Green Light

Image 06 Beneath the Northern peak of Tristram’s Bay, upon which the body of Sarah Jones was found, there is a complicated network of interconnected tunnels and caverns. In the Eighteenth Century, smugglers extended and broadened many of the natural passages in order to stash their illegal goods in them. In more recent times, children and teenagers have been irresistibly drawn to the caves; exploring and discovering, drinking and flirting, trying to find something fun to do. Many of the stories that have come out of the caves (particularly over the last fifty years) have stopped making any kind of sense but people dismiss any tales they hear as trifles and fancies. Even experiences they have had themselves are talked down in this way. Adults increasingly find that the caves have lost their pull on their minds and they forget what it was that drew them there in the first place.

“What a beautiful house! Have you ever seen greener grass? And this dry-stone wall. Marvellous.”

“I don’t see why we couldn’t come up in the car,” says Carter, sweating. “It’s over a mile, and uphill all the way.”

“Tell me, Carter, did you notice that I didn’t look back over my shoulder the entire time?”

“No. I can’t say I did.”

“As much I wanted to, I didn’t do it once. I didn’t look because I wanted one special moment, this moment, to be the one where I turned and saw Tristram’s Bay. A view just isn’t the same if you drive to it. You’ve got to earn a view. Don’t you think?”

“If you say so, Sunny.”

Sunny turns around and looks out at the view with a straight spine and a raised chin, breathing steadily and calmly. The Jones’ house stands between the suburbs and the farms beyond, on half an acre that looks down over the town and across the sea, almost exactly in the centre of the two peaks. The hillside is smattered with these larger properties – around twenty-five of them. The sun is beginning to dip down towards the horizon.


“Shall we-”

“Just one more second, Carter… Perfect. There’s something about this town, this part of the world, don’t you think? It glides into your brain like it’s always been with you.”

“The effect tends to wear off a little after thirty-five years.”

“Carter, I do believe you just disclosed your age to me. We must be becoming friends. Let’s, shall we?”

Sunny turns back to the house and they start up the path.

“Remind me, what do the Jones’ do for a living? This is an impressive piece of property.”

“The father is the managing director of Portside Dream Boats, the bigger of the two workshops in town. He’s on the board of the yacht club, the golf club, and he owns four properties that he rents out in town. He was on a business trip the night of the murder. Which is yet to be verified. The mother used to run a studio where artists could rent cheap work spaces in town. She isn’t doing much these days. She pops up at charity events. Community fairs. She was home on her own when Sarah was discovered.”

“Excellent details, Carter. Thank you.”

Carter knocks on the door. Mrs Jones appears two seconds later with a smile beaming on her face.

“More police, dear,” she calls over her shoulder. “Come in. Come in.”

As they follow her indoors, Mrs Jones rushes away to the kitchen.

“So many visitors. I’m making ribs!” she calls back.

Carter glances at Sunny with critical curiosity and Sunny smiles. The house smells of roasted pork and barbecue sauce. The décor is minimal, with prints of modern artwork framed on the walls. They walk into the living room. Mr Jones is sitting on a white couch with his head in his hands. There is a fat grey cat with green eyes sitting in the middle of the mantelpiece.

“Mr Jones? I’d like you to meet Detective Sunil Iyengar. He’s come over from our major crimes branch to help with your daughter’s case.”

Mr Jones stares straight ahead and says nothing.

“We won’t rest until we have an answer for you, Mr Jones,” says Sunny.

He still has no response. Sunny walks over to a bookcase and reads the spines. Mrs Jones walks in with a giant, sizzling tray full of barbequed ribs, dumps it down on the coffee table and walks out again, singing:

“…itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka dot…”

“AHH!” shouts Mr Jones. “AHH!"

The fat grey cat jumps down off the mantelpiece and leaves the room. Meaty steam rises from the ribs. Carter steps to Mr Jones’ side and puts her hand on his shoulder.

“I feel awful,” says Sunny, “but I really am a very strict vegetarian.”

“That tray is going to leave a terrible mark on the table” says Carter.

Mr Jones has nothing further to add.

“Why don’t you stay with Mr Jones whilst I have a quick look in Sarah’s room? Which one is it?”

“Second on the left.”

When Sunny enters Sarah Jones’ bedroom the first thing he sees is the fat grey cat on the windowsill. Its green eyes are shining. Sunny has the sensation that all around him is blackness. There is nothing but him and the cat. The cat knows everything and he knows nothing. The cat is everywhere and he is nowhere.

“Carter? Can you come up here for a moment?” he calls, as the blackness all around him becomes darker and darker, and the eyes of the cat become greener and greener, brighter and brighter.

The green light begins to beam out from the cat's pupils in thick glowing rays, slowly moving towards him. Sunny turns from away from the cat but the green light is still glaring in his mind.


“What is it?” asks Carter, appearing in the doorway.

Sunny looks up at her face. The room is back to normal.

“What do you see on the windowsill?”

“A cat, a pot of ink, a cactus, a few books, a jewellery box.”

“And the cat, is it… normal-looking to you?”

“It’s probably a pedigree of some sort.”

“And its eyes?”


“Very green?”

“Yes. Very green.”

“Green like lasers or green like grass?”

“Just green. What is this Sunny?”

Sunny turns around. The fat grey cat is back to normal.

“This cat. It has something to do with the murder. I just know it. Call it an intuition. Do you believe in intuition, Carter?”

“Only when it makes sense.”

“Yes, yes. Pay me no mind. I suppose you’ve checked every inch of the room?”

“Mostly childhood things. She’d just finished first year at university, back for the summer. Most of her stuff was out in some rental in London. That stuff is on its way over to our storage facility. We’ve got her laptop and phone at the station. The passwords on her social media accounts were all saved into the browser. Very active. Lots to get through.”

The fat grey cat jumps down and walks out of the room. Sunny walks over to the windowsill.

“I don’t think we’re going to learn much from those two. Not whilst they’re still in shock.”

“I agree.”

On the sill, where the cat was sitting, there is a book – The Medium is the Massage. It looks newer than the other books, as though it might have been bought in the last few months. Sunny picks it up.

“I believe she was reading this before she died. I’d like to read it too. Can I take it?”

“You should ask the parents.”

“I don’t think they’d notice if I threw it in the ribs.”

“Probably not.”

“Take me to the crime scene, Carter. Before it gets dark.”


“But maybe pop to town and get your car.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to sit in the garden and meditate on that cat.”

[CLUE-WISE: The deeper you dig, the closer you get to Sarah.]

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