False Rumors: Chapter Seven

Meanwhile, Vanessa, Anna, and Nigel were outside the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral where their search party gathering was being held. Some of their other friends were there too, along with a few community members.

“What we need to do is have some of us go one direction and the rest of us go separately,” one young lady suggested

“But then how will any of us know where he went?” another young lady asked.

“That’s the major problem,” Vanessa pointed out. “Nobody knows his current whereabouts.”

“Well come on, then,” Anna said. “What are we waiting for? There’s no more time to lose.”

“You’re right. We need to get a move on.”

 

 

Local female police detectives Angela and Kate arrived at the antique shop to question Tiffany Mitchell, Rebecca’s store partner and best friend, about what she knew about Michael’s disappearance. “Have you heard about the disappearance of Michael Adams?”

“Michael Adams?” Tiffany wondered. “Who’s that?

Angela handed her a recent photo of Mike. “Now does that ring a bell?”

“Not really,” Tiffany admitted. “But Bex did mention something to someone about this bloke having vanished just a while after his ex-girlfriend topped herself. I had no idea this was the same guy.”

Angela looked satisfied. “Thanks for your help, anyway.”

The two policewomen shook hands with Tiffany before departing.

 

 

To me, Queen Square looked and felt unfamiliar, as I didn’t often travel around. But when she was alive, Tracy had once mentioned something to us about Queen Square being one of her favourite spots, because she enjoyed the fragrance-like aroma to it. Tracy had absolutely loved fragrances and perfumes, and had countless collections of them. Likewise, she hated anything that stunk or had too much of a strong and unpleasant smell.

Queen Square was where Mike and Tracy first bumped into each other whilst they were both visiting nearby galleries and museums whilst on high school trips with their respective Year Eleven and Year Nine classes. They were teenage students back then; Mike had just turned sixteen, and Tracy was fourteen. This had been their favourite spot ever since. Sometimes, Trace would meet up with Mike at Queen Square, or they would head off there together on a few dates. Maybe Mike was somewhere in mainland Queen Square Gardens. Maybe he was hanging around there reminiscing the short time they had together.

We saw a young Asian man somewhere in-between his late twenties and early thirties sitting at the park bench, reading a Sunday Times magazine. Because of our previous encounter with the unfriendly girl at the bus stop, we hesitated before approaching him. But surely, not everybody we came across was rude.

This was one of the many reasons why I wished I could speak up, rather than have to rely on sign language. But at least I had Bex as an ally.

“Excuse me,” she said. “We’re looking for a close friend.”

The young man turned around to face us. This young gentleman didn’t appear to be mean. As a matter of fact, his manners were a lot better than that bitchy fat slag’s.

“Hi there,” he said. I suppose you’re referring to Mike.”

Rebecca was surprised. “How did you know?”

The young Indian gentleman smiled sadly. “He came to me yesterday, in fact. Told me he still hadn’t gotten over her, and that he never would. I could tell he was overcome with extreme grief, poor sod.”

I watched carefully as they talked about Mike. “What do you suppose has happened to him?” Rebecca asked.

“He’s still alive, if that’s what you’re wondering. But he’s not in a very good state at the moment.”

My heart sank. Paul said that Mike should go and join Tracy and reunite with her in death if he missed her that much. What if he had gone to the same place where she killed herself and was planning to end his own life in the exact same horrific way?

I turned to to Bex.  “He’s gone over to the River Thames,” I explained to her in sign language. “He’s going to kill himself, just as Tracy killed herself. I know, because that was where her body and car were found.”

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The Last Orphan: Stolen Identity Book 1 : Brief Novel Description

Inspired by the Canadian thriller series Orphan Black, a young British woman by the name of Samantha Branning discovers that she is one of several identical women who are clones. They are “someone’s experiment” (as described by Alison Hendricks), each of them being killed off one by one.

Samantha unexpectedly finds herself being dragged into a hidden life-long conspiracy of illegal human cloning.  Not to mention the fact that there is a secret satanic cult – run by so-called religious leaders known as Proletheans – who are after her and her loved ones.

 

 

Samantha Branning: The main protagonist and a self-described British female con artist/hustler.

