My father passed away about a year ago and so I was now alone in my house for my mother had walked out from us many years ago when I was only a child of five. The reason for that, my father told me later, was because of him being caught getting another woman pregnant. After an awful row, she had left us, leaving father to raise me on his own.
It was disappointing not to have my mother around but he looked after me well enough in seeing that I was brought up properly. He often took me fishing on the river that ran past the bottom of our garden where we had a boathouse that held our small boat. I say boathouse though it was not a proper one but more of a large shed that covered a small inlet into our garden.
The river was called the Pax and our house was on the outskirts of the town of Paxham, having taken its name from the river when it was just a small hamlet. The boat, which I never did know what type it should be called, was quite deep in the middle and had a small outboard motor attached. I liked this boat because of the inside depth of it for when I took my girlfriend out in it for fishing, it was easy for us to lie down in the bottom of it for us to pet and kiss each other and not be seen when anchored out in the middle of the river.
There was one particular spot about a mile and a half down river where for a stretch of at least fifty yards on either bank, gorse bushes came right down to the river’s edge and so it was unlikely that persons on the banks could get down to the river and see my boat anchored and us kissing there.
On this particular day that was part of my dream I was now twenty six years of age and my girlfriend, Josie, was twenty one, having the perfect body that really excited me. I think that I excited her too. So much so that she agreed when I asked her to marry me.
We were both happy and thought it about time for me to speak to her mother and as it was about time to return, began to pull up the small light anchor that had held the boat still in the slowly moving river.
‘It’s caught on something,’ I said, having difficulty in upping the anchor and she moved to the bow to give me a hand. With both of us pulling on the anchor’s rope, it slowly began to come up but we didn’t get it out of the river. For as we slowly gathered the rope in we found what it had caught and Josie gave out a scream and we both let go of the rope to sink back down with what the anchor had attached itself to, for we had seen the head of a skeleton!
‘Christ Almighty,’ I had exclaimed, turning round to hold a shaking Josie and calm her down at her having seen what had once been a living person. What I then did was to get the empty bottle of water he still had in the boat and tied this to the anchor rope that I had cut free and let it float on top of the water to show where this skeleton was.
It was a silent pair that was in the boat as I got the engine running and moved it back upstream to my house where, after mooring the boat, I phoned the police to tell them of what we had found. About an hour later, I was being interviewed by two police officers, one of them being a woman, and knew both of them as they were locals like me. They said that after they had got hold of a diver and a boat, they would collect me to show them where in the river I had anchored, which they did.
They did collect me, and with their boat being more powerful than mine, were soon down when I had anchored and found the floating bottle. Now the diver went over the side and two minutes later was back up and confirmed that there was indeed a skeleton anchored below by what looked like a roadside grating. This was confirmed after they had recovered the remains of which I had no part for they had left me behind when they did this later in the day, but was told of this the following day when I gave a full statement down at the local nick.
Two divers had gone down, one to lift the skeleton and one the grating that was chained to the legs. Between them, they got both to the surface where others took over to get them into the boat where they were taken to the town for an autopsy. I queried this word asking how can you do an autopsy on a skeleton? I thought that it had to have flesh for this to be carried out but was told that bones could still be identified by any bone marrow left, the pelvic bones and teeth. They guessed that it could be somebody local for the grating was of the same style as that used in the town to drain off the rain water from the roads.
Well the pelvic bones told them that it was of a female and they could also start checking with the teeth because of the possibility of it being a local woman and these teeth being noted at some dentist’s records. It took a few weeks but they found a match which shocked me, for the woman’s name was Joan Redmond. I haven’t told you yet that my name is Jack Redmond and this was most likely the bones of my mother that I had hooked onto.
I was in shock!
Could this really have been my mother who was supposed to have walked out from our home twenty one years ago? There was only one way to find out and agreed for them to do a D.N.A. test on me to see if it was a match to the bones of the woman. This didn’t take long to confirm that there was a match and it was indeed that of my mother.
Now this raised another question, apart from the fact that my father must have murdered her, though how, they couldn’t say, and chained her legs to the grating and dumped her there and put out the story that she had left him because of him getting another woman pregnant. When the news broke out in the town, the question came from the mother of Josie who claimed that it was my father, John Redmond who had gotten her pregnant and therefore requested that Josie went through D.N.A. testing to compare it with mine. This they did and it was confirmed that she was indeed the daughter of my father.
So there was I, engaged to Josie, but wouldn’t be allowed to marry her because she was in fact my half sister!
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