Fiction logo

Content warning

This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.


At Coolum Beach

By Pauline FountainPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - May 2024
[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

"I've always wanted to wander as we did this evening. From Coolum Beach to Noosa. Explore Hastings Street, then wander back. At our slow and steady pace, hand in hand," she said with gentle gratitude.

She paused, "Never forget how much I love you."

"Of course, I know! What a wonderful way to end our one-week stay at the 'Castaway' beach house, hey?" He replied with unbridled affection.

"And what a house!" she responded, projecting her delight.

"More photos and videos to mark our ever-evolving memories together," continuing his reverie. They both reflected on the significance of time and date stamped.

"I missed one photo! Can you keep the car idling, and I'll run back there? It will only take one minute," she said, a little flustered.

"Ok, but I'm not comfortable letting you go alone at this time of night," concern echoed in his voice.

'Relax! Set your iPhone stopwatch for one minute, and I'll set mine. Now, keep a very close eye on those seconds. You'll see!" She laughed, alighting from the car.


She moved with haste around the curve on the boardwalk to the location imprinted in her mind.

She admired her yellow low cut Converse that he had purchased to complement her cotton free-flowing floral patterned dress. He had slowly helped her rediscover her femininity. She was becoming the the woman she once was. A woman with colour.

She sat down briefly, removed her shoes and, stretched her legs, then quickly wiggled her toes in the soft, cool sand.

It seemed, in stillness, that one minute could exist beyond all adherence of time.

Now, to photograph their next memory, time and date stamped.

On track at 35 seconds, it was time to return to her beloved in the car.

Waiting in the car, he felt an increasing sense of foreboding.

Then, he received a text message. One minute stopwatch set; a time check confirmed 37 seconds had elapsed, and he sighed with relief.

The photo was attached, and he gasped at the beauty captured. “Title: Moment of pause. Never forget how much I love you."

Filled with joy, he locked the car.

He felt an urgent need to meet on her return.

He finished the last of his warm sweet cafe latte from the 7/11 and tossed the cup in a nearby bin. Then meandered along the curve on the boardwalk, keen to embrace her to demonstrate his deep and abiding love.

He found the location and checked his stopwatch. 40 seconds had elapsed.

Before him, thrown afar in the sand towards the quietly lapping incoming tide, he spotted her yellow low cut Converse.

After collecting her shoes. Time check: 50 seconds.

He looked around.

Where was she?

He felt instant frantic panic.

He screamed her name. Then again and again as he stood on the boardwalk.

She was gone, vanished.

He looked at his stopwatch. It had reached one minute.

Shattering the 'Moment of pause.'


He rang 000 and asked in a trembling voice for an urgent response from the police.

As instructed, he stayed connected to the call and awaited further instructions.

He took a few steps back and sank on a park bench, thankful he had his 30-pack of Rothmans Blue and his Zippo. A 'One year we made it, yeah!' anniversary gift.

Due to the circumstance and the distress of the emergency call, two Police Officers and two Detectives were assigned by the Lieutenant at the Coolum Police Station.

They arrived with sirens in 15 minutes, and asked for her drivers license. One of the Police Officers stayed to comfort him.

The Detectives established by using the CCTV recording from the nearby 24 hours MacDonalds fast-food restaurant, a man was clutching her wrist with ill intent. He forced her to run across the road. She was crying and in a highly distressed state.

In close proximity was a thoroughfare to the car park behind.

The remaining Police Officer and Detectives recognised the deafening and terrifying sound.

With extreme caution, they approached the darkened arcade.

Torches alight, following the ivy grown atop the 6 ft wooden fence. Carefully advancing towards a painted illustration, which always held an aura of suspicion.

They found the pair slumped on the concrete below.

A murder-suicide hate crime.

The man had sliced her throat, and her mouth was agape. Plus, a thrust to her heart with an illegal ballistic knife.

The male’s brain was spattered against the opposite white painted besser brick wall. His Glock was nearby.

His button shirt lay open; the tattoo on his chest was later confirmed.

It read, “Did you think I'd forget?’’

Investigating her background, they found a previously active five-year Domestic Violence Order enforced 15 years ago to protect her from her former husband.

With the crime scene established and the forensic team underway, the lead Detective excused himself to return to the Police Station to provide an update.

Halfway to his destination, he parked at a local nature reserve and ripped a page from his planner in his car. With a red sharpie, he wrote with a trembling hand.


Was this action ever a release for him? Perhaps. He grasped the steering wheel and sobbed.


The Police Officer called an ambulance for her fiancé, as his torment and suffering skyrocketed.

After a thorough check of his medical health in the Emergency Department, he was sedated and moved to a short-stay ward. An experienced Registered Nurse accompanied him in a private room—an urgent request from the Psychiatry Consultant.

What lay ahead could cause a switch to a suicide risk.

The following day the Consultant Psychiatrist and the same Nurse were present. Ready for the two Detectives to arrive and break the gruesome news.


When her body was released, he returned to Brisbane.

Following her wishes, she was cremated during a small ceremony, including himself with her family. He stood beside her once confident and gregarious 22-year-old son.

All were overwhelmed with grief, loss and disbelief. Underpinned by rage.

Her parents asked him to take her ashes, enshrined in a ceremonial urn. Her Mother whispered in his ear, “She belongs with you son.”

