Song of the Siren

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Part Five Terror Comes to Town

Alice read about the horrific death of Tony Harrison and couldn’t believe that only a few nights earlier she had been served in the pub by him. The thought that a shark had attacked and killed him unnerved her. She’d noted that signs had been posted along the beach warning people to stay out of the sea for the time being, “My god, it’s like being in the ‘Jaws’ film,” she said out loud as she scanned the story, “No more walking along the beach for me that’s for sure!” At that moment her phone rang and as she looked she noticed that it was Erika calling her, “Erika, what’s the matter? You know I didn’t want to be disturbed while I’m having a break.”

“I’m sorry babe but I’m really missing you and I’m so sorry for calling you.” Erika replied.

“Well to be honest I’m missing you babe, but I needed this break after the incident with that evil angel, or harpy, or whatever it was, which as you know affected me very much. But we can talk about it when I get home. Has anything normal been happening in Carfax or is it as strange as ever?” Alice asked as she poured herself a glass of wine. She listened as Erika told her about the mysterious death of a jogger who seemed to have been attacked and killed by some unknown sea or land animal and that Hector and Dan were looking into it, “well that’s an odd coincidence as a guy here went out swimming and was attacked and killed by what police say was a shark. But as there have never been any reports of sharks in the area and the man was half dressed when he was found makes you wonder what attacked him.”

“Yes I read about it in the Carfax Standard, there were only a couple of paragraphs about it though,” Erika responded, now feeling a bit better knowing that Alice hadn’t put the phone down on her, “it’s so good to hear your voice babe, are you having a good time? I hope you’ve not met anyone.” She said jokingly. Alice told her that she had met some nice people, male and female and that the town of Bethany was beautiful and that apparently it was the first nasty incident there for a very long time. After some more small talk they said their goodbyes and promised to have fun once Alice was back home in Carfax.

After showering and dressing Alice decided to take a walk into town and headed for Jade’s shop ‘Stitched by Hand’. She had told Alice that she made similar clothes to the type she liked to wear and to call in while she was here. Alice heard the small bell above the shop door ring as she opened it and smelt ‘Dragon’s Blood’ incense burning as she entered. Jade Stone appeared from a back room and gave Alice a warm smile, “Alice, so good of you to call, I hope there is something here that you like.” She said in her strange accent. Alice asked her what part of the world she came from as she didn’t recognise her accent. All Jade would say was that she was from the other side of the world, as she did when anyone asked her.

After a while Alice went to the counter with a long black dress and a pair of jade earrings, “I’ve bought these for my girlfriend Erika as a way of saying sorry to her. She phoned me earlier and I must admit after chatting to her I realise how much I have been missing her since I’ve been here. Will you and Mike be in the Golden Lion later on? I’ve only got two more days here so I want to have as much fun as I can before I go back home and back to work.” Jade told her that she didn’t know as she had to do a stock check after she shut up shop. Alice bid her farewell and headed out the shop and back into town. That evening, before she went out she thought about phoning Hector but thought against it and instead gave Erika a call, telling her that she couldn’t wait to get home so she could be with her. Erika burst out crying with happiness telling her that was the best news she’d heard in ages.

*****

Jenny Stockwell had been waiting for over an hour for her boyfriend, Phil Lightfoot, and was beginning to lose patience. Picking up her phone she tried calling him again but could not get a dial tone. “He’s got it switched off! What the hell’s he playing at?” She said out loud as she marched out of the diner, turned right into Templar Avenue, then left into Breed Street where his gallery was situated. As she approached she could see that it was in darkness, trying his number again it still didn’t ring out.

Jenny decided to call on Mike Templeton who lived in an apartment on the next street. Ringing the buzzer she heard Mike’s voice asking who was calling, “Mike it’s me Jenny, is Phil with you as I can’t get hold of him on his phone and the gallery is in darkness?” Mike said he wasn’t but he would be down in a minute as he was going for a pint and would she like to join him. As the couple walked through the busy streets Mike said that he was going to have a pint at the ‘Red Herring’ pub as it was a bit too sombre in the Golden Lion after the death of Tony. Jenny agreed with him and they continued on through town.

“It’s not like Phil to have his phone switched off. He’s always getting calls from clients asking for dates to display their artwork. I’m worried Mike, what if something has happened to him.”

“Maybe he’s with a client and doesn’t want to be disturbed Jen. You know what he’s like when he gets talking and drinking the wine, he forgets where he is.” Mike said trying to ease Jenny’s mind.

