What you are about to read you may not believe, but no matter how fantastical the story may seem to you, as far as I can honestly attest, it is the truth. I make this claim based on a number of established facts: my personal knowledge of Emma Fielding – who this account is about – and the friendship that developed between us since the time I became her writing therapist some months ago; my insight into her traumatic past; and the fact that currently I believe her to be in hiding, possibly in fear for her life.
First, I need to provide you with some background. I first met Emma Fielding in July, 2015, when she was referred to me for help by her then counsellor, Deborah Buchan, a specialist trained in supporting domestic abuse survivors, and who had been helping Emma come to terms with the abuse she had experienced as a child, and later as a victim of serious violence at the hands of her ex husband. In her first sessions with me Emma chose to produce her story as a work of fiction – or so I believed at the time – and she stuck rigidly to this style throughout our initial sessions, adopting an approach known in the field as ‘distancing’, using a third person narrative technique that, to the trained eye, demonstrated an encouraging response to the therapeutic process (and one that, if expedited effectively, would undoubtedly have helped her on the long road to emotional and psychological recovery. But she never got that chance).
Although it was unusual for a client to avoid writing directly about their past, I believed that in Emma Fielding’s case, she would in time begin to address and deal with the trauma of her childhood and later her abusive marriage, both of which had such a serious and profound impact on her life and on her psyche. But after several months’ working closely with Emma and as she continued to write, it became clear to me (as it will to you when you read her story) that a new and somewhat ‘deviant’ element was introduced into her work, suggesting a rather disquieting, if not portentous turn of events, reflected both in the shift in her writing style and in the content of the story itself. It was at this point that she changed her approach and began shifting, erratically at times, between the first person and the third and from my conversations with her just before her disappearance, I became more and more convinced that she was no longer writing pure fiction, if, indeed, that had ever been the case; as I now firmly believe.
Then, on 20 November, 2015 – in what I realise now was to be her final session with me – she told me that she had, in her words, been ‘shutting herself away’ in the house, writing for sometimes days at a time, working she said, on an ‘urgent project’ that had become ‘of critical importance’ to her. Throughout our last session together she talked about her desperate need to keep this work hidden and urged me to share it with no one. At the time I believed this was a result of the abuse she had experienced during her marriage and her need to keep things from her violent ex husband, rather than her fearfulness that the truth of what she was writing about would be discovered; but I now find myself considering alternative explanations for her secrecy.
In November 2015, Emma Fielding disappeared – there was no trace of her at work or at her home. At the time I was sufficiently concerned for her welfare that I contacted the police and filed a missing persons report, but to no effect – Emma Fielding’s whereabouts remained undiscovered. All my efforts to find her, and her son Lucas, came to nothing. And then, out of the blue, in March last year, I received a package from Emma in the post, sent in an unmarked envelope, her location unknown to me then (and still now), but at least I was reassured that she was unharmed. Until, that was, I started to read the contents of that package – at which point I began genuinely to fear for her safety.
The package included further pages of her writing, some of which were in the form of diary entries written in her own hurried hand, as well as a scrawled letter in which she begged me to make her story public. In the letter she stated that she wanted me to know, as well as ‘anyone else who will believe me’ that what she had written was in fact the truth (thus confirming my earlier growing suspicions), that the apparent ‘fiction’ describing in detail the events of the previous few months of her life, was ‘absolutely true’ and that this ‘had always been the case’. She was emphatic that these events had happened to her and to her alone (and which, I believe, may still be happening to her, if she is still alive). Thus, her account of the ‘detective’ James MacIntyre, the CIA agents who were tracking her and, more terrifying still, the ‘man’ known as Patrick Black – who, as far as I know, is still hunting her down – rather than being simply a work of fiction (as I say, a method I believed she used at the time in order to distance herself from her own traumatic past) is based on her actual encounters with these men until the point at which, and for now, her story ends.
During the past few months I have worked tirelessly to collate Emma Fielding’s notes and diary entries into a finished account, just as she asked, and I will publish the completed book myself – written in my name, also as she asked – to try and raise awareness about her case. In the meantime, I have published an extract from one of Emma’s early diary entries on this website, and I will continue to post updates of my efforts to uncover once and for all what happened to Emma Fielding.
Dr Jo Delgardi