Fears mount for a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from a party at Carlsbad’s Turtle Lake four days ago — Maya Hopkins reports.
What We Know
The missing girl was last seen at around midnight on July 17. She told friends she was leaving because she’d ‘had enough’. They offered to go with her but she told them to stay and have fun. That she would be fine on her own.
No one has seen or heard from her since.
Chilling . . .
Then yesterday, hikers made a grisly discovery: the word ‘LIAR’ on a tree trunk near the lake – scrawled in blood. Police are yet to confirm whether the blood is a match for the missing teen, though a source told the Tribune the development is ‘troubling’.
Investigators have now issued an AMBER Alert and are urging partygoers to call 911 if they have any information.
‘Someone will have seen something, even if they didn’t realize what it was at the time,’ Lieutenant Owen King told reporters. ‘People don’t just vanish into thin air. Nobody disappears without a trace.’
Yet there is still no trace of the missing girl.
It was a case that shocked the nation, rocked our town to its roots. Put it on the map for all the wrong reasons. As the details emerged, strangers hashed over the particulars waiting in line at supermarkets and Starbucks. Shook their heads at the horror of it all. At the terrible tragedy. On each of their faces, the same expressions of slacked-jawed disbelief. And perhaps a certain ghoulish delight too.
How could such a thing happen? they asked. Here in our neighbourhood? A neighbourhood like this?
It’s always the quiet ones, they said. Shows you can never really know anybody . . .
In time, of course, the conversation shifted. Obama was elected president. Michael Jackson suffered a cardiac arrest. The financial markets crashed. Izzy’s fate became just another true crime curiosity for people to puzzle over. They didn’t forget about her, but they did move on.
It’s different for me. I’m Izzy Jackman’s sister. I don’t get to forget or move on. Especially given my role in what happened to her. The
shameful part I played.
My iPhone rings as I’m rummaging in my handbag for a paracetamol. Shoulders hunched against the driving rain. Converse soaked; socks sodden. The water is cold between my toes. March already but still no sign of spring.
I should have brought an umbrella, should have drunk less last night. Could have at least knocked back a glass of water before I hit the hay. That would have been good, would have made a change.
Story of my life: should’ve, could’ve, would’ve . . .
When will I learn?
The phone trills again, a nail through my skull. I thought the point of vodka was it didn’t give you a hangover. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Less tolerant in more ways than one.
Knocking on thirty and already ancient.
Maybe if I drank less . . .
Should. Could. Won’t.
I bypass the pill packet, pull out the phone, check the screen.
It’s not often I get calls. Or make them.
Backlit, three words: No Caller ID.
A telemarketer, I expect.
I could have some fun here. Say I’ve got my hands full, don’t have time to speak. Unless do they perhaps know where I can get hold of some strong acid on the down-low? And a human size barrel?
Or how about requesting their home number so I can call them back at a more convenient time. Refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer, like that scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm. I do a pretty good Larry David impression. ‘Prett-ay, prett-ay good…’
Or perhaps just a sharp whistle down the line? Simple but effective. Though I’m not sure my thumping brain could take it today.
Always braver in my head . . .
There’s a pause and a click as the line connects. The wail of a police siren in the background, different to the type you get on the limey side of the pond.
My physical response is immediate. A prickle down my spine. Hairs rising on my forearms.
Muscle memory. They say the mind forgets but the body never does.
‘Finn?’ says the voice on the other end.
Californian. Female. A faint lisp.
Blood crashes in my ears, the sudden onslaught of waves. My grip tightens around the phone, fingers unconsciously searching for solidity. In my chest cavity, a hollowing.
Finn Jackman . . .
It’s been twenty years since I’ve heard that name.
Twenty years, I’ve been wearing a mask
All The Little Liars
Victoria Selman - Published 31 Aug, 2023
Victoria Selman is an exciting and powerfully fresh voice
author of the Scarpetta series
A jaw-dropping twist
author of GIRL A
Gravely compelling, sophisticated, terrifying
author of WE BEGIN AT THE END
Can't wait to see what Selman does next!
author of BEHIND HER EYES
Impossible to put down
author of THE SILENT PATIENT
Full of quiet menace
Author of THE HOLIDAY
Photograph credit Andrew Marshall. The CWA Dagger logo is a registered trademark owned by and reproduced with the permission of the CWA.