Is it possible that Emma Fielding is the author of After Her Blood, and thus the perpetrator of an elaborate hoax? This is not an unreasonable question and is one that I have been asked by more than one interested reader. For those of you who are following both her story and my own investigation into her disappearance, you would be more than justified in questioning the veracity of Emma’s account of what happened to her, as set out in the pages of Incomer, and perhaps also in speculating whether After Her Blood is also a scam conceived entirely by Emma herself. I have considered this possibility myself in some depth, especially in light of the fact that Emma had taken part in writing therapy, and from my knowledge of working with her I know that she often used fiction, including at times use of the third person, as a therapeutic technique to help her deal with the trauma of what she experienced at the hands of her abusive ex husband (as I have said in my early posts, I believe she used this as a way of distancing herself from the reality of what happened to her)
In After Her Blood there is reference to the child abuse the young girl experienced who features in the second chapter of the book, to the ‘headmaster’ who got his ‘old man’s hands on her’ at the age of 11 and ‘ruined her chances forever of experiencing any other kind of love’. But is that child Emma Fielding? To an observant reader it would certainly seem to be the case. But is she the same Emma Fielding who disappeared in 2015, the woman I knew and tried so hard to help? If so, how can this be the case? I do not know for certain that the Emma Fielding I worked with experienced childhood abuse. It is no breach of confidentiality to state that she never mentioned this directly to me, nor did she write about this as part of her therapy, although this does not mean that such a thing never occurred. But what is notable and pertinent to these questions now is that Emma discussed neither her childhood nor her home or school life in her sessions with me. In fact, it was as if she did not remember these aspects of her past at all. This may, of course, suggest a link to some kind of traumatic amnesia, that she had blocked these aspects of her childhood from her memory and thoughts. But I very much doubt this.
As to the pressing question of whether the Emma Fielding I knew is the author both of the events set out in the pages of Incomer and After Her Blood, I do not believe for one minute that this is the case. While it would seem clear that both narratives demand some degree of shared knowledge on the part of the author – of events, characters, and even feelings – I did not write After Her Blood and I am equally certain that Emma did not either. Yes, it is true that I make this claim based on my insight into Emma’s personality and character as well as on my own professional expertise as a therapist; but while I believe she was traumatised, I do not believe she was duplicitous, nor that the trauma she experienced was likely to lead to such behaviour. There is something else though, something much more telling that needs to be addressed: how could the Emma Fielding I knew actually write the book and use my name as a pseudonym if she did not know me then? Are we to assume this was just coincidence? If so, it is a considerable stretch to arrive at such a conclusion – I was not even practising as a writing therapist nine years ago.
While I do not wish to get too bogged down in detail that may be largely irrelevant to the case (this is likely to be my only post on this issue), one or two other anomalies are worth pointing out, such as the fact that the ages and histories of the key characters in both books do not fit – in After Her Blood, for example, Lucas is a small boy in 2010 and cannot then be nearly 20 in 2015 when Incomer was published. In After Her Blood Emma’s night away with Patrick Black (who, to all intents and purposes, is the same character in both books until that point), is pretty much the same night described by Emma in Incomer five years later. But it is only in the account described in the latter that Black transforms into someone, or something, altogether different and far more terrifying than the Emma Fielding of 2010 could, I am sure, have ever anticipated, even in her wildest imagination. Having said that, readers of Incomer should be aware that Black’s transformation into something unrecognisable in human terms could be a metaphor for the violence and abuse Emma experienced in her marriage, and may have been the only way she had of expressing in words the monster her husband became.
Which is why tracking down James MacIntyre would present a chance like no other to attest to the truth of the events of that fateful night in the woods.