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Pain Relief

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Story Title: Pain Relief

Type of story: Short/Medium fic (13 chapters)

Main Characters: Peter Baker, Pia Corelli, Clare Brody and more. You could say it's a multi cast fic that centers around Peter and his investigation team.

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama / Crime / Angst

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: This fic includes references to drugs and alcohol. It also has a (V/D) warning for references to death, possible violence, suicide and self destruction. I don't think it's too extreme, but it might contain some triggers.

Summary: Peter Baker and his team are up for a big challenge when two Summer Bay favourites are found dead.

(Thanks to Jess, my SPAG oracle :wub: )

Peter Baker had seen more crime scenes than he could remember; in the case of 92 of them the victim or victims were dead.

He walked over to the queen sized bed again and looked at the sheets. Not a drop of blood; nothing to indicate what had just happened here.

”Johnson says they’re bringing them to the lab now,” Detective Corelli said as if she could read her colleague’s thoughts, ”We should have the full autopsy report within a few days.”

Peter didn’t reply, there was something different about this crime scene... Number 93, didn’t seem to have any answers.

”So, what do you think?” Corelli asked, ”Was it murder? An accident? Suicide pact?”

”I don’t know, Pia,” Peter replied quietly, ”All I know is that a crime scene usually tells a story that gives us the answers to the things we need to know...”

He paused, and looked at Pia’s serious, but slightly confused expression.

”But this time,” he continued, ”I’m not even sure where to start with the questions.”

Chapter 1

Robbie Hunter looked at the picture on the nightstand; he just couldn’t help it. He knew he should probably have moved it or put it in the drawer instead of making it a habit to wake up to it and look at it every morning. Maybe if he had done that he wouldn’t have had to wake up and be bitter for every single day the last year.

It seemed like ages ago they had smiled and laughed and willingly posed for their pictures to be taken in front of the hedge outside Irene Roberts’ house. It had been the last thing they had done before getting in the car and driving to the airport to leave Australia.

Robbie had been so sure they had it all figured out that moment; they would go to the States and live there as one happy family. It was a cliché, and he should have known it wouldn’t work out, should have known that he wasn’t meant to have all this. They had settled in with Josie in Boston and it had all been good. When Beth had sent him that photo he hadn’t been able to take his eyes away from it; him with his wife and their baby girl, their beautiful baby girl...

”No, dad, you were wrong,” he remembered thinking to himself, ”I am good enough.”

But of course he wasn’t meant to have all this; he should have figured he’d be back in Australia seven years later, trying to figure out why he bothered to get up in the morning.

It was almost 5.35 and he knew he had to get up.

”I’m leaving for work now,” he whispered to his wife next to him, and touched her shoulder to make sure she knew he was going, ”Do you need anything before I leave?”

”No, I’m fine,” Tasha whispered, it was almost impossible to hear her voice, ”Josie will help me if I need anything.”

”Any pain?” Robbie whispered again, ”Are you sure you don’t want me to get you any pain relief so you don’t have to wake up Josie?”

”No, Robbie, I’m fine, seriously,” she whispered again, a little louder this time and opened her eyes, ”I’m doing good today.”

”Great, then I’ll see you in a few hours,” he replied, and kissed her scarred cheek, ”Have a good day.”

Ten minutes later he closed the door behind him and felt the familiar feeling of relief when he could breathe in the cold, crisp air outside. He used to feel so guilty for leaving her in the morning because he had to work, used to feel so guilty because he still could work, but lately the feeling had went from guilt to relief.

Of course he shouldn’t leave it to Josie to have to look after his wife like that, but they needed the money.

Robbie Hunter opened the door to his car and got in, and like always he couldn’t help think about his beautiful baby daughter as he drove out of the driveway.


”If someone had told me ten years ago that I would end up here I would have said they were crazy,” Detective Pia Corelli said and took a sip of her coffee, ”I left as an officer to pursue my career in the City, I never thought I’d come back here as a detective.”

Peter Baker laughed.

”The curse of Summer Bay,” he said and smiled at his new colleague, ”People always come back. Just look at me and Clare, we never thought we’d come back here either.”

”And yet here we are,” Pia said, smiling, ”A team consisting of three people who never thought they’d end up here.”

”I should warn you though,” Peter said, ”This is nothing like the City. We usually only have two or three cases of murder a year here, and they’re usually fairly easy to investigate. Not a lot of robberies and rapes either, mostly just break ins and car thefts.”

Pia nodded and took another sip of her coffee.

”I’m prepared,” she said, ”After that huge investigation of the Henderson homicide last year I don’t have a problem with small-town crime investigation.”


The drug room was empty. Robbie put the key back in his pocket and looked at all the boxes behind glass doors in front of him.

Ritalin, Valium, morphine... He had great respect for the boxes, he knew the pills and injection bottles inside were filled with a balance of good and evil. Great pain relief and help, but at the same time great danger and risk. When had this feeling of respect turned in to... Robbie didn’t know, but somehow it almost felt like he admired them now.

How many times over the last year hadn’t he thought that in there was a way out of all this?

A few pills, a quick injection and it would all be over, he wouldn’t have to deal with leaving Tasha every morning, knowing she would need Josie’s help to get through the day.

But he couldn’t take the easy way out like that, it wouldn’t be fair...

But then again nothing was fair, the last year had proved that to him.

Slowly Robbie reached out to a box on one of the top shelves and let it slip into his pocket. He couldn’t help picturing his father when he did it, but at the same time he couldn’t help thinking that at least now he had an escape route.

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Chapter 2

”No, we need 45 chairs,” Leah Baker said firmly and rolled her eyes even though the person she was talking to couldn’t see that through the phone, ”And no, we can’t have a cake saying ’Congratulations, Linda and Bruce’ when their names are Matilda and Ric.”

In the background Martha Holden was putting chocolate frosting on the last cake.

”How hard can it be to get the names right?” she asked as soon as Leah had hung up the phone, ”We’ve booked them like two weeks after Ric and Mattie announced their engagement.”

”I know,” Leah replied, ”All I know is that they promised they’d sort out the problems so everything is perfect tonight.”

”Do you think they suspect anything?”

Leah couldn’t help smiling.

