False Rumours: Chapter Five

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.

 

False Rumours: Chapter Four

Natasha, Vanessa, and Deirdre (Natasha’s next-door neighbour) accompany each other to the Garden Of Remembrance where some of Tracy’s ashes have been laid to rest. This is where they discuss about her personal demons and her involvement in the manslaughter of another young woman just before her apparent suicide. Not to mention the fact that she was no longer the same Tracy at the time of her own death. Meanwhile, Tracy’s ex-boyfriend Michael is confronted face-to-face by one of her family members…

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‘Unbelievable tragedy, if you ask me,’ my middle-aged neighbour Deirdre said as some of us visited Tracy’s cremation plot headstone at the Garden Of Remembrance.  ‘And to think that other lady was Paul’s wife. I cannot begin to imagine what that poor girl’s family must be going through. Only God knows why Tracy did what she did. To Katherine and to herself also.’

Paul and Katherine had been living together for about one or two years, and Paul was way beyond distraught when she had been killed in the fatal attack. Somehow, he knew that Tracy was responsible for Katherine’s death. At least that would explain his openly bitter and hostile demeanour at the mention of Tracy’s name, when he was being questioned by the police. Could it be that he was trying to forget about her rather than remember her?

Deirdre bowed  her head as though she were grieving, and I noticed that her mouth was downturned.

‘To say that Tracy was a very troubled young girl is an understatement.’

‘Did Tracy come to you once or twice?’ Vanessa asked. ‘Did she confess to you about what she had done?’

‘She didn’t confess about anything that I know of.’

‘Well, I just thought you should read this.’ Vanessa handed the fax letter to Deirdre.

‘Oh. My. God…’ Deirdre read through the disturbing details in disbelief.

‘Apparently, Michael, her ex-boyfriend was the last person to see her alive,’ Vanessa explained. ‘The truth is, she didn’t walk out on him – he threw her out. Then he said that she should kill herself and get it over with. He was very unsympathetic towards her and also had her convinced that she would be better off dead because nobody wanted her around anymore. At least that would explain why she took out her depression on Katherine before going ahead with it.’

That only meant one thing – that Mike was the sole person responsible.

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A young man by the name of Christopher was banging on the door of Michael Adams’s house, yelling furiously. ‘Michael! Open the door,’ he shouted angrily. ‘Open the fucking door! Now!’

‘What the hell is going on over there?’ a neighbour across the road asked.

Michael was baffled as to why anybody would be violently pounding on his door in the middle of the night, screaming all sorts of abuse at him. He didn’t have a clue what was going on.

His reaction – not to mention his shocked facial expression – explicitly proved that he had no idea what any of this was about. Not until he answered the door.

‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ he asked, rather stunned. ‘You will end up breaking the door down! And why are you swearing at me and shouting all sorts of abuse at me?’

‘I know that you’re the reason Tracy is dead and that you drove her to suicide,’ Christopher yelled in a rage. ‘She killed herself because you told her to do so! My sister is dead because of you! And I was extremely close to her!’

‘Who the hell told you I drove her to suicide by telling her to kill herself? I would never have done anything like that!’

‘That’s enough, the pair of you,’ a male neighbour yelled from next door. ‘Pack it in! Otherwise I will call the old bill!’

‘I don’t give a fuck!’ Christopher shouted back. ‘Ring the fucking police for all I care!’

‘Listen, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick,’ Michael said. ‘I had nothing to do with what happened to Tracy, and I most certainly didn’t drive her to suicide. I didn’t even know Tracy had planned on killing herself until her friends and family informed me. Besides, you can’t believe everything that everyone has told you. It is all rumours you’ve been hearing.’

‘Enough now, the both of you,’ a policeman approached them both at the scene of the fight. ‘I need you two to come to the police station and answer some questions.’

‘Why should I have to comply?’ Michael asked defensively. ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’

‘We will decide on that later.’

 

False Rumours: Chapter Three

When Tracy died by suicide, she took loads of hidden secrets with her that nobody knew about. There was something else she had been keeping from her friends during the final few moments of her life. Upon investigating Tracy’s death, Natasha has yet to learn how and why her late friend and bookstore colleague disappeared and turned up dead. What happened to Tracy is too shocking and horrific to believe…

Everything seemed a complete blur and a shock. I read through the contents a couple of times before it finally sank in. I just could not believe what I had uncovered!

Tracy had had an argument with her parents because they had tried to persuade her to check into rehab for her alcoholism and drug addiction. The reason why she had turned to alcohol and drugs in the first place was because it seemed the only way she could escape from her pain.

She then had a row with her boyfriend Michael Adams and walked out on him after living with him for a few years. Her reason for doing so was because of having suffered too many failed relationships in the past.

She had also severed all ties with just about everyone she had once been very close to, no longer being in contact with anyone – she had even stopped speaking to Vanessa and myself!

She had failed to show up at the bookstore on several occasions. Then word had gotten round that she had wanted to move elsewhere in order to escape from all of her daily troubles and focus on receiving therapy. She had stopped participating in her once favorite activities and projects and had started avoiding the local support groups as a result of her severely depressed state. At one point, she had flown into a violent rage, lashing out at those who tried to converse with her or approach her. She was reported to have been messed up in the head and unable to think properly at that time. As a result, she had become a full-blown alcoholic.

She was unable to keep it together because of her life spiraling out of control. This had eventually caused her already severe depression to worsen until she went completely mad. She had by then started acting erratically, driving dangerously whilst slightly intoxicated. While breaking down in tears, she ran over her female neighbour’s dog – killing it! It turned out that she had needed someone or something to lash out at. She lashed out at the neighbour Katherine, and killed her also. She had been the same age as Tracy.

Having realised what she had done after she had snapped out of it – and being unable to live with herself – Tracy drove off to an abandoned location. She then left a tearful voice message confession through her mobile, to Katherine’s loved ones and her own. That was the final time anybody ever heard Tracy’s voice. Then the sickening details of her own horrific end unraveled. Her car had been recovered from the river and her body had yet to be found eight months later. The Suicide Investigation Centre cited Tracy’s cause of death as ‘suicide by drowning’. She had deliberately driven her car into the water and died upon impact, with high levels of cocaine in her system. On top of that, her family members had reported her missing – completely and utterly unaware of what had happened.

Tracy had actually killed someone before taking her own life? Was this some kind of sick joke? This was not the Tracy we had all known and loved. She would never have done such a horrific thing!

Vanessa approached me at the computer desk ‘What did you find out, Natasha?’ she asked.

I looked at her with a facial expression that said it all.