Read Where the Memories Lie Online
Authors: Sibel Hodge
Also by sibel Hodge
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Fashion, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 1)
Money, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 2)
Voodoo, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 3)
Chocolate, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 4)
Santa Claus, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 4.5)
Vegas, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mystery No 5)
Murder and Mai Tais (Danger Cove Cocktail Mystery No 1)
The See-Through Leopard
Fourteen Days Later
My Perfect Wedding
The Baby Trap
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A Gluten Free Soup Opera
Healing Meditations for Surviving Grief and Los
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2015 sibel Hodge
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Thomas & Mercer, seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Thomas & Mercer are trademarks of Amazon.com, inc., or its affiliates.
Cover design by bürosüd° München, www.buerosued.de
Printed in the United states of America
‘What lies have you told recently, Mum?’ Anna walks into the
kitchen and slaps some textbooks down on the table.
In the middle of cutting up some peppers on a chopping board,
I swing around with fear, my heart banging.
What does she know? She can’t have found out the truth, surely.
‘Mum, you’ve cut yourself !’ She points to my finger.
I glance down. ‘Oh.’ I turn on the cold tap and run my finger
under the flow of water. It’s only superficial. ‘What do you mean?’
I swallow and lick my lips, aware that my voice is shaky. ‘What lies are you talking about?’ I inhale a sharp breath and brace myself for the worst.
‘It’s for my Religion and Ethics homework.’ Anna sits down at
the kitchen table, picks up a notebook from on top of the pile of
books and taps it with a pen.
The relief hits me like a cold rush of air to my skin, sudden and
I even manage a small laugh, although where I summon that up from, I don’t know.
‘Well, we all tell lies, don’t we?’ I say, forcing myself to sound
She thinks about that for a moment, chewing on her lip. ‘Even
religious people? I mean, what about . . .’ She waves the pen in the air. ‘Priests and vicars, for example?’
I think about the horrific stories that have come to light
over the years in the Catholic orphanages. About vicars sexually
abusing their choirboys. Nuns physically abusing their charges.
‘But that’s hypocritical.’
I know all about being a hypocrite.
‘Religion isn’t supposed to be about lying, is it?’ she asks.
‘Absolutely right.’ In fact, I’m a staunch atheist. I don’t believe in something that tries to oppress people − women in particular −
and control the masses. I don’t particularly like the idea of religion being a compulsory subject at school, either, but Anna loves the
ethics side of things, and she’s good at debating. Maybe she’ll
become a lawyer.
Her smooth forehead scrunches up in a frown as she scribbles
something down. ‘But there could also be some good reasons for
If only she knew just how good.
I turn off the tap and pat the small cut with kitchen roll before
wrapping it around my finger and squeezing.
‘I have to examine the pros and cons, you see.’ She scribbles
something in her book with neat, precise handwriting. ‘So, what
lies have you told lately?’
‘I think I should ask you that instead.’ I try to grin but my
mouth won’t cooperate properly and probably makes me look
as if I have severe constipation. Luckily Anna doesn’t seem to
She gives me a cheeky grin. ‘Maybe we should do hypo-
Where the Memories Lie
I raise my eyebrows. ‘Wow! Is it that bad, then? What did you
lie about?’ I’m sure it will only be something ridiculously small.
Anna is a good girl.
She blushes. ‘No, it wasn’t anything, really.’
‘OK, hypothetically.’ I turn my back to her and carry on with
the peppers. ‘This is your homework so you tell me.’
‘Um . . . What about when you’re planning a surprise party for
someone and you lie about it because you don’t want to ruin the
surprise? That would be a good thing. A pro.’
‘And a white lie could also be a pro. To spare someone’s feelings
and stop them getting upset.’
White lies. I’ve tried to convince myself this is just a white lie
I’m carrying around inside.
‘Very good. We might tell lies with good intentions in mind.’
My voice cracks slightly. I scrape the peppers from the chopping
board into a frying pan and grab some mushrooms and an onion
from the fridge.
‘Does that make them acceptable, though?’ Anna asks
I hesitate, going over the same things I’ve been asking myself.
‘I think if you’re trying to spare people’s feelings − trying to protect them − then that’s OK.’
‘But what if the person you’re trying to protect should know the
truth? What if they would
to know whatever you’re trying to spare them from?’
‘Well, take you, for example. I would want to protect you from
harm. If I knew something that could potentially upset you or
have a negative impact on your life, as your mother, it’s my job to protect you. I would think of it as a necessary good in some situa-tions.’ I peel the onion and begin chopping, glad for once that it’s making my eyes stream. I want to cry again as I think about the
enormity of everything that’s happened, and the onion will mask
it. I sniff. Wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. ‘What else can
you think of ?’
‘Don’t women lie about their age?’
