Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter’s is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.
As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.
A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.
And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.
I set out the chairs in a circle. In my head I counted off each person as I placed their seat. Terry, dead daughter; Ilene, missing daughter; Kendra, missing daughter; Joanne, sick daughter; Christine, dead daughter. That last one is me, by the way.
There used to be a need for more chairs. I had quite the group running at one stage. Not now. We’ve dwindled and whittled our way to a close knit bunch. Like a knitting circle with barbed tongues driving all the young and optimistic members away.
I remember when I was talked into setting up this group. I was whining away to an old colleague one day and she mentioned that I may be helped by a support group. A support group! I “reminded” her that I was a fully qualified psychiatrist who had once had a roaring career until I realised how futile the entire field was. I wasn’t someone who attended a support group. I was the one to run it.
Famous last words.
There was a crunch of gravel outside and I walked to the window to have a nosey. Not one of mine. An elderly gent made slow progress towards the temporary library. He swayed so deeply from foot to foot he looked like a Weeble in full wobble.
I laid out a half packet of stale gingernuts which had mysteriously survived in our pantry and hoped that no one was feeling too hungry.
1. What is your favorite Joke?
Some pieces of string walk into a bar. The first one walks up to place an order, and the barman gives him a long, hard look and asks ‘Are you a piece of string?’
The piece of string answers ‘Yes’, and the barman responds ‘We don’t serve pieces of string in here.’
Dejected, the piece of string walks away empty-handed and joins his friends. They huddle together for a moment and then one of them has an idea. He ties himself up and has his friends pull the strands of his top end apart. When he’s ready he walks up the bar.
The barman looks him up and down and says, ‘We don’t serve pieces of string in here. Aren’t you a piece of string?’
The piece of string looks indignant and replies, ‘I’m a frayed knot!’
2. Where do you get your best ideas?
In planes and buses. Staring out windows and not thinking of anything in particular tends to attract new ideas to fill up the empty void. I can sit at a desk and stare at a piece of blank paper without being able to think of a single way out of a plot-hole, or a better way of handling a dead scene, but if I’m travelling somewhere they just come.
3. What do you do to relax?
Watch TV, read and randomly surf the internet. Usually all at the same time. I also like to play computer games, although they can have the opposite effect dependent upon the skill level I’ve chosen and the fire-power and stealth of the opposition. Sometimes it all gets too much and I just have to try to harvest some fruit and veges in Farm Heroes. For some reason matching little symbols together on a screen and making sure that they’re the right kind is the type of brainless entertainment that can waste hours of my life. Still, time wasted doing something you enjoy is not wasted time.
4. Do you write about what turns you on?
If I was turned on by anything that I write about I would need to be locked up for a million years and then some. That’s disgusting, and I resent the implication, although I did mention food a few times in the last one. I’m quite turned on by food. Just eating it, you understand, not rolling about naked in it on the floor or anything like that. Normal food turn-on stuff. I’m normal. Normal.
Katherine Hayton is a 41 year old woman who works in insurance, doesn't have children or pets, can't drive, has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides two minutes’ walk from where she was born.
For some reason she's developed a rich fantasy life. Enjoy.
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