Home > The Good Samaritan(11)

The Good Samaritan(11)
Author: John Marrs

I’d never had anyone make that request before. Flashbacks of miserable places I’d been to in my childhood began swirling through my head, and if circumstances had been different I might have given brief consideration to joining him. But I had a family, and Henry needed me. My anchor held me firm.

I had to think. Where on earth might I find someone willing to participate? It’s not like I could advertise on Match.com – Male, 39, good-looking, great sense of humour, seeks woman to join him in suicide pact. So I returned to Internet message boards and forums I’d frequented in the early days, searching for potential candidates. But it’s hard to trust and recruit someone when they’re hiding behind an avatar.

Then as luck – or fate – would have it, she came into our lives. She was a young woman who was pregnant and with a severe case of prenatal depression. It gave her dark thoughts, and the longer the pregnancy continued, the more convinced she became that she would make a terrible mother. She thought her husband was having an affair, as he’d been making covert phone calls and sums of money had been vanishing from their joint account. He was spending longer at work than normal, and because she’d been feeling fat and deeply unattractive, she thought he was finding affection elsewhere. I didn’t care if he was or wasn’t a cheating bastard. It just suited my needs that she believed he was, as it made her more depressed.

Under different circumstances, I might’ve suggested she held out until after the birth before acting on her suicidal thoughts. But I needed someone malleable and open to suggestion and she fitted the bill perfectly.

I was also very aware that I needed her more than she needed me. So I treated her with kid gloves and used every trick in the book to fast-track the process. I upped my shifts to every other day and encouraged her to keep calling until it was me who answered; I suggested she stopped taking the low dose of antidepressants her doctor had prescribed, in case it gave her a chemical optimism; I advised keeping a distance from her friends and philandering husband, and I directed her towards particular Internet suicide message boards I knew well, to see that she wasn’t alone. After three weeks of intense conversations, research and manipulation, she was keen to meet David. And in the seven days before they were to meet, we’d only communicate through pay-as-you-go, untraceable mobile phones.

The one and only time they came face to face was the day they stepped off Birling Gap’s cliff top in East Sussex together. They’d never spoken by phone, text or email. They had no idea what the other looked or sounded like or their reasons for dying, only that they shared a mutual destiny. They had trust in me and in each other – we were three friends all making the same leap of faith.

Listening to them on the phone as they took their final steps across the verge and towards the cliff edge, I’d never felt such pride, joy, happiness, anticipation and excitement all at once. But deep down, I was envious of her for sharing that precious moment. It clawed away inside me when I saw it on the local TV news. I wasn’t able to bring myself to watch it and see her as a real person, so I turned the channel over. I had been instrumental in ending David’s pain, but she took the glory.

I took a moment to close my eyes and imagine how it might’ve felt to hold David’s hand and feel his warmth travel through me as we took that one last step together. I sensed the softness of his skin, the smell of cologne on his neck, his pulse beating in rhythm with mine – and all with such clarity, as if I were there.

‘Laura!’ Janine’s irritated voice came from behind and startled me. My angry eyes opened wide. ‘Your phone is ringing. Could you answer it, please?’

She pointed to the flashing red light.

‘Of course,’ I replied, and wondered how it might feel to take that phone and smash her across the face with it.


I scribbled on a piece of paper and slid it towards Sanjay’s desk. Even from this angle, I could see his shirt buttons straining and clumps of dark hair poking out through the gaps.

The ever-incompetent Janine had messed up the rota and booked too many of us in, so the room contained more people than I was comfortable with.

Why are the police in Janine’s office? I’d written.

‘No idea,’ Sanjay mouthed. He’d doused himself in a musky oud-based cologne, but it was doing little to mask his body odour. I glanced towards Mary, who was also on a call, and raised my eyebrows, but she shook her head.

I was supposed to be listening to a widowed pensioner complaining about her crippling loneliness. But I was far too preoccupied by the uniformed officers talking to Janine.

Their proximity made me feel uneasy – was this something to do with me? Had Steven reported me to the police? Had my instinct failed me and had I gone too far, too soon with him? I guessed the odds were that it might happen some time. And it would only take one person’s accusation to ruin my reputation.

R U OK? Sanjay wrote back. I hated text talk when it wasn’t written on a phone. And even then I wasn’t comfortable with it.

Yes, just being nosy! I scribbled, and added a smiley face.

Quietly, I wanted to grab my bag and dash out of there. But I needed to know for definite if what was going on in Janine’s office involved me.

My caller started droning on about her two estranged children while my eyes were fixed upon the two young officers drinking from mugs and tucking into more of my pastries. I leaned forward and craned my neck to try to pick up on their muffled conversation, but only a lip-reader could have translated it.

I felt a knot expand in my stomach to the size of a watermelon as I replayed my two conversations with Steven in my head. I was quite certain I’d never told him in actual words that I would support him in ending his life. I was too careful for that. So any accusations would be his word against mine.

British law had decriminalised suicide back in 1961, so it was no longer illegal to try to take your own life. However, encouraging or assisting someone else’s suicide was a different matter and the police had a duty to investigate accusations. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, was fourteen years’ imprisonment. Henry would never survive that long without me.

The more I glared at the officers, the more my initial panic made way for anger. What was I doing that was so wrong? I was only helping people, just as End of the Line was supposed to. Granted, I had an agenda, but I had my own boundaries, too: no children, teenagers or anyone with learning difficulties – everyone else of sound mind could make their own decisions, with my assistance of course. If society’s moral compass weren’t so screwed up, I’d have been rewarded for the lengths I’d gone to in order to help those in need. People are their own worst enemies when they try to plod along even if it means leading miserable, hopeless lives. It’s up to me to save them from themselves.

But there’d be no point in trying to explain that to Janine or to the police; they’d only spin it into something negative to use against me. Social workers, counsellors, doctors . . . they’d all judged me in the past and they’d all been wrong. I wouldn’t sit back and allow history to repeat itself.

As they left, I watched Sanjay wander into her office, and willed my caller to shut up before I followed him inside.

‘They’ve found our number in another phone of someone who died,’ Sanjay began.

‘Who?’ I asked.

‘A young mum who overdosed on heroin.’

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» The Good Samaritan
» The One
» Surprise Me
» Melt for You (Slow Burn #2)
» Burn for You (Slow Burn #1)
» In This Life
» War Storm (Red Queen #4)
» How to Walk Away