corridor to signal William and Lynsay.
“There's Wiggins, he's giving you the okay. Are you sure you can do this?” William said, looking at Lynsay with concern
“I'll be fine Officer Stevens.”
“William, please. It feels weird to have someone close to my age call me 'Officer'.” he smiled
“How old are you?” Lynsay asked, eyebrow raised.
“I'm only eighteen, but I lied so I could get into Scotland Yard. You won't tell no one will you? The only other person that knows is the Captain.”
“Of course not William.” she smiled. “Now go and get the car ready, I have a feeling Dougan and I will have to make haste once I free him.”
“Right Lynsay, be careful okay?” he said, squeezing her hand.
“I will.” she smiled. “Now go!” she laughed. William hurried outside to get the car; Lynsay took a deep breath and quietly crept into the holding cell area.

Dougan was pacing back and forth in his cell, occasionally stopping and resting his arms on the bars. God I hope everyone's alright. This about to drive me mad, sittin' here in this damned cell while they are out searching for Dona. His thoughts were interrupted by a light footstep behind him.
“Lynsay! What in God's name are you doing here?” he said, his voice a little louder than it should have been.
“Will you shut up? Jesus you're going to alert every bloody one here!” she whispered, immediately going to work on the lock.
“How did you manage to get inside? Even with all of the influence Celia has, she's detained.” he asked quietly, wondering where on earth she got the lock picks from.
“Celia only had a little to do with it, Phillip is the one who arranged all of this. It seems he has more pull than Celia does somehow. Now shut up, I need to concentrate. I haven't done this in a while.”
Dougan smiled as she concentrated on the lock, he couldn't help but see, both physically and emotionally, Rachel in her. She's definitely her sister alright. God, I hope Rachel's okay. His thoughts were again interrupted by Lynsay swearing at the lock.
“Goddamnit all to hell!” she said through her teeth, throwing the lock picks back in her satchel.
“My, my does your sister know you have such a mouth?” Dougan smiled.
“No, and if you want to get out of here I suggest you keep that little explosion between us.” she said, taking one of her hairpins out. “Those bloody things aren't worth a damn, I don't know why Phillip even gave them to me.” she said, sticking the hairpin in the lock and wiggling it; the lock soon clicked and the door opened. “I could have saved so much trouble if I had just done this in the beginning.” she smiled, putting the hairpin back in.
“Lynsay you're a bloody genius.” Dougan said, scooping her up in an embrace.
“I am very aware of that.” she laughed. “Now lets hurry, we have to get out of here before Bingham comes.” she said. She gathered up her satchel, what she didn't count on was the strap getting caught on the door. She yanked it off, but the door slipped from her grasp and made a loud clanging noise against the side of the cell.
“Oh...” Dougan began, his eyes wide
“buggar...” Lynsay said, her voice cracking.

It goes without say that, despite Phillip's attempts to deter him, Bingham came pushing by him and was faced with a wide-eyed teenager and a rather pale young man.
“Well, well it seems we have a jail break. Aren't you a clever girl? It's a shame that you went through all of that work only to be thrown back into the cell.”
“Sir you can't do that.” Phillip said stepping between Bingham and the two.
“Delaney you forget your place. I'm to assume that you planned this whole escapade, well you'll be joining them.” he said stepping forward, getting in Phillip's face. “Stand down.”
“I will do nothing of the sort, sir.” Phillip replied through his teeth.
“Then I'll make you!” Bingham said, grabbing Phillips shirt collar.
“Bingham if you don't release him at once, I'll put a new hole in you.” Celia said, clicking the hammer on her pistol. Bingham released Phillip's collar and stared at her in utter astonishment.
“How in bloody hell did you get a gun?! Yours is locked up in my office!”
“You're always bashing on how foolish it is to allow an officer who wears a skirt on the force, you forget that skirts provide an excellent cover-up for another holster.” she smiled
“You conniving bitch! I'll hang you for this!” he said starting towards her. He quickly stopped when she shot a hole in the floor in front of him.
“Watch your tongue Bingham. I meant what I said about putting a new hole in you. Now be a good dog and go to your kennel.” she said gesturing him to the holding cell.
“You won't get away with this, and when I get out you can rest assure that you will pay for it.” he snarled through his teeth. Phillip slammed the door and smiled at him,
“That is, if you can get out. So long old chap! Enjoy your stay!” he replied.

