Natasha has yet to inform her other close friend Rebecca Owen about Michael’s potential connection to Tracy’s death/alleged suicide.
I located Rebecca Owen’s address somewhere in Woodchurch. From what I already knew, she lived close to Vanessa and was currently living with her boyfriend in a shared small bungalow. Something told me that she was not yet aware of Michael’s possible connection to Tracy’s disappearance and death.
I already knew she might not understand sign language – so I had a handwritten letter at the ready.
I handed the letter over to Bex. It read that Michael had been arrested and held in questioning over Tracy’s suicide. ‘Oh God’, I thought. ‘I hope she doesn’t have too much trouble reading my shaken handwriting.’
Fortunately, she didn’t. Judging by her response, she understood everything and immediately realized something very serious had happened.
Tracy’s ex-boyfriend Michael is being held in the local interrogation room following his altercation with her brother
Michael was being interrogated. He maintained his innocence the whole time and claimed he had nothing to do with any of the things he had been wrongfully accused of.
‘And what did you say your name was?’ the police officer recording the statement asked.
‘It is Michael. Michael Adams. But I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I’m telling you the truth.’
‘Mr. Adams, you are being investigated over a possible connection to Miss Preston’s death. Her family and most of her friends believe you played a part in her suicide. You do realize this situation will lead to very serious consequences.’
‘I’m already aware of that.’
‘Did you know about her disappearance?’
‘One of her friends informed me, and I helped them file a missing person’s report.’
‘Were you the last person to see Miss Preston alive?’
‘No, I wasn’t. I was at the local pub at the time.’
‘Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Adams.’
Natasha’s other friends all have doubts about Michael’s innocence. They all accuse him of messing up Tracy’s life and brand him a murdering scumbag. But deep down inside Natasha has a feeling that he is anything but capable of murder
A few days later, Michael was released. Nigel, Vanessa, Anna, and I were at the bookstore discussing about it.
‘How do any of us know if what has been said about Mike is true?’ Nigel asked.
‘That is the problem,’ Vanessa said. ‘Nobody knows. But there is still something about him I don’t trust.’
Just then, Mike entered the shop.
‘You’ve got a fucking nerve, showing your face here!’ Anna said angrily.
‘Oh shut up, Anna,’ Vanessa snapped.
‘Don’t tell her to shut up, actually,’ Nigel pointed out to Vanessa. ‘Anna has a point. He has no right to be here, the scumbag.’
‘Before you start throwing all sorts of accusations at me, please listen to what I need to say,’ Michael said.
‘Why should we?’ Nigel asked. ‘What could you possibly say to us that would be worth hearing?’
Michael hesitated. He didn’t feel comfortable with the icy stares being thrown at him, particularly by Anna and Nigel.
‘Well go on, then,’ Vanessa said. ‘You’ve got what you need to get out into the open. Spit it out.’
‘The only reason Paul has had you lot convinced that I’m to blame for Tracy’s suicide is because I didn’t support her in the way I should have,’ Michael said. ‘He and the other locals have a habit of spreading rumours.’
‘But then how do you explain the altercation with that bloke the other night?’
‘One of Tracy’s neighbours had told her brother that I had thrown her out and then told her to kill herself because nobody wanted her around anymore. That was around the time I had ended things with Tracy.’
At least that explained everything. Almost.
‘Of course the part about my throwing her out and telling her to do the rest of the world a favour by leaving this earth is not true. I would never have done that, especially when I already knew she was severely depressed and that she was struggling with her alcoholism and cocaine addiction. You’ve got to believe me.’
I believed him, even if the others didn’t. There was no reason to suspect he was lying.
‘Was there anything else you might not have filled us in on?’ Vanessa demanded.
‘Such as what?’ Michael asked, bemused.
‘The fact that it was you who got her involved in the drugs.’
‘We were doing cocaine and other drugs together, yes. That was the whole reason why our relationship suffered.’
So before Tracy’s life had spiralled out of control even further, she and Michael had both been dabbling in drugs and binge drinking together? Something was telling me that this played a major part in Katherine’s death and Tracy’s suicide. And because it was Michael who had introduced Tracy to drugs in the first place, he probably felt that nobody could trust him anymore.
Natasha, Vanessa and Anna once again head to the Garden Of Remembrance where they unexpectedly discover a horrifying scene before them…
The next time we would all visit Tracy’s cremation plot headstone at the Garden Of Remembrance there would be yet another shocking scene. Her headstone had been vandalized by a bunch of angry young locals. The words ‘SELFISH COW’ and ‘BITCH’ had been written on the embedded stone plaque in felt-tip marker.
There was a note left next to the damaged headstone. It read: ‘You should have just killed yourself only and not taken Katherine with you. Thank God you were burnt to ashes, which is what you deserve! You should have been obliterated a long time ago. Fucking mad cow!’
Anna read through the heartless messages through tears. ‘Why can’t they just let the poor woman rest in peace for crying out loud?’ she cried in despair. ‘Why make her suffer even more in death?’
Maybe because suicide is considered a sin, I explained to her in sign language.
‘What are you trying to say?’ Anna asked me, bemused and perplexed.
I completely forgot that she didn’t understand sign language. I looked at Vanessa for help.
‘Natasha reckons that their reason for vandalizing Tracy’s grave in anger is because she committed suicide,’ Vanessa said. ‘And suicide is a sin especially in Christianity.’
‘However they want to look at it, she had no future anyway. Her future had been taken away from her a long time ago.’ Anna sounded bitter as she examined the vandalism. ‘And just when we all thought she was finally getting her life back on track.’
‘According to what Natasha found out, Paul was spreading false rumours, making people think Michael had something to do with it,’ Vanessa revealed.
‘To do with Tracy topping herself, you mean?’
Vanessa nodded sadly. I saw Anna’s devastated and dismayed reaction, as she struggled trying to take it all in.
And just when it seems things can’t get any worse…
Rebecca was at her antique shop when the phone suddenly rang. She immediately answered. ‘Hello? How can I help you?’
It was one of Michael’s friends. He sounded distraught. ‘Mike has gone missing. Nobody’s seen him since yesterday.’
Bex dropped the receiver in shock. Missing? This could not be happening again!
She called out to her store partner and best friend, Tiffany. ‘Tiff,’ she cried. ‘Something serious has come up. I need to head out right now.’
‘Why, what’s happened?’ Tiffany asked.
Rebecca didn’t have time to reply. She had already left.