”I don’t think so,” she said, ”But we need to be extra careful now that all their old friends are back to join us tonight, Hayley had to hide in the laundry room when Mattie unexpectedly dropped by earlier.”

”Really?” Martha laughed, ”I can’t believe we have managed to keep the surprise from them for almost a month!”

”Well the last few hours will be the hardest ones,” Leah replied and went back to decorating cupcakes, ”There are people they aren’t supposed to see everywhere; Hayley, Scott and Noah promised to stay in Irene’s guest room for as long as possible, Kit, Kim and Archie are staying with a friend in Yabbie Creek and Josie just called to tell me she’s at the Sands resort with Robbie and Tasha.”

”And Cassie is in my apartment and will stay there till I get her for the party,” Martha added.

Leah smiled again, everything seemed to go according to the plan.

”In five hours it will all be over when we can jump out and yell ’surprise’,” she said, ”I just hope they don’t try to reschedule the fake spa appointment we planted or anything.”

”I’m sure they won’t,” Martha said, and wrapped up the last cake, ”So far everything is going according to plan."


It took a few tries before she managed to tie the bow. Her coordination skills wasn’t what they used to be.

”Do you need any help with the dress?” Robbie asked from the bed, he was already dressed.

”No, I’m okay,” his wife replied. The way she said things these days made it sound like nothing mattered to her any more.

”You look beautiful.”

She shook her head and looked down with sad, teary eyes.

”Don’t lie to me Rob, please don’t.”

Robbie got up and laid a hand on her shoulder.

”I’m not lying,” he said quietly, ”You are beautiful.”

”Stop it!” Tasha broke free from his arms and stepped over to the mirror.

Without a word Robbie followed her and put his arm around her shoulders again.

Tasha Hunter escapes death by a miracle,” she quoted from a magazine she had read a year ago when she woke up in hospital, wrapped in bandages from head to toe.

Model loses everything in tragic accident, doctors fear she may never fully recover,” she quoted from a different one, ”I guess they were right.”

”They have no idea what they are talking about,” Robbie whispered and kissed her cheek, ”Give it some more time.”

”I’ve given it time, Robbie,” she replied, sounding both sad and angry, ”But I’m in constant pain, and I look nothing like the old me. I will never be the beautiful Tasha Hunter they knew.”

Robbie wrapped his arms tighter around her, and tried not to think about the horrible thing he was about to do to her. Maybe he shouldn’t go through with it after all? Maybe they could get through this like he pretended to believe?

”You are still the beautiful Tasha Hunter to me,” he said and looked at them in the mirror.

Tasha looked at her scarred face and uneven skin, but she didn’t say anything. Deep inside she knew he was lying.

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Chapter 3

The applause echoed in the dining room at the Sands resort as Ric sat down after his improvised speech, but it didn’t go more than a few seconds before someone was tapping their glass again.

”Hi everyone, I just want to say a few words,” Martha said as the party went silent, ”For those of you who doesn’t know I’m Ric’s cousin, and I thought I’d just say something to the engaged couple.”

More applause, mostly coming from some of Ric’s friends this time, they had obviously already tasted several of the alcoholic beverages the bar had to offer.

”I have known Mattie and Ric for ten years, and as soon as we heard they were getting married we knew we had to throw them a party. Because I think we all agree that if someone deserve a party to celebrate their love, it’s these two.”

Martha paused and looked at her friends.

”They have proved to themselves, each other and all of us, time after time that love is strong, and that love is all it takes to make it through.”

Over at the table next to her Robbie took a big sip of his drink. He wished he could believe what Martha said, but it wasn’t that easy.

”...And I wish granddad could have been here today,” Martha continued, ”Because I know that he would have been so proud of you. Of both of you. To true love!”

She raised her glass and so did everybody else.

”Aren’t you going to say anything?” Tasha whispered to Robbie. He nodded back.

”I’m going to do it right now,” he replied and took another sip of his drink.

”Hello everybody,” he called out and tapped his glass, ”May I have your attention for a few more moments?”

For the third time the crowd fell silent, and everyone turned to Robbie.

”As most of you know I’m Matilda’s brother Robbie,” he said, ”And I just want to say a few words to my sister and her husband to be, on behalf of me and my beautiful wife, Tasha.”

He could sense Tasha move uncomfortably on her chair as he brought their attention to her.

”What Martha said about love is true, and it is important to remember. There will be good days and there will be bad days. As most of you already know my wife and I have gone through some bad days over the past year,” he didn’t go any further in to the details of that because everyone knew what he was talking about, plus it was too hard to talk about in front of all these people. It was hard enough just thinking about it.

”But when I see Matilda and Ric together I know that it’s okay, because with love like that in the world it’s possible to make it through anything.”

A few of Ric’s friends cheered again, and Tasha shifted uncomfortably in the seat next to him.

”If anyone can make it through those bad days, it’s Matilda and Ric; and I think we all agree that together they will make the bad days seem fewer and less important compared to all the good days they are going to spend together.”

Robbie raised his glass again.

”To Matilda and Ric, may they get many good days together.”

Robbie sat down and noticed Tasha didn’t seem alright.

”Are you okay?” he whispered to her as the applause died and the crowd started talking again, ”Come get some fresh air.”

He got her on her feet and escorted her to the empty lounge between the dining room and the lobby.

”I’m sorry, I’m just a bit tired,” Tasha said, ”And my back is hurting again.”

”Come on, let’s go up to the room and get you some painkillers,” Robbie said.

”I’ll take her.”

Josie had followed them.

”It’s okay Josie, I’ll do it,” Robbie replied, and for a second he caught Martha looking at them from her table. She obviously didn’t pay attention to Scott and Kit’s joint toast to the happy couple, and Robbie caught himself wondering how much Tasha wrote in her letters to her best friend.

”Don’t be ridiculous Robbie, Matilda wants you there,” Josie said, bringing Robbie’s attention back to the ongoing situation, ”Go back in there, I’ll take care of Tasha.”

”She’s my wife,” Robbie said, and he could see that more and more people at the tables closest to the lounge was starting to pay more attention to them than they did to Kit’s story about the time Mattie ran away from home because Scott said she couldn’t marry the boy next door.