We all had a great laugh at the idea of Richard Bingham fuming in a jail cell, outwitted by a bunch of so-called misfits.
“That's positively brilliant! Oh when Lynsay gets back I am going to take her shopping and buy her a new dress, she's definitely earned it.” I laughed.
“I have to say, I would have so liked to see Richard Bingham's face when Captain Thomas shot at the floor in front of him. He must have nearly soiled himself.” Emma giggled.
“I'm sure he did.” Gavin laughed. “Well Phillip radioed me a few moments ago and said that the weather has gotten rather beastly, so it may delay them but they should be here in under an hour.”
“That's wonderful! Well I should probably go out and search for Dona then.” I replied, taking the satchel with the radio and wrapping my shawl around me.
“Rachel are you sure you want to? It's so dreadful out, why not wait until Officer Delaney arrives with the Captain?” Emma said.
“Oh bollocks, you said yourself there's a only a handful of places she could be. Besides it probably won't take me very long, and I don't like the thought of her out there all alone in this ghastly weather. I shan't be long, I promise.” I said
“Be careful Miss Winter, Phillip said there's a possibility of flooding. So watch your step around the creek.” Gavin said
“I will. I'll radio if I need any help.” I said.

With that I began my search for Dona, rather hopeful that I would find her. My optimism is the only thing that kept me going that day, and even now as I'm telling you this I am very grateful to have had it. I would soon discover the one thing that had the power to take it away from me.

St. Columb - Chapter Eleven


I can't imagine that anyone who met Richard Bingham would like him. He was a neanderthal of a man: a wide nose with think glasses that hid steely gray eyes, thick gray hair that was balding and a stout body. He had an arrogance about him that was almost intolerable, and he absolutely despised Celia; he looked at the way one would look at an insect that needed to be crushed underfoot.
“Thomas! What in God's name do you think you're doing? In a matter of twenty-four hours we've had three murders and you're not any closer to discover the killer? This is what happens when you send a woman to do a man's work.” he sneered, looking over his glasses.
“Bingham, you wouldn't have the first clue about any of this because, as your ass dictates, you sit in an office all day and bark out orders like some flea-bitten hound at an animal shelter.” Celia said through her teeth.
“Watch your tone child. You forget I hold your job in my hands.” he said, he stepped closer and pointed at her. “And when I get enough information against you, I'll make damned sure that you're not able to even show your face around London ever again.” he replied in a menacing tone, his finger still in her face.
“If you don't get your finger out of my face, that won't be the only member I'm going to shoot off.” she said, not impressed by his show of attempted dominance.
“Mr. Bingham...sir.” Phillip said, doing his best not to loose his temper. “I think that is quite enough. You two bickering like children isn't going to solve this murder. Here is the case file you so politely asked for.” he said, sarcasm dripping from his tone.
Bingham glanced at him and snatched the file from Phillip, he opened it and began to read. All the while, Celia was flashing angry glances at Phillip who mouthed that he had no idea that Bingham would be making an appearance. Gavin and William returned with Dougan, who thankfully wasn't in chains. Dougan shot me a worried look, I did my best to subtly tell him that it would be all right.
“Is this the suspect?” Bingham said, walking over to them. “Why in bloody hell isn't he in chains? Has your naïve female sentiment caused you to be nice with cold blooded killers Thomas?” he sneered
“Dougan is not the killer.” I said, growing quite tired of his impudence.
“And who are you?”
“I am Rachel Winter, the social worker assigned here. And I was with him all last night and the night that Beatrice was killed, so there's no way that he could've done any of this.” I said, walking up to Bingham.
“Miss Winter, is this not his knife?” Bingham said, snatching the bag from Celia.
“Yes but—“
“And at some point last night did you not fall asleep?”
“Of course but I—“
“And were you not so overcome with emotion that it's quite possible that you could not have heard this man sneak out and slash the throat of Julian Ainswoth? That the state of your mind could've caused fatigue so great that you slipped into a deep sleep of which that not even the loudest of noises could wake you?”
“I suppose so but—“
“Then you cannot possible vouch for this man.” he said dismissing me.

