Truly horrible were the days, weeks and months that followed Brooke’s death. Everywhere Keith looked, be it at home, a shopping centre, even Albany on an escape from Perth, something reminded him of Brooke. He would catch himself out thinking things along the lines of ‘I must tell Brooke that.’ or ‘I’ll pick up an extra-large roast, and do a plate for Brooke while I’m at it’, only to then have the reality of her loss come tumbling down around him.
In his entire life he had never found the need to busy himself. There was always enough work to do up the paddock, or the need to pick up the grandchildren, or, ‘Maude has a doctor’s appointment, so I better get my finger out to get her there on time’. But now, life had changed. Keith started finding himself with spare time on his hands, and whenever that occurred, he would be consumed by the deepest, blackest, grief he had ever experienced.
But Maude was worse.
Maude had been teaching within the Catholic Education system in Western Australia for more than thirty years. She had been working right up until the weekend Brooke had lost her life, and now she was lost. Utterly lost. Catholic Ed. had given her all of the time off she could want, however, after two months of grieving, Maude handed in her notice. As far as she was concerned, she had now retired. Which, unjustly, had rendered her a recluse in a perpetual state of depression. She had stopped cooking, socialising, and had developed tremors in both hands. Within six weeks of this, she became entirely reliant on Keith for everything she did. He got her out of bed in the mornings, showered her, dressed her, made and forced her to eat breakfast. He would then get a cup of tea on the go, propping her up on the couch with a book whilst the red electric kettle boiled, to then place a three-quarter filled cup on a small table beside her. Her shaking rendering her quite incapable of lifting a full cup without spilling it. From there he would get on with the day the best he could, ensuring, though, that he was never far from home, nor away for more than an hour.
The Police still had nothing to offer in the way of leads toward who had murdered Brooke Smith.
Western Australia’s ‘Office Of The State Coroner’, specific to Keith’s morgue visit, had positively identified Broke as the deceased. Brooke’s cause of death was due to as chronic blood loss from a severed femoral artery, and bleeding within the skull. The blunt force trauma to the back of her head created a large and terminal intracranial bleed. Her Death Certificate had her cause of death listed as ‘Misadventure’. Now, with all particulars being fulfilled to register her death. Her Death Certificate was drawn up, and released. Brooke could now be buried.
Tragically, the final moments of Brooke’ life were unknown. As representatives of the Coroner, the Police were still going through the motions of establishing the manner in which Brooke’s death arose.
The Smiths, whilst made aware that she had been knocked on the head, causing a bleed to the rear of the brain sufficient to take Brooke’s life, had not been made aware of the injuries inflicted upon her. At the time Keith had summoned the courage to identify her, all he had seen of Brooke were her head and shoulders. A sheet had covered the rest of her lithe young body. Little had he known that both of her Achilles tendons, just above the heel had been saw through with a sharp, yet ‘toothed’ object or device; a steak knife. Without her achilles tendons attached, Brooke would not have been able to stand, let alone run. Every second finger been removed at the second knuckle with scissor like blunt force; bolt cutters. Of the remaining fingers, her nails had been pulled out; most likely, pliers. She had an incision, the bottom ragged, behind each shoulder, deep enough to sever the ligaments between the top of the humerus and the bones of her shoulder; the same steak knife. Brooke would not have been able to raise her arms in defence. The amount of blood on the ground beneath her body, whilst minimal, was enough to establish to the Police that she had been tortured for approximately one hour prior to the savage blow she had received to the back of her head. Gouges and scrapes on the ground showed Brooke was most likely conscious up until death, and had been moved post-mortem.
It was also established that the assault wasn’t of a sexual nature. Brooke had neither been raped, nor had any of her clothing been removed or tampered with. Her forearms both bore lacerations and bruising; evidence that she had fought back against who, or whomever, had assaulted her prior to having her ligaments and tendons cut. Further evidence being split knuckles of the tops of both index and middle fingers of both hands. In response to those injuries, Brookes hands, lower and upper arms were x-rayed. The results astounding radiological staff, as she had dislocated her right elbow, bore minor fracture to both forearm’s; she had also broken bones in the backs of both hands. Lastly, she had dislocated the big toe of her right foot.
The coroner’s preliminary assessment of such injuries, was that who or whomever ever had assaulted Brooke, had had a serious fight on their hands whilst attempting to subdue her, and would definitely be suffering injuries specific to having been repeatedly and powerfully punched. The fractures in the forearms bearing testament to Brooke having punched the hardest part of the assailant’s body, most likely the head and face. That she was unable to escape after putting up such an intense fight put the coroner in mind that it was most likely she had faced more than one assailant. More importantly still, was that as the assailants had not run from the pain of serious injury that Brooke had inflicted upon them.
Brooke had also been tortured. Having major tendons and ligaments severed was one thing, but having her fingers brutally lopped off with bolt cutters, was entirely another. Finger nails being pulled out with pliers only added to the confusion.
A Police profiler come forensic psychologist was building a list of likely profiles of assailant’s. Sadly, man’s greatest enemy since Adam, time, was sliding away.
Click the picture above. Picture quality is not quite the best, but a grand song.
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4 Comments Add yours
Can’t really like per say, gruesome, which is intended, but it is an intriguing mystery.
Yes, I don’t particularly like ‘gruesome either. Sadly it is a necessary evil specific to the story. Thoroughly chuffed you have found intrigue in my wee yarn, and as a bit of a spoiler, that is about all of the ‘gruesome’ the remainder of the story has. Thank you! N.
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I’ll be reading ; )
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