My Darling Clementine

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January 15th 2013  |  1  |  Category: Fiction , Suspense , Thriller  |  Author: Louise  |  1178 views

The night was stormy and dark with whistling winds playfully whipping the sodden autumn leaves. Blekeford was a small town idyllically located around an alcove, with peaceful views of the bay. The empty streets echoing with camaraderie emanating from The Harbour Inn, injecting light and life into the lanes; like a centrepiece standing proudly in the centre of the town filling the air with joyous commotion and merry voices.
As the handsome dark featured man and his bedraggled young companion enter the premises, they welcome the warmth of the open fire. Happy smiles and random outbreaks of rapturous singing greet them. They reach the bar and begin to relax.
“Can I get ya anything?” a portly, grey haired woman with a broad smile stands before them
“Yes, a strong coffee and…” he turns to the girl “Clem… orange juice?” she nods happily “Wanna find a hotel round here tonight?”
She holds up her index finger “Dad, on one condition” he raises his right eyebrow, making her giggle “I can still watch my film” the man looks playfully shocked at the girl and smiles.
“Good evening sir, what brings you here?” a gruff voice interrupts them. A towering man with riotous grey hair, a tweed suit expertly matched with a neatly pressed egg shell shirt and tweed waistcoat introduces himself, the corner of his waistcoat falls away revealing a Police Officer badge.
The man lifts his hand “Hi officer, my daughter and I ran into trouble a few miles back, we abandoned our car so it looks like we’re staying in town tonight, could you recommend anywhere?”
He rubs his protruding belly as he ponders the question “Well now, you should find a room at the Jennings Hotel or the Littoral Guest House overlooking the bay, the views are great. If you need a ride, I’m heading past that way”
“That would be great, thanks”
They finish their drinks and gather their belongings. As they fasten their coats, Clementine looks at her father “Dad, can we stay at the one by the beach?”
“Yes my darling anything for you” Her eyes widen in delight.
The officer returns, accompanied by a younger man
“The names Detective Benning” The officer extends his hand and it is returned with a virile squeeze “and this is my Deputy, Detective Baines”
They shake hands, Wilson feels his sweaty weak hand in his and immediately lets go. Unlike his superior Baines was of a slight frame, with muscular shoulders, conflicting with his slim legs. His black crew cut hair and thick eyebrows frame his hawk like eyes and chiselled face. “Please call me Jared” he looks focuses on the girl and gives a snowy toothed grin. His dull toned voice unusually paired with piercing blue eyes making her instantly dislike him but shrouds it with a courteous nod.
“Nice to meet you” her father replies “Wilson Baker”, the superiority in his voice surprises him “This is my daughter Clementine”

After sending his deputy to arrange a room, Detective Benning makes his way outside “Enjoy your stay sir, and you too miss” directing his comment at the girl
“Thankyou for your help Detective” she responds
“Ah no bother at all, take care now, this isn’t a good time to be around here, stay safe”
They part ways, and once settled in their room, Wilson watches his daughter fall to sleep. His heavy eyes drawing to a close as he submits to the comfort of slumber.
In the morning, sunlight pierces through the window and onto his face, warming his rested skin. Feeling exuberant and ready for action Wilson heads to the bathroom and notices Clementine’s neatly made bed. He leaves his room and descends to the dining area but with no sign of his daughter he hurriedly returns. A sickly feeling of dread creeps through his veins and he picks up the phone
“Reception” Harps a female voice
“Yes its Wilson Baker in room 34 have seen my daughter? She’s 8 with blonde hair and…” he spots her bag on the table “she’s left her bag”
“I’m sorry sir what was that?”
His tone hardens “My daughter. She’s missing. I thought she was having a look around the hotel but she has left her bag. Do you have security at this hotel?” his voice wavers frantically, causing the receptionist to focus on his words
“Yes sir Albert works nights and we do days. I haven’t seen her I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes call Detective Benning”

Benning stood by the window and scratched his beard “Was you aware of this town before you arrived, Mr Baker?”
Wilson shook his head, his voice quavering with emotion “no we ran out of petrol a few miles back, we walked and found ourselves here, why?”
He breathed deeply “25 years ago at Halloween, Gwennie Finnigan was taken from her home, her mother discovered her neatly made empty bed. She was found on bonfire night just outside of town by a rambler. She had been strangled. That was the first and there have been 15 since then. All at Halloween and all found on bonfire night”
Wilsons face pales and he stables himself on a nearby chair. His heart beats loudly in his ear “We’ve gotta get out there and find her, find clues and ask people what they saw. Detective please, you’ve gotta get out there”
Benning chauffeured Wilson back to his seat “Please I know what you’re going through and you need to calm down”
“No you don’t, you have no idea! My daughter has been TAKEN!” He stands, thrusting the chair to the floor “25 years you have let this monster get away with this and you STILL haven’t found him. Don’t tell me you know how I feel!” Turning his back, Benning returns to his desk. As the silence in the room grows louder, Wilson exhales and picks his chair up. He sits and glances at the detective “I’m sorry, I just need you to find her, she is all I’ve got”

Benning rises from his chair and takes some paper from his desk holds it out
“This here is Charlotte Benning” Wilson takes the file and removes a black and white photo showing a young, sandy haired girl around the same age as Clementine “ This is my daughter, victim number four”
Wilson stands up “I.. I’m sorry detective, I had no idea” he drops his shameful shoulders and hands back the paper “I am sorry Detective” he says, sincerely
“Now, you don’t have to tell me what you feel right now cos believe me I know but I’m telling you I’ll find her and that’s a promise” he points to the suitcase “grab your things and come with me”

At the station, Wilson sits nervously.
“Gather round everybody!” Detective Benning bellows “As you now know, our strangler is back and we believe he has this girl, Clementine Baker” he holds up her photograph, Wilsons stomach clenches “We have 5 days. I want search and rescue teams are to take the cliffs, beach and streams. Team two meet me in the hotel in 30 minutes, Baines you make your way to the hotel and interview the staff” the deputy jumps up gathering his gun and keys as he leaves.

A few miles away, blindfolded and gagged, Clementine sat listening. She could hear the sea. Her hands and feet were bound behind her back with ropes that cut into her pallid skin. She had been crying and could taste the saltiness of her tears. Having not heard anything for a few hours she starts to fidget, but unable to move from the radiator that she was attached to she sat back and respired. She adjusts her position and feels the noose slack around her ankles, pushing her feet back to where her hands are tied she pulls at the rope. As her feet free she uses her shoulder to brush the cotton from her eyes and mouth, stretching her face as she readjusts to unrestricted freedom. Wriggling her hands out she stands and looks around, finding herself in a barn decorated with garden instruments and hand tools. She takes a pair of shears and tucks them inside her jeans. Opening the door she tentatively looks out, her eyes fighting the sunlight. She snakes her way around the barn across the courtyard and finds shelter behind a tractor. Headlights appear along the track leading to the barn and she hides further out of view. The car pulls in and a man steps out, looks around cautiously and enters the barn. After a few painstaking seconds she hears him shout her name. She stays, watching through a gap in the wheel.