I was about to say something else when suddenly, Lynsay, followed by Emma and Grace, burst into the room and into my arms.
“Rachel! Rachel! It's Dona! She's gone! When I woke up this morning she wasn't in your bed! She must have ran off or, or been taken and—oh buggar....” she stopped when she saw Bingham and the others in the room.
“Dona's gone? When did you notice??” I said, grabbing her shoulders.
“When I woke up, it must have been ten minutes ago. I spent a few moments searching for her but I could not find her! Oh Rachel what if that horrible man has her!” Lynsay said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
“We'll find her Lynsay, Emma compile a list of all of her hiding spots you can remember. You, Grace, Lynsay and myself will all split up and look for her.” I said.
“Dona? You mean little Dona Austen? She was filed as a missing child.” Phillip said, glancing at Celia.
“Thomas, did you know that this child was staying with Miss Winter?” Bingham said, turning to Celia; his eyes were gleaming, she knew that he was going to use this against her.
“Dona was put into the protective custody of Miss Winter, along with the aid of Mrs. Noll, her daughter and Miss Winter's sister. She has vital information about our perpetrator and needed to be kept with those she trusted and those who could protect—“
“So not only did you lie in the report, you withheld vital information about the case. Thereby jeopardizing the entire operation.” Bingham said, folding his arms, “There now you see? Are all of you so loyal to her now?” he laughed, turning to the populous of officers who glared at him.
“The whole idea was mine, Mr. Bingham. Celia had nothing to do with it.” I said. It was nearly impossible to be polite to this man, but I made the effort for Celia's sake.
“I highly doubt that Miss Winter, you see Captain Thomas has an axe to grind against me and this is just the sort of thing that she would do in order to make a fool of me.” he repiled, turning back to Celia with a wicked grin on his ugly face.
“From what I can tell Mr. Bingham, you seem to do quite a fine job making a fool of yourself without Celia's help.” I said, putting on my sweetest smile. He turned to me and glared, I almost shuddered but I managed to keep face.
“Delaney, put Miss Winter and all of these other women under house arrest. Assign Hockley to guard their every move until I can return and question them.”
“You can't do that! They have nothing to do with the murders! You can't just contain these women against their will!” Celia cried
“You have no authority here Thomas, you are currently under investigation. What are all of you standing around gaping about for? Did I bloody stutter? Move it!” he said, walking towards the door with another officer.
“Captain...I'm so sorry...if I hadn't opened my big mouth this wouldn't have happened...” Lynsay replied.
“No no darling don't feel like that...unfortunately Bingham would've figured it out eventually.” Celia replied.
“What are we to do?” Emma asked, pulling Grace close to her.
“I'll be the one in charge of this, you don't need to worry.” Phillip said, stepping forward with Gavin
“What of Dougan? Bingham is bound to throw him in jail without a second through.” I said. I saw that he was coming our way, I immediately rushed into his arms without hesitation. “Dougan...”
“You don't need to worry Rachel, I'll be fine once that bastard is out of the picture.” Dougan said, holding me close to his chest. His heart beat sounded as soothing to me as a melody, I felt so safe in his embrace.
“Yeah don't worry miss, I'll make sure that I'm with him the whole time.” William said, taking his hat off in my presence. I smiled at him, he was a charming boy, probably close to Gavin's age. I saw that Celia was talking to Gavin and Phillip in hushed tones, she was probably making some sort of game plan.
“Lynsay, you're wanted for theft are you not?” Celia said, looking at her and smiling. Lynsay froze, her eyes getting big.
“Um...y—yes Captain...but I was hungry and I promised that I would never do it again, and I haven't! I knew it was wrong at the time but—“
“Darling calm down, I was just wondering if you still had your wits about you.” Celia laughed.
“Oh...well, I suppose so.”
“Good, I could use a quick-witted girl.” Phillip smiled. He took Lynsay away and spoke, in hushed tones, about the plan that would be executed.
“Rachel, you Mrs. Noll and Grace must all be on the lookout for Dona. Gavin has his orders and is to let no one else supervise you, he is going to keep a lookout while you all take turns searching for Dona. Phillip is going to use Lynsay as a distraction so he can free Dougan. That fat bastard may have won this battle but I'll be damned if he's going to destroy this case, not when we're so close. What he's doing is wrong on so many levels and I intend to play his game and beat him.” Celia said.

