The sultry summer wind kicked up Campbell’s hair as he sauntered along the path. This day had been just like that one: the day of Georgia’s death. Campbell willed the wind to take away the sweet, lingering scent of the flowers he had placed on her grave. It reminded him too much of what Georgia was like. Charming, graceful, always there for you. Campbell shut his eyes, flashbacks of the event flooding back to him, memories of the past life with Georgia, her sister Stacey and Abbey. But that had all passed. Only he and Abbey remained. Stacey had lost contact with them after that incident.
Campbell walked on, pushing the thoughts out of his mind. He looked up at the setting sky, which lit his brick house, a lighter, more orange colour. He walked up to the door, glancing at the pot plants, to make sure they hadn’t wilted. A hot breeze sailed in through the doorway, making its way around the kitchen. “Abbey?” Campbell called out. “Abbey?” The house lay, silent, until the wind chased a piece of paper to the ground. Campbell shut the door, and picked up the crisp, faded piece of paper, then scanned it through. Oh my god, he thought. Oh my god.
Suddenly the world became a blurry mash of colours. There wasn’t much sense in what he was seeing. Shapes seemed to collide into each other and colours vied for Campbell’s vision. He shook his head, chasing them out of his mind, much like how you pour bleach onto a surface, and it becomes all clear, white and glistening again. Campbell re read the note, phrases jumping out at him. Abbey. Kidnapped. Cranmer Park. Money. No police. Come. If you. Value her life.
Campbell took a deep breath, and reached for the phone. What can I do, he thought. “Hello?” A cool female voice was at the end of the line. “What’s your emergency?” Campbell steadied himself, balancing the weight of the phone in one hand. What can I do, he thought again. And then he broke down in tears.
Campbell ran along the path, feet hitting the pavement at an even beat. His shadow was long in the setting sky, and he knew there wasn’t much time left. Each breath he took seemed to tangle up his respiratory system. His brief case thumped against his leg, its rough handle causing blisters on his hand. It was all in there. The cash the kidnapper wanted; all of the thousand dollars. He breathed in sharply, feeling the slight sting of tears on his cheek. The captor’s message was still fresh in his mind. You go to the police and I’ll kill her. Do what I say. Bring the money down to Cranmer Park. And don’t play funny with me, Campbell. Cause I know what you’re like.
The streetlights lit up one side of the park. The other was thrown into darkness. Campbell walked on the hard gravel that marked the rough direction of the path. His eyes adjusted to the dark, pupils dilating. There was a movement to the front of him. Leaves skittered and danced in the wind. Campbell moved slowly, his heart thumping inside of him like popcorn in the microwave. There was a muffled sound, and he swung himself around. There she was, lying on the park bench, dark brown hair catching the last rays of sunlight.
Campbell leaned forward to her, his creased face falling away. “Abbey,” he whispered. “Abbey!” He moved her, and then realized her hands and legs were bound with rope. Abbey opened her eyes dazedly, relief flooding into her features. Campbell smiled, giving her a nod, then worked at the gag in her mouth. It fell away easily, and he held her for a moment, feeling her head rest in the nape of his neck. “Campbell,” Abbey murmured. And it was then that both their bodies stiffened, as another pair of boots came upon them.
Campbell held Abbey in his arms, hands frozen into place. He willed himself to do something, turn around, and guard her from her captor. And then Abbey stood up slowly, knees shaking. “Stacey…” Abbey said, choking on her words. “Why?”
The wind shivered among the trees, whispering, sharing secrets of the night. Stacey stepped forward, her eyes as cold and dark as steel. “Why?” Her voice was barely audible. “Why?” She looked up at them, facing Campbell and Abbey. “Do you remember that day, the day of Georgia’s death?” She paused, looking down at her gun, feeling the piece of cold metal in her hand. “We had gone out sailing, on a summer day. The four of us, out in the bay.” She stopped, tears escaping onto her cheek. “Do you remember? We were out in the bay when a storm hit. There were only three life jackets… and four of us. Me, Georgia, and you two.” Stacey turned the gun over in her hand. “And oh, please, this part must be etched in your mind, as clear as day. You two pushed her in, pushed Grace in. So you could have the freaking life jackets for your self!” Stacey screamed, her voice breaking through the hot summer air. “They found her body in the bay, floating and lifeless. She was already dead by then.” Stacey rolled the gun in the palm of her hand. “Should I?” She pondered aloud.