Part Six A Friend in Need…
“Robert, it’s Dick Ward, how are you doing old friend?”
“Good lord Richard, how long has it been? How is life in Earlston treating you and Jenny?” Robert asked astonished to hear a voice from the past.
“Up to now it’s been great. Jenny and I are great we’ll be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. How is the work going are you kept busy?”
“Hey ten years my word that’s flown, don’t forget the invite if you have a party ha ha. Work is always busy Richard, so many people now think that it’s fun to mess with ouija boards that they don’t realise the dangers of it, demons and the like. But I feel you have called me for a reason old friend, do you have a problem with demons in your town?”
“No not demons and well sussed out about me having a reason to call you. We have three unexplained deaths in a town called Bethany. Two were made to look like a shark attack as they were found on the shoreline, and one poor guy had his throat ripped out in his car, just outside Bethany. We also found footprints headed into a lake, but the perpetrator could have just washed in it.”
Robert went quiet as he took in all that Ward had told him. He then asked if he knew of a hotel or B & B he could stay in as he would arrive in Earlston the following day. “I’m in Scotland at the moment having a bit of R and R as they say so will be in Earlston sometime tomorrow.” Ward told Simmons that he was more than welcome to stay at his home as they had a spare room which is always set aside for guests. Robert thanked him and after noting his address bid Ward goodbye.
Sitting down at the bar of the lodge where he was staying, Robert Simmons shook involuntary. He downed a glass of bourbon and then asked for another. His gut was telling him that what he was about to encounter in Bethany was something that could easily kill him if he wasn’t careful. He also thought that he would need a helping hand in the shape of the Paranatural Detective Agency. He would hold onto that thought until he met up with Richard Ward and get the full case facts and once in Bethany he would be able to see if the help of Hector and co would be needed. He shuddered again and asked for another drink, and as he drank, he thought he heard someone singing, a soft soothing melody that rang through his mind.
In his bed that night PC Dave Cooper slept restlessly, as did PC John Trent, DI Ward, and DS Banner. All could hear a soft melody being played in their minds, and it was being sung by a woman.
The following morning all four men looked tired as they waited for Robert Simmons to arrive. Ward had informed them all of his intentions to ask his old friend to help them with the case. He explained what Robert did for a living and how long he’d known him, but above all, just how much he trusted Robert Simmons. Ward looked at his watch and said that providing the traffic was good Robert would get to Earlston around ten thirty am.
As usual Hector Saint-Sanson was scanning not only the local papers but also the national papers. As he turned to page four of the London Evening Standard he spotted an article that caught his eye ‘Another Horrific Death in Bethany!’ The article went on to say that up to now three men had been horrifically killed by person or persons unknown and that the police of Earlston are baffled by the horrific slayings. ‘Is it a man or a beast responsible?’ Hector’s brow creased in concentration as he flicked through one newspaper after another finding other similar articles regarding the deaths, now being classed as murders by DI Ward of Earlston Police.
Dan walked in and asked if there was any tea in the pot, Diane Appleton chirped up saying that there was. “So what has got Hector so engrossed that he doesn’t even notice I’ve come in?” Diane handed Dan a mug of tea asking if he had not read about the murders in Bethany. “My god isn’t that where Alice is staying for her holidays?” Diane nodded and said that Erika had already been on the phone to say not to worry as she has spoken to Alice a few times in the last couple of days. “Thank goodness, but I think she should leave the place if there’s a madman on the loose.”
“A mad woman Dan, it’s a mad woman!” Hector retorted as he rose from his chair flinging the newspapers around the floor. “Alice will be quite safe as the mad woman appears to be targeting men only, well up to now she is.” Hector walked to his library and scanned a number of titles but couldn’t locate what he was looking for. As he was about to say something his phone rang, “Hello, Hector Saint-Sanson, my word, hello Robert how are you?” Hector was on the phone for over twenty minutes and when he switched it off he looked ashen. “Dan, we need to get to Bethany as soon as we can. Diane can you buy two train tickets on line for us both please, right away.”
“Hector it’s not Alice is it? Please say nothing has happened to Alice.” Dan cried in despair.