We all shuddered when we heard Bingham's booming voice echo in the mess hall:
“Delaney! Quit fannying around and put those three women into custody! Thomas! Why are you still in here?! You're under investigation! Move it!”
“Goddamn him...right, well I have to go. Do everything exactly as I have told you, got it?” she asked looking at us. We all nodded in unison, she smiled: “Well then there's no use putting it off any further.” she replied, turning to leave.
“Celia.” I said, she stopped and turned to face me. I walked over and embraced her. “Thank you...for everything.” I whispered.
“Rachel there's no need to thank me.” she said, pulling away. With that, she walked towards the exit with Phillip.
“Celia, I know you probably won't believe me when I say this, but I had nothing to do with Bingham coming here.” he said, holding the swinging door for her
“I know Phillip. I don't know how I know, but I believe you.” she replied, her hand on the doorknob. “I just want to ask you something.”
“Of course.”
“Why are you so trusting of me? Why not just take whatever Bingham has offered you? Why are you taking such a risk?”
“Because you're a damn good officer, and you have a fire about you that I can't really explain...” he said, brushing a lock of hair out of her face. “Plus, I absolutely despise Bingham. Any officer that bribes his way up to the commanders office needs to be disposed of, and I intend to do that.”
“Phillip Delaney I think I've been wrong about you all along.” Celia smiled.
“Well I'm glad to hear that you finally trust me.” he smiled. “Go on, before that bastard comes in here and starts bitching again.” he said. Celia laughed, and went out the door.

“Rachel, I don't like this plan.” Dougan said, cradling my face in his hands. “Who knows what this psychopath is capable of? I don't like the idea of you going off and searchin' for Dona with the possibility of runnin' into him.”
“Dougan, I'll be alright. Dona is a clever little girl, she probably got scared and is in one of her impeccable hiding places.”
“What if she's not, what if the killer's just doing this to lure you away?”
“Dougan I can't just leave Dona out there alone, I promised her that I would never let anything happen to her and by God I intend to keep that promise. What worries me is the thought of you in the custody of that terrible man...” I replied, taking one of his hands.
“I've been in worse situations than this, I assure you.” he smiled “I just wish I could be here to protect you.”
“So far I think I've done a pretty dandy job of taking care of myself. You forget I've had to do it since I was eighteen.” I smiled, trying to reassure him.
“I guess you have.” he laughed. “What can I say? I love you Rachel Winter and I can't bear the thought of you coming to harm if I can prevent it.”
“Mr. Bardwell? We'd better go, I really don't want to have to listen to Bingham bellow again.” William said gently, smiling a little.
“Go Dougan, I'll be fine.” I said, hugging him again. “I'll be here waiting for you. I love you.” I whispered in his ear.
“I promise I'll come back to you.” he said, cradling my chin with his fingers and kissing me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back, not wanting to let him go. We pulled away and ignored the subdued giggles and smiles from Emma, Grace and my sister.

Phillip had made his way back to us and, winking at me, he escorted William and Dougan outside leaving us alone with Gavin.
“Well then, shall we go then?” He said, a charming smile playing across his face. “Oh come on now, you all are under house arrest. You're not supposed to look this content, lets see a little bit of dejection and utter disappointment in the law.” he said, earning a laugh from us.

I left the mess hall feeling rather hopeful that this situation would somehow work out for the best. Little did I know that things were about to get much more twisted and darker than I had ever anticipated; and the 'monster' was the last person I would have ever suspected.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

St. Columb Chapter Ten


I was not present when Celia observed the body, Dougan had to come and carry me to the house. I learned that it was indeed little Max, he was strangled by a belt of some sort and was found not far from the woods where Beatrice's body was disposed of. Phillip suggested that Max had witnessed the murder or saw the murderer dump the body:
“Judging by the tracks and the way the body was positioned, he was running back to the house.” Phillip concluded.
“That would explain why he wasn't in with the other lot. But what was he doing out here in the first place?” Celia asked leaning against the van and crossing her arms, her brows knitted in concentration.
“Perhaps he knew the killer, trusted him. Maybe without knowing it, he even aided. Didn't Miss Winter say that Max and Beatrice were friends?”
“Yes she did, but she also said that Beatrice didn't venture out far. Maybe she and Max were playing on the playground and were lured away by the killer. I think you're right about them knowing the killer, I'm almost certain that it's someone on this property.”
“Have you a list of suspects?” Phillip crossed his arms and leaned on the van next to her. Celia wasn't completely sure she could trust him yet, but her men were few; plus she remembered that her father only surrounded himself with trustworthy and honorable men.
“I've eliminated Mrs. Noll and her daughter, Miss Winter and her sister, and Mr. Bardwell. Everyone else is a suspect, especially if they're male.”
“Why eliminate Mr. Bardwell?”
“Because he was with Miss Winter when they discovered the first child's body. Not only that but the children don't show the reaction I'm looking for around him. They don't shy away or show any sort of fear, they trust him and he does adore them. Even if he doesn't look it, he's probably a bit of a softie.”
“Well I'll trust your instincts, your record shows that you know your child predators. I was very impressed.”
“Thank you. It means a lot coming from someone in the commanders office, now if I can just get him to bloody notice.”
“He's probably paying closer attention than you think.”
Celia said nothing, she just noticed how Phillip's eyes twinkled when he said that. What in bloody hell does he mean? He knows something, but what? I'll worry about that later, in the meantime he'll remain in the dark about Dona. He's still too close to Bingham for comfort.
“Delaney, give the order to evacuate all of the staff and have our men take their place. I want every door guarded and every floor to have at least three officers.”