“No we were meeting for dinner as we are getting married. It’s been on the cards for a while now and I think tonight was going to be the night when we were going to set a date. I’ve even bought an engagement ring for him.”

“Let me get you another drink Jen and then we can decide what to do and start asking around. I’m sure he’s just running late.”

*****

All day Phil Lightfoot had been humming a song to himself, it had been running over and over in his mind for days now, weeks even. He didn’t have a clue what type of song it was as he hummed it but it was driving him crazy as it would not leave his mind. Now as he walked along Templar Avenue he continued to not hum it but think it in his head. What was happening to him? He couldn’t think straight, he didn’t know where he was walking to. All he knew was the song in his head, boring into him.

He walked like a man obsessed with finding something, following something. Whatever the song in his mind was, it was leading him out of town and up the road towards the dirt path which led to the rocks above the old cave whose entrance sat on the cove.

As he continued his walk his eyes were starting to shed tears, the song was making him feel something, sadness, no, joy! He wanted to be with whoever was luring him with the song. Yes that was it. He now knew that someone was luring him towards the rocks. By the light of the moon and stars he could see a figure sitting atop the rocks and as he got closer he could see that the figure was someone he knew well, someone who was completely naked. “Jenny, Jenny, I’m coming my love. I love you Jenny, I love you!”

*****

As the morning light peeked through the gap in between Jenny Stockwell’s curtains she awoke with a start. She shook with fear as she knew something bad had occurred last night. A nightmare had shown her death, death of a man. She felt her stomach lurch and made it to the toilet just in time for her to throw up into it. After the sickness had subsided she washed her face and hands and still shaking made her way into the kitchen.

Jenny lived, as most of the single people in Bethany did, in a one bedroom apartment. It was spacious, modern and tidy. But it needed someone there with her, Phil. She broke down as she realised that in her dream it was Phil who had died. She tried to control herself but couldn’t and still shaking she called Mike Templeton on his phone. “Mike its Jenny, I’m sorry to phone you so early but have you heard from Phil yet. No. Oh no, it’s just that…oh my god…it’s just that I’ve had a bad dream and in the dream Phil was dead!”

As Mike sat at the kitchen table he asked Jenny what the dream was about. Jenny related it to him saying that he was washed up in the cove just like Tony had been. “Now then Jen, remember we were talking about Tony’s death in the pub last night, yes, and that has obviously stayed in your mind. You know the mind is a funny thing, it can make you see things in your dreams that aren’t real, and…”

Mike was cut short by the buzzer of Jenny’s apartment sounding. Jenny got up and walked towards it hoping that it would be Phil. “Yes who’s calling?” The voice on the other end informed her that it was the police and asked if they could come in. Jenny buzzed them up.

“Miss Stockwell, I believe you are the girlfriend of Mr Phil Lightfoot is that correct?” DI Ward asked Jenny as she sat down. She nodded and asked why they wanted to know. “I’m afraid to have to inform you that Mr Lightfoot has been found dead down at the cove. Can you tell me when you last saw him miss?”

Jenny burst into tears, “I knew it I just knew it! I had a bad dream last night in which Phil had died at the cove. Oh my god no…”

Now sitting down, Ward took notes as he asked Jenny more questions, he wanted to know where she was last night, who she was with and if anyone can vouch for her. Mike Templeton informed Ward that he had been with Jenny from around eight o’clock after she called at his apartment looking for Phil. He told the detective that they had both gone for a drink and then went to Phil’s apartment and gallery on a number of occasions but to no avail. Ward asked if Mr Lightfoot had any family, she said he had but that they lived in Scotland. Ward also said that she would have to identify the body as she was his girlfriend and that he would need any details for his family if she had them. Jenny said she had the spare key to Phil’s flat and that she would take the detective there so he could get any information he needed. Mike Templeton said he would accompany Jenny and Ward as he was a close friend of Phil’s.