Appearance: Sam starts off described as dressed in a somewhat tarty manner, her original outfit consisting of a curvy and skimpy mini dress (similar to that of Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men, except an urban street version), and black high heeled peep toe pumps; her long black hair is done in a punky french plait. However, her dressing style changes when she assumes the identity of Claire Richards after witnessing Claire’s suicide

Trait: High risk-taking behaviours and increased function in dangerous situations

 

 

 

 

Claire Richards: A mentally damaged policewoman with emotional and psychological scars; one of Samantha Branning’s clones and the first Samantha comes across at the beginning of the first novel. As her life abruptly ends by suicide, Samantha’s life changes forever

Appearance: Claire’s outfit is a woman’s tuxedo, consisting of a white shirt blouse and black trousers with satin stripes; she is wearing an evening jacket also, but she removes it along with her shoes before jumping to her untimely death in front of an oncoming train

Trait: Depression and suicide, mainly resulting from childhood trauma (especially childhood abuse) and also present PTSD; sadly her troubled background and her connection with Bonnie Chen (one of the Proletheans) have yet to be delved into, as they are the possible reasons for Claire taking her own life

 

 

Alison Hendricks: An angry housewife who loses her rag very easily over the slightest matters, but who is very devoted to her husband and adopted children. She is also loyal to her clone sisters

Appearance: Alison has reddish brown hair and a fringe; her hair is usually held back in a sports headband. She dresses in sportsgear when working as a high school football coach; otherwise her everyday outfits consist of suburban-style clothing

Trait: Anxiety and paranoia not to mention chronic social stress; her heavy chain-smoking and daily alcohol consumption are thought to be brought on by these

 

Melissa Niehaus: A French-Canadian university student and science expert who is of high intelligence

Appearance: Melissa is one of only few clones who wears glasses due to her hereditary poor eyesight she has suffered from since birth; she wears her long dark brown hair in a french braided ponytail

Trait: Myopia (short-sightedness) due to various environmental factors; she is also battling a respiratory illness (this medical condition is common in female clones).

 

Helena: batshit crazy Russian-Ukrainian clone killer who has been brainwashed into believing she is the original

Appearance: frizzy dark-blonde hair with brunette roots due to decreased expression of melanin; failure for light hair to darken is possibly a result of extremely low exposure to UV radiation through puberty

Trait: High pain threshold; enjoyment in inflicting physical pain whether on herself or on others

 

 

 

 

 

False Rumors: Chapter Six

Rebecca was struggling trying to read the local bus timetable. “What are these bleeding numbers supposed to mean?”

I could totally understand Bex’s frustration. If I had this much trouble coping with my deafness, how was she able to cope with her dyslexia?

We saw a moody young woman passing by who was close to our age, and she had frizzled out dirty blonde hair. She was overweight and she carried herself rather aggressively, glaring at us as she stormed past us. “What the fuck are you looking at?” she snarled. “Fucking special needs retarded bitches.”

Rebecca found the courage to hit back. “What in hell’s name is your problem with us?”

The angry young woman squared up to Bex. “Looking for trouble, then, are we? Because if you want to pick a fight, then you’ve come across the right person to fight with. Bitch!”

I tugged at Rebecca’s arm as if to tell her to leave it, that this cow wasn’t worth it. Then I saw the bus going. We quickly jumped on. We were both worried and terrified. “How will we even know if this is the right bus?” Rebecca asked.

I shrugged. To our surprise, the bus took the route to Queen Square Gardens. “What are we doing in Queen Square?” Rebecca wondered. “That is all the way in London. This is not where we wanted to go.”

The driver ordered us to get off the bus. “Well hurry up, then. I haven’t got all day.”

“Could you please tell me what that says?” Rebecca asked, referring to the sign at the gate’s entrance.

The bus driver gave her a funny look. “What do you reckon it says?” he replied.

“How should I know?” Bex shrugged. Seeing that I’m dyslexic. That’s why I need you to spell it out.”

“You are joking.” He rolled his eyes, but decided to help her anyway. “It says ‘Queen Square Gardens.’ Does that answer your question?”

“Thanks, anyway,” Rebecca muttered. We both jumped off the bus as quickly as we could.