I was seated on Dougan's bed, drinking tea and trying to absorb that in under twelve hours, two of the children that I had become so very fond of were gone forever. It would have been easier, I think, if they had died of natural causes; if they hadn't been killed by some sort of dark, ominous being who preyed on their innocence. What was most bothersome was Max, he was murdered simply because he was in the way of the killer; he was collateral damage, someone who needed to be disposed of. The very thought made me ill, and I feared who was next.
“Are you alright?” Dougan asked, sitting beside me.
“I'm not ill anymore if that's any consolation.”
“A bit, but you still look pale.” he brushed a stray lock of hair from my face, I couldn't bring myself to look at him yet; strange as it sounds, I didn't want him to see how scared I was.
“I'll be soon as Celia finds out who is doing this...” I said, setting my tea down and walking to the window.
“She will, of that I am certain.” he replied, standing; I thought he was going to come over to the window but he just stood there. I turned to face him, he was very sorrowful; his eyes, usually bright and hopeful, were full of uncertainty and fear. He was doing his best to put on a good face, trying not to cry in front of me for fear it may make me more upset. I realized then that I wasn't the only one affected by this, he saw Beatrice's body too, probably Max's along with that. If I could share my feelings with anyone, it was him.
“Dougan...” at the mention of his name he looked at me; I walked towards him and touched his cheek with my hand, “I feel guilty too...”
“What do you have to feel guilty about? You weren't with them as much as I was...goddamnit I should've seen Beatrice's change in behavior. I should've spent more time with her, found out who was doing it and tore 'em apart with my bare hands.” he walked toward his dresser and placed his hands on it. “Now this bastard is loose, on my territory, with my kids, with people who've become my family and has the ability to kill again. He's threatening everything I've ever cared for and here I am in my room when I should be out there huntin' down the bastard!” he slammed his fists on the dresser, knocking a miniature portrait in the floor. “I'm a damned fool Rachel.” he said his voice breaking.
I walked over to him, placed my hands on his shoulders and gently turned him to face me, “Dougan you're no fool, and you're not a failure. Emma and Grace are going to really need you now, possibly more than ever before. Celia said that it is best that we remain in the house, and I think that she's right.” I looked at the clock on the dresser, it read a little after three.
“What about you Rachel? Don't you need someone?” he asked softly, putting one hand over mine and stroking my cheek with the other. I didn't answer right away, to be quite honest I didn't want to tell him how much I needed him or how much I loved him. I felt rather silly actually, I had only known him a little over two months. Is that even enough time for love to blossom?
“You don't have to be so brave, you're not alone anymore. I won't think any less of you....let me be here for you.” he said, drawing me into an embrace. He held me tight against his chest, nuzzling my hair.
“Dougan....” I said, choking on tears. “Dougan I'm just so scared...” I wept. I must have wept for several minutes, but he continued to hold me and listen. I finally found myself so fatigued that I could barely stand.
“Whoa, careful.” Dougan replied, catching me and picking me up. He laid me on the bed and put a quilt over me. “You need to sleep. You've been up for nearly twenty-four hours.” he said kneeling down and stroking my cheek.
“What about you? You've been up just as long as I have.”
“Yes, but I got a nap this afternoon.” he replied, that boyish grin returning to his face.
“Get some sleep Rachel.” he smiled, kissing my forehead and standing; I reached for his hand.
“Thank you Dougan....” I said quietly. He bent down and kissed me, I remember wondering if he heard my heart pounding in my chest.
“Don't thank haven't a clue how much you've helped me tonight.” he said.
The last thing I remember was him stretching out on the couch by the window and closing his eyes.

