Carly, p.1D. M. Wolfenden
Published by DM Wolfenden 2015
Copyright © 2015 DM Wolfenden All rights reserved.
DM Wolfenden asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction.
The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work
of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or
by any means, including photocopying, recording, or
other electronic or mechanical methods, without the
prior written permission of the publisher, except in
the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall
not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold,
hired out or otherwise circulated without the
publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or
cover other than that in which it is published and
without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
I’d like to thank everyone that has helped me on my
little adventure, from my beta readers, editor and critique group,
to my cover creator Amanda Walker PA & Design Services.
Your input was invaluable ladies.
Most of all, I would like to thank you, the reader.
Without you, people like me would not exist.
Table of contents
Carly Taylor chewed on her fingernails. The smiling face in the photograph she was holding captured her cousin’s personality perfectly. Happy, bright green eyes looked back at Carly. Oh, Lisa, please be alive. Beneath this photograph was another of Carly, her mother, and her kid brother dressed up like Goths. She kissed the pictures and put them back in the pocket of her prison uniform. She wiped her sweaty palms down the legs of her pale blue trousers.
The harsh fluorescent lighting and stark grey walls only intensified her anxiety. She scanned the room for something to focus on. Two chairs and a dull, stainless steel table were the only furnishings in there. She tried to ignore the clock, but each loud tick set her nerves on edge.
The prison guard walked over and placed his hand on her shoulder. “Hold it together, kid. This is for Lisa.”
Carly looked and nodded. “It has to work.”
He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. “I’d better go and see if she’s arrived.”
“Ok,” she replied and looked down at her hands and licked her dry lips.
The clank of the metal door opening, followed by the clip-clop of high heels on concrete, announced the arrival of the journalist.
As she walked past to go to the other side of the desk, Carly glanced at the woman’s feet and spied her shoe’s red soles. She lifted her gaze to an expensive looking, black wool suit with a pencil skirt which outlined her trim hips.
The woman smiled, placed her leather briefcase on the table, and held out her hand. Her pale blue eyes shone from her porcelain face. She looked like an expensively maintained forty-something, who worked out, a lot. “I’m Vanessa St. John. Thank you for agreeing to see me, Miss Taylor.” Long, curly blonde locks cascaded over her short, collarless jacket.
Carly didn’t move, her face emotionless. “This is for Lisa. Someone has to know what happened to her; it’s one of the reasons I agreed to the interview.”
Vanessa looked the officer up and down. “Do you really need to be here?”
His shoulders went back, and his broad chest looked like it would pop the buttons on his shirt. He was still looking at Carly, but glanced in Vanessa’s direction. Then, back at Carly.
“She’s hardly a threat, now is she?” Vanessa continued. “Couldn’t you stay on the other side of the door? I can call, if I need you.” Her eyelashes fluttered, as she smiled widely, revealing her even, white teeth. “The warden told me I could speak with Miss Taylor in confidence.” She pointed her finger at the large, white security camera. “And there’s always Big Brother to watch over us.”
Office Hammond’s lips thinned, his jaw visibly tensed. “Okay. But I’ll leave the door open.” He turned away from them.
“Thank you,” Vanessa sing-songed. Facing Carly, she composed herself and continued, “That’s better, we can talk more openly without him spying on us.” She nodded her head in his direction. “The warden explained, Miss Taylor, about your conditions, and I’m aware of the Lisa Gibbins case.”
An image of Lisa and herself holding hands and running along a beach flashed before Carly’s eyes. “Call me Carly.” Her voice sounded hollow in the small room.
“Of course, Carly. Please, call me Vanessa. I’m sure someone will remember something of Lisa.” The woman smiled again, this time it didn’t reach her eyes. The chair’s metal legs screeched across the floor, as she pulled it away from the table and sat down.
Carly twisted her fingers around her long black ponytail. She tilted her chin and stared back at Vanessa. She sniffed, catching the scent of the woman’s perfume. The flowery, mildly sweet aroma reminded her of her mother’s favourite perfume. A memory of the last Christmas they’d spent together played out in her mind.
“Oh, my god, Mum, how much perfume have you put on?” Carly wafted her hand beneath her nose. “My eyes are stinging.”
“I love this perfume. Thank you so much, honey bun.” She’d grabbed Carly in a bear hug.
Carly’s younger brother walked in. “Holy shit, when did this place turn into a brothel?”
“Billy, language, and this is Chanel,” their mother said as she let go of Carly. She stood proud with her nose in the air. “It’s very expensive, and sophisticated.”
Billy and Carly had burst out laughing. Their mother grabbed hold of a couple of sofa cushions and threw them at the pair. They ran about the living room dodging the cushions until, eventually, they all collapsed on the sofa in a fit of giggles.
“By the way, you’re the coolest sister ever, Carly. Thanks for the tickets to Rockness,” Billy grinned.
“You got him what? He’s only fourteen.” Their mother shook her head. “No, he’s too young.”
“I’m not a kid anymore!” Billy protested.
Carly felt her cheeks go warm. “It’s alright, I’ll go with him.”
