Sunday, 24 February 2013

All Things Must End: Part 2

Part 2

After Cassie had left, Ben lay back on the sofa and smiled sadly:

"I really don't think that there is much to investigate here. I'm not being heartless and I do feel sorry for that girl however she is clearly undergoing some kind of meltdown due to her grief."

Kyle sat at Ben's laptop:

"Ere I wouldn't be so sure about that Ben, 'ave a gander at this."

Ben sat up and looked at the screen. It was an article from the online version of the Cambridge Daily Echo:


A 45 year old man was arrested last night after attempting to dig up his late wife's remains in Grantchester Cemetary. Police were called to the scene after passers by noticed lights in the cemetary and, taking a closer look, saw the man, who has not been named, digging. It is understood that no remains were actually disinterred, however in a bizarre twist the Echo can reveal that the man had told neighbours that his wife was still alive and that he had come home to find her preparing evening dinner earlier in the week. It is possible that the man was trying to prove that his late wife, who we understand died six months ago of cancer, was not actually in the coffin that was buried.

Ben frowned:

"So what? So there is another case of a delusional, grief-stricken person imagining things. This hardly suggests a pattern Kyle."

Meanwhile, in her apartment, Katie Ryan was busy writing a report on the excavation of an Iron Age village in Lincolnshire that she had been comissioned to write by "Archaeology Today" magazine. As she typed the door buzzer went and Katie looked up angrily:

"Oh who the hell is that?" she said out loud, before getting up and opening the door. It was Adam Wooten:

"Er hi Katie. Sorry to bother you but I just came round to ask your advice about the case synopsis write-up for the Peace Conference case. Ben asked me to do it and I know you've done them before. I was just wondering how much detail....."

"Couldn't you just email me about this? I'm busy!" Katie angrily interrupted.

"Er I have done several times and you didn't answer" Adam sheepishly answered.

"Well you should have got the message then that I'm too busy to hold your damn hand when you're doing basic admin tasks" Katie shouted. As she did so, her mobile rang:

"Oh what now!" She answered the mobile:

"Hello. Er what? Is this some kind of sick joke? Look I don't know who you are you sick fucker or how you got this number, but I'm reporting you to the authorities and if I ever get hold of you I'll smash your teeth down your throat".

"Is everything OK Katie?" Adam asked.

"Does everything look ok to you? Huh? My dad died three years ago and I've just had some sick cunt on the phone pretending to be him. He was imitating his voice just as it sounded....."

"OK Kyle, I accept that I dismissed this too hastily and that we should look into it" Ben said as Kyle grinned cheekily.

"Thats a first, you admitting you were wrong over summat" he replied. He stared down at the four other recent cases of people claiming to have seen dead loved ones that he had printed out from articles in the online press.

"I was not wrong Kyle. I merely gleaned new information and developed my approach in the light of this. I'm still not fully convinced that there is anything going on untoward. These cases are from all over the south-east, for all I know it could be a fairly regular thing with grief stricken people. However we will look into it. I say we visit that Cassie girl now and get a fuller statement from her. She left her address."

"What about Emma? She's comin' round in a bit" Kyle answered.

"I can't face her Kyle. This provides an excellent excuse to avoid her and her whining."

"Don't you think you're actin' like a kid over this Ben? Stringin' her along and puttin'off talkin' things through I mean".

"Don't you think I damn well know that Kyle? I just can't deal with her. She knew what the situation would be like when she married me and yet she springs this emotional neediness on me all of a sudden. She's impossible. I don't actually want to hurt her, which is why I can't face her. Come on, lets go."

Ben and Kyle drove through Cambridge to the converted former hotel where Cassie Buckley lived. It took Ben some time to find the flats but eventually he parked the car in the communal car park outside. Getting out of the car he stared at the overflowing wheelie bins and shabbily maintained building:

"What a dump. Why an earth would she want to live here?" he commented.

"You any idea how 'ard it is to get a roof over your head if you ain't earnin' much Ben?" Kyle asked.

"Then get a better job" Ben tersely replied.

They took the damp smelling lift up to Cassie's floor and walked to flat 12. They rang the buzzer and a tall, muscular young man with dark hair opened it:

"Is Cassie Buckley in? My name is Ben Chatham and I wish to speak to her. She called round to see me earlier."

"She's out at the mo. I could ring her if its urgent. You mind me asking what its about? I'm Paul Latham, her boyfiend....................." be continued.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ben Chatham in "All Things Must End" Part 1


Part 1

Heavy rain poured down in torrents as Cassie Buckley left the office and rushed quickly to the dingy little car park where her small blue Fiat was parked. The cold February wind blew mercilessly into her face and the rain covered her glasses, making it difficult to see. As Cassie got into the car, she began spontaneously to cry, as she did most nights. It had been six months since her boyfriend Paul had died and Cassie still felt completely alone and lost. Her only consolation was that Paul had died doing something he loved, having sustained neck injuries while playing rugby for the small local team. Cassie hated going home after a tedious day working as a trainee accountant only to find her flat cold and empty. This was her first job after leaving university, where she had met Paul, and she despised every aspect of it, especially the petty office politics and pecking order. However she needed to keep working to pay the mortgage on the flat as he parents had moved to Spain and had financial problems of their own.

