TIDAL WAVES

Hands in her pockets, Elizabeth looked down from the top of the cliffs. The tide had receded gradually over the afternoon, revealing the seaweed-covered rocks, sand and pebbles of the seabed.

The memory of the place was burned into her mind after ten years of constantly returning. The erosion of the waves hadn’t changed the topography. The steep edges fell like a sequence of giant steps. Pulling her collar up to protect her face from the chill winter breeze, she clambered down.

Sea mist drifted in, causing a hazy fog. Above her the ruins of the castle still stood, guarding the bay. Elizabeth remembered the bright floodlights and white forensic tents that had been erected when she had first arrived at this place. The body in the ruins had been the first. 

Elizabeth had been thirty-six years old, her first case as lead detective. A body dumped in a remote spot on the coast. Female, early twenties, foreign. Probably linked to human trafficking.

‘Little hope of solving it,’ her boss had told her, ‘but a good one for you to start learning the ropes on. Get to know the procedures, the paperwork. Get used to being the leader of a team.’

Only when the tide had ebbed away the following morning had the others been discovered. All female, the youngest was fifteen. All had signs of physical assault, a mixture of human-inflicted injuries and being battered against the rocks by storm waves. They had been alive when they had gone into the water.

A decade of her life had passed, obsessed by these women. She had been told to drop it. The official investigation had been closed. She had pursued it on her own time.

She hadn’t stayed in court for the verdict to be announced. The jury had only deliberated for an hour. The guilt was clear. Elizabeth had got him at last.

She slipped and slid across the damp rocks to reach the edge of the sea. The dead women would not hear her, she didn’t believe in ghosts or souls, but she felt the need to mark the end somehow. She placed the single red rose on the water and watched it bob on the tide. Closure.

From her pocket she took her resignation letter, sealed in it’s envelope, ready to be given to the Chief Superintendent. After years working this case, she had vowed to quit when it was finally over. Now she took the letter and crumpled it up into a ball before tossing it into the sea.

She wasn’t ready to quit when there were still innocent victims in the world.


ebb-sue-vincent
Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

37 responses to “TIDAL WAVES”

  1. What a great story! I’d love to read a longer version of this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet, I would love to write one, someday… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That really is a dramatic story, Iain, and a nice twist at the end too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The scemic description held me in rapt attention for a while, and then the captivating story. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You wove a fascinating tale. I can see a TV detective miniseries to be made of your short story. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done Iain, I liked how you wrote this to lure me into the journey of the tale….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Michael, happy to have lured you in.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a powerful story! I honestly can’t imagine what detectives like that go through! I know I couldn’t handle.it, they are special people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly, I can only imagine, like here, that it must consume their lives. They can’t forget work when they leave the office at the end of the day. Thanks for reading as always 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They have to have a way to de-stress or they couldn’t stick with it, they would be handing in that resignation letter!
        You are welcome, always glad to read your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. the counselor side of me loved the ending – how she used the resignation maybe as a coping tool to keep enduring and then scrapped the plan to do so after being infused with fervor to keep doing what she does.
    ah – so much layered here – enjoyed this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great compliment, thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great. I want to know the whole story ! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Just have to figure out the whole story now… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a winner, Lain. Such a deeply important story, and you tell it with heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jennie, very kind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, Lain!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I see a novel here, a series of books even. Great post! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, if I ever do write it I will let you know 🙂

      Like

      1. You make sure you do 🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This reads like an into in a book . . . .I would read it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I just have to write it!

      Like

  12. A mini series in the making, Iain. Nice flow and a descriptive story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, definitely one I could expand.

      Like

  13. beautifully crafted Iain but then that is hardly a surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kind, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This story is great! Is it part of a book you are writing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I had the time it would be… Maybe one day. Thank you for the compliment.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Elizabeth comes across as a really tenacious and determined woman, a great character portrait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, always a compliment especially as a male writing a female character.

      Like

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