The House of Blue Lights

Memories flooded her mind as she traced her fingers along the weathered blue exterior. Jo stood in front of the old police station, her childhood home, almost unrecognisable after 27 years. The watch house, now a two-story historic building painted in a faded blue, stood proudly at the edge of town. Lush gardens surrounded the house with towering jacarandas casting long shadows over the sprawling laws.

She remembered the days of her youth, playing hide-and-seek in the expansive rooms and listening to the echo of his footsteps as he moved around the station. But what intrigued her most was the inexplicable silence that enveloped the house, giving it an air of mystery that piqued her curiosity even after all these years.

* * *

Officer Robert Sanders was a figure of strength and honour, a beacon of bravery dedicated to serving the town. Jo admired her father profoundly but also wondered about the secrets he kept hidden behind his stoic facade.

She remembered the summer morning when her father broke the news. Jo was only eight years old, her heart still innocent and untouched by the world’s weight. Yet, at that moment, her world shattered like fragile glass as her father told her they would leave the police station for good. Tears filled her eyes as she struggled to understand why they had to leave the only home she had ever known.

As they packed their belongings, Jo mourned the rooms she had grown up in, as they slowly emptied out, the familiar objects disappearing, leaving behind an eerie emptiness that mirrored her sense of loss. It was as if the walls themselves held memories that were being stripped away, leaving nothing but echoes of the past.

Jo couldn’t comprehend why they had to leave the watch house. It was more than just a place to her; it was a part of her filled with memories and stories intertwined with her very being. She had played in its rooms, laughed in its hallways, and felt safe within its walls. It was where her father had worn his uniform with pride, taught her valuable life lessons, and shared his dreams and fears with her. It was slipping away from her grasp, and Jo couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it behind.

Their home symbolised her father’s dedication to duty, where he had served the town with unwavering loyalty. Jo had seen the respect and admiration the townspeople held for her father, and she had looked up to him with awe. But amidst the admiration, there had always been a sense of mystery that her father was hiding something from her.

* * *

Jo’s anticipation hung heavy in the air, electrified with the promise of unravelling long-held secrets, as she wrapped her knuckles against the door.

The door creaked open, revealing a frail elderly woman with a kind smile.

“Ah, you must be Josephine. I’m Ms Jenkins,” she said, her voice soft and welcoming. “Come in, dear. I’ve been expecting you.”

As Jo ventured further into the house, she couldn’t ignore the peculiar details that caught her keen eye; the faint scratches on the walls, the light scent of perfume lingering in the air, and the eerie stillness that hung like a veil. Her curiosity ignited, urging her to dig deeper, to uncover the truth that eluded her for so long.

Jo’s eyes widened as she surveyed the room. “What happened here?” she asked, her voice filled with curiosity.

Ms Jenkins chuckled softly. “That scratch on the wall? That’s from when old Mr Thompson’s cat got stuck in here and tried to claw its way out. And that perfume? That’s the scent of roses blooming in the back garden.”

Jo listened intently, captivated by Ms Jenkins’s stories about the house’s history. Tales of whispers in the night, strange noises that echoed through the corridors, and unexplained events that had left their mark over the years.

“Did you ever experience any of these strange occurrences yourself, Ms Jenkins?” Jo asked, leaning in with interest.

Ms Jenkins nodded, her expression serious. “Oh, yes,” she said, her voice dropping to a whisper. “There have been times when I’ve heard footsteps in the hallways or felt a sudden cold breeze in the middle of summer. But I’ve never been able to explain it.”

Jo’s intrigue grew with each word; she spent hours listening to Ms Jenkins’ stories, taking in every detail, and connecting the dots in her mind. Her heart raced as she pieced together the fragments of information, like a puzzle slowly coming together, revealing a hidden picture.

“This is incredible,” Jo exclaimed, her eyes shining with excitement. “I never knew so much history was hidden in this house.”

Ms Jenkins smiled knowingly. “Oh, there’s much more to discover, dear,” she said. “The police station has many secrets waiting to be uncovered.”

But amidst the thrill of the mystery, Jo couldn’t ignore the waves of emotions that surged within her. Memories of her childhood, of her father, who had served the town with unwavering dedication, flooded her mind. She recalled his stern yet loving presence, the way he had always put duty above all else. But she also realised how little she truly knew about him, about the secrets he had kept hidden behind his stoic facade.

