Hydrophobia- A series of events
Sam Wilson couldn’t swim. Well the real truth was he suffered from “Hydrophobia” (a fear of water) which quickly developed after a number of traumatic events; the first after being pushed in the deep end of a swimming pool as a child aged 8 . The group of boys had meant it as a joke. They were just being typical boys and shoving and pushing in the queue, but it had backfired. Sam had been pushed forward unsuspectingly, hitting his head on the poolside loosing consciousness. The lifeguard had to jump in and drag him out of the water. He spent the rest of the afternoon in A& E, it had caused a scene. Sam hated being the centre of anything, After the event he felt mortified and humiliated but he didn’t cry, Sam only ever cried inside. He had gone back in the water after that but was extra cautious. Sam was kind and forgiving, never holding it against them but the he event had damaged his confidence slightly and affected his ability to trust people as much as he’s like to.
His dear younger sister Sally had drowned tragically on a sea voyage from Greenway to Brixham in Devon, aboard the 1940’s ship heritage ship ‘The Fairmile’. She was a beautiful little girl with big brown eyes and blonde ringlets, loved by everyone for her inquisitiveness and her heartwarming laugh. She looked up to Sam copying everything he said. In her developing mind she wanted to be just like him calling him “my Sam” and he was there to protect her, he was her “knight in shining armour” . His mother and father had taken their eyes off her just for a moment. Young children are very inquisitive and have no sense of real danger it was too late she had ventured too close to the edge . It was assumed that she had slipped under the railings plummeting into the sea although no one was exactly sure (or so people thought) Her body was never recovered, but everyone knew that she couldn’t possibly have survived she was 3 years old. The second tragedy was to deeply scar Sam forever.
Sam therefore, had avoided water ever since and couldn’t swim. Now aged 27 he was a very handsome well-groomed young man with olive skin and stunning hazel eyes. His stunning appearance could not hide the fact that had a history of depression and had isolated himself slightly, secretly blaming his parents for the death of his beloved sister. He had a small group of friends however no-one knew about his family tragedy, only of his water phobia.
Sam was not answering calls or the door. His parents knew something was wrong as it was rare for Sam to go more than 2 days without texting them , they had always been a close family and he was a kind thoughtful person, he’d never be the sort to make them fret over him.
His ex-girlfriend Sarah’s concern also grew she had ended their relationship as she felt that ‘the spark was gone’ Sam was often away with his successful business. The time apart was hard-too hard for her to bear, but they’d finished on good terms. People began to worry and then a search began – he appeared as another face on “The missing persons list” for the county, no-one had seen him for over a week.
His body was found washed up on the well-known long stretch of beach The Beacon Cove days later by a small group of local fishermen. He was lying face down in the sand, they thought at first that he was a drunk who had passed out however, cautiously turning him onto his back told a different story. Needless to say it was a traumatic for them .Now his usually sun-kissed skin was chalky white, his powder blue lips were slightly parted , there were no apparent cuts and bruises on his body, one of his shirt sleeves was torn which could have indicated a struggle and the gold cuff links with his initials S.W (which he had been wearing at work the last time he was seen) were missing. “Suspected suicide” was immediately stamped boldly on his death by police and detectives who had swiftly arrived at the scene. Sam’s brother Paul immediately traveled to his parents’ house to support his mother.
“Sam couldn’t swim…not after what happened to his sister” his mother stated to the police with a heart so heavy it seemed to sink to the pit of her stomach and ached with an emptiness which could never be filled. The officer leant forward slightly listening in; “She drowned on a sea voyage 10 years ago…we were the ones to blame.” Mrs Wilson reached into her handbag to fetch a tissue to mop her teary eyes, she was overwhelmed by sorrow. Paul put his arm around his mum and continued “What she means is Sam was 17 and it was the final straw for him…he couldn’t physically go into the water, not after that.”
She interrupted “we didn’t feel it would be fair to force him to attend swimming lessons at school…I wish I had now but well, it’s too late to dwell on that now isn’t it !” She broke down and sobbed.
The officer looked surprised and looked in the notes “It says here that Sam had a history of depression…you don’t think it is potentially possible that well…he hadn’t long split up with his girlfriend of 3 years, is it possible that the sudden ending of his relationship might have driven him to? ….”