 

False Rumors: Chapter Five

Following Michael’s disappearance as a result of hurtful rumours about him, Natasha digs up more mystery clues. When she uncovers the actual real reason behind Michael’s mental breakdown, she and Rebecca warn their other mates. They then form an immediate search party as they rush to save him from self-harm

 

Tracy had kept a diary in which she poured out her depression and suicidal thoughts. She had also mentioned in her diary that she felt someone was out to get her. She once told her psychiatrist about this. But one thing she never included was that her drug problem was also spiralling out of control.

I was determined to find out who it was that had been spreading all those vicious rumours about Michael. I let myself inside our computer office, using my own key that had been lent to me.

I discovered the private portfolio folder kept on the top bookshelf. I scanned through the contents and retrieved the copies of documents from the Suicide Investigation Centre. Their latest information stated that it wasn’t Michael behind Tracy’s suicide – but shockingly enough it turned out to be someone else. And that same person was also behind the false rumours about Michael and Tracy.

I had to let my friends know about this and expose the bastard culprit once and for all.

I met up with Rebecca and showed her the documents with the information. We both suggested finding Michael and bringing him back home to safety. And so we set out on our journey.

 

News of Michael’s disappearance immediately began to spread around town. Anna and Vanessa went to confront Paul after speculating about his spiteful behaviour and cruel accusations towards Michael a few days prior.

Anna knocked on Paul’s door. “Paul,” she said. “It’s us. We just want to talk to you.”

When he ignored them and refused to answer the door, Vanessa got extremely angry. “Paul, come out now,” she shouted furiously. “I know you were the last person to see Mike. You might as well admit it.”

Paul finally opened the door ajar. But he kept his distance. “Come to harass me and accuse me of all sorts, have you?!” he said sharply.

“Nobody is harassing you or accusing you of anything,” Anna said. “Now, for Christ sake, just calm down.”

“Oh go away,” Paul snapped. “Piss off, both of you.”

“First of all, you don’t ever tell me or Anna to piss off,” Vanessa said angrily. “Second of all, I’m not leaving until you tell us what you said to Mike that made him take off.”

Paul violently thrust the door open. “What is it that you want to know?” he shouted in a fit of rage.

“Don’t shout at us either!” Vanessa barked.

“Well then leave me the fuck alone. I’ve already been through enough with the fact that I’m fucking grieving because that cocaine-addicted bitch killed Katherine. I don’t need anybody else adding to my grief.”

“In case you didn’t know, nobody is interested in what you’re going through, because you’re not the only person whose life has been turned to shit by grief. Now why don’t you come clean about what happened between you and Mike, and the reason why he took off.”

Paul looked Vanessa in both eyes, his face as hard as granite. “If you want to know what I said to Mike,” he snarled. “I told him if he really loved Tracy and missed her that much – then maybe he should go and join her.”

 

 

Vanessa and Anna drove back to Anna’s apartment. Vanessa was in a fit of rage and seething uncontrollably. “The heartless cruel bastard,” she cried, extremely livid. “How could he have said all those horrible nasty things to Mike’s face, just to make him feel even worse about what happened to Tracy? How dare he?!”

“We’ll have no choice but to file a missing person’s report,” Anna said. “We need to gather up everyone in the neighbourhood that’s available. He can’t have gone far. Mike probably needs time to get away.”

Once inside the house, Anna put the kettle on to make them both some tea. Vanessa scanned through her phone diary, her mobile in her right hand. “What good would it do to file yet another missing person’s report?” Vanessa replied. “It won’t give any of his loved ones any closure. It’s best we form a search party.”

“Why? Nobody will know where to look.”

“Listen, we can’t have Mike end up like Tracy. Otherwise there will be two people dead.”

 

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 these accusations 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. However, 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 implored.

“Why should we?” Nigel replied. “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 began. “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?”

“Tracy’s brother had heard from one of her neighbours 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,” he continued. 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 an unexpectedly horrifying scene awaits them…

The next time we would all visit Tracy’s cremation plot headstone at the Garden Of Remembrance there would be yet another horrific 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 girl 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…

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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 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.

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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,” 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