Billy’s eyes sparkled as he playfully hit Carly on the arm. “Told you she was cool.”
Their mother huffed. “She’s too soft with you...”
Vanessa cleared her throat, drawing Carly’s attention back to reality.
Vanessa reached inside her briefcase, removed the dictaphone, and placed it on the table. “Do you mind if I record the interview?”
Carly shook her head.
“Shall we start?”
She let go of her ponytail and crossed her arms. “Have you got what I asked for?”
Vanessa nodded and opened the briefcase. “Of course. My apologies, of course.” She shuffled the briefcase contents about. She abruptly glanced up at Carly.
Carly leaned forward, her brow furrowed. “You promised.”
“It’s in here. In fact, I’m sure of it.” She removed a Filofax, a bundle of papers, handful of pens, two small white envelopes, and a reporter’s notepad. She visibly relaxed and held out an A5 brown envelop
Carly’s hands trembled as she reached for it. Tears teetered on the edge of her eyelashes. Opening the package, she pulled out two photographs and quickly scanned each of the pictures. “Thank you.”
A tear slipped from her chin and splashed onto the photo: A golden Labrador, with her big brown eyes, sat gazing at the camera. Another photo showed the dog chasing a laughing, dark haired girl, around five-years old. Carly drew a shaky breath and whimpered slightly. She glanced up at Vanessa, her vision blurry. “She’s not a puppy any more. She’s put on weight.” She wiped her face with the back of her hand, and looked back down at the photographs.
Vanessa leaned over and patted Carly’s arm.
Carly quickly jerked her arm away. “I don’t like to be touched!”
Vanessa shifted awkwardly in her seat, her eyes stared at the small round scars on Carly’s arms.
Carly muttered, “I’m sorry,” while wiping more tears away with her fingers.
Vanessa passed her a tissue. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t think…She’s happy with her new family.”
A thin smile crossed Carly’s face. “I bet she’s having a great time with that little girl.”
Vanessa nodded. “Yes, they looked like they were having fun. Shall we start the interview?”
“Yeah. But from the beginning, okay?”
Vanessa reached over and switched the dictaphone on.
“Carly, you told the police James Andres was responsible for your abduction, and you killed him?”
Carly held her hand up. “Told you already, I’ll only tell the full story. It has to be what happened, what he was like. How I know he’s responsible for Lisa’s disappearance.”
Vanessa nodded. “Of course. When you’re ready.”
Holding the photos against her chest, Carly started to speak. “He moved into the house next door, about six months before it happened.”
“What was James Andres like then?”
Carly wrapped her arm about her waist. “He seemed normal…at first.” She bit her bottom lip, a deathly silence entered the room.
Carly lifted one of her shaking hands to her mouth and took a deep breath. She took a cigarette packet out of the pocket of her pale blue, short-sleeved tunic. With a sigh, she opened it. Her fingers touched each of the four, yellow tips in turn, before selecting one. She held it between her first two fingers, and asked, “Do you mind?”
“No, you go ahead,” Vanessa replied.
Carly noticed how the downward curve of her lips and the stiffening of her shoulders belied her polite words. “Well, I can’t relive this without a smoke.”
Vanessa pulled a lighter out of her jacket pocket.
Carly leaned her head to the side. A crease appeared between her eyes.
“I gave up two years ago, but I always keep a packet and a lighter on me. I find it helps,” Vanessa explained, as she flipped the top of the lighter and pressed the button on the side. The blue flame sparked to life.
Carly moved forward, her cigarette perched between her lips. She inhaled, removed it from her mouth, leant her head back slightly, blew out the blue-grey smoke, and watched it rise towards the ceiling. She straightened up. “Thanks.” She placed the photos, and the packet down on the table.
“Take your time, Carly. I know this can’t be easy for you.” The corners of Vanessa’s mouth lifted.
To Carly, the smile looked false, plastered on for appearance’s sake. Carly squeezed her eyes shut, and her body shuddered. “I still see his face when I close my eyes.”
“What was your first impression of him?”
Carly slowly opened her eyes. “There was nothing that screamed danger. He was thin, maybe ten-stone, about five-foot-eight, greying hair, thinning on top. To me, he looked kinda nerdy, thick-framed, black glasses. I guessed he was in his early forties, but he always dressed like he was an old codger in his seventies.”
Vanessa flipped through her notepad. “He’s thirty-seven.”
Carly shrugged. “It doesn’t make any difference now.”
“No, I guess not.”
Carly noticed the edge of contempt in Vanessa’s voice. She put the cigarette in the ashtray, crossed her arms over her chest and leant back in the chair.
Vanessa quickly looked down at her notepad, she licked the tip of her finger and flipped through the pages again. “When he first moved next door to your home, did you have many interactions with him?”
“Not a great deal. I would say ‘hello’ in passing, wave from across the street. That sort of thing. That was before I knew he was a right odd-ball.” The saying reminded her of Lisa. She remembered the day Lisa walked into the kitchen and slumped down on one of the chairs.