Cassie drove carefully home through the driving rain and parked in the communal parking area beside the flats, a converted former hotel and pub. As she was locking her car, a gust of wind blew a branch off an overhanging tree and it fell onto her car, denting the bonnet.

"Oh fuck thats it! Thats all I need" Cassie said openly, angry tears welling up. She ran into the flats and took the dirty, litter strewn lift up to the top floor. Arriving, she walked towards the door of flat 12 and opened the door with her key. What she saw inside caused her to drop her keys.... there waiting for her was Paul, holding a bottle of wine and grinning:

"Dinner is ready Madame" he cheekily said, just as he used to on many a Friday evening. Cassie stared in disbelief:

"Paul.... how.... you can't be...." Paul came over to her:

"Hey Cassie, whats wrong? Whats happened?" he said, puzzled.

"You... you're dead.." Cassie mumbled.

"What do you mean dead? You ok Cassie?"

"Six months ago.... you died after the rugby match..." Paul was confused.

"I don't get it Cassie. Is this a joke or something? You know full well that I was fine this morning when I saw you off to work...."

Ben Chatham sat nervously on the exclusive leather sofa in his Cambridge apartment, his laptop open on his lap. Kyle poursed himself and Ben a coffee:

"So you gonna reply to her or not Ben? Its really mean not to."

Ben had received an email from Emma and he was agonising over how to respond. He looked up at Kyle:

"I really don't know what to do for the best. She's threatening to come over here tonight."

"She is your wife like. Yous two really should get all this sorted. Neither of you seem to be getting anything from all this." Ben frowned:

"I do not need relationship advice from you Kyle!"

He stared at Emma's email which read:


I called you again three times last night and you still didn't answer. What the hell is wrong with you? You can't just pretend that I don't exist Ben. Why are you doing this, guilty conscience? I knew when I married you that it wouldn't be a regular set up afterwards, what with your work and stuff, but I never thought that I'd never see you, never live with you or anything. What kind of marriage is that? You said last time we spoke that you'd given me a nice home and that I was being looked after so what was I angry about. You really have no idea do you? Yes I knew that you had money and yes I was kind of pleased to be marrying a successful man who would look after me and our children financially but do you really think that that was all I wanted? I remember that first night we spent together when I woke up with my head rested on your chest and you kissed my forehead. Is it really too much for me to want that all the time Ben? I love you but I think all you really wanted was a trophy wife to show to your parents, well I won't be that anymore Ben. I'm coming over to Cambridge today and I'll be round to your apartment around 4 pm ish, there is no point going out Ben I'll wait all night if I have to . I know you don't want to talk, well I do.


Ben didn't object when Kyle lean't over and read the email:

"What you gonna do Ben? She sounds really upset. You've gotta talk to her." Ben put his hands in his head:

"Agghh its so difficult. Why can't she just give me some space to think things through? I really can't handle this Kyle. Maybe I could go round to Katie's and you could tell Emma that I'm away on a major investigation in London. Before Kyle could raise any objections the door buzzer went. Luigi, Ben's cook and cleaner, emerged from the kitchen, rubbing his hands on a dishcloth, and opened the door. A girl of about twenty-four stood there:

"Er hi. I'm told that this is where Ben Chatham lives.I'd er I'd like to talk to him if he's in." Ben went over to the door:

"I am Ben Chatham. Who are you?"

"Er hi. My name's Cassie Buckley. Can I come in? I'm a friend of a friend of Adam Wooten. He works for you? I really need your help."

"You'd better come in. What exactly has Adam been saying to your friend?" Ben asked.

"That you investigate.... that you investigate the paranormal and stuff..." Cassie began to cry. Kyle went over to her:

"Ere its ok. We'll try and 'elp you". Ben frowned:

"I am not impressed with Adam talking about this organisation and its work to his friends. But that isn't your fault. What has happened to you?"

Cassie explained to Ben about the night that she came home in the rain to find Paul back from the dead and behaving like nothing had happened:

".... and we had a lovely meal, just like we always did on a Friday evening. Then we snuggled up on the sofa watching telly and I fell asleep." Ben was confused:

"I don't get this. Didn't you question him further? Why didn't you get yourself out of there? You were behaving rather unconcernedly for a woman who has just come home to find her dead boyfriend offering her a glass of wine." Cassie wiped her eyes and stared angrily:

"Do you know what its like to lost someone you love? You can't stop thinking about them and suddenly they're back and its as if nothing had happened. I'll be honest with you, I just didn't care about what was happening or why; I was just glad to have my life back as it was before. I can see that you don't understand."

"Look, I imagine that grief can do funny things to the mind. Have you sought medical advice?" Ben asked softly. Cassie stood up angrily:

"Look I'm telling you that what happened was real. When I woke up later on the sofa, he was gone and I was alone in the flat again. But he was there, he was......" be continued.