What Happened to Paul Carter? VOL I

By Katherine De Bois

Biography & memoir, Women's fiction, Crime & mystery, General non-fiction, True crime, Thriller, Romance

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6 mins

March 9th 2015

I’m driving in the dark without my glasses, trying to figure out exactly where I am, which is a challenge considering I can hardly see the road, let alone the signs.

‘Where am I?’ This is ridiculous and under the circumstances, I don’t need to be adding anymore stress. I need to look and feel truly calm, not flustered and panicked. My stomach is churning.

It isn’t everyday you arrange to meet a hitman, and my grasp of the unfolding situation is a few feet distanced from reality. I’m terrified that my knowledge of exactly what is happening, may be a few months behind where I should be. I’m petrified that I have done the wrong thing, and that I’m probably walking straight into a trap.

Tonight I need to be in the moment.

‘God I wish I had gone to the loo.’

I’m not lost, just navigating towards another meeting with more strangers in the middle of nowhere, but at least the road is 3 lanes wide and relatively straight. I glance down at my phone’s GPS and scroll the map forward. The blue line goes forever. Another 20 minutes before I need to turn. I put it back between my legs, safely nestled in the voluptuous folds of the tulle skirt that I chose for this auspicious occasion, and lightly laugh at myself. Only I would have stressed over what to wear.

Before leaving home, I had texted George, a trusted friend.

‘I’m going to 1 Stantham Court. East Morang. If I have called this wrong, all my money is under the bed. Give it to Oliver.’

The response was valid.

‘Are you kidding? I don’t want you going there. Katherine, that’s crazy. It’s just too dangerous. It’s a trap. I know they say they need your help, but who cares. They are nobody to you. Don’t be stupid.’

‘George, it needs to be sorted and if it helps bring that asshole to justice then I have always said I am prepared to be the sacrificial lamb. You want your money don’t you? I want answers. I need information. I want proof. I need it finished and I’m just so over everything. I’ll message you when I leave, but if you don’t hear from me, then call the police, you know what has happened.’

‘Katherine, just keep this call on. I’m not happy. I think it’s a trap. I’ll be around the corner. Did you tell the police yet?’

‘No, I don’t have enough evidence yet, and you don’t have to be involved.’

“Katherine I am so invested in this. I will be around the corner. Any trouble, I will be there before it happens. Don’t hang up on me. I feel sick.”

He feels sick. Know the feeling. My chest is pounding in my ears. Adrenalin is coursing. My head feels empty. Numb. Overloaded to the point of nothing. The veins on my hands are thick welts running towards my fingers. It’s sort of fascinating watching my body react, and objectively, it’s distracting.

The evening shadows of trees and houses blur and my chest is forcing long calm breaths. Chestfuls.

How did this happen? I’m not even meant to be in Australia still. I’m meant to be married and happily living in New York. That was our plan, right?

Man of my dreams, Paul. Paul Carter.

6 ft 2, eyes of blue. All the romance and fantasy, that I didn’t think I had been looking for. There it was on a platter. Paul. Perfection on a plate. Yes, that is exactly what it is.

I was happy because I had it all. We were both so passionately in love with everything about each other. It had been perfect. I want it to stay this way. So much of me wants to sort this all out and have him come and sweep me off my feet.

He always said. “You make me a better man, Katherine. I hope I am worthy of you.”

I used to struggle comprehending that sentiment. I felt that I brought nothing to the table. I was not in his league. He was everything.

He was the life of the party, could handle every situation, always made people feel at ease, while I stumble over my words and freak at meeting strangers. He is fiercely loyal, protective, strong, funny, loving and super intelligent. As if that wasn’t enough, he is good looking, charismatic, charming and clearly generously wealthy.

A large man, in size and stature. Dark hair, light olive skin, with pale blue eyes framed by thick black lashes and a smile that would light up an entire room. He’s a head turner and boy, do those girls turn. For that matter, so do the men.

Seriously what did he see in me?

Something. Obviously. He adored me. I knew it. Everyone knew it.

What the hell? How can everything have changed so much? Why has he been taken away? What has happened to the perfect man I love? I feel like I’m being punished. Why was I allowed to be with him in the first place? Are the stories true? I cannot reconcile how my world went from paradise to this nightmare of thugs, lies, thieves, cons and betrayals, let alone living under the shadow of a ‘hit.’ I just don’t understand why I got thrown into it. When am I going to reach the bottom, so I can climb over and out? When will any of this make sense?

Hopefully tonight will provide the answers and I can put it all behind me, but I know my Paul will never be found, no matter how many people try.

I glance down and realize the turn is ahead and start to concentrate on the road. The side streets of East Morang are narrow and windy. I feel uncomfortable by the mere fact that I can see gumtrees on the nature strips. Suburbia. This one, in particular, was the back of beyond breeding ground for sleeve tattoos, mediocrity and thugs, specifically known for it’s bogun population. I do not belong out here.

My heart is pounding in my throat.

The polite voice of my GPS announces. “In 20 meters, turn right. You have arrived at your destination.”