“I take it last night didn’t go very well?” Carly asked.
“He was a right odd-ball.” Lisa cocked her head, and she raised her hand up to her forehead. Then, she rubbed her eyes.
Carly laughed at her. “All the men you meet are weird. At least, according to you they are.”
Lisa put her arms on the table and placed her head on them. “It’s not me, is it? Be honest.”
Carly walked over and wrapped her arms around her cousin’s shoulders. “You’re just picky. And melodramatic.” She kissed Lisa on the back of her head before letting her go.
Lisa sat upright. “That’s a big word for you.”
Carly poked her tongue out and turned away.
Lisa slapped her backside. “You’re so immature!”
“When did you first start to think Mr. Andres was…an odd-ball?” Vanessa asked.
Carly uncrossed her arms and jolted upright. She had to try and keep her mind focused, keep it here, in the awful, depressing, present moment. “What? Oh, yeah, sorry.” Carly stubbed the cigarette out in the ashtray and exhaled the last of the smoke. “About a month after he moved in. It was hot that day. I had a week’s holiday off work. Mum was at her work, and my brother was at school so I decided I would do nothing all day, just read in the garden. I think it’s when he first started watching me.”
Carly grabbed her book and cigarette packet off the kitchen table, smiling as the sun shone through the window. She took a can of juice out of the fridge, adjusted her bikini top, and placed the cigarettes in her cut-off jean shorts. The refreshing breeze ruffled her hair as she walked out to the garden. She got comfortable on the hammock and started reading.
A cold wind blew and goose bumps formed on her arms. Carly went to rub her arms and dropped the book. From the corner of her eye, she saw movement in an upstairs bedroom window of the house next door. Moving her hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the sun, she stared up at the window, but nothing moved.
“I didn’t think anything of it at the time, thought maybe I was seeing things. I must have fallen asleep, because suddenly, I woke up. I had this eerie feeling I was being watched.”
Little beads of sweat started to appear on her forehead. Forcing herself to relax, Carly leaned on the table, and took comfort in the feel of the cold steel against her bare arms.
Vanessa moved a little closer and turned slightly in her chair. She never took her eyes off Carly’s.
“Some things I remember as clear as day, but other stuff is vague. This bit, I’ll never forget. I spent days wondering if I was paranoid, or if maybe I dreamt it. I’m positive, as I closed my eyes, I heard a distinct click. You know, the sound a camera makes.”
“It is a unique sound,” Vanessa agreed, with a small nod.
Carly just started to close her eyes and relax, as she heard a click, her eyes sprung open. She slid out of the hammock and looked around the garden. She held her breath and noticed the top of a man’s head duck below the fence which separated the garden from her neighbour’s. She walked over to the fence; her legs wobbled and her hands shook as she slowly approached the boundary. She peeked over into her neighbour’s garden, the backdoor to the house closed. Carly’s hand went to her mouth as she slumped to the ground.
Vanessa put her own packet down in front of Carly, along with the lighter. “I think you may need these.”
“Cheers,” Carly replied. Her hand shook and fumbled to get a cigarette out of the packet. “The next day was another glorious day. But when I went out to the garden, my nerves got the better of me. I kept looking from the hammock to the fence, to his upstairs bedroom, to his back door. I kept telling myself I was being silly, but it had scared the shit out of me.
“Determined not to let paranoia spoil my day, or to fall asleep again, I grabbed a deck chair and placed it so my back was to his window, and I started reading my new book.” A nervous laugh left her trembling lips. “Misery by Stephen King. What a choice, hey?”
Vanessa put her elbows on the table and linked her fingers together. “Hmmm.”
Carly flicked the lighter and lifted a cigarette toward her mouth, it shook so much she had to put her hand down. “I’d been reading for five minutes, tops, when I heard him whistling and a puppy yapping away. So, curiosity got the better of me. I went over to the fence. He grinned like a Cheshire cat and waved. I waved back, and he bent down and picked up this bundle of dirty blonde fur and held it up to me.” She took a deep breath and lit the cigarette.
Vanessa glanced at the picture of the dog.
“As usual, I went all gooey at the sight of the puppy, and asked him her name. ‘Her name’s D-fer,’ he’d said, grinning.” Carly curled her lips up, and motioned with her index finger to her front teeth. “His teeth were gross, yellow and black. The thought of them still makes me feel sick.”
She watched Vanessa swallow the excess moisture in her mouth before asking. “D-fer? What sort of name is that?”
“It’s common. Well, it is where I’m from. D-for-dog, C-for-cat. Some people think it’s funny. He said something about getting the pup a few days earlier. And that he saw me the day before, when his brother was there, and he was going to introduce us, but D-fer ran inside, and they chased after her. Can’t remember his actual words, but it was something like that.” Carly snorted. “I actually believed him, even as he looked me up and down, like he was mentally undressing me.” She shuddered again as a chill ran through her body. “That was, until I went to visit my cousin, Lisa. She’d gotten a kitten the day before. I’m a sucker for animals.
Carly by D. M. Wolfenden / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes