Grey clouds on white candy Black clouds carrying heavy rain Lovers kiss beneath outstretched umbrellas Rain splashed pavements wait for blue skies White prisms of light shine on polished leaves Trees sway, shedding their last teardrops The earth greedy with thirst Eagerly swallows each tear White ghosts painted on blue skies Light souls shining through Touching those below, covering The earth with memory Waiting to be remembered Grey clouds dropping rain Showering the earth with secrets Children splash in puddles As other feet did years ago Lift your face to the clouds Taste the rain upon your lips Do you remember? Does the taste of something lost come to mind? Clouds will bring the rain again. Teasing you, daring you to remember Secrets of the past hidden in each drop Clouds pass, unseen by many below Tilt your head, see the magic they make The shapes and wonder of sky art… White bleached clouds sail across blue skies The day is washed clean as if by magic Pink clouds hiding behind pillars of white The day sails through to the purple hue of evening All is well with my world…
‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’
Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.
The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’
Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’
Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’
Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’
Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’
Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.
She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’
The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.
‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’
Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.
‘Did you do this, Ann?’
When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’
Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in. ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’
The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.
Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect. ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she was dead…’
‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it. ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’
The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…
Kate sat at the table in the Vestry with her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe Jack had found her again, in spite of all the Snowman’s security. She kept seeing the ivory roses, blood dripping from the petals, laid on the altar like an offering. Only Jack could have thought of something that macabre.
The blood reminded her of what had happened to her beloved Dylan, her silver tabby. Jack had ripped him apart in her kitchen, strewing blood and fur all over the floor for her to find. At least this time, she wouldn’t have to clean up the mess.
Why had Michael gone outside?
She knew he was having trouble coming to terms with the fact that their relationship was over. After all this time it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. But going against David Snow’s specific orders was foolish and irresponsible. Maybe his depression had grown bad enough to warrant taking such a risk. Or had he wanted to die?
The voice disapproved. ‘I did ask you to try and be kind to him, Kate. Even though you couldn’t love him, you, of all people, should have treated him better than that…’
It was true; she could remember feeling that bad. Jack had that effect on most people. Just knowing he was out there somewhere had made her suicidal in the past, and the feeling wasn’t too far away at the moment.
The Snowman should have let her see Michael, her imagination couldn’t be worse than the real thing. Right then, it didn’t seem real, and she kept expecting to see him come through the door at any minute. She wished with all her heart that she had run away the first time she suspected Jack was back on the scene. Michael’s sudden reappearance had reawakened all her old desires and dreams, rendering her incapable of thinking straight.
Fate was too cruel. Why had it conspired to bring Jack back into her life at that particular time? If he hadn’t arrived when he did, her brother would not have died and the chain of destruction would have broken.
She wanted to run away but suspected there was no point. Jack would find her wherever she went. The knowledge sunk in that none of them were safe anymore, if they ever were. What would it take to be rid of Jack for good?
Kate heard the door open but realised the noise had come from the wrong side of the room. As she raised her head to investigate, a damp, sweet-smelling cloth covered her face. She struggled against it, but he was too strong.
(For visually challenged reader, the image shows a road leading towards a dwelling in the forest. It is hidden in fog and surrounded by tall trees. A light is shining brightly out of the window of the house)
A finger of yellow light shines through the fog
This means life, hidden behind the tall trees
Am I trespassing?
My nosiness answered by a shotgun blast
Lifting the hair on my head
I ran, as if I had sprouted wings on my feet.
Believing myself far enough from danger
I lent against a tall tree,
Letting my body slide to the ground
My breath slowing,
my heart beating in time with fear
I remembered seeing a small cabin through the fog
Why did they shoot at me?
Had it been a warning, or did they take aim?
They could have just asked me to leave
Had they lost the art of communication?
Rested now, I decided to take the long way around
Avoiding any further confrontation.
This was not to be
The yellow light shone in my face
Blinding me to who may be holding it
I felt the sharp end of a needle enter my neck
On waking, I found myself in my own bed
I had no recollection of the two days that had passed.
Remembering the sting of the needle
Placed my hand where the needle had pierced.
I found a small raised bump
Now I realised the stories about the cabin to be true