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Thriller Suspense Drama

Leanne Cooper found herself in need of fresh air. It wasn’t easy living with a Dementia sufferer, especially when that person was your husband of thirty years. He had been diagnosed at Fifty Three, just over two years ago. It had hit them both really hard. Leanne knew that her fiftieth birthday was only a week away, but what did she have to celebrate? Her husband, Victor, still remembered her. He would have bad days where he would be lost in his own confusion, but it would get worse. She knew the day would come where he would forget her altogether. She didn’t want to have to prepare herself for that. Dementia was something that they hadn’t even thought about. They knew that it existed and that it would more than likely affect somebody in their lives at some point, but why Victor and why now? All Leanne kept thinking was why did it have to strike him now? Most dementia sufferers are elderly, aren’t they? Their happy marriage could have blossomed for another thirty years at least, and Leanne felt as though she had been robbed. 

That is why Leanne needed fresh air. She needed to clear her head. Living in a seaside town was good for that though, and she just so happened to live in one of the most beautiful seaside towns in North Wales. There was a row of benches on the seafront. She loved to sit there and clear her mind, that was what she was doing on that day. That was where she was when she saw a murder taking place. 

There was only one bench on the seafront that you could actually see the beach from. All the others had had their sea view blocked by a stone wall. It just so happened though that the bench that Leanne picked was in the centre of the wall adjacent to where the wall opened up into stone stairs which lead down to the beach. That was the only bench that Leanne ever picked. She loved the sea view, and she loved to watch the sunset. Today she was too early for sunset though, it was early afternoon. It was a warm day, and there was a slight breeze. Perfect beach weather. After a few minutes Leanne noticed a young woman walking on the beach. 

Leanne always remembered that the lady wore a long pink dress, and that her hair was shoulder length, black with a solitary pink streak on the right side. The Pink Lady, Leanne called her. She looked young too, late twenties, Leanne thought. Leanne wished she could be that age again. Back then Leanne didn't have a care in the world, but the same didn't appear to be true for this woman. She looked as though she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her face was down and she was pacing. First left, then right. Forwards then back. Leanne thought about approaching her to ask if she was alright, but decided against it. She wasn't exactly the queen of happy thoughts herself. 

Only a matter of seconds passed, and the pink lady headed forward again. Suddenly a man appeared behind her. Where had he come from? Leanne didn't see him walk from any direction to arrive at that point. It was almost as if he had just appeared before her very eyes. He was a stern looking man, a large, bulky, body builder type. He was bald with a tattoo on the side of his head just above his ear. It was the image of a skull on fire. He wore a tight short sleeved white shirt and brown khaki shorts. Leanne noticed that his arms were tattooed too. They seemed to be tribal tattoos, but she couldn’t definitively say what designs they were. The way this man looked, and his demeanour told Leanne this man meant trouble. Was it just a cliche, though? This man looked like trouble, and so he must be? Was she really that judgemental? Not as a rule, no. Usually Leanne would be the last to judge a book by its cover, but something deep inside told her that with every fibre of her being she should not trust this man. Her instincts were spot on. 

The pink lady was almost at the steps. The man had been as far back as the ocean's edge when he started to follow her. Had she noticed? Leanne didn't think so. He started at a steady pace, slowly speeding up until suddenly, his stern expression morphed into one of rage, and he leaped forward like a rugby player who couldn't accept defeat. Leanne called out to warn her, but the pink lady did not look up. 

He charged into the back of her. She screamed out of surprise and fell to the ground, facing up. He crouched, his face became a neighbour to hers. He grinned, but there was no happiness there, only sadistic pleasure. That was when he pulled out the knife. He came at the pink lady from behind, throwing his arm around her neck, and then brought his other arm around, and stabbed her in the chest. 

Leanne froze. She was terrified. She wanted to help the pink lady, but she feared for her own life. She also wanted to run, run home to her husband, to her husband who wouldn’t even recognise her, her husband who wouldn’t even remember if she told him what she had witnessed. She envied him; she wished that she could forget it too. Leanne could not see the pink lady now, but she could see that the man was still crouched in front of her. He had adjusted his position slightly; he had his back to the stone steps. there was blood on the sand, and there was a lot. The man still had his back to Leanne, and she wanted to keep it that way. She ran. 

Leanne was still in shock when she got home ten minutes later. She felt guilty for leaving the pink lady defenseless with that monster, but she suspected it may have already been too late to save her. She also knew that, had she intervened, she would have met a similar fate. The only thing she could do for the pink lady was to call the police. She was still shaking when she made the call, but she forced herself to speak. 

