Orphan Flowers

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J.C. Rochford was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Besides being half Canadian, she is also half British with many family members still residing in England. J.C. began her writing journey in her early teens writing poetry and song lyrics. Currently, you may find J.C. Rochford titles under the young adult and contemporary fiction genres. 'Orphan Flowers' is J.C. Rochford’s debut novel, and was written over the course of two years before setting it to release to the world on July 23, 2016. J.C. Rochford holds additional interests in photography, graphic design, and jewellery design. She also enjoys the outdoors and visiting rural Ontario with her family during the summer.


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SYNOPSIS

 

Lily-May, wife of Detective Murray and mother to beautiful Callie, tragically goes missing, with her daughter witnessing the ordeal, but unable to save her mother from the captor’s grip. Will Callie be able to live with herself?

A mystery as to where she is or how she got there and to stay alive, Lily begins a new life pretending to be someone else. Will she ever be found, or will her captor carry out the unthinkable when he learns her true identity?

Back home, Lily’s husband and daughter have been left to pick up the pieces. While both suffer immeasurable pain and emptiness, Callie believes she has seen her mother on a number of occasions but has been too scared to tell her dad who, unbeknownst to her, has witnessed his own sightings of this same woman.

Has Lily returned, or is it her ghost back to haunt her daughter and husband?


FIRST CHAPTER

Darren

Past, April 1998

Wanting
to know where she was headed and her
plans, I followed her. I should have been dragging her ass back home as I had
before—after only just a few miles—but this time I desperately wanted to know
her intentions. Was it another man she was after? Why was she doing this?
Answers were what I needed.

Pulling the car over
under some dark, low hanging trees, I
studied her as she led herself up the driveway to a white upper-class home, almost Victorian in style,
with red trim, and a red front door. It reminded me of a house you would see in
the movies, all prim and proper.

I had no idea why
she would have come to this side of the city
to begin with. Who would she know here? It was too far out of the way for her,
and aside from when she used to work, she didn’t have friends, nor did she go
out anywhere. We had nothing more than the average lifestyle—we lived in North
Vancouver, I provided what was needed selling the animal meats I hunted weekly,
and I paid the bills. It didn’t require us to be social with anyone. We lived a
perfectly simple life, all we needed was each other.

She fumbled in
the driveway seeming to stall herself from reaching the front door of the house.
What was she scared of? Barely able to keep
my eyes on her, I felt my blood start to boil and my brow beginning to sweat. Clenching the steering wheel in front of
me with a nearly white-knuckle grip to contain the anger that was boiling under
my skin, I knew I needed to calm my nerves. I took a swig from my flask on the
passenger seat, feeling the burn travel down the back of my throat—stinging momentarily. It was a sensation I had
grown accustomed to—the aroma, the burn, the feeling.

Maintaining my
gaze, I watched her intently. The struggle she was having was evident as she
made her way further up the driveway towards the door. She hesitated as she
approached the doorbell. At first, she
dropped her hand, but a moment later I saw her make contact. Anxiety welled up inside
me. I feared I would see another man open the door. She appeared to be staring
down at a piece of paper and checking it against the number display next to the
door. At this point I had too many
emotions running through my head, I wasn’t even sure which one I needed to
express at that moment.

No one can
take care of her but me.

With her condition, she needed ample supervision. I was
enough for her, I was capable of providing everything she needed. We were happy
together, weren’t we?

With my mind
fogging over, and the outside world nearly slipping away at the thought of
another man in her life, I put my foot on
the gas pedal and sped off, not giving her actions a second thought.

Looking back in
my rear view mirror, everything was a blur. I saw flashes of our wedding day,
us happy in our home, watching her paint each room that needed to be precisely as it appeared in her old, ragged
childhood book. Needing to erase the visions, the memories, I took another swig
from the flask, which was becoming much like a desert. It was one of the only substances
that made the feelings go away—at least
that’s what I hoped was happening.  For
the time being, it was numbing me enough to gather my thoughts together.

Why would she
want to leave me? I provided her with everything she could possibly need, and
this was the thanks I received in return? She could play her little games, but
she would realize the importance of my existence in her life in a matter of
time—she couldn’t forget what I had given her, or the fact that she couldn’t survive
without me. Nobody would love her like I did—nobody. My mind took over,
bringing me back to the good old days with her…

 

She was
beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful, to be exact. Her brown wavy hair caught in
the wind as it danced around her face. A smile as wide as the ocean, and eyes
the shade of green grass pierced through her long lashes. She was not a woman
who wore a lot of makeup. Her natural beauty took over, releasing the natural
glow of her skin. She was an incredible woman from the day I met her, I knew
she was the only one for me. I never could take my eyes off of her, though what
man could—she was perfect.