“No Alice is fine as Erika has told Diane. It was Robert Simmons he’s been called onto a case in Bethany by one of his old friends, Richard Ward they go back years. You may remember Richard as a PC when he worked at Carfax under Joe Welsh. What he has told me has made me shiver to the bone. Let’s pack some clothes and equipment we could be gone for a while. I’ll fill you in with the details on the train.
An hour later both Hector and Dan were on the train heading for Earlston. Hector gave Dan all the details and told him what Robert Simmons thought it might be that has committed the murders. Hector looked Dan straight in the face, “Dan, we have been through a lot together you and I and we have fought many strange creatures and survived to tell the tale. But this creature, as it is a creature, is one that you, Robert nor I have ever encountered before. We may have read about them as mere legends but if Robert and Richard Ward are correct in what they are saying, then we need to be extremely careful. I believe they have also found teeth in most of the wounds, teeth that resemble human teeth but serrated. The coroner has been unable to match them with any living sea creature or land animal that we know of. We will also need to stop off at a chemist in town and buy packs of ear plugs. I will explain all when we meet Robert and Richard later after we’ve found our hotel.
Alice Washington sat reading the local paper and could not believe what she was reading. The headline stated ‘Three deaths of local men – Unexplained!’ ‘Three local men have now been found dead, two on the shoreline near the old cave entrance and one in a car just outside the town of Bethany. All victims appear to have been savagely attacked by a person or persons unknown. Police will issue a statement later today.’
Alice shuddered as she continued to read the article, which filled the newspaper’s front and second pages. Looking at the photos of the three men she felt a pang of sorrow even though she didn’t know the men. She decided to change into her normal dark clothing and applied her make up. Then taking up her shoulder bag left her room and the hotel and made her way to the ‘Archways’ pub. She knew Mike Templeton drank in there and she felt she needed someone she knew to talk to; she hoped he would be in there.
As she entered the pub on Templar Avenue, she heard her name being called, on turning to where the voice came from she spotted Jade Stone waving to her. Alice gave her a sign with her hand to say she was going to the bar for a drink first. As she collected her drink she turned and made her way over to Jade. Jade gave her a warm affectionate hug and kissed her on the cheek. As they chatted the conversation turned to the deaths of the three men that was now looking more like murder.
“I can’t believe that I have come to Bethany for a holiday and three deaths have occurred in a town that has never had any trouble or deaths in years. What the hell is going on Jade?”
Jade looked at Alice closely, “Yes it is strange isn’t it. No deaths in years and then you turn up and suddenly three deaths, very strange I would say.”
Alice looked at Jade in shock, “I certainly hope you are not trying to say what I think you’re trying to say Jade. I am here for a holiday to rest not to kill people!” With that Alice began to get up from her chair. Jade grabbed her hand and apologised to Alice and asked her to sit back down.
“I’m truly sorry Alice, it’s just that I’m upset as Tony Harrison was a nice guy and he was on the verge of asking me out for a date prior to his death. But alas never made it. Truly I’m sorry.” Alice smiled at Jade, but something bothered her, why would she jump to conclusions thinking it was her that could be the murderer. “Anyway,” continued Jade, “we don’t know if it was a man or woman that committed the murders do we.” As they continued talking they noticed that the sound from the three televisions had been turned up.
On the three screens appeared DI Ward issuing a statement regarding the three deaths. He stated that they are now convinced based on the evidence that they had collected that they were looking for a dangerous person who would appear to be a female. “Judging by the evidence we would say the female is around five feet nine to ten inches in height. We also feel that she is using some kind of animal to kill as teeth with serrated edges have been found in the wounds of all three victims.” He then went on to ask members of the public to be on the lookout for anyone acting suspicious and not to wander the streets at night alone.
Hearing the news Alice got up and began to say goodbye to Jade, as she knew what she was thinking. “Well now you have it Jade, a female suspect, so does that make me the guilty person? By the way I’m only five feet seven inches tall, you, on the other hand are a few inches taller than me, goodbye!”