”She’s my niece,” Josie replied quickly, ”I take care of her every day, I know what to do!”

Tasha had broken away from their discussion and was on her way up the stairs. Unfortunately the artificial leg didn’t cooperate, and she tripped and fell on the third step.


Robbie reached her first and helped her up again.

”I’m fine,” Tasha said, but they could both see she was in pain from her back, ”I can get my own medication, I don’t need you to babysit me.”

Robbie ignored her comment and so did Josie.

”Come on,” Robbie said determined and put his arm around his wife, ”I’m taking you to the room.”


The feeling of guilt was back again, when Robbie came back.

”Where’s Tash and Josie?” Kit whispered as he sat down.

”Tash was tired so Josie is with her to make sure she’s alright,” Robbie replied without looking at his sister, ”She’ll be okay.”

Cassie was proposing a toast now, telling everyone about the first time she met Ric, but Robbie didn’t pay any attention.

He knew he was a coward, just like his father had always told him, but this couldn’t go on any longer.

People were getting tired of the toasts, and when Cassie sat down several people began leaving the tables and socializing with old friends.

”Is Tash okay?”

Robbie jumped when he suddenly heard Martha’s voice right behind him.

”Yeah, she’s fine,” he replied, just like he had done with Kit, ”She just needed to get some rest.”

Martha looked at him, almost like she didn’t believe him, and again Robbie caught himself wondering what Tasha had written in all those letters.

”I know you’ve been through a rough year, Rob,” she said, milder this time, ”Just don’t stop believing that you’ll get through this.”

”I wish it was that easy,” Robbie sighed, surprised he had the courage to admit that to a friend.

Martha didn’t say anything, she just patted his back gently and gave him a friendly smile.

”I’ll just go see if Tash is okay,” she said, and smiled again.

”I’m sure she’s okay, she’s with Josie,” Robbie said, but it didn’t seem to convince Martha.

”I’ll just check with her anyway,” she said and walked away before Robbie had another chance to stop her.


As Jack continued his story about his and Martha’s discussion about having a baby, Robbie finished his third drink.

”...I’m sorry,” Jack suddenly said, ”I shouldn’t be talking about this like everything is centered around it. Especially not considering what’s... what’s happened...”

”Oh, no no,” Robbie waved him off, ”It’s fine, it’s nice hearing what you have been up to. I wish we wouldn’t have to need an occasion to get together, but as you know things have been kind of hectic and tough lately, - are you okay?”

He had suddenly noticed that Jack was staring into nowhere at all, like he was trying to remember something.

”Did you hear that?” he asked with the same, expression showing he was really focusing on something.

”Hear what?”

Jack never got the chance to reply before Martha practically fell down the stairs in the lounge.

”Somebody call an ambulance!” she shouted, tears of fear and despair streaming down her face as she collapsed on the floor, ”Josie and Tash – Get an ambulance FAST!”

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Chapter 4

The sound of high heels clicking against hardwood floors silenced the scared and confused guests standing close together in the lounge.

”May I have your attention please?” the tall, blond woman asked. The immediate impression she left was that this wasn’t someone you would want to cross. Her eyes swept across the room like she could see through everyone and expected to see exactly what had happened just by looking at them.

”My name is Detective Clare Brody of the Yabbie Creek Police Department, I’m sorry to inform you that paramedics and police representatives have confirmed the death of two female guests attending tonight’s party and staying at the hotel.”

She took a pause and watched the shocked crowd stare at her in disbelief.

”Some of the guests have been brought down to the station for their statement, mainly those closest to the victims, and we will need to collect information about everyone attending tonight’s party. We ask you to please remain calm and wait for officers to talk to you and give you a permission to leave. Transportation home can be arranged for those of you who wish that, and any questions regarding to the situation should be directed to the officers. We also ask you not to talk to the media before you have a permission from the YCPD press manager, and we request that anyone who was in contact with either of the victims; Ms. Josie Anne Russell and Mrs. Natasha Andrews Hunter, tonight or earlier today tell this to the officers before leaving this building. Thank you.”


”What strikes me is that this doesn’t look like a crime scene at all,” Detective Corelli said and looked at the bed, ”It just looks like a normal hotel room someone is staying in.”

Peter nodded, there was something so creepy about the way the victims were found.

”It could be a suicide pact like you said,” Peter said, ”They were laying side by side on the bed like they were sleeping, and there’s no sign of any battle.”

”Still it doesn’t make any sense though,” said Pia, ”None of them have any history of mental problems, and it does seem weird that they would choose to do it at one of the victims’ sister-in-law’s engagement party.”

Peter nodded again, he knew perfectly well how weird it sounded.

”Seems like the only clue we have is the syringe we found, Ms. Russell still had parts of the broken needle in her arm.”

”So they were poisoned?”

”I don’t know,” Peter admitted, ”It looks that way, but Tasha had prescribed morphine for injection, so there’s a chance it was her syringe and that the needle in Josie’s arm was the result of an accident. She could have been giving Tasha an injection and accidentally stabbed herself on the needle if someone attacked them.”

”It’s possible,” Pia admitted, ”But it isn’t likely, is it? If that’s what happened we still don’t have an explanation to why two adults are found dead in a hotel room without anyone hearing or seeing anything suspicious.”


The station was silent even though there was a big investigation of two suspicious deaths going on. Clare took a quick look in the mirror before gathering her things for the first statement interview.

”Martha McKenzie Holden?” she asked as she opened the door to the investigation room, ”A friend of Mrs. Hunter?”

The woman inside was crying and nodding.

Clare sat down, she didn’t want to show any sign of sympathy before she had talked to her.

”You have already told the officers you spoke to both the victims earlier tonight because you hadn’t seen them or spoken to them in a while, is that true?”

Martha nodded.

”Tasha is my best friend, but things have been so hard for her since the accident...” She had to pause, and Clare offered her a tissue, ”It didn’t help that she came back to Australia, because with all she has been through we’ve only been able to meet twice since she came back.”

”What about Ms. Russell?”

”I never was that close with Josie,” Martha replied, and more tears came streaming down her face, ”But I knew her through Tasha... Tash adored Josie... I said hello when I went over to talk to Tasha.”

Clare looked quickly at the recorder to make sure it was working.

”What did you talk about?”

”You know... I said hi, she said hi, she asked me how I was and I told her I was okay... I asked her how she was, and she said it was okay... We didn’t really have more time to speak because then Leah said Mattie and Ric were coming, so we all had to get ready.”

Clare nodded.

”I understand,” she said, ”Did either of them seem upset or different than usual to you?”

Martha shook her head and dried her face with the tissue again.

”No, they seemed fine,” she almost whispered, ”Tasha seemed sad, but she has been sad ever since that horrible accident...” Martha shivered.

”Can I please just go home?”

Clare looked at her papers.

”Yes, Mrs. Holden, that would be all for now,” she said and got up, ”Thank you for your time, your husband is waiting for you outside.”


It had always amazed Detective Corelli how grown men would look like scared, young boys when placed in the investigation room. Robbie Hunter was no exception, but she hadn’t expected him to be either, after all he had just lost his wife.

”So what do you think?” Detective Brody asked, without taking her eyes off the scared man they were looking at through the two-way mirror, ”He got anything to do with it?”

”I don’t know,” Detective Corelli replied honestly, ”He has no criminal record of anything like this, no convictions...”

”He has had a pretty tough year though,” said Clare calmly, ”Lost a daughter in an accident that also left his wife scarred and disabled for life. Enough to drive anyone crazy. Maybe he blamed her?”

”Doesn’t prove anything,” Pia replied just as calmly, ”And let’s not forget there are two victims in this case.”

”People heard him fighting with Ms. Russell before he followed them both upstairs,” Clare pointed out, still calm, but with a poisonous undertone in her voice, ”He was the last one to see them alive that we know of. Maybe he saw them dead as well?”

”Still not proving anything,” Pia said, unaffected by Clare’s dangerous tone, ”He could be innocent.”

”Look at him, there’s something he isn’t telling us.”

Pia bit her lip and looked at the man in the room; he was shaking slightly and staring down at the table, obviously scared to death.

”He’s scared,” she said.

”Because of the situation or because he’s afraid we’ll find out the truth?”

Pia bit her lip again, she didn’t know what to say to that.

”All I’m saying is that I think he’s hiding something,” Clare said, ”Something tells me Robbie Hunter is hiding a dark, horrible secret.”

”Maybe,” Pia sighed. As much as she wanted to believe Robbie was innocent she had to admit the evidence were pointing at him.

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Chapter 5

”Interesting case,” Johnson said, and laid the print of the autopsy report down on the table in front of the three detectives, ”I just hope this is enough to bring you closer to the truth.”

Peter opened his copy, as did the two others, quickly skimming through the conclusion.

”Sodium Thiopental,” Clare muttered, ”I’m not even sure if I’ve heard about that.”

”It’s a strong barbiturate, an anaesthetic. Used for lethal injection of prisoners on death row in the United States,” Peter explained.

”It’s also used as a general anaesthetic at hospitals,” Johnson added, ”But naturally a much smaller dose. For a lethal injection they usually use between two and five grams, and we estimate that the injections given the victims were about four grams.”

Clare frowned.

”So this is a common drug to be found in hospitals?” she asked, and Pia knew exactly what she was thinking.

”Yes,” Johnson confirmed, ”It’s a common drug used to sedate patients that are having surgery, and also a common drug for sedating pregnant women when they are going to deliver the baby by cesarean. A normal dose is enough to sedate the woman and make her unconscious, while the baby stays conscious.”

”Well, guess who probably has access to Sodium Thiopental through his job?” Clare asked and looked at her colleagues, ”I guess things just got a little more complicated for Robbie Hunter.”


Somehow the apartment seemed emptier now that Tasha was gone, which of course was ridiculous as she had never even been to their apartment.

Martha sighed and sat down on the couch. This was so unfair, she had read Tasha’s letters, and she knew how hard Tasha had struggled. For a while she had been scared that Tasha would give up, but now that things seemed to be getting better. She had realised she still had Robbie, and Josie had been a great support for her when it came to the things Robbie couldn’t understand. It was unfair that Tasha should have to die after fighting death for a year and finally being the one in control again.

She remembered a letter she had received about four months ago, and even though it had been horrible to read it had been relieving as well, because it had given Martha a feeling that it was Tasha’s way of realising she would survive this.

”Losing Ella, losing my job and losing my life as I knew it turned upside down on everything without my permission,” Tasha had written in her handwriting that was big, clumsy, childish and uneven because of her reduced motorical skills, ”And every single day it makes me want to give up this battle, because I know that nothing can ever go back to the way it used to be. But as long as I have Robbie and Josie I need to keep fighting, they have sacrificed so much for me. I told Josie that if it weren’t for the two of them I would give up. I haven’t told Robbie, because I know it would just scare him, but it is the truth; if I lose Josie and Robbie I don’t want to continue my life.”

Martha took down the box with all of Tasha’s letters from the shelf and started looking through them.

”Did the police ask you to give them letters from Tasha?”

Martha hadn’t noticed Jack coming out of the shower.

”No, but I think I’m going to give them to them anyway,” Martha sighed.

”Why?” Jack sat down next to her ”Do you think there’s anything in there that could give them a clue?”

”I doubt it,” his wife replied, ”But if there’s a chance... If it can help them figure out who did this to my friend then I’ll be more than happy to give them the letters.”


The beach was full of happy people enjoying the sun. She wasn’t surprised actually, it was a beautiful day, and people were enjoying their Sunday with friends and family by the water.

Someone was even building a huge sand castle and decorating it with shells someone else was gathering, and someone was... knocking on the door.

Clare woke up from her daydream.

”Come in!” she quickly said, she had no idea how long someone had been knocking on that door.

”Detective Brody?”

”Yes, how may I help you?”

The officer took off her hat and handed Clare an envelope.

”What is this?”

The officer stroke her hair away from her face.

”I asked the hospital Mr. Hunter works at for the surveillance tapes for all the rooms used to store drugs,” she said.

”They only had the tapes from the last two weeks, but I think I found something you should see.”

Clare put the the DVD in her laptop and played the video.