The crime was reported, and Leanne was given a case number. She was informed that the Investigations management unit would investigate the scene of the crime, and determine if there is any evidence to build a case on, if there is then it will be passed on to the detectives. Leanne was then thanked for reporting the crime, and informed that she would be contacted in due course. 

Four days passed, Leanne hadn’t heard a thing. She thought about walking past the beach to see how the investigation was going, but she knew that the officers wouldn’t let her get close. On the other side of things, she really didn’t want to go back to that beach. What she had seen had traumatised her. She didn’t think she would ever go to that spot again. 

Brenda Dowd called round to Leanne’s house an hour later. She was a police officer in the local constabulary, but she was also very good friends with Leanne. She started with the pleasantries; asking how Leanne was, asking how Victor was, asking how she was coping. They discussed these topics over coffee. When Brenda reached the bottom of her coffee, she took a deep breath and got down to business. 

“This is off the record, Leanne, but Fletch is worried about you.”

Brenda was referring to her superior officer; Detective Inspector Malcolm Fletcher.

“About me? Why? Because of what I saw? I’ll be fine,” Leanne said unconvincingly.

“The case is closed, there was no evidence at the beach.” 

“WHAT?!” Leanne screamed at Brenda. “That’s ludicrous.”

“There was nobody, no blood stains, no footprints, no DNA, nothing.”

“He must have moved the body!”

“In broad daylight? And the blood that you say dripped onto the sand too?”

“He must have hidden all the evidence. Some criminals do that, don’t they?”

“That is possible, but how about his footprints?, not so easy to remove those.”

Lauren didn’t like where this was going, this made little sense.

“What are you suggesting, Brenda?”

“Listen, you’ve got a lot going on at home, I get that and I’m always here if....”

“You think I imagined it!” 

“I’m here if you need me to help lighten the load, anytime.”

“I DIDN’T IMAGINE SEEING A YOUNG WOMAN MURDERED ON THE BEACH!”

“I don’t know what you saw, but there is no evidence; nothing to go on.”

“What now, then?”

“Like I said, the case is closed, but the description of the man you saw is on file. If you see him again, please get in touch.”

There was an awkward silence for a while before Brenda realised she had outstayed her welcome. She was worried about Leanne, she knew that she had a lot on her plate, she was worried about her mental health; even more so now. She hoped she hadn’t lost a friend over this. Being a police officer had more negative side effects than she would like to admit. 

Brenda felt bad for the way she had spoken to Leanne. She was just doing her job, but she couldn’t help feeling as though she had written off her friend’s version of events too soon. There was no evidence though, and as a police officer you worked with the evidence. No evidence means no case, there is no alternative. What else could she, Brenda, do? Technically nothing, but WPC Dowd could do some research. 

Brenda Dowd, you are playing a risky game, she told herself. This was a closed case, yet she was investigating it off the record. She knew that if Fletch caught her, she would be in the doghouse. She had to try, though, for Leanne. She had looked over the reports. The description of the man she had seen was very specific, and yet there were no men like him on file. That didn’t mean he wasn’t there; that just meant he didn’t have a record. The other thing was that the description of the murdered woman, the one Leanne called the pink lady, didn’t match anyone who had been reported missing. If she had been murdered four days prior; logic predicts she would have been reported missing by now. Maybe she was all alone with no friends or family, but again that didn’t seem likely. It looked like Leanne had imagined the whole thing, and that worried Brenda a lot. 

There was never a woman reported missing in North Wales that matched the description of the pink lady; nor was there another sighting of the stern man who supposedly murdered her. Brenda eventually forgot about the incident altogether. Not Leanne though, she couldn’t get that man’s face out of her mind. 

The day after Leanne’s sighting at the beach, something happened that nobody in North Wales would have been aware of. In Los Angeles, California, a lady called Kathleen Miller was reported missing by her sister, Denise. Her lifeless body was found on the beach close to her home. She was wearing a pink dress, and she had shoulder length black hair with one solitary streak on the right-hand side. The DNA Gathered lead the police to Kathleen’s fiancé, Steve Fenton. Denise wouldn’t believe it was him. She said he thought the world of Kathleen. They had met at the gym, she had been a novice in the fitness world, and he had shown her the ropes. He was always in there, bulking up and lifting weights. He was a bald, serious looking man with a tattoo on the side of his head just above his ear. I get the feeling though, that you knew I was going to say that. 

November 12, 2020 21:28

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