Alice left the pub hoping that she would not bump into Jade Stone again. There was something about her that made her feel uneasy and she wanted to be as far away as possible. When she got back to her hotel room she called Erika and asked if she had heard about the three deaths. Erika told her that everyone had, especially with it being on the news programmes.
She also informed Alice that Hector and Dan had been called in to help by their old friend Robert Simmons, who was a good friend of DI Richard Ward, the guy who was leading the investigation. Alice chatted a while longer with Erika and told her that she would be home in two days and couldn’t wait to see her. She then phoned Hector but couldn’t get a reply so she left a voice message for him. She then phoned down to reception to order her evening meal and a bottle of red wine as she would not be venturing out that evening.
Dan looked at Hector who was sitting in a straight backed winged chair reading a book called ‘Mysterious Creatures of Legend’. Pouring himself and Hector a coffee he asked why they needed the earplugs that they had bought earlier. Hector thanked Dan for the coffee and lay the book down on the side table. He looked serious as he began, “Dan, you have heard of creatures of legend haven’t you, creatures like the huge sea monster that would drag ships down to the depths of the ocean, the Yeti or Abominable Snowman as most people call it, and you have also, I would assume have heard of the Siren.” Dan answered in the affirmative and Hector continued, “well I think that the thing that has committed the murders of the three men is just that, a Siren, mermaid, call her, what you will. She calls to men in their minds and in their dreams and they cannot resist her call. She then devours their very souls and bodies. As it states here in this book,” ’The Sirens of Greek mythology began specifically as a group of creatures who looked like beautiful women, but were really man-eating beasts. They sat on the shore and sang with voices so seductive and compelling that anyone who heard their song became absolutely mesmerized with them. So mesmerized, in fact, that they became obsessed with reaching the shore to get closer to the sound.And then the Sirens would eat them.’
Dan looked incredulous, “Hang on Hector, if she was a sea creature how did she manage to attack and kill the man in the car? Can they change into human form and live ashore?”
“I believe they can Dan, as does Robert Simmons, he is meeting up with DI Ward and DS Banner and joining us here in an hour’s time.”
Robert Simmons began his talk on Sirens as he stood passively in the centre of the hotel room. “So gentlemen, I put it to you that the creature we are looking for is a Siren and that she is living in Bethany as a normal human being would live. Meeting people and getting to know them so as to appear the same as they are. She is cunning and will head for the sea to morph into a mermaid. Legend has it that they need to be near sea water to stay alive and they have an unhealthy appetite for men. As we now know, three men have been killed and chunks of their flesh devoured. They feed off the flesh of men and as Hector pointed out consume their souls as well,” pausing to take a drink of his coffee, he then continued, “I believe she has pin pointed the men, well at least two of them and lured them to the shore with her song, once heard stays in the memory and if the victim continues to hear the song he has to go to whoever is singing it to him.”
Ward looked at his old friend, “So what you’re saying Robert is that she knew her two victims and chose them and that poor Mr Tyler was in the wrong place at the wrong time?”
Simmons nodded agreement, “Yes I do believe that Richard, but as you also stated, she headed straight for the huge lake that meanders down through the hills into the sea, the lake is sea water and she had to fulfill her need so to speak.”
“Correct Robert, but the problem we have is, we don’t know who she is. She could be any of the women living in the town. The only thing we can go on is that there have never been any incidents like this in Bethany and certainly no horrific crimes for many years. So should we look into women that have not lived in Bethany for longer than say, five years?
Hector spoke up next, “I think that would be unwise as it could take us a long time to find that information. What we need to do is set up a trap for the Siren to lure her to us.”
“And how would we do that Mr Samsung?” Banner asked as he sipped his tea.
“The name is Hector Saint-Sanson detective not Samsung if you don’t mind,” Hector scowled at the detective sergeant, “we set up a trap by using myself as bait. I will stand on the shoreline wearing earplugs and wait for her to leave the sea. We will then throw a heavy duty net over her and wait until she changes back to her human form, you will then have your murderer!”
Everyone in the room mulled the idea over in their minds and then decided that it was possibly the only way to catch the Siren. “But why you Hector?” Dan asked his friend of many years. “What if you cannot resist her singing, as you said it gets into your mind and stays there?”
