False Rumors: Chapter Four

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 shock. Her headstone had been vandalized by a bunch of angry 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 said 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 Rumors: 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 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 – she had even stopped speaking to me and Vanessa!

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.

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 become a full-blown alcoholic. While driving under the influence, she ran over her female neighbour’s dog – killing it! She killed the neighbour, Katherine, also. She had been the same age as Tracy.

Having realized what she had done after she had sobered up – 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 not been found till 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. 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.


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…


“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 accident. Somehow, he knew that Tracy was responsible for Katherine’s death. At least that would explain his unusually 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. He had told her to 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 now we know why she went ahead with it.”

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


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,” Christopher yelled in a rage. “She killed herself because you drove her to suicide! My sister is dead because of you! And I was extremely close to her!”

“Who the hell told you that I drove her to suicide? I wouldn’t 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 Two

Tracy’s former colleague Paul becomes a person of interest as he was one of the last people to see her alive just before her disappearance; there is a likely 50-50 chance he might have driven her to suicide  When the local investigators question him he is more than hostile and uncooperative. The detectives just assume he is unable to come to terms with Tracy’s apparent suicide and is not coping at all well with her death. But they have no idea that there is more to it than meets the eye…



Police officers Kate and Tony, partners in the Merseyside Police force, visited Tracy’s former colleague Paul Jacobs, just a few weeks after her funeral. He had been one of the few people to last see her alive, according to one of her family members.

When the detectives knocked on Paul’s door, he wasn’t in the best of moods. “What are you doing here?” he asked in an unfriendly tone.

“Mr. Jacobs,” Tony announced. “We need to speak with you about Miss Preston.”

Without asking for Paul’s permission, they let themselves inside the house.

“Whatever it is you need to discuss, just save it, okay?” Paul snapped. “I really don’t want to see anyone right now.”

“We totally understand that you are still grieving,” Kate said. “And we don’t expect you to feel like speaking to anybody or having any visitors. But this is extremely important.”

“What is so important about it that you can’t bombard someone else with your twenty-one questions?”

Very difficult and rather disagreeable man, Kate thought. During her years as a police detective, she had never been forced to deal with such uncooperative people before. It had been made clear that Paul was extremely bitter about Tracy’s death. We were all saddened. But any sadness he had ever felt seemed to have been somewhat replaced – and worsened – by anger.

“As soon after we are done talking to you, then I promise we will leave you alone,” she said.

“How close were you to Miss Preston?” Tony asked. “And when was the last time you heard from her?”

Paul just looked at them as though he couldn’t believe what they were asking.

“She had severed all ties with everyone and had stopped speaking to us before she finally disappeared.”

So Tracy had disappeared on her own accord, it seemed. But why in hell’s name would she have done that?

“She just took off and vanished permanently, without any warning. She had been gone without a trace for eight whole months. Nobody ever saw or heard from her again. Nobody even mentioned her name or heard it come up. The only time we would ever hear her name again was for the final time – only to learn that she was dead.”

“We are really very sorry for your loss,” Kate said. “It is sad for anybody to die in such a horrific manner, especially after having been missing for such a long time.”

“Well, she made the cowardly decision to end her own life,” Paul said angrily. “Nobody else is to blame for her suicide. Only she is.”

“Fair enough, if that is how you look at it. That is fine. And I don’t blame you for feeling hurt.”

Why was Paul saying all of those things? Obviously, Tracy had been depressed for a long time and had needed help. She had had no intention of hurting any of the people in her life by leaving them behind.

“Listen, her family and friends are the ones you should be speaking to about this, not me.”


Elsewhere, Natasha decides to do her own probing into Tracy’s family history of depression, which may have caused Tracy to tragically end her own life. But when she turns to the Suicide Investigation Centre in order to find answers, Natasha is not prepared for the very disturbing details about her deceased friend…




Meanwhile, I had submitted Tracy’s profile on the Faces of Suicide website, including her date of death and a recent photo of her with a short remembrance message. The local detectives had provided us with information on identifying Tracy’s body after it had been found. They had then told me and my friends how sorry they were. I was in so much pain and sorrow, but appreciated their condolences.

