Michael, who has now been sectioned and placed in a mental health care unit, is not to blame for Tracy’s suicide after all. As for Paul, there is a shock update on him whilst he is serving time in prison for the vandalism on Tracy’s resting place. Even more shocking – the unlikely mystery culprit who played a part in driving Tracy into ending her own life is finally revealed!
One year later: My friends and I saw the launch of the Tracy Preston Memorial Foundation go as planned. It had been previously named the Faces of Suicide Foundation, but Vanessa had suggested we have it renamed in honour of Tracy’s memory.
Michael had since spiralled into a deep depression since Tracy died. At the moment He was currently in rehab, where he was being provided with professional help to cope with his grief.
Meanwhile, Christopher Preston and his parents were suing Paul for being the real culprit behind the vandalism of Tracy’s cremation plot headstone. He was also being sued a further £250,000 by Michael’s family and friends for instigating the cruel rumours surrounding Michael as well as driving him to attempted suicide. Paul was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.
We were celebrating our success at a dinner party held at Time Out London Restaurant when someone burst in hysterically. ‘Paul’s dead!’ the young man cried. ‘He’s actually dead!’
‘He’s what?’ cried Anna. ‘Dead?’
‘Apparently, he hanged himself in prison. Took the easy way out. It happened just a few hours ago’
The news had yet to be confirmed. Paul’s body was being taken out in a black bag.
‘All I can say is good riddance,’ Nigel said vehemently. ‘I hope he’s rotting in Hell.’
Which is exactly where he happens to be at the very moment, I thought.
We all doubted Paul would be grieved for by that many people, as he had very little to no friends. How many people would be attending his funeral? Nobody knew or cared.
There was one person we did care about, and that was Michael. Which reminded me; my friends and I needed to pay him a visit as the medical care centre where he was being cared for as a mental health inpatient.
After having answered questions by the local detective about Paul, Vanessa hinted that she and the rest of us had a feeling that it was actually his wife Katherine – not Michael – who had been liable for Tracy’s suicide! She then showed them the documents from the Suicide Investigation Centre.
Even before she had been married to Paul, Katherine had made Tracy’s life a living hell for only God knew how long. She and Tracy had been sworn enemies since back in university when Katherine bullied her nonstop for her family’s history of mental disorders. They didn’t come face to face again until just a few years later when they – ironically enough – became neighbours.
After having drowned her sorrows over her breakup with Michael, Tracy had accidentally run over and killed Katherine’s pet dog because of being heavily drunk. Katherine had wanted Tracy to pay for what she had done to her dog, so she confronted her. Katherine had violently attacked Tracy with a crowbar and then tried to bludgeon her to death with a heavy brick, and that was when Tracy stabbed Katherine to death in self-defence. She then disposed of her car by letting it plunge into the River Thames, before jumping in and drowning herself. Tracy had had high levels of cocaine in her blood system – which would have caused immediate fatal cardiac arrest.
Now everybody knew the truth. Katherine had in actual fact turned out to be in actual fact an extremely nasty spiteful woman who had shown her true colours in the worst way possible. In reality, she was the one sole reason for Tracy’s disappearance and death as she had driven Tracy to suicide by telling her to kill herself. She had actually said to Tracy in a very cruelly spiteful manner: ‘Do the rest of us a favour and remove yourself from this earth because you are nothing but damaged goods’.
On top of that, we learned that it was Paul who had been vandalizing Tracy’s resting place, that he had written all those hateful names on her memorial plaque as an act of revenge for Katherine’s death. He then started sending poison pen letters to Tracy’s bereaved parents containing genuinely vicious descriptions about the type of person their dead daughter really was.
To add even more insult to injury, Paul had turned almost everyone (especially Tracy’s brother Christopher) against Michael by letting us all think that Mike was the one who had killed Tracy by pushing her to the brink of self-destruction and suicide because of him having supplied her with cocaine and other drugs just before she had disappeared and been found dead. He had done so by placing a curse on Michael.
Now Paul himself was dead from an apparent suicide as a result of being in debt; the other tragic reason was because of his own drug and alcohol problem due to being overcome with grief for Katherine. Part of me was glad. Because at least he was no longer a danger to any of us, or our friends or families.
With the new charity organization opening, Vanessa announced to us that she was leaving the bookstore enterprise and moving to Rainford, as it was the only way she could land the role of advocate. We were all devastated by the unexpected news, but pleased for her nonetheless. Nigel came up with the plan for everyone to arrange a farewell party for her.
A few months after Vanessa had left to start her new life elsewhere, Rebecca and I sat on an embroidered bench in the Garden Of Remembrance. We both made a solemn promise to Tracy that we would stop by to visit her on a regular basis, sometimes to clean and polish her new marble plaque before redecorating it with fresh sets of flowers.
‘It sucks that Tracy took her own life the way she did,’ Rebecca lamented. ‘If we look at it this way, she wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been for that bastard.’ Paul had since been buried in an unmarked gravesite, at the local cemetery away from where the Garden Of Remembrance was and close to where Katherine was buried. Nobody had laid any flowers on his grave or even visited him. At least Katherine’s grave had received a few visitors and cards. One of those cards read: ‘No matter what you may think of our daughter, she never meant to take you away from your loved ones. May you and our Tracy both rest in peace.’ It had been from Tracy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Langton-Preston, who were still grieving themselves but managed to pluck up the strength and courage to pay their condolences to Katherine’s next of kin.
I read the cards beside Tracy’s plaque. ‘Tortured but kind-hearted angelic soul’, ‘Fun-loving girl’, and ‘Beloved daughter and sister’ were what they read.
It was true. Tracy had often been described as an innocent angelic young woman and a child of God with a heart of gold. She had also once been very lively and bubbly – at least before she had become shadow of her former self as a result of having committed manslaughter. Up till then, there had been no sign of any malice. Unlike Paul, or most of the other neighbours we knew of.
Speaking of Paul, someone had written an angry message on his grave. It simply said: ‘Burn in Hell!’
I already had a feeling of who that person was.