The first time I saw her, she was crying while sitting on a wooden bench by the brick work entrance to the local town park. Being as large as it is, the park has five points of entry, the largest of which is that brick work entrance, also known as the Village entrance, as it is the closest the park comes to the town village.
Ten feet to her left stood an old-fashioned streetlamp no taller than twelve feet high. Ten feet to her right was the opening between the brick work, the entrance to the park, a further ten feet past that stood a second old-fashioned streetlamp, this, of course, being identical to its counterpart. Both lights shone brightly in the early evening darkness.
She, the lady sitting on the wooden bench, wore a long dark dress which was so wet it was dripping. A webbed shawl the same colour as her dress draped from her head over her shoulders. Strands of her long black curly hair hung over her eyes and down past her chin and despite that, I was able to see the pale white skin of her face. I have never seen skin that pale before.
Her crying caused her mascara to streak down her cheeks though whatever had made her dress so wet may have been the actual cause for the mascara to streak. Normally I wouldn't approach a stranger not like this anyway, there was more than enough reasoning for me to mind my own business and keep on moving but I felt compelled to stop and see if she was alright.
I began to slowly approach her, passing the streetlight nearest to me and furthest away from her. With that light behind me I stopped. She had moved her head to look towards me, kinda as if she were almost looking beyond me and right at this very moment she had also stopped crying. This freaked me out a little; actually, it freaked me out a whole lot. The way she looked scared me somewhat, leaving me feeling quite uncomfortable.
'Are you alright Miss?' I asked while also considering moving right on and leaving things be.
She began to lift her left arm to hold it out toward me. The palm of her hand faced upwards. I was unsure as to if she wanted to come closer and take her hand or if this odd gesture had some other sort of intention or meaning though before I could find out, a distraction came.
The sound of glass shattering behind me startled me making me turn. The bulb from the park light I had passed a moment or so earlier had blown. When I turned back towards the bench, the woman was gone. I couldn't have been distracted for much more than five or six seconds. I could not see her anywhere. If I hadn’t been ready to make a move away from here as quickly as I could before this moment then I sure had become ready now though as things were, something kept me right where I was for at least a moment or two longer.
I could see something I thought was more than a bit odd. A piece of dark cloth lay on the bench. I could only presume it was a piece of the dress that the woman had been wearing. I approach the bench to take the cloth into my hand for inspection. As I had expected, the piece of cloth was wet. So if she had simply vanished, or was never there to begin with, then what is with this piece of cloth?
No more hanging around. Time had certainly come to make the journey home and on that journey home I could help but feel uneasy, keeping an eye out all the while for anything else odd that may come my way. Thankfully, I got home safe as safe could be. Finding sleep this night would not be something that would come easily.
A few days passed and I had almost forgotten about what had happened that night by the park. Shopping in a supermarket brought the whole incident back to me. It wasn't anything I had done that brought it back rather it was something I had seen, or more like someone that I could see.
It was her, the lady from the park entrance bench. I was sure of it. Her hair had changed to a dark brown colour rather than the black I had seen before. Her face was no longer the pale white that I had noticed the first time round; her cheeks were at this particular moment a rosy red colour. Things freaked me out a little when she held out her left arm like before with the palm of her hand facing upwards, but I calmed myself a little when I realized that she was testing a perfume, having a tester sprayed onto her wrist by a shop assistant.
As far as I could tell she had not noticed me or had even looked in my direction and from her perspective would she even have reason to look my way? I questioned myself as to if I should approach her, though just as before I felt compelled to do so. When I reached her, I had to ask the one question that I had on my mind.
'Excuse me, Miss, I know that this may seem a little strange, but may I ask were you sitting on a bench by the entrance to the town park a few nights ago?'
She looked at me and smiled as if to say that my question did indeed seem a little strange.
'No, I surely wasn’t,' she replied more than likely wondering as to why I would ask such a thing.
The shop assistant gave me a look too as if to inquire as to what I was up to.
'Sorry to have bothered you,' I told her as I turned to move away.
I am sure she reacted a little further to the moment though having turned away I could not see if she did. As I did move away another man approached her, I glanced back, and I am sure he called her Isabelle.
When I returned home, I turned on the television in my living room. I was about to make my way into the kitchen when a news report caught my attention. It told of how a second woman had been found dead in the town park, the very same park I had seen the woman in black. I didn't even know that a first woman had been found dead in that park, apparently, there had been.
