A few words to the wise before the story begins. All parts of this story are fictional, any resemblance to anything is a coincidence. There are significant amounts of swearing throughout this and other chapters that some may view as offensive. All rights to this story belong to me (Charlie Wright).
Currently wading through a farmer’s field to get on the other side of the track.
“Fuck sake Karen”
Detective Mentis angrily exclaims as he steps in yet another steaming cow pat. An hour ago, he was sat in his favourite thread pulled armchair. Whiskey in one hand and a fag in the other. He was content listening to his usual radio show. Hosted by one of the latest self-righteous know it all youths. The whole show consisted of the host ringing up people to prank them with terrible news. Making people believe that relatives were dead or pets had been run over among other things. The show had already been pulled off air twice. Mentis didn’t know why they kept putting it back on. Maybe there were plenty of others like him. People who liked to listen to it to remind themselves that there are worse people in the world. Either way, Mentis had become accustomed to his 11 pm show. Every evening on the dot. It was something he had begun to look forward to at the end of his shifts. This evening was no different. He had just taken his first warming sip of dark liquid when his phone rang. He tried to ignore it but when it rang the third time he forced his hefty weight out of his chair and over to the other side of the room, grabbing the phone and silencing it with the push of his large sausage finger.
“What!?” He proclaimed to the phone without so much as a hello.
“HELLO! Who is this?!” He hated this infernal contraption. Holding it to his ear caused a sheen of sweat by the time it was removed. He only used it for work but he detested every second that he had to.
“Oh, uh I’m sorry Mentis. I’m so sorry to disturb you I wouldn’t normally….”
It was Karen. He recognized her squelchy voice. It always sounded like she had to clear it but was incapable of doing so Mentis thought to himself. He pictured her jittery hands holding the other end of the line. Pointed nose facing the ceiling. The stench of her three dogs caked on her skin like wearing a dressing gown. She was probably wearing her dressing gown come to think of it. Unless she was still in the office. She often worked late hours.
“I called Erickson but received no answer. I didn’t know who else to call and….”
Erickson was Mentis’s partner when he bothered to turn up for work. Even then it was unpredictable when he did. Would you get Erickson the belligerent drunk or the head up his arse alter ego?
“Get to the point Karen” Mentis interrupts before she can continue her apology.
“There’s been a call from an anonymous source. Miss.Simms has been spotted somewhere along the GreetWood Cliffs. Past the farmers’ fields near there. You may have to….”
Mentis hung up the phone before she could continue rambling on. Shoving his phone in his trouser pocket, he grabs his flashlight from the cabinet on his way out – it’s old and you have to wiggle the batteries to get it to work but it was better than relying on his eyes in the pitch black – in his haste he forgets his jacket. Stepping outside there’s a cold shrill in the air. Mentis is in his beat-up 4×4 and on the trail towards GreetWood cliffs within minutes of receiving the call. Which is how he ended up here stepping through cow pats in the middle of the night illegally crossing a farmer’s field. He did consider waking the farmer but decided he didn’t have time. He’d already stopped to fix his light twice causing stumbles through the excrement. After the day, he’d had it was just the icing on the cake. His day started with an empty coffee pot and the chirping of Stinton in his ear. Classed as a corporal but not rightly so. Mentis had been lumbered with his shadow.
Erickson was supposed to be his mentor but ironically hadn’t bothered turning up that day. The lost shrill would pop up at the end of Mentis’s desk, asking for help on everything from filing a report to chasing up a suspect. Mentis is quite surprised he hasn’t yet been asked to wipe the guy’s arse. He wasn’t a hateful person. The lad was quite likeable, a can-do attitude and he wasn’t one to complain which Mentis appreciated. However, Mentis preferred to keep his head down and get on with things. Something he was unable to do as sufficiently recently with a bird flying around and tweeting in his ears. You may as well have stuck Apples and Cement together and expected them to be a great accompaniment to a refreshing red wine. In an ideal world, Mentis would have a partner much like himself. Committed to the job, wanting a good ending, soft spot for kind folk. But instead he was the logger carrying everyone’s weight in his department, what could he expect though, it was a small-town police department in the middle of nowhere, the case of Miss Simms was the most action he’d seen for a while.
Mentis had been quick to grab the opportunity. It was better than another day of harsh words for rowdy drunkards or babysitting Stinton. Despite his aggravations with his partner and a trying six months. In times like this, it would be suited to have someone by his side. He only wished there would be more comeuppance for his partner’s lack of engagement to his role. Nothing would come from it if it was mentioned though because his dad is the chief and Mentis wasn’t about to make himself an enemy. Mentis is on his own tonight. A preference for him these days.
Nearly at the edge of the field, Mentis’s shoes have a layer of dung coating the leather exterior. His grey shirt is exuberating sweat from the trek despite the cold night’s air and his fine wispy greyed hair – what he has left of it – is now slapped to his head like gel. He is determined to follow the source’s information. He’d spent the last 6 months trying to find the whereabouts of missing 17-year-old girl Francesca Simms. The events surrounding her disappearance were both worrying and vague. Miss.Simms visited a friend’s house on the night of Friday 20th March 1993. She left at around 11 pm that night and never returned home. Her parents didn’t realise she was missing until the following Monday, 23rd March. Apparently, it wasn’t unheard of for her to disappear for weekends at a time. They only began worrying when she didn’t turn up to her morning classes at Lenwood High. Mentis had dug his gritty nails into every piece of evidence. He’d questioned every suspect gruellingly to no avail. The only evidence that she was still alive was the lack of a body. This was the fourth suspected sighting of Miss.Simms. Three of which were in the first month of her disappearance. Mentis had given up hope about her being alive until Karen rang this evening.
Finally reaching the shameful fencing at the other side of the field Mentis walks along it, feeling for a gap to fit his ogre-like frame through. He’s relieved to find one that has been left unattended right at the end of the fence line close to some shrubs. Squeezing his way through clumsily….
“Fuck sake. Haggard old bat” he repeatedly swears and curses with Karen in mind. Blaming her for everything including his now stuck belt buckle on the wooden fence.
“Stupid fucking thing”
With a quick glance to make sure there’s no one around he unfastens his belt and pulls it from his waistline allowing him to lug the rest of his swollen body through the gap, swearing once again as he scrapes his head on a bent outward nail in the process. Regaining his posture as best he can and feeling his wound to make sure there isn’t a nail lodged in his skull. He grunts breathlessly as he loosely fastens the devil’s snare back around his gut which stubbornly protrudes in an obscure shape over the constraining leather material. The war with the fence has held his attention for the past five minutes. He only just notices the shadowy figure at the cliff’s edge.
Copyright, Charlie Wright. All rights reserved.
To continue reading head to Chapter 2 here.