As they entered Phil’s apartment the first thing they noticed were around twenty five sheets of A3 paper taped to one wall. On all the sheets were the words, ‘My god the song, the song, it goes through my mind over and over! What is this song? Am I cursed?’ Looking at the words on the paper Ward asked Jenny if Phil was of sound mind. Jenny and Mike both said he was the sanest person you could meet. Ward then spotted the Siren painting which hung over the built in fireplace. Taking a closer look he spotted the artist’s name, “Ah one of your own paintings Mr Templeton?” Mike told Ward about how much Phil liked it and was determined to buy it and paid over a hundred pounds for it. “It’s a painting of the cove isn’t it sir?” Mike nodded and told him it was based on the Siren legend of old. “Hmm, that’s very interesting indeed sir, very interesting. Right nothing in here is to be touched or taken away as it is now evidence.” Taking out his phone he called up DS Banner and asked him to get two constables to the address as soon as possible. Ward then switched his phone to camera and began taking photos of all the A3 sheets of paper on the wall and of the Siren painting. “Right sir, madam, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time for now. Miss Stockwell, if you could drop into the coroner’s office in Earlston to identify the body sometime today that would be much appreciated. Jenny said she would as more tears fell down her cheeks, Templeton offered to drive her there and help her in any way he could.

The following day Mike and Jenny sat in the ‘Archways’ pub that nestled at the top of Templar Avenue. So called for its beautiful archways inside the building, it was built in the Georgian era and was once a grand hotel. “Oh my god Mike I can’t believe Phil is dead, and killed in the same way as Tony was. But why would he try to swim in the sea, he was scared of the sea, that’s why he never became a fisherman like his father and grandfather before him. And what about all the sheets of paper with those words on, what’s that all about?”

Mike Templeton took Jenny’s hand and tried to sooth her, “He never mentioned anything to me about a song or a curse. Did he mention them to you Jen?” Jenny shook her head. As they sipped their drink they were unaware that they were both being watched closely. “Do the police know what time Phil died?” Jenny said that she didn’t and that she found it strange that he never told her he was going to the shoreline before meeting her. “There has to be an explanation Jen. The same bite marks on his body that were on Tony’s. The local fishermen have been out for days now looking for sharks and have found none. What the hell killed both Tony and Phil?” Mike got up and headed to the bar to order two more large brandies unaware of the person watching him.

*****

“Like I said sir, they just sat and drank brandy and chatted. He did hold her hand now and again but that’s all they did. He then walked her home and I followed him to his own home. He never came out again sir.”

DI Dick Ward thanked Constable Cooper and set about pouring a large scotch. He had to find a link to the two deaths. Both had been bitten, half eaten by some kind of wild animal or sea creature, but what? He then pulled out the sheets of paper with the writings on from the top drawer of his desk and studied them. He had also found a notepad in Phil Lightfoot’s desk drawer that intrigued him. He had filled up to twelve pages of the notepad with musical notes set on a music bar. Hmm he must have been some kind of musician as well judging by this, but damned if I can read it. He thought to himself as he took a slug of his scotch feeling the dark liquid burning his throat as he swallowed it down. Picking up his desk phone he asked Cooper to see if there were any proper musicians living in Earlston, the type that read and write music and to let him know as soon as possible. An hour and later Cooper had passed a list over to his boss with the names of four musicians that lived in the town. Dick Ward had phoned them all and asked everyone to meet him at the station as a matter of urgency.

“Yes I would say that it is a very old song, dating back to hundreds of year’s detective. But how did you come by these musical notes as they have not been sung in years by anyone I know of?” Tom Tyler was a well-known musician and music teacher who would once a year take part in the summer festivals in Earlston and Bethany.

“So what you’re saying Mr Tyler is that it would be impossible for anyone to write these musical notes down without having the knowledge of writing music or without knowing the song.” Tyler nodded agreement, “well Mr Lightfoot was the owner of the Art Gallery in Bethany, but he could also have been a musician. Before you go Mr Tyler, another question for you, what kind of song did you say it was Mr Tyler?”

Tyler looked at the detective as he stood up, “I didn’t tell you what kind of song it was. But if you need to know it is a cursed song, a song that leads to death! It is…the Siren’s song! I’ll be on my way now good sir, thank you for the tea.” With that, Tom Tyler walked out of Ward’s office, out of the police station and headed home. As he drove home sweat began to bead on his brow and in his head he could hear a song.

Two hours later Tom Tyler drove out of Earlston as he had an appointment with his solicitor over unpaid fees for a music score he had written. As he drove along the highway he spotted a girl hitch hiking and slowed down to ask her where she was heading. “Going to Bethany, I’ve already had a lift to here, but the driver wasn’t going near to where I wanted.” Tyler asked her to hop in and said he would drop her off at the town perimeter as he was going further on. The girl thanked him and said he was kind, she then sat quiet and as Tyler drove along he kept hearing a song in his head which he couldn’t shake off. Switching on the car radio he thought that would do the trick of taking the other song out of his mind.