Mrs Wilson looked horrified “Are you suggesting that you think that my 27-year-old son committed suicide ? No I don’t believe it! We are Christians and frown greatly upon the thought of taking our own life! I don’t believe for one minute that he would do it! Not for ONE minute. Sam knew he could talk to us or his brother Paul, that was never ever an issue!”
“I’m sorry, we just have to take everything into account…suicide included…I didn’t mean to offend you Mrs Wilson.”
She quickly calmed herself feeling slightly embarrassed – “Sorry….just….that thought sends shivers down my spine” she stated in a low whisper.
“We’ll need to wait for the results of the post-mortem but I think Mrs Wilson, we could be looking at a potential murder inquiry.”
Mrs Wilson and Paul both nodded in agreement.
A deadly silence filled the room….
A week passed nothing. His poor family (his parents and older brother Paul) were mentally torturing themselves what happens if the murderer planned to kill one of them next? was their main concern. The post-mortem revealed that the cause of death was drowning and suffocation caused by latent hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and hyperventilation. Sam’s neck was very bruised manual strangulation seemed very possible as one could almost see a hand shape upon the skin of his neck as he lay upon the post-mortem table. If this was the case at least his death had been quick, as unconsciousness would have taken hold of him in between 7-14 seconds depending on the physical strength of his killer death following this just minutes afterwards. The skin on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet was wrinkled and pale , the effect someone would get from staying in the bath to long- his body had clearly been in the sea for hours, perhaps even days.
No more clues were found and the police weren’t very keen to continue, stating wrongly that the bruising on Sam’s neck had been an old injury ruling out strangulation. His Mum was under a great deal of stress. Paul stated that they should put an end to the murder inquiry. She refused but didn’t bat an eyelid at the fact that he was so keen to do so.
The shocking truth is revealed
The day of Sam’s funeral dawned upon them. a heart breaking day for the whole family. They had come to terms with the fact that his killer may not be found and were ready to let the past lie ; however a conversation and clues were to expose the truth.
All was calm until a late arrival entered the room. Sam’s brother Paul. Nothing sinister at first but he wasn’t his usual self. When talking to his mother he could barely look directly at her and avoided conversation about Sam becoming hot and clammy, he ran his fingers through his blonde hair. A glint of shiny gold caught the light.
Paul never wore cufflinks, his mum took him by the wrist and turned as white as a sheet “S.W”- the gold personalised cuff links they were Sam’s and were missing when his body was found.
She confronted him abruptly “Paul…..those cufflinks don’t have your initials on them…those were Sam’s initials”
“Oh he leant them to me erm a couple of weeks ago” he sounded very unconvincing.
“He ALWAYS wore those ones, they were missing from his shirt the day his body was found!!!”
“He threatened me…he..he…thr..” (he didn’t finish)
“Sam didn’t commit suicide…you killed him didn’t you……DIDN’T YOU !!!” she was overwhelmed by sorrow and resentment and slapped Paul hard across the face.
He gaped completely shocked “It was an accident, he found out about Sarah”
“SARAH ???? ” she exclaimed horrified…..
“It was all my fault” at this point he broke down into a fit of sobs “I was 14, you know that I had a bad temper well that day she wouldn’t stop screaming and crying you know how annoying little children can be. So I pushed her away harder than I thought…..she slipped under the railing”
She was completely dumbstruck and just stood frozen to the spot silently, tears running down her face.
“He found out when we were walking on the pier, I somehow let it slip. He said he was going to tell you and then go to the police….I FELT THREATENED ! he was harassing me! I lost my temper…you know I’ve always had issues with that. I don’t know my own strength I hit him and he fell to the ground and I placed my hands around his neck he struggled at first… and begged me to stop saying we could sort things, he said he’d help me. There were tears in his eyes, he was frightened…so was I,, he was crying, I’ve never seen him cry before. Believe me when I say that I didn’t mean to kill Sam…I thought he’d passed out, but he stopped breathing and I panicked. There might have been time to save him but I was to scared I was in a fluster. So I pushed his body over the edge of the pier!!”
Anyone could have heard a draw pin drop, there was a deathly silence followed by shock….. a couple of moments passed. Paul grabbed the carving knife from the buffet table it seemed like his only way out and darted out into the empty corridor. His mother followed him in a rage hot on his heels.
The guests were to witness the sound of heavy thudding against the walls which shook the household, followed by a spine chilling ominous silence which could only mean….. BLOOD HAD BEEN SPILT !!!!!