Part 1 – Smile For The Camera by May More
Part 2 – Up North by Cousin Pons
Part 3 – Detective Walker by Sweet Girl
Part 4 by Eve Ray
What’s happened so far…
In the summer of 1995, Susie was murdered at the age of 12 years old. Her best friend Ellie, who was 11 years old at the time, discovers an undeveloped roll of film from the day of Susie’s murder. When she develops the film, she is shocked to see Steve in the background of one of the photos.
Susie’s parents eventually split as they had trouble coping with the tragedy. The case was never solved and the police suspended the matter. It didn’t sit well with Detective Walker and now being near retirement, he needed to try to close this unsolved murder. After reviewing the pathologist report, he discovered there were two attackers.
In Part Four, we learn about Ellie’s relationship with Steve and her reaction to seeing him in the photograph with Susie. Needing to process what she’s seen, she takes off to stay with a friend. At the end of Part Four, Steve is showing Mr. Yarnold a flat when he is attacked by someone wearing a red dress and red heels.
THE ORIGINS OF STEVE
My world went black. Suddenly, it was like I was watching a movie of my life. I was taken back to the first time I saw her.
I had come to visit dad in Ripley in the summer of 1995. He had moved to Ripley in 1981 to work for the police department so when I was about 2 years old, he left me to be raised by my grandparents. He was never one to try to move up the ranks, but more so stuck to the patrol side of the side.
I never really knew my mom. Dad never wanted to talk about her and Nana Joan seemed to hate anytime I asked about my mom. All she would say is, “She just couldn’t keep her legs closed. Left her own child for a frolic at work.”
Every summer, I would visit my dad. It meant the world to me. That summer, I was helping dad clean out the attic when I came across a picture. It was dad and a woman carrying a baby. I turned the photo over and saw the year 1979.
“1979? I was born in 1979. Could this be my mother?”
“Steve! Are you here?”
I quickly threw the picture back into the dusty box. “Hey dad, I’m in the attic!”
“What are you doing up here?”
“Cleaning like you asked me too.”
“Ah yes, that’s right. Well I have to go back out for a bit. I’ll see you later tonight.”
He had just come home from work to tell me he was going out again. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence as it seemed like this all summer.
I decided to go out as well and ran into one of the guys I play football with when I come to visit dad.
“It’s Pete, isn’t it?”
“Oh Steve! Can’t believe it’s been a whole year!”
“Is there a game I can join in on today?”
“As a matter of fact, I was just headed one.”
I head to the game with Pete just beyond the treeline. The game lasted until about 3:45. Pete had taken off so I started to head home. I heard some chattering in the field so I walked over and amongst the trees. It was then that I saw her.
She looked just like the girl in the photograph.
“C’mon Susie who is it? Dan?”
Who is Susie and why does she look like the girl in the photo with dad?
“Give over Ells. Can’t tell you. Even my mum doesn’t know. It’s a secret. Right? He’ll be here in a minute so you better scoot.”
My attention turned to the girl who was with her. She appeared to be younger. She took a few more pictures of Susie before she ran off.
I considered introducing myself as I really wanted to know who she was. Then I heard a boy’s voice. “Hey Sus! Ready to go?”
I couldn’t see him clearly as the sun had shifted and was now in my eyes. But I remember her walking off with him. I don’t know where they went.
When I got home, dad was still out. I wonder where he went. By 11, I was tired so I went to bed.
I woke up and found dad passed out on the couch. It was clear he had been drinking, but it was also evident that he was with a woman. Lipstick stains were all over his white collared shirt and his hair appeared to be a mess.
I picked up his belongings that were thrown across the room. When I went to pick up his jacket, a note fell out of his pocket.
“Dearest Dan – I made a mistake. Please take me back. Love, S.”
Who is S? Wait didn’t that girl mention Dan? No! My dad couldn’t be the one she was going to see. S can’t be for Susie. Where was dad last night? What time did he even come home? Whose lipstick is all over his shirt?
Dad woke up for work. When he was dressed in his uniform, a concerned look formed on his face as he was walking out the door.
“Heading to work?”
“Uh yeah. Hey, um have you met the girl up the road, Susie’s her name?”
“I ran into her mom, Sonia, last night and she said Susie never made it home for supper.”
A few days had passed and every night was the same thing. Dad would go out and come home well after I had gone to sleep. I’d wake up and find him passed out on the couch with more lipstick stains on his shirts. I would pick up his mess every morning.
The morning everything changed, I found another note in his pocket.
“Dan – Please let me see you again tomorrow night. Love, S.”
Another note from this mysterious S. Was it Susie? Was it Sonia? Why do I feel as though this whole town is keeping secrets?
I was left there with so many questions when the telephone rang. Dad awoke from his sleep immediately and sprung up to answer the telephone.
“Marchant residence,” dad said groggily.
“Yes, yes, this is Officer Marchant.”
Dad was pacing the floor. I swear if the telephone didn’t have a cord attached to it, he’d pace right out the door. I couldn’t tell who was on the other end of the phone or what was being said to dad.
“Yes, I know where that is. I can be there in ten minutes.”
Dad rushed to put his shoes on and was dashing out the door. It seemed as though he was scared, but I couldn’t tell why.
“Where are you going?”
“It’s Susie! One of the boys said he thinks he found Susie!”
Dad left and when he came back that night, something was different about him. Something was off.
The next morning, the news had spread around town that Susie’s body was found near the field I saw her in. They were looking for the person who killed her. Dad ended my visit early that summer and sent me back to my grandparents.
The following summer, I came back for a visit, but dad wasn’t around at all. If he wasn’t working, he was staring down the neck of an empty beer bottle. The summer of 1995 had changed him. I never got the answers to my questions.
I finally come to and I’m startled as I must have blocked these memories out of my head. I look up and see Mr. Yarnold and to his right is a woman in a red dress and red heels. My eyes travel up her body and land on her face.
Startled at the sight.
I have passed the baton to Elliott Henry. Click here to stay updated on how the story unfolds.
Featured image by Roman Kraft on Unsplash