”This shows one of the two rooms used to store drugs,” the officer explained as the grey image of a room appeared on the screen, ”This was on one of Robbie Hunter’s shifts, and he was the only one with a key to that room that fits the description of the person you’re about to see.”

A man opened the door and walked over to one of the shelves. His attention seemed to be drawn towards one of the other cabinets though, and after looking at it for a few seconds he quickly opened it and let a box slip into his pocket. Then he turned back to the first cabinet and picked out a small box from that one as well.

”I checked out what drugs he took,” the officer said before Clare had time to ask, ”And the second box is okay. That was just insulin, and we have record of him giving it to the patient it was for afterwards, so there’s nothing weird about that. The first box however...”

Clare couldn’t hide the excitement, she knew this could take her a big step closer to the truth.

”It’s Sodium Thiopental, isn’t it?” she said.

”We can’t know that for sure,” the officer said, ”The doctor on duty explained that they were stocking that day, and they are a bit confused because there is a missing file. They will know what’s missing after they have spoken to the distributor next week, but we know for sure that what he stole was some sort of pain relief.”

It wasn’t the ultimate answer to everything, but Clare was pretty sure it was a good start, and that by next week they would know that a box of Sodium Thiopental was missing from that cabinet.

”Thank you,” Clare said to the officer, and as soon as she had left the office she picked up her phone and dialled Peter’s number.

”Pete, I know you’re busy dusting for fingerprints and stuff at the scene, but I have something that will make you drop your dusting powder and come running over here,” she said as soon as he picked up, ”I have a surveillance tape from a hospital, showing pain relieving drugs being stolen. I want to arrest Robbie Hunter and charge him with murder.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, here's a new chapter :)

Chapter 6

Once again they were looking at Robbie Hunter through the two-way mirror, but this time Peter was in there with him, and neither of the two female detectives said a word.

”Tell me about the accident Tasha was in a year ago,” Peter said, not even attempting to get Robbie to look at him.

”Tasha was going to drop Ella off at daycare, but was late for a photoshoot,” Robbie explained, trying to control his voice, ”She was going too fast, and lost control of the car because of water on the road. The car hit a much bigger car and was thrown out of the road.”

He sounded like it was a story he had read and learned by heart.

”What injuries did your wife and daughter suffer?”

”Tasha broke her back, injured her head and the doctors had to remove one of her legs. Ella suffered serious damage to her head and chest...” Robbie had to stop and take a breath.

”Take all the time you need, I understand that this is very hard for you to talk about,” Peter said calmly, treating him with way more compassion than Detective Brody had.

”They brought her straight to surgery, but she died from the injuries later that night,” Robbie said, fast as if he wanted to get it over with, ”There was nothing they could do.”

In the room next to the investigation room Clare still hadn’t moved an inch or taken her eyes off Robbie.

”I just want to remind you that if you at any point feel uncomfortable and want to take a break just let me know,” Peter said, but Robbie didn’t show any sign of wanting to take a break.

”How did the accident affect your relationship?” he asked when Robbie didn’t answer.

”We lost our daughter, that was all we could think about,” Robbie said, still not looking at the detective, ”Ella might not have been my biological daughter, but I loved her just the same... And... And when Tasha’s career as a model was ruined because of the injuries and we suddenly had heaps of medical bills to pay I was forced to go back to work almost straight away. I thought it would get easier, but it didn’t.”

”Did you ever consider leaving your wife?”

Robbie hesitated for a second, then he nodded.

”I have been thinking about it for a few months, but Josie convinced me to stay by Tash a little longer. At least until she got a bit better.”

”Did you ever blame your wife for the accident?” Peter asked, worried for Robbie’s reaction.

”No,” Robbie replied firmly, and for the first time he looked at Peter, ”It was an accident, and I never blamed anyone but myself because I hadn’t taken Ella to daycare myself that day when I knew Tash had a photoshoot to get to.”

He didn’t look down, he just kept staring, with that, sad, angry, desperate and almost stubborn look on his face.

”Have you ever tried drugs that weren’t prescribed to you, Robbie?”

”No, I don’t think so.”

Robbie seemed surprised by this turn of the conversation.

”You don’t know?”

”I might have had cough cyrup that wasn’t prescribed to me or something,” Robbie said, obviously very confused.

”Okay, scratch that,” Peter said, ”Have you ever stolen drugs from the hospital you work at?”

Robbie went silent.

”Could we continue this tomorrow?” he asked quietly, ”I have a headache.”


”What the hell was that supposed to be?!” Clare practically shouted, ”You had him!”

”You know I couldn’t have kept him there against his wishes,” Peter said, sounding a bit annoyed, "He'll be back tomorrow."

”By that time he will have had plenty of opportunities to come up with a fake story!” Clare exclaimed angrily.

”If you’re so sure he did it, then why do you care whether he admits it or not?!” Pia interfered, ”Next week we will know what it is he stole anyway, so if it really was Sodium Thiopental like you seem to think, then we will have hard evidence through that surveilance tape.”

”Excuse me, but when did you become Robbie Hunter’s lawyer?” Clare asked sarcastically, ”I thought we were supposed to figure out who did this, not try to build up Mr. Hunter’s defence?”

”Well, unlike you I believe that he is innocent until proven guilty,” Pia spat back, not willing to give in to Detective Brody, ”Just like the video gives us reason to believe Robbie did it, the letters Tasha wrote to Martha Holden gives us reason to believe that no one killed Tasha but herself.”

Clare opened her mouth, but Pia was faster.

”Tasha says in this letter that Robbie and Josie are her only reasons for living, and Robbie admits he wanted to leave her. He said he told Josie Russell about this, and although Josie tried to convince him to stay she might not have trusted him to do that. What if she told Tasha?!”

”And then Tasha killed herself? Well that still doesn’t explain why Josie Russell is dead, now does it?!” Clare replied, getting angrier by the second, ”Nor does it make any sense, Tasha still had Josie to live for.”

”Not if Josie committed suicide and Tasha found her,” Pia snapped.

”I’m sorry, Pia, but that doesn’t make any sense,” Peter said calmly, ”We don’t have any reason to believe that Josie would want to commit suicide.”

He paused, and for once Pia didn’t have anthing to say.

