by Demelza Ross
‘I’d be perfectly ok if didn’t keep falling over dead bodies!’
Cleo Munroe is perfectly normal. Her family may be slightly suspect, but they haven’t
affected her. That’s why it comes as such a shock when she sees her new employer being
killed in his office, while she stands in a café 500 yards away.
Dashing back to the office, she knows, without doubt, that it’s all in her imagination and that she will find him at his desk, cleaning his nails with a biro and grumpily demanding the
sandwich she’s left behind. Unfortunately for Cleo, the real life Ben Brady is just as dead as
the one she saw.
When the police investigation, carried out by Cleo’s ex-fiancé, Lucas Flynn and his boss,
Ray Hadley, concludes that Brady died of natural causes, Cleo is understandably confused.
It’s bad enough seeing visions of things that actually happen. Seeing things that don’t happen, leads her to question her sanity. She looks for help to her mother and her step-father, both strong believers in mystic powers. She finds them both willing, but far less able than she’d hoped. Consequently, she tries to put the whole episode behind her in the belief that it may never happen again. This happy delusion is shattered when her next employer is mown down, by Brady’s killer, in a hit and run incident. Cleo has to come out of denial and accepts help from Will Cameron, a researcher in parapsychology at the local university. The police can’t write it off this time either, because Cleo saw the incident in reality as well as in her head. Then the killer is dragged from the canal and the second case is effectively closed.
Cleo has Flynn on side and the two of them are beginning to pick up the pieces of their old relationship, but DCI Hadley remains distinctly unimpressed and has no qualms about saying so. It takes an attempt on his own life, again foreseen by Cleo, to eventually convince him of the existence of someone working behind the scenes. Someone, who doesn’t carry out the murders himself, but hypnotises others into committing them for him. A prime suspect is Professor David Nash, Will Cameron’s Head of Department, who has a strong interest in the scope of hypnosis. The hunt now begins in earnest, with the occasional backsliding on Hadley’s part, but can only be unofficial, due to the complete lack of concrete evidence.
Cleo is warned off by the killer on several occasions, but ignores the threats until her mother is kidnapped. Cleo gives herself up and finds that the puppet master is not Professor Nash, but Will Cameron. Will readily admits his crimes, secure in the knowledge that he is about to set fire to the house where Cleo and her mother are being held. Cleo manages to escape by using the telekinetic powers that are also part of her unwanted gifts and leads Flynn and Hadley to a cliff top showdown with Will, who is about to make Professor Nash his latest victim.
With the game over, Will tries to escape by sea, but is swept away by unpredictable tides, despite Flynn’s quixotic attempt to save him.
- Demelza Ross, September 2012
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