I awoke to rain the next day, I found it a comfort that the heavens felt the same way I did. Dougan was still asleep on the couch, I glanced at the clock, it read a little after nine; I felt rather disgusted with myself for sleeping so late. I quietly got out of the bed and left the room; I went downstairs to see that everyone else was asleep as well. Grace and Emma's doors were still closed, as was mine; I softly opened the door and saw that Dona was sound asleep on my bed and Lynsay in the cot. I went inside and seized a clean dress, then let myself in the bathroom; I quickly showered and feeling rather refreshed, I went out to meet Celia. As I walked to the orphanage in the terrible weather, shawl over my head, I noticed a figure under the overhang; upon closer observation, I saw it was Robby.
“Robby dear, what on earth are you doing out here in this terrible weather? You'll get chilled to the bone.”
“I like the reminds me that I...I can feel....” he said quietly, I saw he was trembling.
“You're already shivering, come now, lets get you inside and get you some hot chocolate or something. I don't want you to get sick.”
“The monster....he's struck again....I don't want to go back inside....” my heart stopped, I turned away so he wouldn't see my face. The monster? Before I could respond he had disappeared, I quickly made my way inside. I found Celia and Mr. Delaney talking in the mess hall, the other officers were either trying to keep the children occupied or aiding in the investigation. One of the staff-members, Julian the cook, had been killed. I saw the blood running out from underneath the sheet they had covered him with, I gathered that his throat had been cut; I thought I was going to be ill.
“Miss Winter you shouldn't be here.” Phillip said gently, coming to steady me.
“I came see how the children were adjusting.” I said, sitting down in a chair. Celia came and sat beside me.
“He was discovered early this morning, the coroner says that he was murdered sometime around four. Not one of my men heard a bloody thing, all of the staff are in the parlor and have been there under surveillance, and every door had a man at it. Who ever is doing this knows their way around this place.” she said, I could tell there was something else bothering her.
“ was he killed?” I asked.
“Slashed throat, right across the jugular. Its very quick and efficient, it also prevents the victims from screaming.” Phillip replied. “Captain, are you going to tell her or should I?” he asked, I noticed that he held a plastic bag with some sort of object in it.
“Tell me what? What are you talking about?” I asked
“Rachel....the murder weapon was found in the trashcan. It was a regular pocket knife....nothing special, but it did have an engraving on it...” she said, taking the bag from Phillip.
“Why are you showing me—“ I stopped as soon as I saw the engraving on the handle. It was nothing elaborate or beautiful, just a simple script, something a parent would give their child. What disturbed me was the content of the engraving: D.B.
“You—You can't possibly think that this means...”
“Dougan Bardwell...yes, unfortunately we do.” Celia said
“But that's preposterous! Dougan would never do something like this! He and Julian were friends! Why on earth would he murder someone in cold blood that was a friend?” I said, my voice rising. I stood and wrapped my shawl tighter around my body, I somehow couldn't purge the chill.
“We found a belt in the trash also, it fits the contusions around Max's neck, and though we haven't confirmed it yet, Julian's hands look about the size of the marks left on Beatrice's neck. Perhaps Dougan figured it out before we did and, in a fit of rage, took the law into his own hands.” Phillip concluded.
“You haven't any proof! All you have is a knife that has initials on it, those initials could be any bloody one within two miles of here!” I replied, my voice rising; I was growing frustrated that Celia wasn't defending Dougan.
“Rachel, until something else comes up...we have to go with the evidence that is here now. I don't like this any more than you do...but I have to go with the facts that I have.” Celia said, standing and walking towards me.
“Facts? What facts! All I hear is speculation! You claim to know a predator when you see one captain, do you honestly believe that Dougan or Julian could so something so, so evil and monstrous? If you do than you're a poor excuse for a detective and your team is nothing more than a bunch of damnable puppets!” I cried, determined not to show any sort of weakness. Everyone was staring at me, I saw Gavin and William gaping at me like I had six heads, and heard whispers that the captain was going to 'chew me out' in a second; I didn't care, for them to even think that Dougan did this was almost as bad as seeing Beatrice lying on that riverbank. Phillip had stepped back, allowing Celia and I to face each other; her brows were knitted, lips pursed as if she were about to loose her temper. She locked eyes with me, and after a moment spoke very calmly to Gavin and William:
“Hockley, you and Stevens go fetch Mr. Bardwell.” she said without looking at them, she turned her head to the side and spoke to the rest of her men: “Well what in bloody hell are all of you staring at? Get back to work or I'll fire of the lot of you!” they immediately went back to work, she turned her attention back to me, her voice was stern, but very calm and steady:
“Rachel, I understand you're upset. Do you think that I enjoy this? I don't, but it's part of my job and I don't appreciate you standing there and assuming that I've somehow betrayed you.” she said; she took my arm and led me over to a corner where no one could hear. I was rather confused, and still very upset at the thought of Dougan being taken into custody like some rogue.
“Why are we standing over here like two little schoolgirls?” I asked, adjusting my shawl and looking at her. She still maintained her serious demeanor, but I sensed that she knew something that she didn't want to address in front of everyone.
“Because I don't want everyone and their brother hearing what I'm about to say you twit.” she replied, frustrated with my standoffish attitude.
“This is all fitting together too perfectly, the others just see it as pieces falling into place. And they are, however they're falling too soon. This predator is starting to get scared, and he needs to find a way of getting us out of here before he's discovered.”
“So you're thinking that Dougan's being framed in an attempt to shoo the lot of you out of here?” I asked.
“Yes but I have no evidence to prove that, everything fits so perfectly: the belt, the size of Julian, the knife with Dougan's initials on it and the time frame in which the murder occurred.”
“Yes...yes that's right because we all retired around three in the morning. You said the murder occurred at four?”
“Well last I remembered, the clock on Dougan's dresser read a little after three—“
“Wait, you were with Dougan last night?” Celia asked, her eyebrows raising.
“Yes, but not in the way you are insinuating captain. He, being the gentleman that he is, slept on the couch....much to my disappointment.” I said, my cheeks growing scarlet. Celia did her best to maintain her laughter.
“Well now, that does give him an alibi. I've been in that house, it's impossible not to hear someone go in and out as old as it is.”
“So he doesn't have to be arrested?”
“He still has to be questioned, after all his knife was used to kill Julian but once he gives us a solid alibi he's off the hook.”
“Oh that's wonderful!”
Celia smiled, “You really do love him don't you?”
I stopped, I hadn't really admitted that to myself, let alone Dougan. Surprisingly, I was truthful with her: “Yes...yes I do...most dreadfully. Is it that obvious?”
“A bit.” she laughed.