”Plus, they found Tasha’s blood on the needle later injected in Josie’s arm,” Peter continued, ”They were killed with the same syringe, and as we all know the needle to that syringe broke when Josie Russell tried to pull it our of her own arm. This wasn’t a suicide pact or anything like that, Pia, this was murder.”

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I don't think I have any readers, but what the hell :P

Chapter 7

”Okay, we’ll pick up where we left off yesterday,” Peter said, and made sure the recorder was recording the conversation, ”Have you ever stolen drugs of any kind from the hospital you work at?”


The confession even seemed to surprise Clare, who for the first time showed any sign of being a human being while watching the interviews.

”Yes? You have stolen drugs?”

”Yes, once.”

Peter quickly looked at the recorder again, to make sure it hadn’t missed a word of Robbie’s confession.

”When was this?”

”About a week ago.”

Robbie swallowed, but didn’t break the eyecontact.

”Can you tell us what you stole and why you did it?”

”I stole a box of injectionbottles with morphine,” he said, surprisingly unaffected.

”He’s lying,” Clare muttered to herself, ”He’s completely unaffected, he’s making it up.”

”We’ll know if he does,” Pia said to shut her up.

”And why did you steal it?” Peter repeated.

”For my wife. She was in a lot of pain because of the accident.”


”It just doesn’t make any sense!” Clare said for the hundereth time, ”Tasha had all the medication she needed, she didn’t even use all of it, there is no way he stole morphine for her!”

”What do we have so far?” Pia asked, ignoring Clare, ”There’s so much I have no idea what’s what any more, we know that Josie died after Tasha, right?”

”Actually we don’t know that for sure,” Peter pinted out, ”All we know is that Josie was injected after Tasha. Sodium Thiopental works within a few seconds, but how long it takes for the person to die depends on the exact dose, and the autopsy report states that it’s hard to tell who died first. They both got very strong doses, and the difference between their time of death could be a matter of minutes or less.”

”So basically we have nothing then?” Pia sighed.

”Wait!” Clare suddenly said, ”If the drug makes them unconcious within a few seconds after the injection that would give whoever was in that room with them – ”

”Robbie, you mean?” Pia muttered sarcastically, but Clare ignored her.

” – Plenty of time to move them both onto Tasha’s bed and hide evidence.”

”Yeah, except they didn’t,” Peter said, ”The syringe was on the floor next to the bed.”

”That doesn’t prove that Josie was on the bed when she was injected,” Clare disagreed, ”The only fingerprints they found on the syringe was Josie’s, so whoever injected them must have been smart enough to wear gloves. Maybe he also was smart enough to rearrange the crime scene to confuse us?”


”You know,” Pia said and broke the silence, ”As much as I hate to admit it because it complicates things so much more, that actually makes sense.”


Her hand grabbed the small recorder she had hid in her pocket. Quickly and desperately thinking this was for Tasha she hit record and knocked on the door.

”Robbie, please open up, I need to talk to you!”

Tony opened the door.

”Hi Martha,” he said, ”Robbie is in the guest room.”

Martha thanked him and entered, but she couldn’t help feeling a bit guilty and nervous when she knocked on the guest room door.

Robbie opened, and like Martha had expected he looked like he hadn’t slept in about five years.

”Robbie, I need to talk to you,” she said and tried to control her voice. The words were planned, but the tears were definitely real, ”I just need to know... For Tash...”

Robbie looked at her.

”Need to know what? What’s going on, Martha?”

Martha bit her lip, this was it.

”I won’t go to the police,” she said, crying more than ever, ”You’re my friend and I can understand that you just wanted to end it so Tasha wouldn’t have to go through any more misery, just... Just tell me, did you have anything to do with her death? Tell me you didn’t kill her Robbie, and I’ll believe you!”

Even though she had practiced what to say the begging was honest, she just needed to hear Robbie say it.

”Martha...” Robbie said and shook his head, ”I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you that.”

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Thanks you two :D

Chapter 8

The nightstand was trembling under the pressure and Martha shakily leaned over it and supported herself with it.

She hadn’t really thought this would happen, she hadn’t really thought there would be anything to tell the police, it had been more than anything to convince herself that Robbie was innocent.

”You...” she began, ”You lied to the police?”

To her great surprise Robbie shook his head.

”I didn’t kill Tasha and Josie intentionally,” he said, and sounded surprisingly sad when he said it, ”But until we know what really happened... If it was suicide...”

Martha stared at him.

”I don’t understand,” she whispered, ”What do you mean?”

”I might not have been the one to inject that stuff,” Robbie replied silently, ”But who knows if it was suicide. Maybe I did kill her? Or make her kill herself?”

A rage started to grown in Martha, maybe it was the way Robbie had scared her.

”Don’t flatter yourself,” she spat at him, ”This isn’t about you, this is about Josie and Tash, and whoever killed them. If you know something you go to the police and tell them what you know, at least that’s what I intend to do.”

She slammed the door shut behind her and left Robbie standing there alone.


The scene was just like they had left it, except the evidence was removed. The bags, the bed and the things they had left on the table were still there, just like they had been left the night of the party.

”You two take this room, I’ll go through Josie’s room,” Pia said, and opened the door that separated the two rooms.

Josie’s room was just like she had left it as well; the bed was made, some bags were standing in front of the closet, and on the table was a bottle of water. Tidy and clean, and Pia got a feeling there was nothing in here that could give them any clues.

”They photographed everything so it’s okay to go through the bags without any more paperwork?” she called out to Peter and Clare who were already dusting for fingerprints on the two nightstands.

”Everything is cleared,” Peter replied, ”Go crazy.”

Pia sighed and sat down in front of the bags. Slowly she started going through every single pocket, but nothing seemed wrong. Clothes, some jewellery, shoes, makeup, a wallet and some books. No unopened letters or huge amounts of cash.

”Whoever did it obviously didn’t do it for the values in this room,” Pia shouted to the others, ”There’s jewellery worth probably thousands of dollars in here, and nobody has touched the wallet.”

Annoyed she stuffed the clothes back in the bags and grabbed them to move them away from the closet, when a sound suddenly made her freeze.

Bottles, small, thin bottles, and it wasn’t coming from the bag with the makeup.