I pass by the house and turn back around at the end of the court, parking on the exit side of the street. If it gets bad and there’s a chance to get to the car, I’d like a clear escape route. This being said, I’m in stilettos, so I’m doomed already. Whatever happens tonight, I’m doing it in style.

I leave the car unlocked and walk across the road, taking a breath of bravery that is so large it moves my shoulder blades, and steel myself for all the possibilities of the evening. I stop, look down at the tips of my shoes and let my eyelids deliberately close. It’s not even half a second, but long enough to become a more centered and courageous version of myself. My congenial facade is flashed on and a shiver goes down my spine. I raise my head, opening my eyes and stare forward. What have I got to lose? It’s this way or the slow way. The rational part of my brain doesn’t believe any of this is real anyway. My life is too average for this drama level.

I feel nothing. I’m on autopilot. I am ready.

Another deep breath, then I delicately navigate my heels up the cobbled driveway towards a tall, young man standing at the top of the stairs near the front door.

Dark haired. He is coming down to greet me. “I heard you pull up. Thanks for coming.” He sounds sincere.

“Hi Tony.” I lean in and kiss him on the cheek. Let the bizarreness begin. This face, I have at least seen before, but as he leads me through the foyer, I wonder whose side he’s really on.

Keep your friends close. Your enemies closer. Never a truer word spoken.

Until recently, he used to work for Paul. Yes, the hitman’s son worked for Paul, and I had met him briefly, once at a BBQ 10 months ago. He knew the truth then, and never felt the need to tell me. He has certainly betrayed me before, allowing me to be surrounded by all the lies. At the same time, I also think he may have inadvertently protected me. What were his motives then? Where are his loyalties now?

He smiles and guides me inside. It’s awkward and tense. I’m trying to get my bearings, and feel the vibe of the house.

His mother, Filomina, is standing in the entrance. I have never met her, but she has been a Facebook “friend” for a couple of months. Same height as me. Only 5’4.” Bleached, blonde hair in a sharp cut, and a warm smile. I lean in and give her a gentle hug and a kiss.

Then there is Kara, Tony’s sister, and apparently a client of my beauty salon at some point in time. I only know this fact as her name is in our data base and comes up on my phone. Her mother’s daughter in looks. Striking red lipstick across perfectly shaped, pouting lips. Dark hair. Maltese. They bred well.

I walk towards her. “You must be Kara. It’s lovely to finally meet you.” She and I give each other a genuine tight hug and I whisper in her ear. “Thank you for telling me.”

I feel the threat of an emotional tear try to glaze my right eye.

She gently pulls back and looks me straight in the eyes. “You needed to know. As a woman, I would want to know.”

Behind her, in the kitchen, I see a grey headed man approaching. He is balding and the hair he has left is pulled back into a thin plait. Tall, big and strong. He is older than me, maybe late 50’s. Eyes of a poker player, giving nothing away. I can’t decide if he looks more like a Vietnam vet, or a biker. Either way, I’m dead if this goes bad.

“You must be Vito.” We walk towards each other, our hands mutually rising for a handshake. His politely. He expected this greeting. It was respect. Personally, I can’t stretch far enough away from my own hand. I want distance. There will be no hug here. I’m terrified, and at the same time, proud of my stupidity, or is this courage? Add it to the list of things I don’t know.

I can’t read faces very well but I look him in the eyes as we shake. They are impenetrable. I am scared. I am polite. I call the bluff.

“Thank you for not killing me yet.”

“That’s OK love.”

The lack of denial hits the pit of my stomach. The casual acceptance of what I just said was mind fucking. This is actually happening. He has really been hired to kill me. I am in his house and he may still carry the deed out. This is so ridiculous. Epitome of surreal. I know that these are the facts but I can’t compute them. Clearly, none of this is normal.

I cannot believe the reality of the situation.

Hopefully, I am now worth more to him alive than dead but I suppose it depends on a fair few things. Firstly, does he really need my help? Or is this just a setup? What about all the stuff I don’t know, and what is it that they hope I do know? Am I going to be able to be of help to them and what if I can’t? The incessant chatter in my head questions whether I’ll be leaving this house tonight. Walking or body bag? Another reason to dislike the ‘burbs.

I’m ushered into the kitchen and we sit down at the grey, marble counter. Filomina offering me a coffee, which I accept, joking that under the circumstances, maybe something stiffer would be more appropriate.

Before I had left home, I had debated about whether to bring Scotch as a peace offering, but wasn’t sure whether you brought gifts to your potential killer’s home. Someone should write an etiquette book on the subject. They’d make a killing. I smirk inwardly at my silent repartee. Nothing feels real.

Vito is sitting on a stool at the far end of the bench, leaning against the wall. There’s a mounted phone beside his head. I realize I have to ask.

“So he really hired you to kill me then?”

His voice is heavily accented, European, and his demeanor genuine.


What Happened to Paul Carter? The very true story of love, passion and a hitman. available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble as hardcover, and paperback, and ebook.

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