Before I could respond, we were interrupted by a tall, older gentleman with a rather unsightly attitude. He barged into the mess hall demanding to know where Captain Thomas was, with Phillip Delaney on his heels, trying to stop him. He saw Celia in the corner, locked eyes with her and started to march right towards her.
“Who in bloody hell is that?” I whispered, disgusted.

“That, is Richard Bingham...”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just wanted to take a minute and say....

Thank you. Seriously, to those of you who are taking the time to read and comment on my story I really really really REALLY appreciate it.

So far this has been a very rewarding journey, I am discovering things about myself that I never thought existed. Allow me to explain:
-I never thought I could be so dark and ominous.
-I had no idea that I could write suspense, those of you who know me are aware that subtly is not an adjective that is used to describe me.
-Rachel Winter is the first character that I haven't imprinted my own personal experience in her journey.
-I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to like Celia more than Rachel. She's more like me ;]
-I had no idea that Basildon was a real town. Seriously, google it. I was blown away. I just needed a random town that was relatively close to London
-In telling this story, I am in turn working through a lot of things in my past. For example: Getting taken advantage of by a BIBLE TEACHER.
-I have a greater respect for Daphne Du Maurier. I thought writing in first person would be easy. I'm finding that I was very naive to think that.
-I scare myself with how dark and evil I've made this villain. I hope that's a good thing. He's really a sick and demented son of a bitch.

I explained earlier this month where my inspiration came from, I didn't express the gratitude and respect that I have for Dame Daphne du Maurier. She really has changed me as a writer, and I seriously have almost every novel she has ever written, she has sixteen; I own eight. Almost there! This story is an attempt to pay homage to what she's done.

So I really do appreciate (and encourage) the comments and constructive criticism. A writer is nothing without a reader, and I am always looking to expand my audience. I'm beginning to work into the climatic peak of the story, and I have a pretty clear idea of where I'm going.

Stay Tuned ;]