“I thought I knew everything about my father,” Jo said softly, her voice tinged with emotion. “But now, I’m not so sure.”

Ms Jenkins reached out and patted Jo’s hand reassuringly. “Sometimes, the truth is hidden in unexpected places,” she said gently.

As Jo continued her investigation, she found herself in the old basement of the watch house, surrounded by dusty shelves filled with archives dating back decades. She ran her fingers over the faded documents, her mind racing with thoughts and questions.

She heard a creaking sound behind her, and she turned around to see a figure standing in the doorway. It was Tom, the old caretaker who had served the police station with her father.

Jo could sense Tom’s guardedness as he spoke to her, his eyes darting around the room as if he was afraid of being overheard. “What are you doing down here, Ms Sanders? This is a restricted area,” he said, his tone clipped and formal.

Jo couldn’t help but feel that there was more to Tom’s protectiveness of the police house than just a sense of duty. She wondered if he was possibly hiding something. After all, he did work alongside her father.

“I’m sorry, Tom. I was just trying to find more information about the history of this place. There’s more to it than meets the eye.”

“History, you say? Well, there’s plenty of that here, but not all of it is pleasant.”

“I understand. But I can’t ignore the strange occurrences that have been happening in this house. I believe there’s something hidden here, and I need to find out what it is.”

Tom’s stern expression softened as he looked at Jo, sensing her determination and sincerity.

“It’s not just curiosity, is it? There’s more to it than that.”

“I want to uncover the truth about my father, about what happened to him.”

Tom’s gaze softened, and he nodded understandingly.

“Your father was a good man, Jo. He served this town with honour, but he also had his share of secrets.”

Jo’s heart skipped a beat at Tom’s words. She had suspected as much, but hearing it confirmed sent a chill down her spine.

“What kind of secrets, Tom? What was he hiding?”

“I can’t say for sure, Ms Sanders. But there were rumours, and whispers of things that happened in this house, things that were swept under the rug. Your father was involved, but he kept his silence to protect the town and perhaps to protect you too.”

Jo’s suspicions were piqued as Tom’s demeanour shifted, and she couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that he was withholding something important.

“Why were you appointed as the caretaker, Tom? What do you know about the secrets in this house?” Jo inquired, her voice tinged with suspicion.

Tom avoided Jo’s gaze. “I was appointed by the town council after your father’s retirement,” he replied evasively. “As for the secrets, I only know what I’ve heard over the years, bits and pieces of rumours and whispers.”

Jo’s frustration grew, and she pressed further. “That’s not enough, Tom. If my father was involved in something, you must know more. Why the secrecy? Why keep it hidden?”

Tom’s expression changed before she could ask more, and he looked around warily.

“We shouldn’t be talking about this here. Meet me at the old oak tree in the park tomorrow at midnight. I’ll tell you everything I know.”

Jo’s suspicions deepened. “What things, Tom? What happened in this house that was so troubling?”

Tom’s eyes darted around, and he sighed heavily. “It’s complicated, Jo. Your father was respected in this town, and he did what he thought was best to protect it. But some things were too dark to share openly.”

Tom hesitated, then spoke cautiously. “There were incidents that were covered up. People went missing, strange occurrences, and your father was part of the effort to sweep it under the rug.”

Jo’s curiosity mixed with concern. “Why would my father be involved in covering up such things? What was he trying to protect?”

Tom looked pained, and his voice dropped to a whisper. “Your father believed it was for the greater good, to protect the town from a dark history that should never resurface.”

Jo couldn’t help but notice the caution in his voice and the way he seemed to be protecting her, almost more than the town. She felt torn between wanting to believe her father had good intentions and the nagging feeling that there was more to the story.

“Why are you still here, Tom?” Jo asked, eyeing him suspiciously. “Why did you agree to be the caretaker after my father’s retirement?”

Tom’s eyes met hers, and he sighed heavily. “I made a promise to your father, Jo. I swore to keep his secrets and protect this town. I couldn’t just walk away from it all.”

Jo’s emotions were in turmoil, and she struggled to make sense of the situation. “But why keep it all hidden? Why not come forward with the truth now?”

Tom looked conflicted, his gaze shifting away. “It’s not that simple, Jo. Some things are better left buried, for the sake of everyone involved.”

Jo wasn’t satisfied with Tom’s evasive answers, but she could tell he was unwilling to reveal more. She decided to tread carefully and continue her investigation on her own.

“I appreciate your loyalty to my father, Tom,” Jo said finally, her tone softened. “But I need to find out the truth for myself. I won’t rest until I uncover what really happened here.”

The next day, Jo waited anxiously under the old oak tree, the moon casting eerie shadows around her. Her excitement had been building since her conversation with Tom, but the wait was beginning to test her patience. She had been waiting in the park for what felt like hours, her nerves on edge as she searched the darkness for any sign of Tom.

As the moon cast eerie shadows around her, she began to wonder if he was coming at all. Just as she was about to give up, she saw a figure approaching in the distance, and as Tom stepped into the moonlight, he looked around cautiously before beckoning Jo to come closer.

“Jo, I need you to understand; this information you’re searching for could change everything you thought you knew about this place.”

“Tell me. I’m ready to hear the truth.”

“Your father was a good man, Jo, but he was caught in the crossfire of powerful forces in this town. Unfortunately, some will stop at nothing to protect their interests, even if it means burying the truth.”

“But what are they hiding? What happened in the police house that’s so dark?”

Tom hesitated and leaned closer to Jo, as if afraid of being overheard, even though they seemed to be the only ones there. His eyes darted around cautiously, taking extra precautions.

“There’s a hidden room in the basement of this police house. A room that holds the key to the town’s darkest secrets. It’s been locked away for years, but I can help you find it.”

Jo’s curiosity was piqued, and she nodded eagerly. She had come this far and was determined to see it through to the end.

Jo’s voice trembled with urgency. “I need to see it for myself. I have to know why my father and I left.”

Tom’s eyes softened, and he nodded. “Okay, follow me, but keep your guard up. We can’t risk being seen.”

With a heavy breath, Jo nodded her agreement.

Tom led Jo back to the police house, moving stealthily through the corridors and down into a separate part of the basement. He stopped before a blank wall that seemed like any other, but he pressed a hidden switch, and the wall swung open to reveal a narrow passageway.

Jo followed Tom into the dark passageway, her heart pounding with each step. They descended further underground, the air getting colder and mustier with each step. Finally, they reached a heavy metal door, and Tom produced a key to unlock it.

The door creaked open, and Jo stepped inside, her eyes adjusting to the dim light. She gasped as she took in what she saw.

The room was filled with shelves of old files, documents, and evidence boxes, all covered in dust and cobwebs. It was clear that this room had not been touched in years. But what caught Jo’s attention was a table in the centre of the room, on which lay a collection of faded photographs.

Jo picked up the photographs, her hands trembling as she examined them closely. They depicted gruesome scenes – mysterious deaths, unexplained disappearances, and acts of violence that had been covered up or overlooked. Jo recognised some of the faces in the photographs, including her father’s.

“What is all this, Tom?”

“These are the records of the town’s darkest secrets, Jo. The crimes that were swept under the rug, the injustices that were ignored, and the truths that were buried. Your father was involved in investigating these cases but was silenced when he got too close to the truth.”

Jo’s mind raced as she connected the dots. The pieces of the puzzle were finally falling into place, revealing a dark and disturbing truth about the town she had grown up in. She was determined to find the answers that had haunted her for the past two decades.

“I won’t let this go, Tom. I need to know why my father and I had to leave this place.”

Tom nodded solemnly, his eyes filled with admiration for Jo’s unwavering resolve.

“I’ll help you in any way I can, Jo. But be careful. Some secrets are best kept secret.”

With that, Tom turned and walked away, leaving Jo alone in the basement, her determination renewed to dig deeper into the mysteries of the watch house and uncover the truth about her father’s involvement.

The weight of the past bore down on Jo like a heavy cloak of shadows. The mysteries of the police house, once concealed in darkness, now beckoned to her with a persistent call. Her heart, torn between curiosity and apprehension, urged her onward, despite the warnings and threats that loomed like storm clouds over the town.

The truth remained just out of reach, teasing her with fragments and whispers that only fuelled her hunger for answers. Then, amidst her investigation, Jo stumbled upon a clue that sent shivers down her spine. A faded journal etched in pale ink spoke of secrets too dark to be spoken aloud and hinted at a connection between the police house and a teen disappearance from years ago – her friend Amelia.

Among the pages, she found photographs of Amelia, the closest thing to a sister she ever had. Yet there was a different name inscribed on the back – “Rose.” Jo’s mind swirled with confusion as she tried to make sense of the revelation. Why would Amelia have a different name? And why had her father kept these photographs hidden in his journal?