The news report continued reporting that the deaths of both women were the work of a possible serial killer and police were giving out a warning for people to be vigilant as well as urging anyone with any information to come forward.
Early evening of the following day she was there again, same as the first time, sitting on that bench in the late October darkness. If I had been compelled to approach her before I definitely felt the need to do so all the more now. I moved a little quicker this time having noticed her from a further distance than before. I needed to know if she was the same lady, and she did appear to be so.
Just like that first time she wore a dark dress which was dripping wet. Her hair was black just like before. She wore a dark shawl over her head, and it draped past over her shoulders. This person and the lady from the supermarket are one and the same; I am almost one hundred percent of that.
'Isabelle,' I called out getting closer to her.
She once again looked up at me. She was indeed most definitely the same lady from the supermarket despite the differences I had noticed. Also, just like before when I passed the outer park light closest to me, the bulb shattered. This time it did not distract me, well not to the degree it had the last time. However, a couple of seconds later the other park light, the one on the far side of Isabelle also shattered.
It had become quite difficult to see Isabelle at all with both lights which were anywhere near us being out. I moved toward the bench as quickly as I could but once more, and once again like before, she was gone, vanished in the early evening darkness. Also, just like the first time I had seen her by that bench, a piece of cloth, most likely from her dress was again just left behind.
Two more days passed, and I had been out walking a little after midday not knowing what to make of my recent experiences. I walked from the far end of the town park over to the entrance where I had seen Isabelle to see if anything could grab my attention on this day. As I exited the park, a funeral procession began to pass on the nearby main street. It must be for that lady I had heard about in that news report on television.
To my surprise there was Isabelle, not quite the supermarket version of her or the darkened version but most definitely somewhere in between, following the hearse with so many other mourners. Isabelle and the dead lady from the news report must have been friends.
What really struck me upon seeing her this time was that Isabelle was wearing a long black dress with a black shawl draped from her head which came down over her shoulders. A thick strand of her hair hung from her forehead over her face. Her hair was black, not brown like it had been in the supermarket. Her face however was still colourful, not at all a pale white.
As I looked either side of me and noticing the twelve-foot-high old-fashioned streetlights that stand just outside the park entrance with bulbs being intact, I began to attempt to piece things together, well as best I could at least.
If there is indeed a serial killer out and about in my hometown, then with my recent experiences wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that Isabelle was or is going to be the next victim, or if not the next then a possible soon to be victim with what I had seen being something of a forewarning? Continuing on from that assumption, it would be quite logical given what Isabelle was wearing at this particular moment in time to assume that whatever was going to happen to her, it was going to happen before this particular day was out.
Maybe I had seen all that I had seen in the last few days for a reason. Maybe some sort of cosmic force was guiding me. Maybe I was meant to save Isabelle. If that was indeed what I was meant to do then I was soon to face a big problem.
I might be completely and utterly crazy and I may not be the only one to think this for two police officers approached me from behind, one from either side. They grabbed my arms, handcuffed my wrists together behind my back, and forced me onto my knees, keeping me in that position until the procession had completely passed us by.
I argued, asking out loud as to what was going on. The officers informed me that they were arresting me, my recent appearances around the park including this one apparently created suspicion or at least made me a person of interest in the case of the recent town deaths. I had been on my knees no more than a few seconds when the funeral procession passed right by me. I looked up and Isabelle was looking right back at me being no further than thirty feet away. She did not stop. She had only glanced at me for a couple of seconds. The man next to her spoke into her ear as she turned away from me.
The local police station was not far away so it did not take long to get there. Being held in an interrogation room, I had no idea what to tell these people. The park had apparently been under surveillance and I had shown up three times in a short period of time, over days, yeah, but enough times over a short enough period to become that person of interest.
Yeah, the police had become suspicious of me and I had no idea as to what I could tell them. I believed that Isabelle was in danger and I was unsure as to if any of them would even listen to me let alone believe me if I were to speak my interpretation of recent events.
Ninety minutes had passed, and I had yet to even speak other than to give my name and address and to state that I had done nothing wrong. I was to receive a visitor and I was surprised to say the least when Isabelle entered the room and sat on the opposite side of the table to me. The very person I needed to see had come to me, how very strange? Maybe whatever force had come my way also extended its way towards her.