Prior to her death, Tracy had disappeared, and her profile had been advertised on The Missing People Helpline. Soon, the final days of her life would have decreased to hours. By then she would have left a suicide note. But the major problem was that nobody knew where or when.

Tracy hadn’t close to everybody in particular, but those who knew her best knew that she wouldn’t have disappeared like that, no matter how depressed she was or how much her whole life was going downhill. Maybe she had been driven away by someone. According to Anna, Tracy had complained about being constantly harassed by one of the men at our workplace, possibly Paul. Neither she nor Paul got on at all well with each other, and I could tell she hadn’t liked him because she had been suspicious of him. I wouldn’t put it past him, as I didn’t like him myself either, but I had my own reasons. After all, Paul had a history of being unpleasant towards the rest of us (especially when heavily drunk).

If only Tracy’s friends and family had known her last whereabouts, I thought. Then maybe they could have stopped her from taking her own life and therefore they could have saved her.

The one unanswered question on everybody’s mind was why Tracy killed herself. What reason did she have for not wanting to be alive anymore? She must have had more than one reason. What if one or two of the people in her life had been one of those many reasons?  Obviously, her suicide had been caused by somebody else. Now her blood would be on the other person’s hands for the rest of their life, and they would have to live with that conscience.

Vanessa O’Hara, another close friend of mine who was also my supervisor, had suggested we use the fax machine at her apartment. Maybe we could retrieve some further answers from the Suicide Investigation Centre.

I typed up a document-sized letter addressed to the S.I.C about Tracy’s disappearance. I filled in details about her low mental state, how long she had been missing, and when her body had been discovered and how she had died. Finally, I finished with the question on why she had committed suicide. Nobody knew how or why. Unfortunately, The S.I.C was the only available source and last resort.

When they faxed the answers back to me, my heart dropped completely. I was overcome with devastation.


False Rumors: Chapter One

bookstore in liverpoolThe moment I noticed the glum expressions on my fellow colleagues’ faces, I had an unpleasant feeling something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t hear anything due to my hereditary disability. But at least I had Kelly – one of my female colleagues – as my guide. I could also read and interpret her sign language gestures.

“I take it you all heard what happened to Tracy,” Nigel, one of my male colleagues said as someone was stacking the bookshelves. Nigel was facing my direction so that I could also lip-read what he was saying.  

“They just found her body in the river,” Anna, one of my other female colleagues said sorrowfully. “The police reckon she might have drowned. Horrible.”  

The name Tracy immediately rang a bell. I had attended university with her before we both started working at the same bookstore, not long before her disappearance. Now she was dead at the young age of only twenty-nine, apparently killed by her own hands.

“I already knew she was depressed and troubled,” Anna said. “But I never thought she would do the unthinkable.”

“Tragic end, if you ask me,” Nigel said in a wistful tone.

“Did she have a family?” another young woman asked.

“If you mean ‘family’ as in a husband and children then I highly doubt it,” Anna said. “Probably not.”

“That is extremely sad, the poor girl,” the other young woman said. “What made her do it anyway?”

“That is what they’re trying to find out.”


False Rumors: Brief Novel Description

Set in the heart of Merseyside, England, this Desperate Housewives-style British mystery thriller centers around Natasha Williams (see pic below), a young deaf woman with high intelligence who is a former university student, as she tries to solve the tragic suicide of one of her friends. As she digs deep into the investigation, Natasha learns – much to her horror – the disturbing real reason why Tracy Preston killed herself.  

Natasha Williams

A few months before she dies, Tracy (see other pic further below), who is also Natasha’s bookstore colleague and former university classmate goes missing as a result of severe depression and is never seen again. Unfortunately for Natasha, she cannot speak verbally, and nobody else is fluent in sign language.  Can she achieve the impossible in solving the mystery behind Tracy’s death/alleged suicide?

Tracy Preston



Paul Jacobs           Michael Adams

Natasha’s other bookstore colleague unlikable Paul Jacobs (left) – known for his antisocial behaviour and anger issues – eventually becomes a person of interest. As does Tracy’s ex-boyfriend Michael Adams (right), who is a reformed drug dealer – but then he too suddenly disappears after being overcome with grief and guilt.

Neither Paul nor Michael are responsible for driving Tracy to commit suicide after all. But to everyone’s shock, there is an unlikely third person who is