‘Some men do, too. Let’s not be sexist here.’
‘Is that good or bad, then?’
‘Probably pretty inconsequential, unless it affects someone else.’
‘So, there are harmless lies.’ She writes that down and under-
lines it a few times. ‘And politicians lie, don’t they?’
‘Probably every time they open their mouths.’
‘Well, that’s definitely a con.’ I hear her scribbling furiously
behind me. ‘They’re supposed to be working for the benefit
of their people and they’re lying about a lot of things. That is
My daughter has strong ethics. She’s intelligent and inquisitive.
Old and wise beyond her years. I was glad we’d moved on from
the Capital Punishment homework she’d had recently because
Anna becomes a little obsessed about things sometimes. She works
hard at school. Reads a lot of books that are probably beyond her
years, but if she feels strongly about something, she’ll go on and
on about it. Read about it. Research it on the Internet morning,
noon and night. I’d been forced to watch documentaries and films
about prisoners on death row for weeks on end. I can now envision
being bombarded with research about lying, and I don’t need to be
reminded, thanks all the same.
‘Don’t people lie on their tax returns?’
I smile, despite myself. ‘Yes. And their CVs.’
‘That could be an offence, though, couldn’t it? The tax return,
‘It’s actually how they caught Al Capone in the end.’
I wave the knife around. ‘It doesn’t matter.’
Where the Memories Lie
‘OK, so, that’s actually a bad one, then. If you know your lie is
covering up a crime?’
My stomach twists. I transfer the onion to the frying pan, put
the lid on and wipe my eyes again with my knuckles.
‘Isn’t it?’ Anna prompts me again, jerking me out of the thoughts
I’m lost in about her. About what happened. How it only takes one
split second. One wrong move to make everything implode.
I think again about how far I’d go to protect my daughter, my
family. The lies I’d tell. And I convince myself again that not all lies are the same.
And when the memories lie, sometimes it’s best to let the truth
By the time they found her remains, I hadn’t thought about
her for years. I’d been too busy getting on with my life.
A life I thought was normal.
Normal for me that week was trying to get out of the house
on time in the mornings. I’d been expressly forbidden by Anna to
walk her to the bus stop now she was twelve. I’d tried to tell her
that I wasn’t really walking her to the bus stop at all, that I was just meeting Nadia there so we could walk the dogs together, but she
wasn’t having it. I knew that Anna could quite easily go down our
path, out of the gates, and walk two hundred metres to the bus stop without anything happening to her, but it didn’t stop me worrying.
Luckily, Anna hadn’t turned into the usual pre-pubescent, difficult monster yet, despite being twelve years old and nearly at the end of her second year of secondary school. And we still had a very close
and loving relationship. When we were at home she still followed
me everywhere most of the time, as if she could never bear to be that far away from me. She even followed me to the toilet sometimes,
chatting on about stuff ! I jokingly called her my little Klingon.
Maybe I was too overprotective, but I’m a mother: it’s my job. Plus, Anna nearly didn’t arrive in the world. After six miscarriages, it was
touch and go whether she’d make it to full term. She was my little
miracle baby, and you don’t go taking miracles for granted. You
appreciate them every day. Take that extra effort to make sure nothing happens to them.
Our house was set back from the road, with a big front garden
and a tiny rear one. I didn’t mind having all the space at the front as it was completely private from prying eyes with the seven-foot-tall laurel hedges. Plus, the views at the back were amazing, looking out onto the woods behind that led onto sprawling hills of green Dorset countryside.
I unlatched one of the six-foot wooden gates and pushed it
open. Poppy, our crazy golden retriever, escaped out first, dribbling with excitement at the prospect of a walk. I headed the short
distance up the road, past the Kings’ Arms pub towards the bus
stop on the opposite side. Anna was chatting with a few of the other village kids already waiting for the bus to drive them the nine miles to their school in Dorchester. No Nadia or Charlotte yet, which was strange. My sister-in-law Nadia was an organised control freak who
was always on time. Some might even call her anal. For once, I’d
beaten her. Go, Olivia!
I carried on walking, scanning the road, looking for them.
Hopefully Charlotte wasn’t sick again. She’d had some kind of virus a few months ago that she couldn’t seem to shake, and she always
looked tired lately. Mind you, she was studying really hard for her GCSEs. All twelve of them. Yes, twelve! I thought they worked
the kids much too hard these days. Charlotte barely had any spare
time with the amount of homework she’d been given in the last
And then I saw them both, hurrying towards me as the school
bus pulled up at the kerb. I waved. Charlotte waved back, her fine
long hair fanning out over her shoulders as she ran towards us.
She looked pale still, with dark rings under her eyes.
Where the Memories Lie
The other kids and Anna climbed aboard. I wanted to kiss