 

Slowing at the
red light, I could see her out of the corner of my eye. There she was, looking
light and airy, delicate of sorts, resembling the days of high school. Why
would she be out here alone? Was my mind playing tricks on me? There was no way
she could have made it from the house to here in the matter of a few minutes.
Not even a moment later I noticed the guy standing next to her, fondling her
hair. She laughed as he smiled back at her with delight and desire. Flashbacks of her and I together in love
flashed before me, movie style.

I swerved, nearly
scraping the bottom of the car across the curb as I abruptly made the turn into
the small parking lot of a retail strip plaza, not caring. Jolting the car into
park and swinging open the door forcefully to the point of nearly pushing it
off its hinges, I jumped out of the car. I was angered at this point. This
wasn’t happening—my woman with another man was not in the books for today, or
any day for that matter. As I approached them, my mind continued to reel
memories of her and I—her smell, her
presence, it was all so fresh, just like the day I met her. I was ready to take
him out for messing with my woman. My eyes were locked on his. He knew trouble
was coming and knew what he was doing was wrong. Nobody messed with me or my woman
and got away with it.

“Hey man. What’s going on?” the male spoke
in a snared voice.

I didn’t pay
attention to his words, I had only one mission at this point—getting my wife
back. I was mere inches from him when my hands began to clench into fists at my
side. I would do anything to get her back—anything.

“Dude, are
you delusional? What’s your problem, man?”

His voice was
annoying, and whatever he was saying was not registering in my mind. I needed
to shut him up. Before I knew it, the knuckles of my right hand made contact
with something hard. My eyes took some time to adjust, all I could see was a
blob falling to the ground.

Serves him
right, that’s exactly what he deserved.

He tried to stand,
but I wouldn’t let him get off his knees before jamming my foot into his back,
causing him to fall flat on his stomach. I kept kicking at the blob before me, over
and over, until no resistance came from the worthless human being on the
ground.

Now that the
cheating bastard was out of the way, I turned my attention to my love. As I turned,
I found her crying hysterically as she stumbled backwards
away from me, her eyes never leaving my face as she moved away from me. I
didn’t want a scene, I only wanted her back where she belonged—with me. Our
eyes locked, but all I saw was pain through
her eyes as she continued to stumble backwards.

Why was she
afraid of me? Did she really think I wouldn’t find out about her sneaking
around behind my back?

I was livid and
wasn’t going to indulge in her little game any longer. Reaching out, I grabbed
her arm, but she fought me, slapping me on my forearm. My blood was boiling—she
knew better than to fight me.

“Why are you
afraid of me?” I called out, but she wasn’t having any of it. She continued to use her worthless strength
on me.

In one swoop I
took hold of her, throwing her over my shoulder like a fireman carry. She threw
her fists into my back, over and over, kicking and screaming. I needed to shut
her up before we caused a scene. Focusing on my car and our escape, nothing
else dawned on me.

When we reached
the car, the voices grew stronger within me.

Why are you
doing this? You killed a guy, to prove…what?

I shook my head
of the thoughts. What was this nonsense all about? Pulling her off my shoulder,
I turned her to face me. When our eyes connected, a young woman with mascara
running down her face stared back at me. Peering around, I spotted a dead body
lying on the ground.

Did I do
this? What have I done?

Taking a few
glances between the body and the woman—which I still had a grip on—confusion
began to set in on what had just happened. It felt like I blacked out, I didn’t
even know where I was. I could hear sirens in the distance as panic washed over
me.

What have I done?
It was my wife I had been saving? Wasn’t
it?

Everything
blurred together. I couldn’t have done what I thought I had done. My mind was
so confused. I opened the trunk and instructed the young woman to get into it.
I needed to get out of there unnoticed and a screaming woman wasn’t going to
help. Of course, she was uncooperative as I forced her inside while she was simultaneously
fighting her way out. With her finally inside the trunk I latched it closed.

Had anyone
seen? Were there witnesses?

I had no idea
what was happening, but the sirens were getting closer. Someone must have seen
if there were sirens, right? Could the woman have had a cell phone? I never saw
one in her hand, but having frequent lapses of time in my memory caused me to
not see or remember a hell of a lot.