Hector explained that as soon as he hears the siren song he will plug his ears and tie a scarf around his face so as not to be able to pull the earplugs out. “But first I think it’s a good idea that I reply to someone’s voice message,” Hector said as he pulled his phone out of his trouser pocket, “Alice it’s Hector, I got your message, what is the problem? Yes come over we are at the Strafford Hotel just up the road. Okay, see you shortly.”
Ten minutes later a knock came to the door and Hector opened it and welcomed Alice with a warm hug and introduced her to the two detectives, “You already know Robert from one or two of our cases.” Robert shook hands with Alice and commented on her Egyptian style make-up and hair style, as did Hector and Dan.
“So you’re a member of Mr Saint-Sanson’s paranormal team are you?” Ward asked as he shook Alice’s hand, “and how long have you been here in Bethany Miss Washington?”
Alice looked at the two detectives and smiled, “I’ve been here for nearly two weeks enjoying a relaxing holiday. Well I was until people started getting killed, and now all I want to do is go home to my girlfriend.”
Before either detective could reply Dan Taylor asked Alice if she had any inkling to who the murderer could be. Alice said she couldn’t but was slightly suspicious of a lady named Jade Stone. When Dan asked why this was, she told him about her chance meeting earlier that day with Jade and the fact that she was trying to implicate her in the murders, which was absolute nonsense.
Alice was asked by both Dan and Hector if she would help them with the case and she agreed. “Where does this Jade Stone normally drink?” Ward asked now softening to Alice and her beautiful looks. Alice mentioned that she had met her a few times in the Golden Lion pub on the High Street. “Right I think that will be our first port of call gentlemen and lady. I think it would be wise if you go in first Alice with Mr Taylor, followed by Mr Saint-Sanson and Robert, then myself and DS Banner. If we sit at different tables she won’t think we’re together if you see what I mean. We can then watch what she does and follow her every move. Is everyone happy with this idea?” All nodded and set off to locate the Golden Lion pub and Jade Stone.
As Alice and Dan were walking along the promenade Dan asked Alice why she felt it could be Jade Stone. “It was the vibes I was getting from her Dan, and also, I couldn’t really read her. It was as if she knew that I was a Medium and had the strength to block me. She also has a strange accent that I’ve not encountered before and when I asked where she was from she just said ‘from the other side of the world’. She also told me today that she was hoping to get together with one of the victims, a guy called Tony Harrison. Also the second victim had bought a painting called The Siren by the local artist Mike Templeton, who she seemed close to when I met them both at the beginning of my holiday. But the second victim, Phil Lightfoot, had written down things on sheets of paper like ‘the song, I keep hearing the song’, and ‘I’m cursed’ or something like that.
“That is interesting Alice, I’ll have to let Hector and Robert know about this, hang on and I’ll text them both to let them know.” Once Dan had finished texting they continued onto the pub. Hector and Robert were now sure after reading Dan’s text that Jade Stone was indeed the Siren.
Jade Stone sat alone at a table in the beer garden of the Golden Lion pub. She had her eyes closed and seemed to be deep in thought, but what Jade was doing was sending a siren song out to a man she liked but only for his flesh and for his soul. She knew it wouldn’t be long before the man would be walking towards the shoreline and as she left her seat, she began to walk towards the back entrance of the beer garden and left the pub.
Alice and Dan had entered the pub and had missed Jade by seconds, but outside Hector and Robert had spotted a woman leaving the pub via the back entrance and walking along the promenade and then down onto the beach. Both men had a good look at her and Hector instantly rang Alice to ask what Jade looked like. Upon hearing her description Hector told Alice and Dan to leave the pub immediately.
As the team of Hector, Dan, Alice, Robert and the two detectives headed onto the beach they all began to hear soft singing, all except Alice. “Everyone get your earplugs in now!” Hector shouted as he pulled out his own earplugs “She’s singing, can you hear it, a soft melody, she is calling to someone to be with her, block the sound out now before it’s too late!” As they marched on all were now immune to the siren’s song.
