Read Where the Memories Lie Online

Authors: Sibel Hodge

Where the Memories Lie

Where the



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Sibel Hodge

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, inc., or its affiliates.

isbN-13: 9781503947467

isbN-10: 1503947467

Cover design by bürosüd° München,

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

Thank God.
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


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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.

‘Especially them.’

‘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-

thetical lies.’


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


Sibel Hodge

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
hypocritical, too!’

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,

I mean.’

‘It’s actually how they caught Al Capone in the end.’

‘Who’s he?’

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

stay hidden.


Chapter One

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
Sibel Hodge

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

few years.

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

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