The Hanging Christian – Episode 6
Freya finally goes to the police as the Sunday Serial continues, but does anyone believe her?
Catch up on Episode 5 here.
Freya sat through the rest of the meeting in a state of dull electrified numbness.
She barely registered the discussion of how Christians’ blind and unshakeable belief, even in the face of death, proved that they suffered from nothing less than an acute mental disease.
Todd’s lifeless eyes were staring at her, filmy and glasslike. His corpse had been left hanging, revolving languidly. The smell of drying shit was sharp in the airless basement.
At the meeting’s end, Professor Seydowsky took Freya aside and touched her shoulder.
“It’ll pass. We’ve all had to experience this. Work through it in your own time. You’ll understand soon.”
He smiled at her.
She cycled back to college, and found her corridor hosting yet another pre-drinks/party. Their leering, made-up faces and chants of “Down it, fresher!” made her want to vomit. Instead she ended up necking a bottle of Smirnoff in under an hour.
By midnight she was in Life, completely fucked. The music pulsated, formless and headache inducing. She danced. She drank some more.
A guy started dancing with her, and she grabbed him and pushed him up against the sweat-seeping wall, kissing him violently. He initially went along with it, tongue and all, but when she started crying he quickly extricated himself.
The next morning she woke up at ten, skipped the remainder of her lectures and went straight to the police station.
She didn’t know why she hadn’t done this the moment the meeting finished. Just because the whole thing was so surreal and macabrely unbelievable didn’t mean that it was above the law; she was still living in a society where you couldn’t just ritually murder someone and get away with it.
But when she found herself facing the officer on duty, a man who looked more dour than Bill Bailey in Hot Fuzz, had his feet up on the desk and was obviously watching the Winter Olympics on his phone, Freya felt incredibly stupid.
What exactly was she going to say? “I want to report a murder!” sounded so fucking absurd and unbelievable and like she was in a subpar ITV drama – this was real life.
She said it anyway, and the officer dropped his phone and quickly placed his shoes down on the disgusting teal carpet.
After two hours of explaining in detail everything that had happened to a sequence of officers with skeptical expressions, she was finally left alone on a chair in an office.
It was obvious that no one believed her. She’d have spent her time more productively if she’d gone to lectures.
A gangly policeman came in with a cup of tea and a hobnob, and asked her if she was doing alright. He had a slight Irish accent and she realised she recognised him; he’d stopped her for not having lights the night before her first supervision with Professor Seydowsky.
He sat down opposite her as she sipped her tea.
“You’ve got yourself some bike lights now, right?” he said, grinning. For some reason she was very pleased that he remembered her.
“Hi, my name’s Declan, and I’m gonna be honest with you, Freya,” he said, “None of my colleagues believe you. Todd Alban is apparently safe at home having a break from Cambridge, we phoned up his parents, and we sent someone to the Eagle and the basement’s flooded, and has been like that for six months according to the owner.”
The tea was no longer as comforting as it had been. Of course. Of course they would have meticulously covered their tracks.
“Look, you haven’t got a case,” he continued, “and the abiding consensus is that you’re either high or having a stress-induced breakdown.”
“Is there anything you can do?” said Freya, trying to hold it together, “At least tell me you believe me. You have to believe me.”
Declan held her hand and looked her straight in the eye.
“I believe you. I don’t think you’re making this up. But you’ve got no proof.”
He glanced over the partition behind Freya’s shoulder to check that no one was approaching, then quickly pulled something out of his pocket. It was a tiny black device the size of a camera’s SD card.
“This is what undercover officers use these days. You just peel off the back plastic, stick it to the skin above your navel, hide it under your clothes and it’ll record everything that’s said in the room.”
He pressed the card into Freya’s hand.
Freya looked back up at him, not quite comprehending.
“Your tutor and parents will be contacted about your behaviour but you should have a couple of days. If you wear this, go back to this cult and your professor, and get some actual, solid evidence, you might get some justice for your friend. What do you say?”