Isabelle asked me my name and I told her what it is, in fact, I told her everything from seeing her twice by the park and that it was because of my first sighting of her that I approached her in the supermarket. She oddly enough believed me. This surprised me too. She also believed in my fear that she would be next as well as believing in my fear that it would happen before the day would come to an end.
Thing was that she had been having vivid nightmares of late. When I had approached her in the supermarket plus noticing me at the park entrance right when she was passing along with a procession, well she figured that there may be something to that. She basically saw my arrest occur and proceeded to make an inquiry or two and now here she is.
I was continued to be amazed when it was suggested by a detective that a trap should be set up. My story had been listened to and has been believed. How extremely odd this all is, and I didn’t even need to further explain myself to police, my conversation with Isabelle had been listened in on. Being as stumped as they were, they would be willing to try… Anything.
If what I believed was right, then there was an opportunity to go after the person who had already killed twice, if not more. If I was not right, then there would seem to be reason to lock me up or at the least have my head examined. At this point, as if I hadn’t already had the thought, I questioned as to if I really do need my head examined.
Isabelle was to return to the group of people who had attended the funeral and burial of her friend.
At about half-past five, Isabelle left the gathering. Outside the public house where the afters to the funeral had taken place, a man called after Isabelle. It had already begun to get dark. The man was someone Isabelle knew. He was the same guy who whispered in her ear during the procession as well as being the same guy who called her name at the supermarket.
'Everything alright Bryan?' asked Isabelle.
'Sure. I just thought I would offer you a lift home. No lady should have to walk home alone, especially during these troubling times.'
Isabelle thought about it for a moment and accepted the offer. She had noticed that Bryan had not been drinking so she felt safe enough accepting the offer. A few moments passed and Isabelle began to worry.
'Bryan, where are you taking me? This is not the way to where I live.'
'Relax young lady; I am just taking you somewhere nice, somewhere special is all, I promise.'
Bryan placed a hand on Isabelle's leg.
She took his hand off her thigh, looked Bryan in the eyes, and asked him to stop the car and let her out. He refused. Raising her voice Isabelle asked again for Bryan to stop the car and to let her out. Again, he refused. Bryan almost lost control of his car when Isabelle made an attempt to escape. He did manage to keep her inside the car.
'If you know what is good for you little lady then you won't try that again.'
With fear in her voice, Isabelle asked, 'it was you, wasn't it? You killed those two women.'
Bryan laughed. 'Don't worry; I have other plans for you my dear.'
'Shelly was my friend you...'
‘Careful now with your choice of works, you wouldn’t want to say anything unladylike.’
That was enough for police. With the wire that Isabelle had been wearing and the fact that they had her followed from the moment she left the precinct; Police had enough to charge Bryan with. They homed in and captured him quickly and easily and Isabelle escaped unharmed. A confession was soon given along with the location of a third victim, still alive by the way.
I was released from custody and free to return home. The two pieces of clothing I had picked up from the park bench had disappeared. They were not where I had left them but that was to be expected as Isabelle is safe, and her life is no longer in danger. As for Isabelle herself, well one week passed before I was to see her again and I got somewhat of a fright when I did.
Once more it was early evening and it had already got quite dark. I came around by the town park to see Isabelle sitting on the park bench just outside the brick work entrance. This time however she was not dripping wet, she was not wearing a long black dress. There was no veil or shawl over her shoulder. She was wearing blue jeans with a jacket and jumper. Her hair was back to being a dark brown and her face was most definitely not a pale colour.
'Hi,' she spoke as I got closer.
'Hi yourself,' I responded as she stood to greet me. There was a hug and a kiss on the cheek. We both took a moment to sit on that park bench. ‘It can be quite dangerous to sit all alone out here after dark you know.’
'I feel safe enough that’s to you, besides I figured you would by soon. I never did get to thank you, you know.'
'It's fine, I am just glad you believed me.'
She smiled at me and I smiled back. It was right at this moment when the bulb from the old-fashioned twelve-foot-high streetlamp furthest away from us blew. Maybe you can imagine the momentary fright it gave me, a fright which was soon followed by a feeling of relief and déjà vu. The thought soon followed that possibly something else was about to come my way...