Carefully Detective Corelli put the bags down again and let her hand run up and down the bags. She couldn’t feel anything strange, but as soon as she shook the bag carefully she could hear it again.

With her heart beating faster and faster Pia opened the bag and let ger finger run up and down the bag near the opening where the zipper was, and then she felt it. From the zipper and down by the side where the different parts of the bag was sown together the material was more uneven, like someone had cut it apart and stitched it back together. The detective could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins as she ripped the fabric on the inside of the bag apart where it had been sown together.

The inside was padded, so obviously that was why she hadn’t been able to see or feel the ten small injection bottles hidden inside the bag.

”Oh my God,” Detective Corelli, said loudly so the others would hear her, ”Come take a look at this.”

They were there in less than three seconds, both staring at the bottles.

”Which case just got a whole lot weirder,” Clare muttered to herself as she reached down and grabbed one of the tiny bottles between two of her fingers, ”Morphine.”

She gave the bottle back to Pia and took off her gloves.

”Are you sure it’s not Tasha’s?” Peter asked, ”We already know she had prescribed morphine.”

Clare looked up, almost shocked, like Peter has ruined the evidence.

”It’s not Tasha’s,” Pia said, and this time she was sure she was right, ”Why would Josie hide something Tasha could carry in her own bags without getting into any trouble? Plus, Tasha’s morphine was prescribed by Dr. J. Clayton, these... They’re not Tasha’s.”

”Who prescribed them then?” Peter asked, obviously not understanding where this was going.

Pia looked quickly from Peter to Clare and back to Peter; she really didn’t want to share this with Peter before she had discussed it with Clare, this was too weird and if what she had heard about Peter was right, he would think it was even weirder.

”Can I talk to you for a second, Clare?” she tried nervously, but again the blonde wasn’t willing to cooperate just for the sake of it.

”Whatever you have to say to me you can say in front of Peter,” she said firmly, ”We’re all a team.”

”Who prescribed, Pia?” Peter repeated, ”What does the bottle say?”

”The bottle,” Pia almost whispered nervously as she felt her heart beat faster than ever before; ”Says the morphine was prescribed by a Dr. A. E. Jacobsen.”

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Thanks :)

Chapter 9

”You are kidding me.” Peter said, and it sounded like he really didn’t believe what Detective Corelli had just said, ”That is not possible.”

”Let’s not jump to any conclusions,” Clare said quickly, and Pia could see she was annoyed with herself for not letting Pia tell her before they broke it to Peter, ”It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

”It’s probably a coincidence,” Pia added, which was after all true.

”Yeah, it could be,” Peter admitted, ”But I want to check it out just in case. When two people I know are murdered and the doctor giving one of them morphine prescriptions happens to be named Jacobsen it’s worth checking out.”

”I agree,” Pia said, ”But like Clare said, let’s not jump to any conclusions.”


For the first time in this investigation Clare wished she had listened to Pia; she had seen the look in Peter’s eyes when he heard the name. They could keep telling him this was a coincidence, but Clare knew they wouldn’t be able to convince him of that before they had some facts to prove it. It was just like the time he had been convinced Sarah Lewis was the Summer Bay stalker, even though everyone else thought she was dead.

”Detective Brody?”

The female officer who had brought her the surveilance tape was back, ”I have the report from the distributor.”

”Oh, finally!” Clare replied, and she couldn’t help feeling very relieved, ”What does it say?”

”I haven’t looked at it,” the officer said, ”I figured you wanted to be the first to read it.”

She handed Clare the envelope with the distributor’s logo on it.

”Thank you,” Clare said, ”You have been a huge help.”

Slowly, and with a small shiver she opened the envelope and unfolded the single sheet inside. Clare skimmed through it until she got to the conclusion, and as soon as she saw it she knew what she had to do.

”Peter,” she said, as soon as he picked up the phone, ”I want you and Corelli back her as soon as possible. I got the results from the distributor. I want to discuss calling Robbie Hunter in to a new interview.”


”The serial number is 556-9843-22391-01,” Pia said, ”I need to know everything you can possibly find about that prescription.”

There was a sound of someone typing on a computer as the person Pia was talking to went silent.

”Let me see...” the person finally replied, ”It was a prescription for morphine injections, five injection bottles, prescribed to and picked up by Ms. Josie Russell, March 11th.”

”Three and a half months ago,” Pia muttered, ”Can you tell me who prescribed it, and where?”

”It was a Dr. A. E. Jacobsen, from the Freemont and Jacobsen clinic in Canberra.”

”A private clinic?” Pia couldn’t believe what she had just heard, finally something that made sense, ”Could you fax me everything you have, please?”

There was a message for her on her cell, but Pia didn’t care, the paper coming out of the fax machine was way more important.

She took it as soon as it was printed and started reading. Exactly what she had been told, but finally she knew where she had to go to get some answers.

”You are never going to believe what I have,” Pia said as she walked in to Clare’s office, ”The morphine was prescribed to Josie from a private clinic in Canberra!”

”Why are you so late?” Clare asked coldly, ”I called you half an hour ago and asked you to come in here, I left a message.”

”I’ve been on the phone trying to track down the doctor,” Pia replied, ”What’s going on?”

”Clare wants to call Robbie Hunter in for a new interview about the drugs he stole,” Peter said.


Clare handed Pia the report.

”Take a look at the conclusion,” she said.

”I... I still don’t understand...” Pia said when she had finished reading, ”According to this report Robbie didn’t steal the Sodium Thiopental, he stole morphine just like he said.”

”Exactly,” Clare said, ”It might not have stolen the drug that killed Josie and Tasha, but he stole morphin he claims was for Tasha. It doesn’t make sense that he did it for her. What we do know, however, is that only five of the ten injection bottles we found in Josie’s bag were from a prescription. We don’t know where the other fives ones are from.”

Pia nodded slowly, she understood.

Peter got up.

”I’m going to go tell Robbie we want to talk to him again,” he said, and left his two colleagues alone in Clare’s office.

”Detective Brody? Detective Corelli?” officer Fitzgerald was knocking on the wall next to the open door, ”Martha Holden is here, she wants to talk to you.”

