On Monday morning, Lisa let the dogs out, changed their water bowls and gave them some biscuits. She then let herself out of Sarah’s house still worrying about the whereabouts of her neighbour.
On the way to work she received a call from the policewoman who had interviewed them the day before. She identified herself as Sergeant Jane Palmer. She wanted to ask Lisa some more questions about Sarah and wondered if they could meet later that day. She stressed she had no information on Sarah’s whereabouts.
Lisa was very concerned about Sarah and so she agreed to meet the policewoman during her lunch break. Sergeant Palmer said she would meet Lisa at a coffee shop near where she worked, and after deciding on a place and time, Lisa closed the phone. She immediately called Tom who agreed to be at the meeting with the policewoman.
Lisa couldn’t concentrate on work that morning. She kept returning to the last time she had seen Sarah. It was Friday morning as they walked together to the tube station. Occasionally they would meet and walk to the Tube station together. She would get off at Leicester Square and continue her journey to Covent Garden while Sarah would stay on the Northern Line all the way to Bank Station. There was nothing different about Sarah that morning. She seemed no more stressed about her heavy workload than usual and she joked that she would no doubt bring her work home this weekend.
Lisa was pleased that she worked in one of the boutiques in Covent Garden, that hub that drew locals and tourists alike to the vibrant sector of town. Once she was finished for the day, she could go home and forget about work, not like Sarah who seemed always to have a bulging briefcase with her.
It soon was 12.30pm and Lisa could leave for her appointment with the policewoman at the local Costa just a short walk from the boutique. When she arrived she was pleased to see that Tom was already there talking to the policewoman.
Taking a seat towards the rear of the coffee shop where they could talk, the policewoman introduced herself. She explained that there had been several reports of missing women recently and she wondered whether Sarah’s disappearance was connected to the others. She asked about Sarah’s habits, friends etc and though neither Tom nor Lisa felt they were being helpful the policewoman appeared to be satisfied with their answers.
She asked them was Sarah in the habit of going straight home from work or did she sometimes stop on the way to buy groceries, wine or perhaps call into a bar for a drink. Lisa was able to confirm that Sarah did all three. But she also told the policewoman, Jane Palmer, that it was Sarah’s habit to call into a bar after work on Friday before catching the tube home. She didn’t know the name of the bar but it was very close to where Sarah worked and knowing Sarah, it would be a discreet, small bar without the raucous end of the week gatherings found in many bars on Friday night.
Jane Palmer told them she would make some enquiries to locate the bar and would pass the information she had onto the Missing Persons Bureau in the hope that they might be able to help. She explained that the Bureau is the UK national and international point of contact for all missing person and unidentified body cases. It is the hub for the exchange of information and provides expertise on the subject of missing persons. This made both Tom and Lisa feel that something positive would be done to locate Sarah.co They finished their lunch and the policewoman promised to keep in touch with them. She also asked them to contact her should they think of anything useful, however small.
Sarah arrived at the top of the stairs where she paused to take her bearings. She was in another hallway. To the right she could see the front door but between where she stood and that door there were several more doors. Two of the doors were closed, but a third, closest to the front door, was open and she could hear voices from that room. There was nothing for it but to try to pass that door undetected. As she crept closer she heard Alex Wishart’s voice “Come on in Sarah. We were wondering how long it would take you to escape from the bindings and find your way up to us here.” So there was no escape and nothing for her to do but to enter the room.
“Oh did you think I made a mistake leaving you with only one arm tethered?” he asked her. “I did it knowing you would take the opportunity to escape.”
Sitting with Alex Wishart were a man and a woman, both well past middle age and both looking at her with an eagerness that surprised and worried her. Who were they?” she asked herself.
“Come in and meet my guests, Marjorie and Bert. They’ve been waiting to meet you for ages. By the way they are my parents. You won’t remember them but they remember you.” he said. “And my name isn’t Alex Wishart. My real name is Ronnie Webster. . You may remember me from school. We were in primary school at the same time.
“My sister Maureen was in your class and you were particularly mean to her. You called her names, bullied her and made her life totally unpleasant. In fact you were the reason my parents took her out of school.”
Try as she might, Sarah could not remember this girl from so many years ago.
“Think harder Sarah” he said. “You will recall that everybody wanted to be your friend and you and your little clique decided whose life to make unbearable. Well you succeeded with my sister. In fact, after years of psychotherapy and counselling she eventually took her own life. I bet you didn’t know that did you?”
Sarah was horrified. The thought that she had been in some way responsible for this girl’s suicide overwhelmed her.
“So why am I here? She asked. “What do you want of me?”
“We took you and restrained you so that you could have some idea of the straight jacket into which you put my sister” he responded. “For many years it was as if she were restrained and unable to break free. But you had an opportunity to break free. I gave you that. What did you give my sister?”
By now Sarah was sobbing “I know it’s too late to put matters right, but I’m so very sorry Mr and Mrs Webster. For the pain I caused you and the unhappiness I caused your daughter.
“We never thought that our treatment of her could have resulted in her eventual suicide.”
Now Mrs Webster spoke. “I think you were a small part in creating the situation where Maureen decided to end her life. But we wanted you to know. And yes, for years I have blamed you for her unhappiness. I’m jealous that your mother is able to see you and enjoy time with you. I don’t have that luxury”.
“Oh no” said Sara “My mother doesn’t have that luxury either. Several years ago both my parents were killed in a car crash. I now have only my brother left in my family.
“What do you want me to do now and what are you planning to do with me? She asked.
Alex/Ronnie responded “We know there is nothing you can do about Maureen and we don’t plan to do anything with you. You’re free to go. We just wanted you to experience some of the suffering she did.” With which he stood up, handed her her purse and took her to the front door. “Go!” was all he said
To be continued…..