Since Emma Fielding went missing my task has been clear: to do everything in my power to find her. I am not a trained investigator but I will do whatever it takes, despite my trepidation, my genuine fear about what I might uncover and the danger I may yet have to face.
In the last few weeks I have focused my efforts once again on trying to trace Lucas Fielding, Emma’s son. Going to their house proved fruitless; it is shut up and empty and appears that no one has been there for some time. Then, ten days ago I discovered that Lucas has not been attending university, has not been to class since just after his mother disappeared. For some time now I have been trying to make contact with him via his Twitter and Facebook accounts, but he has not responded to any of my messages so far and two days ago both of these accounts were mysteriously deleted. This does not look good to me. It only looks odd, and is becoming more so each day I delve further into the case.
To make matters worse, the police officer in charge of Emma Fielding’s missing persons case file is doing very little to find her it seems, despite me presenting him with further evidence about her disappearance. Since telling him about my being unable to trace or contact Lucas, I have not heard from him and he is no longer returning my calls.
The one piece of good news – a glimmer of light in what is becoming a very long, dark tunnel – is that I found out DCI Jeffery exists and works in the Sutton area. When I got confirmation that he worked for the Met, that he is real, a genuine police officer*, I was buoyed up, excited even at the prospect of my first real lead in the case. But so far, despite my persistence, I have been unable to speak to him in person about Emma or about the investigation into the two stabbings described in the online news report I found (see January 13th post). When pushed, the officer who took my last call to the station where Jeffery works said that he was on extended leave and could not be contacted. They would not give me Jeffery’s contact number outside work nor any indication of where he lives, but I am determined to find him. I will start next week with the electoral roll.
But first I have decided to go on a trip: this weekend I intend to retrace Emma’s steps on her last recorded journey along the east coast. I found out that there is currently no coach operator that runs a service from any part of London across to Hunstanton and then down the Norfolk coast to Cromer as Emma writes in her diary (and as described in the last chapters of Incomer). This seems odd, even to me. Why would Emma make up something like that? To throw someone off the trail maybe? But what would be the point given that, as we know, ‘Black’ – or whoever, or whatever it was that was pursuing her – found her in the end, tracked her down to the beach hut? And that I know exists because she used to talk about it in her sessions with me all the time; that place meant the world to her. So why would she lie? Unless she is still there? Maybe she escaped Black and is in hiding somewhere nearby or even at the hut itself, for some reason unable to leave? During my more sensible moments I realise this is a long shot, unrealistic even, but I have to find out for myself, to be certain. And I can only find out for sure by going there myself.
I found out there is a bus service that operates daily between Hunstanton and Cromer – the creatively named ‘Coast Hopper’ service – and that stops at Cley, the very place from which Emma fled the coach and escaped on foot over the moors. I intend to start at Hunstanton and retrace her steps as far as I can. I will make a record of the journey, and of wherever my enquiries lead me. I will take my camera and voice recorder with me in case I am able to interview any witnesses who might have seen her that night, or who may have seen her since. It is frustrating that I do not have a photograph of Emma; there are no pictures online of her that I have ever seen, which in itself might seem odd. But then knowing the kind of person Emma was (is – I must be hopeful), what she has been through and endured over the years, it is not so strange to me. She is and always has been an intensely private person, and with very good reason. There is no doubt this will make my job even harder, but I intend to persevere. As I say, whatever it takes.
*Despite my faith and belief in Emma Fielding as an honest and trustworthy person, I naturally have questions about her story – about the details set out in Incomer. Not least of these is that she must have found out much more about Patrick Black and James MacIntyre after she stopped attending therapy sessions with me because she neither talked nor wrote about them with such knowledge, nor in such detail, during those times.