The Thorn in my Flesh *shortlisted for Movellist of the Year 2013*

Escaping captivity was just the beginning. “My breathing speeds up as I slowly come to realise what is going on, why I’m here, why I’m bound up, why he’s attempting to be nice to me: I’ve been kidnapped.” My name is Farrah Fisher, and I was kidnapped for nine years. Even though I escaped, am back home, the nightmares of the long, torturous days I spent in captivity still haunt me. The secrets I buried won’t stay hidden for long, no matter how hard I dig. Even I know that. Jordan Frost is hailed ‘the best defence lawyer in the City’. But when he takes on the most complicated and mysterious case he’s ever had, will his reputation be destroyed? For Farrah, escaping captivity was just the beginning.

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6. Chapter Five

Farrah

 

    It’s been an entire week since the police found his body.

    Since I last saw or heard anything, apparently, the tests confirm it to be a homicide (which apparently means a murder). What killed him was a big blow to the head, causing a bleed to the brain, causing his death. And now, the police are searching for forensic evidence to link someone to the murder.

    And, no, I haven’t been watching it on television. My mum has been watching it unfold. She says she can’t stop watching it as she likes to watch it happen again and again, she says it’s like watching him pay for what he did to me again and again, and she likes to see revenge being done.

    To be honest, I don’t really care. He’s dead, and that is that. My life can now get back to normal.

    I hope.

    Mum keeps moaning about how the police haven’t been keeping us informed personally about this, ‘seeing as he kidnapped you and kept you for nine years, Farrah. Surely they’d have a detective or someone keeping us up-to-date?’ But I keep telling her it doesn’t have anything to do with us. I escaped and have nothing to do with him anymore. Plus, I don’t really want to know anyway, but she doesn’t know that.

    Lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling makes me think: what will happen next? What if they find out something about what happened that day? The thoughts hang in my head like a picture on the wall, until sleep overwhelms me and takes over.

 

    The next thing I know, someone banging on the front door is waking me up. I must’ve slept all through the night, I conclude, because it is morning; eight-fifteen a.m., to be precise.

    I rub my eyes hard to get used to the light and sit up. I hear my mum answer the door and I hear a man’s voice speak.

    “Farrah?” she yells, sounding accusing and confused at the same time.

    I stand up, straighten my clothes and walk down the stairs, slowing as I notice a couple of guys dressed in police uniforms.

    “She isn’t going anywhere. You can’t do this! She hasn’t done anything wrong!” my Mum sobs.

    My heart begins to pound in my chest. What the hell could they want with me?

    I frantically look at my mum, whose makeup is bleeding down her face, her eyes leaking like a faulty pipe.

    “Farrah Fisher?” one of the guys asks me.

    I don’t get this. Why would they want me?

    Deciding I better address them, I clear my throat.

    When I come onto the bottom step, I come to a halt. “Yes?”

    He comes storming into the house, grabs my arm and puts handcuffs on each of my wrists, restricting my movement; a familiar feeling.

    What the hell is going on?

    “Farrah Fisher; I have an arrest warrant from the Justice of the Peace. You’re arrested on the suspicion of the murder of Brian Cooper. You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but I must warn you that if you fail to mention any fact which you rely on in your defence in court, your failure to take this opportunity to mention it may be treated in court as supporting any relevant evidence against you. If you do wish to say anything, what you say may be given in evidence,” he says in a monotone.

    Huh?

    I’m being arrested?

    What the hell have I done?

    Oh, yeah. That.

    Best to keep my mouth shut I think.

    “Wha—what?” I screeched.

    “Farrah, what have you done?”

    A bead of sweat comes to the surface of my forehead and begins to trickle slowly down my face.

    A tell tale sign.

    The police pull on my arms; making my legs to move with their force, whether they like it or not.

    “Come back here! Farrah, what have you done?” Mum screams, making neighbours look out their windows.

    Looking back at her over the guy’s shoulder, I watch her follow, helpless. I feel so bad for her, she has no idea.

    My fast heart’s making me breathless, like I’d just run a marathon. This was all too much: he dies and then they arrest me for it?

    “Farrah?” my mum sobs as I get pushed out the front door and into the back seat of the police car.

    Tears stain my face, making my makeup bleed and as I look out the tinted window, I find my eyes watching my mum. She’s waving her hands around in the air, screaming, sobbing.

    She must be devastated, and she must be thinking that this is her fault. But it isn’t.     This is my fault.

    ‘Mum’ I mouth as the car speeds off.

 

Cindy

 

    There’s no way. No way in hell.

    As I watch the police car turn the corner, carting my daughter off for questioning, I stop yelling. They arrested her with ‘suspicion of murder’.

    They think she did it.

    They think she killed B…him.

    Disbelief and denial fall from my eyes as I feel the judging glares of the neighbours falling on me, all watching from behind their curtains.

    I’m fully aware of what they’re thinking: ‘oh my God, her daughter, that kidnap victim, just been taken by the police. I wonder if she killed him. What a family: divorced parents, mental kidnap-come-murderer for a daughter.’

    And I’m standing out here on the street, for ten minutes now, in my dressing gown, looking like a hysterical idiot.

    What if she’s charged?

    What if she did do it?

    I’ll have a convicted murderer for a daughter.

    Worse; I’ll lose my daughter all over again. But then, as I slowly make my way back to the house, shut the front door and lean against it, the truth hits me like a brick to the head:

    I lost Farrah nine years ago. I never really had my daughter back at all.

 

    Reaching for the phone again, I pause before dialling the number in front of me.

Michael is on his way over. Oh, the neighbours will love that: the ex-husband turning up again after the daughter has been arrested.

    My finger hovers over the first number as I take a fifth look at the advert on the page.

    I don’t even know if I should be doing this yet, or even if I need to.

    Well I suppose all he can do is turn me away or say ‘no’.

    In my mind, an image of Farrah in one of those orange jumpsuits appears.

    My entire body becomes cold and shudders.

    I know in England they don’t wear those…I don’t even know what the inside of a prison is like. But I do know that I can’t stand to know my daughter will be in one, whether she did it or not, whether the daughter I knew inside out and back-to-front nine years ago is still in there or not. After everything she’s been through, she deserves to be free.

    Who knows? She might even come back to me after a while.

    I dial the number as I look once again at the advert: ‘Jordan Frost: best defence lawyer in the county. Ninety-nine per cent success rate.’

    “Jordan Frost,” a common London accent greets me.

    I just hope he can save my daughter…

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