”Fitzie, when did you get back?” Clare asked and got up, ”I thought you weren’t coming back until next week?”

”I came home earlier when I heard what was going on,” the officer replied, ”I didn’t want McAngus to have to be in charge of all the officers at a time like this, concidering she’s only been here for three weeks.”

”She’s been doing a hell of a good job though,” Clare said with a smile, ”You might as well have stayed with your sister in Perth forever.”

”Not that we’re not happy to have you back, of course,” Pia added, and ignored the look Clare gave her.

”Martha, how can we help you?” Pia quickly said as they reached the front desk, ”You wanted to talk to us?”

”Yeah...” Martha said, she sounded like she had just seen a ghost, ”I just... Wanted to give you some things...”

She put a small recorder and two letters on the desk.

”It’s probably nothing of your interest, but this is a conversation I recorded a two days ago, and two letters Robbie Hunter wrote to me a couple of months ago.”

”Thank you,” Pia said, and took the letters.

”We will definitely take a look at it,” Clare added.


They had listened to the conversation four times, but obviously the confession was nowhere nearly good enough to use against anyone.

”Sometimes I think about leaving her,” Clare read out loud from one of the letters Robbie had written, ”I wonder if I’m just making it harder for her. I know she tells Josie everything she goes through, and I feel like I don’t understand her any more. She doesn’t trust me as much as she used to, and sometimes it’s like Josie is the only person she needs. Maybe there is just no need for me any more?

”He obviously didn’t know what he was saying,” Pia muttered, ”Tasha clearly stated in her letter to Martha that Josie and Robbie were her only two reasons left to live.”

”I guess you are right,” Clare sighed, ”Martha is trying to be helpful, but I’m afraid this isn’t getting us anywhere.”

”Wait a minute,” Pia suddenly said, and the feeling of adrenaline pumping fast through her veins was back, ”Maybe...”

She paused and grabbed for the other letter.

I want to leave, Martha,” she read out loud, ”She still has Josie, I don’t want to do this any longer, me staying isn’t helping anyone. I just wish I knew how to tell her.

”Oh my God,” she whispered and folded the letter, ”Oh my God, Clare, I think I know who did it...”

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Chapter 10

”Martha Holden?” Clare looked at Pia, obviously not convinced, ”How did you figure that out?”

”Well, she has a motiv,” Pia began, ”You heard how she lost her temper when Robbie made it about him, maybe she was jealous because both Tasha and Robbie seemed to think Josie was the most important part of Tasha’s life? Martha didn’t exactly seem like a big fan when we asked her about Josie, she said Tash adored her, and that’s why she talked to her.”

”So that would explain wh Josie, died,” Clare said, still not sounding convinced, ”What about Tasha?”

”Martha knew Robbie was going to leave Tasha,” Pia continued, ”And Tasha had been in a lot of pain. Maybe she wanted to put her out of her misery before it fot any worse? And maybe she killed Josie because she was jealous?”

”Then why didn’t she kill Robbie as well? He was going to leave Tasha.”

Pia thought for a second, but spoke as soon as Clare opened her mouth to shoot her down again.

”She needed someone to blame the murder on,” she said, ”Ever since the investigation started she has been very helpful with evidence to prove that Robbie no longer wanted to be with his wife, while he meant everything to her. He didn’t know how to break it to her that he wanted to leave, and Martha knew! She even tried to get him to confess! And Martha was the last one to go in to that room before the paramedics were called. If Sodium Thiopental works as fast as Peter says it does, she would have plenty of time to give them the injection, get them up on the bed and pretend that was how she found them.”

There was complete silence for a few seconds.

”That is not a bad theory,” Clare finally admitted, ”But it’s not good enough to arrest Martha. And why would she try to get Robbie to confess if she knew he was innocent?”

”She staged it,” Pia immidiately replied, ”She probably just wanted another evidence to prove that Robbie no longer wanted to be with Tasha, that would strengthen her theory about Robbie killing Tasha.”

”It’s still not enough,” Clare said, ”But we can get back to it. I think we should go down to Canberra first, we need to find out why Josie had a prescription of morphine.”


Scott placed a cup of coffee in front of his brother.

”How are you holding up?” he asked, and sat down next to him of the couch. Robbie sighed.

”I just wish they could figure out what happened,” he said, ”I need to know who did this to my wife and Josie, I need to know if any of this was my fault.”

”Of course it wasn’t your fault,” Scott replied, ”Things like that don’t just happen, if Tasha was unhappy because of you she would have told you.”

”I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Robbie said and stared down at the black coffee in his cup, ”All I know is that I tell the police I wanted to leave Tasha, and the next thing I know they want to know if I poisoned my wife. My own friends think I did it, Scott!”

”But you didn’t,” Scott said, and looked at his little brother, ”And you know that.”

”Except, do I really?” Robbie said, and looked at Scott as well, ”How do I know that this didn’t somehow happen because of me?”

”You don’t, okay?” Scott admitted, ”But if it did you couldn’t have stopped it. You would if you knew this was going to happen, right?”

”Of course I would!” Robbie replied, ”I never meant for this to happen!”

”Then it wasn’t your fault,” Scott simply said, ”And you know that.”


She quickly turned her head to make sure she was still sitting in the seat she had shown her to. Then she knocked on the door.

”Who is it?”

”Glenda. I need to talk to you in your office straight away.”

”Come in, Glenda.”

She opened the door just enough to be able to slip inside without anyone seeing who was inside.

”There is a detective here to talk to you, she says she’s from the Yabbie Creek Police Department.”

”The Yabbie Creek Police Department?” the doctor asked.

”She says her name is Brody, doc,” Glenda replied.

”Never heard of her, what did you tell her?”

”I told her you were busy at the moment, but I’d check if you would be free to talk to her later.”

The doctor frowned.

”What is she here to talk to me about?” he asked.

”That’s the problem,” Glenda replied, ”She’s here to talk to you about Josie Russell.”

”Okay, let her in,” the Dr. Jacobsen replied, and took a deep breath, ”I’ll talk to her.”

Glenda looked a little unsure, but turned around to go get Detective Brody. Dr. Jacobsen looked at the nurse as she walked out the door, and he knew he was in big trouble.

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