Content warning: This story contains depiction of rape and murder. Please proceed with caution if these are apt to cause distress.
This is part 13 of the Fiction Relay hosted on Sex Matters by May More.
The previous episode (12) can be found here.
Summary – To catch up with the whole story so far first read this over on Posy’s site. And then check out the narrative in italics below…
After Pete leaves, Carla goes to meet Ken Blake and is angry when he doesn’t show. She thinks it is just another one of his mind games and ways of keeping a hold over her, as he has since she was a pre-teen — their relationship had been dark from the get-go. On her way home, she bumps into Bill and after looking at the evidence he has hoarded all these years, encourages him to go to the police as he had been intending.
Steve does not recover from his injuries following the head trauma sustained from his fight with Yarnold, and dies once the life support is withdrawn.
Bill insists on speaking with Detective Walker, where he reveals the 2 flight tickets to Oslo, dated for 8 days after her murder, that he’d found in the alley behind Susie’s house on the day of her murder. One with the name of Susie clearly marked, the other has been partially destroyed by the elements and only the ‘mr’ part of the name is visible.
Walker contacts the airline and discovers the names of the passengers, and it’s not two, but three passengers; Susan Edwards, Elenor Wilson and Peter Wilson.
As Ellie is leaving the hospital following the death of Steve, Sergeant Pinting asks her to come to the station to make a statement
Detective Walker learns that another set of prints is on the gun that killed Ken Blake as well as the fact that Sonia actually bought the tickets in an attempt to get Susie out of town. Ellie leaves the police station and meets Dave. After talking, they head to the apartment to see if Yarnold is dead, unaware they are being followed.
Carla tries Ellie’s phone number again. Goes straight to voice mail and she ends the call without leaving a message. Fuck! Where could she be?
Pacing, she goes back through the past few days. Fortune had really been on her side when Ellie decided to develop that film. What had Steve been doing there? Carla knew that it wasn’t to see Susie, but what had he seen? And if he had seen something, why did he never come forward?
The loss of her friend had devastated Ellie. It made her unwilling to make connections and kept her under Carla’s control. Until Steve. Carla vaguely remembered him from that summer. He had been friends with Pete, but he was a bit of a blur. She had been so focused on Ken and their trio that nothing else had really mattered.
Of course, it was all about Susie. Always. She was the one who was the center of attention. Ellie, Carla and Susie might have been friends, but Ellie was best friends with Susie. Carla could have fallen off the planet and nothing in Ellie’s life would have changed. But when Susie was gone? The world ended.
And Ken. Carla might have been trying hardest, but Susie was the one he really wanted. Why else would he have sent her away so they could be alone? She thought of the pair of pink panties stuffed into the back of the drawer—a reminder of that night. That she was second best in his eyes.
And yet. She had saved him that night.
Ken turned to Carla. “It’s time for you to go. Susie and I need some quality alone time.”
Carla felt her face flush. She looked at him. “But, we were having fun together…”
“And now we’re done with you. Go on.”
Humiliated, Carla looked down at Susie. The blood was starting to dry and turn brown. Susie’s eyes were open, but dazed. The blood on Carla’s body was starting to get sticky and her clothes were clinging. Of course, Susie’s body would win. Just look at her. She was turning into a woman while Carla was still shaped like a girl.
Carla turned and walked away. She had planned on going home. Where else would she go? There was a good chance that the blood was visible through her thin top. But, something, rage mixed with jealousy, made her stay just beyond view.
Ken stroked Susie and Carla could hear him talking softly to her. She looked scared, but rough play had always been part of their games. He hadn’t meant to push her that hard so that she hit her head on the rock. It had just been passion. The kind Susie stoked in his soul. The kind that Carla wanted for herself.
But he wasn’t enough for Susie. Carla knew there were others. She had everything that Carla wanted and still tried for more. Ken deserved everything. Carla knew that and wanted to be the one to give it to him.
She started to turn away unable to watch, but a noise made her turn back. Susie was trying to get up and leave. Ken’s face changed from worship to fury and he pushed her down. Climbing on top, she watched him take her. When he was finished, he took off the condom and tossed it to the side. He put his hands around Susie’s throat and Carla watched as the life drained out of her friend.
Ken stood up, took the panties and sniffed them reverently. And put them in his pocket as he left her there.
In shock, Carla started shaking. What had he done? Slowly, her brain started firing and she realized that Ken could be hers. No more Susie. Unless Susie got him one last time even in death.
Carla realized that she could save him. No one at home would miss her for hours. So, Carla cleaned up the area. She threw Susie’s clothes into the river and washed her body with river water. The bloody rock was tossed into the river and the condom was removed. That would be disposed of somewhere away from the scene.
Looking around, she was satisfied. Ken was safe. And Susie was out of the picture.
The unmarked car continues to follow Ellie while sending back updates to Detective Walker. He looks at a map trying to figure out where they could be headed. His phone rings and he absentmindedly answers. “Walker.”
“We got a hit on the other set of prints on the gun. His name is Jim Yarnold. He has a reputation for being a hired gun, but so far we’ve never been able to pin more than a petty crime on him. But…” the Chief pauses dramatically.
“Yes?” Walker is trying to put all of the pieces together. Ken Blake and Steve Marchant and a hitman?
“Dave Edwards called Yarnold and left a message.”
Walker hadn’t seen that one coming. And now Ellie and Dave were in a car together heading south. It was time to find out what connected these two 11 years after Susie’s death.
Dave looks at Ellie as she drives. He is feeling guilty about arranging for Steve’s death based on the word of a virtual stranger. Yes, Susie and Ellie had been best friends 11 years ago, but who was she really now?
“What made you so certain that Steve had killed Susie?”
“I took pictures on the day she was killed. They were just us goofing around, but I just could never get them developed. Steve and I were getting married and I thought it was time to close up the old memories. And it was the anniversary so I had them developed on a whim. He’s standing in the trees watching us in one of the last ones. The photo is in the flat unless Steve or Yarnold took it.”
As they pull into the parking lot, Ellie sees Steve’s car is still there. He had driven the BMW home so maybe that means Yarnold is still inside. Maybe they can still get away with this.
They go inside and the smell of blood is heavy in the air. It’s dark and Ellie uses her phone to light their way. As she glances at it, she notices several missed calls from Carla. Those will just have to wait. They have limited time before someone wants to view one of these flats and police will be all over the area.
There are blood spots and footprints leading outside. As they turn the corner, the smell is stronger. But no dead body, just the photo. She reaches over to pick it up and Dave takes it from her. “This is it?”
She nods. Turning, she sees Dave turn even whiter. “It can’t be….” he mumbles. “Sonia…never told me…no…”
Just as she begins to ask what he means, a bright light floods the room.
“Stay right where you are. The detective is going to be here shortly and he’s going to have a lot of questions.”
Carla tries Ellie again. Something is wrong. She tries to call Ken and a strange voice answers the phone. She hangs up quickly, her heart pounding.
“Maybe he lost his phone,” she whispers, knowing the chances aren’t good, but hoping against hope. She looks up the number for the newspaper and dials.
“May I speak to Ken Blake, please?” Carla asks when her call is answered.
“One moment please.” Listening to the hold music, she relaxes a bit. Just a false alarm.
When the line is picked up, Carla hears, “Hello, this is Ken Blake’s editor. How can I help you?”
Stuttering a bit, Carla says that she needs to speak to Ken only. There is a short silence and then, “That won’t be possible. Ken was murdered last night.”
The phone drops from her hand as Carla sinks to the floor. Why? And more importantly, what information had Ken kept on her?
The baton has been passed to The Barefoot Sub.