“Right here we are young lady, you won’t have far to go now, just down the lane isn’t it?” The girl turned to Tyler and he was shocked to see that her eyes had turned a deep black, like coal, her skin had changed from pale to a greenish yellow and her mouth, oh god her mouth. He tried to scream, but his vocal cords along with his throat were torn out and swallowed by the girl. Blood splashed the windshield and interior of the car as Tom Tyler sat dying. The girl calmly got out of the car and headed towards a wood where she knew a deep lake would be. Slipping into the cool water her body began to change, her human form now that of something monstrous.

*****

DI Dick Ward was a very troubled man; he now had three deaths on his hands. The third death, that of Tom Tyler, whom he had only been speaking to a few hours earlier now lay in the morgue. This one was definitely a murder. “Why would anyone rip a person’s throat out? Was it because he knew something? If so, what did he know?” Ward posed these questions to his team.

DS Banner sat opposite his old friend and colleague, “Sir, we have two possible connections, the music notes and the supposed curse. Phil Lightfoot had written down something about the song and it being cursed, and Tom Tyler told you about the song and the curse. There has to be a link there.” Cooper and Trent nodded in agreement and Ward had to agree that somehow a song has been revived by someone and it is being used to kill or drive men mad. “That’s another thing sir the three deaths have all been men. We could be looking for a serial killing female who hates men? Or maybe a man who has found his wife or partner has been cheating on him?”

Ward stood up and looked at the pin board that housed photos of the three deceased men pinned to a map. “I think the age difference between the three men would count that last theory of yours out Bruce. But your first theory may be right. A woman, who hates men enough, that she lures them with a song and then kills them. No, no scrap that last bit. That way madness lies. How could she lure them with song, she would have to be with them at all times wouldn’t she. We know that Phil Lightfoot was going to be engaged to Jenny Stockwell, Tom Tyler was by all accounts a happily married man, and I was told by Elizabeth Bethany that Tony Harrison had his eye on a few local girls. This is a strange case indeed gentlemen and we need to get to the bottom of it before any more bodies are found.”

Ward and Banner organised search parties to search everywhere around the area of the last incident. It was while Cooper and Trent were searching the woods and lake with other officers that they came across footprints in the muddy bank leading into the lake. They traced the footprints back to a clearing. Whoever left them was barefoot. Cooper called through to headquarters to tell the desk sergeant to inform DI Ward and DS Banner of what they had found. On his way to the scene, Ward got hold of forensics and asked them to meet him there with some tools of their trade, namely plaster casting equipment.

“It stands to reason sir that whoever killed Tom Tyler left the car walked through the clearing, knowing a lake was here and went in to wash away the evidence. The car was splattered with blood so stands to reason that the perpetrator would be as well. Cooper spoke as he stood next to his boss.

Ward gave Cooper a quick glance and smile, “We’ll make a detective out of you yet Cooper. I think you could be on the right lines with that and judging by the size of the imprints would you say the ‘perp’ was a male or female?”

Cooper knelt down beside a couple of imprints, “A female sir, without a doubt! But have you noticed something sir? The footprints go into the water, but don’t come back out.” Ward ordered the team to walk the whole circumference of the lake and told his men to keep an eye out for more footprints. After an hour the team of policemen and detectives stood by a clearing on the opposite side of where they had been standing earlier. They all noted that the same footprints had emerged from the lake and across to the clearing and onto a path leading into town.

Back at police headquarters DI Ward flipped through his personal phone book. He was troubled by not only the killings, but he was now convinced that the three men were killed by the same thing or person. The first two were made to look like a shark attack, but as no sharks had been found in the waters of Bethany he quickly squashed that idea. It seemed that Phil Lightfoot had an obsession with the words he’d written and the notes of music he’d scrawled in his notebook. That must be the key, thought Ward, but how and why?

There was only one man who he knew that could help him with the case. A man he had grown up with way back when he lived in Carfax, a man renowned for his superior knowledge of demonology and witchcraft, a man he knew well, Robert Simmons.

Ward hadn’t spoken or seen Robert in years as they lost touch. Simmons went off to Rome to train as an exorcist and Ward had been promoted to Detective Inspector and with his new promotion came a move from Carfax to Earlston. Biting the bullet, Ward taped in Robert’s number and waited for the connection, on the second ring it was answered, “Hello Robert Simmons speaking, who’s calling and how may I help?”


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