“I have a plan that I would like to discuss with your family.” Afterwards they gave him heartfelt consent.

He bought a shell from the Empire Antique store they had visited many times before.

A Melon Ampura Shell, she had photographed it on their last expedition, date and time stamped.

When home, he poured her ashes into the once-living vessel and placed it on her desk in her small creative studio.

It sat adjacent to her bowl of handmade origami peace cranes. It was a small selection of her morning mindfulness ritual, crafted as she waited for her plunger coffee to cool.


His mental health began to rapidly decline. His General Practioner referred him to an experienced and compassionate Psychiatrist, with admission rights to a small Psychiatric Private Hospital.

He bravely endured six months, thankful for his Private Health Insurance.

It was hard work to establish a daily routine with the help of his dedicated Mental Health treatment team.

Plagued by adverse side effects, it took four months for his Psychiatrist to establish an appropriate medication regime.

He was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.

As an in-patient, he was deemed unable to continue to work due to his complex Mental Illness.

He was able to gain a Disability Support Pension.


When he returned home, due to his reduced income he had to sell his unit.

Rather than look for public or affordable housing, his deceased fiance’s parents invited him to build his own small home on their cattle farm just west of Toowoomba.

Such generosity at first rendered him speechless. With a secure home he found some measure of fleeting peace.


A year after her murder, his plan discussed with the family, finally came to fruition.

They all came to Coolum Beach on the same date as her murder.

With her now 23-year-old son, they waded into the ocean weeping.

Waist deep, he poured half of the ashes into her son’s cupped hands. They spoke the words of Richard Brautigan's poem:

If I should die before you do


you wake up

from death, 

you will find yourself

in my arms, 


I will be

kissing you,


will be crying.

He left her son to perform his chosen ritual.

For him?

He submerged the shell and let his beloved's ashes disperse.

He returned to the sand, and quietly spoke, reminding himself,

“I am having a human experience.”


The evening walk from Coolum Beach to Noosa

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Hastings Street Noosa: a moment. Come and explore!

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

'Castaway' beach house

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Excerpt: ‘a painted illustration’

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Melon Ampura Shell

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Excerpt: ‘A year after her murder’

[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Pauline Fountain. © 2024. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the author.

About the Creator

Pauline Fountain

Writing and photography provide a creative outlet to reflect with meaning on my life.

My mental health? Bipolar 1 (Rapid Cycling), Complex PTSD and Functional Neurological Disorder.

My son’s gentle wisdom furnishes me with the gift of hope.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  4. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  5. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

Add your insights

Comments (19)

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on your Top Story!

  • Rosie𐙚2 months ago

    Fantastic read absolutely got me hooked! I am in tears :'(

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    Tragic story. Congratulations on Top Story. one small typo "Pivate Hospital".

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Great story! Sad, but great! Was hoping he’d find her alive! Is this a true story, it could be! Congrats on TS! ♥️❤️💗💜

  • Emil indw2 months ago

    In my opinion, losing a precious person has a devastating impact on the person who lost it, but if one day the destiny of death comes, never feel afraid of death itself. because you will meet that precious person. Your story is very touching and congratulation on your top story :)

  • Esala Gunathilake2 months ago

    Congratulations on your top story.

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Gosh I really thought she was going to make it back safely. You wrote this so sensitively. Epic. … you also took me back to Noosa! One of my favourite places.

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    So well done I had to check if it said Pauline or some famous writer visiting us here. A masterpiece for sure. Congrats/

  • Brin J.2 months ago

    From start to finish, this story held me in a vice, provoking a riot of emotions. Incredible writing, Pauline.

  • Carol Townend2 months ago

    I suffer from PTSD, and I want to thank you. I have never read a story as touching to my heart as this one. You have written it extremely well, and your story is very representative of the trauma itself, and the person dealing with the PTSD in the aftermath. I loved this story, and it is a heart wrencher.

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Tears and more tears!!!😓😓😓

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    I had check twice that this was under Fiction. An incredible story that is far too common...

  • angela hepworth2 months ago

    So sad!! Omg did not see that coming. Amazing work!

  • Lacy Loar-Gruenler2 months ago

    Pauline, I'm still wiping tears away after reading your story. I could sense you had knowledge about the place, and maybe modeled the characters from life, which we all do, but you did it particularly well. Adding the photos was a brilliant idea to give the story more of a sense that it is real, and your reader was there. And it's especially lovely that you took the pictures. I had no idea the Ampura shell was so large since here in Florida we are familiar with the conchs, which are not as big, but explains beautifully how your protagonist's ashes fit. I also found it interesting that you didn't name your characters. It made me think your message is that domestic violence can happen to anyone, and this is not just story about one incident. Thank you for this very thought-provoking piece.

  • This is an excellent if tragic story, and I love the story and journey that you tell with your images.

  • Fantastic!!! You did such a an excellent job writing this. The character's dialog was done very well. You brought your characters to life. I felt a sense of urgency and mystery as I read each line. Then I felt bittersweet melancholy. You are a great writer Pauline. The part of the police in the car was especially moving. Welcome back to writing, Pauline!!!

  • This was so tragic. I never expected her to get murdered. Loved your story and all your photos!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Wow, so tragic! I thought for a moment that she would get back to the car safe and sound...

Pauline FountainWritten by Pauline Fountain

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.