Alice walked as if with a purpose, she could hear the siren song but it did not affect her. She began to feel strong, as if something was getting into her psyche, something that she had felt before back in Carfax. Something was pushing her, urging her, making her feel differently. Up on the rocks they could see the dark silhouette of a human figure. They could now see the dark silhouette of a figure walking along the shore and then it was gone.
Robert dared to take out his earplugs, and as he did so he heard the splash of water, “She’s gone into the sea,” he shouted, but the others couldn’t hear him. Pulling Hector’s arm he pointed to the sea and made a diving motion. Hector pulled out his earplugs as well and realised he could not hear the siren song any longer. He motioned to the others to remove their earplugs and as they did they all heard a splash of water and realised that the figure that had been on the rocks was no longer there. As one, they all ran towards the cove and the inlet where the cave entrance was situated.
Nothing could be seen and then they all heard slashing and a male voice shouting for help. Banner was the first to remove his jacket ready to dive in but Robert Simmons was already racing into the water as if his life depended on it. He had a glazed look in his eyes and suddenly without warning he dived under the waves.
Alice stood passively and then she too began to walk into the water, “Alice for god’s sake Alice, stop!” Hector and Dan shouted together as Alice kept on walking into the sea. As she got further in a body floated upwards near to her, its throat torn out.
Alice now stood still and called out in a loud voice, “I summon you forward evil one, come forward to me so I can see you as you are! Come to me NOW!” Alice had raised her hands and ordered whatever it was in the sea to rise up and show itself.
The water began to hiss and bubble as a figure began to rise. Its hair long and wet stuck to its naked green skin, sharp serrated teeth filled a gaping maw, and amidst the bubbling water a long fish tail shot up and down in fast motion.
The siren had already feasted on a victim and was about to sing again to try to lure the other men now standing motionless on the edge of the water. She hadn’t counted on Alice Washington, or whatever had momentarily taken possession of her.
Alice now stood face to face in the water with the siren, and then with a motion so quick, she took off the head of the siren. The head bobbed in the water its eyes now glazed over, as the body lay lifeless, its fish shape now beginning to revert back to its human form, as did the facial features of the head. Alice turned and calmly walked out of the water as her own features reverted back to normal. As she did so Robert Simmons pulled himself and the lifeless body of the victim of the siren out of the sea.
Mike Templeton had succumbed to the siren, he had been hearing her song on two consecutive nights and it had lured him only to have the siren devour parts of him.
Robert Simmons had tried to help Templeton but had been beaten back by the strong current. The body of Templeton was taken to the coroner in Earlston Hospital as was the body and head of the Siren, now identified as Jade Stone.
Sitting in her hotel room Alice Washington could not believe what Hector had told her. She could not believe that Mike Templeton was dead, and that somehow she had slain the siren. She was shocked at the news and needed to steady her nerves with a few glasses of wine as did Hector and Dan. Ward and Banner had informed Alice that she would not be held responsible for the death of Jade Stone as she had done Bethany a great service by removing her, and that there would be no more horrific killings now that the siren had been dealt with.
As they sat contemplating the events of the past few hours, Hector turned to Alice and asked what she used to dispatch the siren’s head from its body, Alice simply raised her hand and said simply, “This.” She then stood up and looked out the window of the hotel room; her body shook as she began to sob. Both Hector and Dan walked over to her and comforted her.
“There is more to you than meets the eye I think Alice, but we need to talk about this at a later date.” Hector said as he refilled the three empty glasses and passed them round, “have you been in touch with Erika yet?” Alice said she had and that she wanted to leave Bethany first thing in the morning, after breakfast though. All agreed they would and hoped that they would be able to sleep after what they had witnessed earlier.
Hector took the comfy armchair to sleep in and Dan took the sofa, while Alice tried her best to sleep in the bed. They all had decided to stay in the one hotel room after Hector cancelled his and Dan’s room at their hotel.
As they slept a figure could be seen swimming in the sea, its face a mask of anger and hatred as it smelt the scent of the blood of one of its own kind in the waters off the shoreline of Bethany. As it turned away a large fish like tail splashed the waters once, twice and then dipped below the surface, angered that its bride had been slain by a human.