False Rumours: Chapter Nine

As his concerned loved one are still praying for his safe return, Michael is at a familiar location, where he contemplates suicide in order to reunite with Tracy…

 

Michael was at the River Thames where he stood at the bridge, tears welling up in his eyes. ‘Maybe they were right,’ he wept, grief-stricken. ‘Maybe I am to blame after all. I should have at least tried to talk you out of it, but I didn’t. I didn’t stand by you when I should have. I’m sorry, Tracy. If you can hear me, I’m so very sorry.’

The tears eventually started to fall, almost like a small fountain. He was unable to stop the tears from flowing. Tears of guilt, because even though he wasn’t the last person to see Tracy alive, he still felt partly responsible for her death. Tears of sadness, because they were both robbed of what could have been. And tears of anger and bitterness because of the cruelty and unfairness of it all.

He took out the rest of Tracy’s ashes which hadn’t been interred in her resting place within the Garden of Remembrance. He scattered her cremated remains over the riverbank and watched them float on the water before drifting away. Seeing the last bits of Tracy fade away was almost an indicator that she would vanish permanently for the final time. Tracy loved to swim at the seaside and enjoyed the water theme parks in Blackpool. She also regularly rode the canal to the River Thames; therefore it was only fitting that she was given a final send off by being allowed to be laid to rest at the river. Somehow or other, he know that this was where she wanted to be.

Mike had just finished releasing Tracy when he felt her presence. ‘Michael,’ Tracy’s voice said. ‘Michael, can you hear me?’

Mike tried to figure out where her voice was coming from. ‘Tracy?’

Tracy’s ghost then appeared before him. ‘Yes, it’s me. Please listen to me, Mike. I didn’t mean to hurt you or anybody else by killing myself. And you didn’t drive me to do so. None of this is your fault.

‘It was brave of you to release me. I need you to be strong for all our other friends. It’s very lonely on the other side. I wish we could be reunited soon. Maybe someday we will.’ Her spirit vanished into thin air.

Mike’s tears began pouring again as he tried to reach out and touch Tracy’s fading spirit. He then heard someone else call out his name. ‘Mike! Mike, it’s us.’

He turned around. ‘Leave me alone.’

Vanessa approached him, along with Anna and Nigel.

‘Listen, I totally understand what you’re going through,’ Vanessa said. ‘I lost one of my relatives to suicide also. And so did Rebecca. I know what it’s like.’

Michael still had tears in his eyes. ‘Do you? I don’t suppose you know what it feels like to be accused of causing the suicide of someone who was once close to you.’

‘You can’t believe what everyone says.’

‘The bloke that verbally attacked me the other night. He was one of Tracy’s family members. Her brother. He accused me of killing her. I didn’t kill her – but I may as well have done.

‘If one of us was going to die by suicide that night then why did it have to be Tracy? Someone tell me why her?’ Mike was sobbing uncontrollably by then. ‘I wish I could see her again and talk to her. I would do anything just to hold her in my arms, but I can’t because she’s dead. And all because I am one of the many people in her life who let her down. The night Tracy died was when my own life ended. And as far as I’m concerned, my life is over too.’

‘But Tracy was one of my friends as well,’ Anna said. ‘You’re not the only one who let her down.’

Sounded like something out of a soap opera such as EastEnders. Except that we weren’t in EastEnders. This was real life – even worse than some tragic episode plot in any soap opera.

Anna looked down below. That was when it suddenly dawned on her. ‘You’re thinking of jumping, aren’t you?’

‘What does it matter if I jump off the bridge?’

‘Michael, please don’t!’

‘He’s over here!’ Tracy’s brother Christopher – the same young man from earlier – arrived with the police. ‘That’s the bastard. Arrest him now.’

‘Arrest him for what?’ Vanessa cried. ‘He hasn’t done anything!’

‘You want to tell me he hasn’t done anything? He’s the reason Tracy is dead! He killed my sister!’

‘Tracy killed herself, actually,’ Anna said. ‘Because she was depressed and extremely tortured. She was seriously ill and in need of help. Just as Mike here is in need of help.’

‘Anna’s right,’ Vanessa said. ‘Besides, don’t you reckon Mike feels guilt enough? Why make him feel even guiltier than he already does?’

‘Who asked for your opinion, you stupid cow?’ Christopher spat.

‘Shut up, Christopher,’ Anna spat back. ‘Otherwise, I’ll shut you up.’

‘That is enough, you lot,’ the chief policeman shouted. ‘I won’t tell any of you again! Tom, get him to the medical center.’

The other policeman, whose name was Tom, came towards Michael. ‘Calm down, now, and get down from the bridge. Don’t do anything stupid. You don’t want to end doing something you’ll regret.’

Sobbing uncontrollably, Michael began to climb back down to safety, just as Bex and I arrived in the nick of time.

‘Good. Now don’t worry. We don’t mean any harm to you,’ Tom continued. ‘We’re just gonna take you to hospital.’

From a distance, Tracy’s ghost watched us. She, too, had tears in her eyes as she looked on.