Image from Enzo Abramo on Pixabay
Fiction Mystery Relay ~ Smile for the Camera
The list of writers can be found here with a link to their work. Once a writer has participated in continuing the story, their name will be crossed though. Each author of gets to choose who writes the next part of the story and passes the fiction relay baton onto them.
The story – Smile for the Camera – is the starting block over on May’s site. May is also co-ordinating and orchestrating the tag team writing of this series.
A synopsis of the tale so far ~
Ellie and Susie aged 11 and 12, were childhood friends in the year 1995. On the last day Ellie saw Susie alive they met in the wood. Ellie had taken pictures with a disposable camera then left Susie waiting for a “boyfriend.” A while later her body was discovered strangled, and sexually assaulted. Bill, a local man with learning difficulties was prime suspect, but the killer wasn’t identified. The camera film remained undeveloped for 11 years.
We move forward eleven years to 2006. Susie’s dad had a difficulty recovering from the grief that struck following Susie’s death. He & Susie’s mother divorced – she’d been cheating on him for several years. He remembers that only one person, a young reporter Ken Blake, never gave up on the case.
Ellie became engaged to Steve at the age of 22. She develops the old film and is confused when she spots Steve spying in the background of one image, somewhat camouflaged. She leaves Steve to stay with her friend Carla. Detective Walker is preparing to retire, but Susie’s unsolved case is still bothering him. Trawling the files he discovers something he missed 11 years prior. There appears to have been a second, smaller attacker.
Steve, now an estate agent, keeps an appointment with Mr. Yarnold at an apartment, but is ambushed by a woman wearing a red dress,. Before he can make out who it is he recalls a suppressed memory from the day Susie died. Steve ran into Ellie’s brother Pete to accompany him to a football game. Pete left the game 15 minutes before Steve, who then walked home alone.
Steve comes across Susie and Ellie in the woods and overheard Susie planning a secret date. Ellie leaves Susie waiting by herself but and Steve moves on after hearing a male voice. Steve is brought back to the present by an enraged Ellie, she’s the woman dressed in red. She throws the incriminating picture from 11 years ago at him, instructing Mr. Yarnold – a hired killer – to shoot Steve for killing Susie. She walks out the door to the sound of gunfire.
Ellie meets Dave in a pub, he’s helped finance the killing. It’s the same pub Detective Walker is having his retirement party. Det. Walker tells Dave about his recent discovery that Susie may have been attacked by two people. One with a larger stature than the second. Dave is distraught because Ellie had been certain Steve was the killer but he agrees to meet up with Walker the next day. Ellie returns home, but a car is watching the house.
It’s Ken Blake’s car. He’s continued to write about Susie’s case each year to distract people because he was one of the killers. He knocks on Ellie’s door and introducing himself, says he wants to interview her. Ellie recognizes him, but refuses, she needs to prepare for the police coming round to tell her Steve is dead.
Before she can close the door she realises Ken is a threat so retreats into the kitchen where she’s shocked to finds Steve, alive, holding Mr Yarnold’s gun. Steve had struggled and killed the hitman but was heavily wounded. He shoots Ken as he comes through the kitchen after Ellie. Ellie is left with the job of calling the police to report the murder.
Carla is not only Ellie’s friend, but has also been Ken’s playmate since the 90’s and still seems in his thrall. She knows Susie had a not-so-sweet side and remembers overhearing a conversation between Ellie’s mum and Susie’s about getting rid of Susie.
Meanwhile, Pete returns from his job on an oil rig with a secret. After a tumble in bed with Carla they discuss Dan Trent, a friend, who may know more than he’s said about Susie’s killing. Bill decides some evidence he found at the time may be of interest to the police.
Part 7 –Rocks and Hard Places by Mrs K
Part 8 – Alibis by HisLordship
Part 9 – Such a Sweet Girl by Liz Black
Part 10 …
Well that’s written by me, released for #WickedWednesday on 6-10-2020! The only clue I’m giving you is my header photo