Although there was some prestige attached to the job, Wendy never gave it a second thought.  She’d been an actress for 15 years, was exceptional at the job and enjoyed it immensely, it wasn’t who she was, but something she did and hopefully, well.

She’d lived through the accolades, the hype, the “glory” but anyone who knew her well, knew she was about the telling of the story.  Although given romantic roles as this had become the genre people associated most with her, she loved mysteries, playing detective, it was so much more…meatier, exciting, had real depth.

Following her stint as a short-lived detective on Jefferson and Martin, more cop shows were coming her way and she’d become involved in producing and directing movies instead. She was currently reading a script for a movie based on a true-life crime.   

The truth was gripping, sad, horrific and the perp was crazy.  It had taken years to collect enough evidence to convict him.  When she’d first read the script, she’d been unaware it was based on a true story and had instantly become mesmerized engrossed and involved.  Upon learning the truth, she’d re-read the outline determined that people would remember this beautiful young woman (just eighteen) with her whole life ahead of her.   Everyone needed to know the atrocity was vicious and horrible and even more so, the impact on the family and close friends, followed by the community was beyond description.

The family had agreed to meet with her and explained in depth the ongoing pain, the loss, the gamut of feelings they’d gone through.  At first, it was denial followed by fear and then hope. They’d lived in a state of hope forever, it sustained them until the inevitable truth when the detectives knocked on their door with inconceivable news that their daughter was dead. Then the aftermath that lingered ever after in some form.

They’d hear sudden laughter in a park or grocery store that was so like their daughters they’d whip around looking for the source only to be instantly reminded she was gone. Sometimes it was a saying, more often a piece of music she’d loved and listened to and then there was the inevitable empty spot at the dinner table, the unused bedroom, all reminders of what had gone before and was forever lost. 

She’d barely dipped her toe in the water of life, so bright so talented, her whole life ahead of her…who had been denied a chance to live life …so bright, so talented, snuffed out and thrown away as though she were garbage. 

They agreed to the interview because they wanted her to know the truth of the affect on their lives, hoping that she’d portray the story with honesty, integrity, and the unfailing truth of how the tragedy although over, never truly ended. 

The sleepless nights when dreams and night-terrors woke you, as though witnessing the crime since it had been portrayed vividly in the courtroom. The anguish of loss that never ended.  The unanswerable questions – why her?  He was mad and depraved.  Why hadn’t anyone noticed?

Tears glistened in Wendy’s eyes as she hugged the desolate mother and father and thanked them for their candid honesty. The sisters were more reticent, eyeing her with concern.

She vowed she’d bring the daughter to life and show the aftermath, not for sensationalism, but because everyone needed to know the effects, of the tragedy that lasted forever. 

Although most murders were crimes of passion, and there were the truly depraved, she hoped that her portrayal of this lovely young woman with so much to live for, would be heard and that other young women would take heed, listen to that inner voice that spoke and warned them when a situation didn’t feel right and they’d get out. She now lived in that state of unending hope.

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