As Jo delved deeper, she stumbled upon birth certificates that showed “Rose,” with a foreign-sounding last name that sounded familiar. Jo’s heart clenched as she realised that Amelia had been living under an assumed identity, and her true name had been deliberately hidden.

She couldn’t fathom the depth of deception that had been woven around Amelia. She braced herself for the impact, knowing that the last page of the journal would change everything she thought she knew.

* * *

Jo’s heart skipped a beat as she stood face-to-face with Amelia, her childhood friend she thought was dead. She couldn’t believe her eyes, but the emotions swirling within her were undeniable – surprise, confusion, relief, and hope.

“Amelia?” Jo whispered, her voice barely above a breath.

Before this moment, Jo had spent sleepless nights pouring over the pages of her father’s journal, piecing together the clues that had led her to this very spot. She had followed a trail of secrets, lies, and hidden truths that had rocked her world to its core. And now, here she was, face-to-face with Amelia, the missing piece of the puzzle.

How could Amelia be alive? Why had she disappeared all those years ago?

Amelia’s eyes were filled with pain and desperation as she poured out her story to Jo. She revealed how she had sought refuge in the police house years ago, finding solace in the kindness of Jo’s father, who had helped her escape her abusive family. He had given her a new identity, at the cost of Jo leaving her life, and home, behind.

Jo listened intently, her heart aching for her old friend. She understood the weight of secrets, the burden of living a lie, and the fear of facing the truth.

“Why didn’t you come forward, Amelia?” Jo asked, struggling to control her emotions. “Why did you let everyone believe you were dead? Is that why didn’t you answer my letters?”

Amelia’s eyes filled with tears, and she reached out to grab Jo’s hand. “I had no choice, Jo,” she said, her voice choked with emotion. “Your father promised to protect me, but he also made me swear not to reveal my true identity. I had to disappear to keep myself safe. So did you.”

Jo’s heart ached with empathy for Amelia, but she couldn’t shake off the feeling of betrayal from her father’s actions. She pulled her hand away gently, needing some space to process the revelation. Tom was the only one her father could trust.

“Tom knew about this too, didn’t he?” Jo asked, her voice tinged with suspicion. “That’s why he stayed on as the caretaker, to protect your secret.”

Amelia nodded, tears streaming down her face. “Yes, Tom has been my ally all these years. He helped me hide, and he helped your father keep the truth hidden from you and the rest of the town.”

As Amelia finished her story, Jo could see the fear and uncertainty in her eyes, as if she was bracing herself for rejection.

“Oh, Amelia,” Jo said softly, reaching out to hold her friend’s hand. “I’m so sorry you had to go through all this alone. But you’re not alone anymore. I’m here for you.”

Jo’s mind was a whirlwind of emotions and questions. The truth she had been seeking was far more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her father had been protecting Amelia, her childhood friend, all this time, but it also meant he had kept a monumental secret from her.

Amelia looked up at Jo, tears glistening in her eyes. “I didn’t know who I could trust, Jo. I was so scared when you went away.”

“I understand,” Jo said, her voice gentle.

Amelia nodded, “I’m ready, Jo. I want to be Amelia again, not just Ms Jenkins.”

Jo smiled, feeling a surge of admiration for her friend’s courage. “You are Amelia, and you always have been. Let’s show the town who you really are.”

In the days that followed, the revelation sent shockwaves through the town. Jo and Amelia became admired for their unwavering determination to seek justice, and Amelia’s true identity was embraced.

She found a sense of belonging, and Jo found solace in being part of Amelia’s second chance.

For several days, Jo stayed at the police house, helping Amelia sort through old documents and records. Among the papers, they found two items that Jo’s father had saved, including a worn stuffed animal and a yellowed drawing.

The nights were filled with intense conversations and moments of reflection. They sat on the veranda, watching the rain lash against the windows of the police house, now a symbol of redemption and transformation, a testament to the power of truth and perseverance.

As the first light of dawn broke through the windows, Jo felt a sense of clarity and purpose. She knew what she had to do. She had to let go of the past and move forward.

With a heavy heart, Jo turned to her friend and spoke softly.

“Amelia, it’s time for me to leave. But I’ll always be here when you need me. Always.”

They hugged tightly, and Jo promised to keep in touch before turning and walking away. As she left the police house and the town behind, Jo felt a sense of peace and closure. She had played her part in Amelia’s story, and now it was time to start a new chapter of her own.


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