Reaching the
driver’s side door, I turned back and unlocked the trunk. There she was,
shaking, with a phone in her hand.

“Give me
your phone!” I demanded.

She hesitated. I
could see her hand clench harder around the slender case. Reaching into the
trunk, I began to struggle with her to free the phone from her grasp. She flailed
around, trying to free herself. I had no choice but to knock her unconscious, and
with one swoop her phone dropped to the ground. As I picked it up, I saw the
display was engaged in a call. Placing it to my ear, there was a woman on the
other end stating, “The police are on their way.”

Sirens must have
only been a block away at this point. I closed the trunk and ran, sliding into
the driver’s seat. I ripped the battery from the cell phone and threw both
parts into the back seat—I didn’t need anybody tracking me down.

As I looked back in
my rear view mirror, I could see flashing
lights rounding the bend. I threw my car into drive and pressed my gas pedal to
the floor. The car jolted, and before I knew it, I was coasting seventy down a
winding road. I needed to get far away. As I left the city limits, the sky began
to darken. With no street lights, I was only going by the headlights of my car
to lead the way. I wasn’t sure where I was headed, as I seemed to be heading
away from where I needed to be—at home with my wife. My mind started to drift
back to the incident with the guy at the plaza. I knew this was my wife, I saw
her there, with that guy. It wasn’t a dream. Or was it? What was I going to do
with this woman? She was the only witness—at least I thought she was. If I got
caught, I could see life in prison, and I would probably never see my wife
again. I couldn’t let that happen. This girl needed to be shut up—permanently.

 ***

I let things
settle down for a day before returning home.  I needed to get my wife back. She needed to
realize she was still married to me, and she couldn’t cheat on me like this.
Grabbing my coat off the rack, I closed and locked my front door, breathing in
a deep breath of fresh air. As I reached my car door, our neighbour Mrs. Adams, approached.

“Good day,
Darren”.

Oh great.

I thought I could
have escaped without being seen. I didn’t like people. I kept to myself and took
care of my wife. That’s all I needed.

“Hi, Mrs.
Adams,” I indulged her with a reply,
but tried to keep my eyes from making any contact with hers. Maybe she would
think I was in a hurry and go on her way.

“How are you
this fine day?”

Small talk—something
that irritated me the most about people.

I was not a
sociable person in the least. That’s why I was a hunter—I could be on my own and
not have to deal with anyone.

“I’m
fine.”

I opened the driver’s
door, throwing my bag over the driver’s seat, but missed the back seat
completely, causing it to land on the floor with a loud thud. I jolted my head
in the direction of Mrs. Adams, hoping she hadn’t heard it. I didn’t need her
to be any more nosey than she already
was.

“How’s your
wife? I don’t see her much these days, is she sick?”

My heart stopped,
causing me to lose my breath for a moment.

Why is she so
nosey? Does she know something I don’t?

“She’s been
busy with work,” I lied.

That should have distracted
her enough, she knew Justine had worked as a medical receptionist at a walk-in clinic years ago—she didn’t need to know that she no longer worked.
I continued to climb inside the car to indicate my need to leave as she
continued to talk.

“Let her
know when she has time that I would love for you both to come for some tea and
cookies one afternoon.”

In your
dreams, lady.

With a nod and
small wave I gestured goodbye, while thinking to myself that when I got
Justine back she wouldn’t be seeing the outside world for a long, long time. I couldn’t
trust her anymore. New measures would be implemented to keep her in her place—for
good.

Once out on the
road, I returned my attention to the task at hand—how was I going to go about
retrieving my wife? I didn’t know what this new man was like. Could I beat him
down to a pulp? Frankly, that’s what I really wanted to do to anybody who messed
around with my woman.

As I drove along
the winding roads, my mind started to wander—stress often caused my mind to wander.
This time, it wandered back to another
night when I found Justine with another man.
She had adamantly told me I was hallucinating, but I knew better than to
believe her lies.

I was angry. She
had betrayed me. She was all I had. She needed to learn that she couldn’t go
around cheating on her husband like that. We took a vow. We made a promise.

These thoughts repeatedly
rolled through my mind as I continued the drive. I wanted to stake out the house,
to learn how it functioned, which would give me a leg up on how best to handle
the situation. I wanted to be prepared for any situation once I had my hands on
her again. She had always been a fighter, but now she was becoming weak, complying
with my requests. This would be the ultimate request. I would get my woman back
one way or another. She was my woman, and if she didn’t want to be with me, she
wouldn’t be with anyone.


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J.C. Rochford

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