“CLEMENTINE!!” She sees his face and gasps. Detective Baines looks franticly around the barn.
“Get back here you little bitch, YOU CANT RUN AWAY FROM ME” He scrambles to the car, opens the boot, grabs a shot gun and runs towards the forest.
Clementine watches him disappear past the trees and hunkers to the vehicle. As she slowly opens the door it squeaks loudly causing her to hastily jump in. She clambers for the radio and spots his gun on the seat. Feeling the shears dig into her back, she grabs the receiver and presses the buttons “hello, hello this is Clementine Baker, please is anyone there?” the radio hisses to life.
Her thumb presses the button, as she opens her dry mouth to speak she feels her legs being dragged, she sees Baines and he is lurching over her, like a rabid dog who has finally caught its prey.
“What d’ya think you’re doing?” As he shouts, droplets of saliva shoot from his crooked lips. he grabs her hands and drags her from the car
“Please, stop” she thrusts her feet into the ground in a bid to slow him down.
“Fiery little bitch aren’t you” He sneers pulling her harder, his fingers sinking into her skin
They are back in the barn and as he turns to shut the door she wriggles out of his grip and pulls at the shears, they snag her jeans and she pulls harder sending them flying over her head. Stabling herself she lunges forward but he sees her coming and slinks out of her path, punching her on the jaw as she passes him. She deflates onto the wood, desperately grasping for the shears as she lands. Her face explodes with a tearing pain and clenches her teeth, wincing from the agony. She pulls herself along the splintered floor and focuses on the shears. Baines realises hers destination and pushes his boot into her back
“Get off me” she screams trying to twist her body to face him
He smiles wickedly at her “Stop fighting me princess” he treads down harder and she feels her rib cage pop. Yelling out in pain she grabs his leg, flips herself over and bites down on his bony ankle, he yelps and kicks her in the face. “FUCK! You stupid little bitch” He stumbles back tripping on the rope covering the floor. Clementine grabs the shears and runs towards him. This time he doesn’t see her and she drives the sharp end into his chest. His eyes widen and his arms fail widely in front trying to reach her, as she pushes harder and she hears a crack. Closing her eyes she twists the handle and jumps back, letting Baines bloodied limp body fall to the floor.
As she runs to the car she hears the radio hissing. Sliding into the car and grabs the receiver
“Hello, is anyone there” her hands shaking as the adrenaline lubricates her blood
“My name is Clementine Baker, I’ve been kidnapped by Detective Baines and I’ve killed him” She pauses anxiously, her jaw illuminating her face with red, swollen pain
“We copy, where are you Miss Baker?”
She looks out the window and suddenly feels her hair being pulled, Baines is behind her, staggering and determined he pulls her harder, she resists feeling her hair tearing from her head, grabbing the gun on the seat as he drags her to the hard gravel. His bloodied boot connects with her back, slamming her into the car. She hits the metal and without hesitation she pulls the shaft on the gun, spins around and facing Baine she aims at his head
“Ha! You aint got the balls girl, now come on give me the gun ” he holds out his hand, blood drips from it onto the floor. He smiles at her and steps forward. She steps back and hesitates for a second, the adrenaline making her body feel alert yet nervous. She had never held a gun, but she had a pretty good idea how to use it thanks to her love of crime TV shows. He lunges forward and she shoots him in the head killing him instantly. Crippled with pain she slides to the ground. In the distance she hears sirens and she smiles, closes her eyes and passes out.

Opening her eyes she looks at her father and feels her hand tighten in his grip
“Hey honey” he smiles at her, a tear runs down his cheek.
Her throat is dry “Dad, thank god” her croaky words make her weep and he embraces her. The stay, cuddled and safe until she drifts back to sleep.
Wilson tucks his daughter in and leaves the room.
“How is she?” Bennings old voice showing trepidation
“Doc say she’ll be fine” Wilson takes a seat “Thank you for finding her. I don’t know what I would have done if I would have lost her”
“I’m glad she’s ok, and for the record she gave as good as she got; Baines was pretty beat up”
Wilson chuckled sadly to himself. Her spirit dumbfounded him and he was grateful for the strong willed genes she had inherited from her mother.
“They searched his place, found loadsa videos of him talking to himself about how he hated the freedom these kids had, how he should have been like them. His old man messed him up pretty bad until he and his ma died in a car crash. He was 16 and since then he’s been on his own. I never expected it to be him ya’know, I worked with the guy for 20 years and not once did I think he was the strangler” he shook his head, closing his eyes in disgust
“You weren’t to know. You got him in the end, that’s all that matters”
“You got that right. Say, you look like you need a break, go get some rest; I’ll be here for her if she wakes up”
Wilson recognised the kindness in his eyes. He shakes his head “It’s fine Detective, I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else than with my darling Clementine” he stands and faces his friend “Thanks again, How about me and you go get a coffee, maybe you will tell me your first name” His eyes light up before the smile appears. Benning throws his head back, laughing loudly and grabbing his bulbous stomach “Benjamin, Benjamin Benning at your service” he bows, playfully
The two men shake hands and move to the cafeteria, a firm friendship built in a painful few hours. As they walk away, a brave 8 year old girl dreams of the sea, her mother’s dark black hair and faraway places.


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One Response to My Darling Clementine

  1. Barry says:

    Like it great little story.

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