Sandra Lorraine Rogers was born in Sydney of Russian – Scottish heritage and finished her senior education at Manly Girls’ High School in Harbord. Sandra has lived in Cairns North Queensland and the Greek island of Santorini. She has been living on the Gold Coast for the past twenty five years, and is married to Bruce Rogers and has a son and daughter from a previous marriage.
Sandra has been writing for the past twelve years and has two published novels: It begins, but Never Ends and the sequel Beyond Armageddon.
In March 2000 she was a guest author at the Somerset Celebration of Literature on the Gold Coast, and has spoken at various Writers’ Groups.
Sandra has also written four feature length Screenplays Waves of Torment, The Telemarketer, No Hope in Hell and It Begins, but Never Ends along with writing and directing several short films.
I was very fortunate to grow up in Australia during the late 50s and 60s. This was a time in our history that was both challenging and exciting, full of a freedom the youth of today will never experience or truly understand.
It was my intention when writing Waves of Torment to capture the innocence, the family values – the way we were. While I never heard of any murders or rapes in our area in those times, I posed the question of how people would respond to the situation. More importantly I wanted to capture a realistic picture of the surfing world, the Vietnam War and how the teenagers of the day lived their lives.
I was one of them.
I hope my memories recount the feel, the passion and the anguish – the days of surfing, war and an endless summer.
Read this sample chapter:
The loud wailing of the police siren cut through the normally peaceful beachside suburb of Dee Why, as the big Ford turned sharply into Howard Avenue. Sergeant Campbell shoved the gears into top and planted his foot heavy on the accelerator.
Nothing much happened in the way of serious crime along the northern beaches of Sydney during the early 1960s. There was the odd burglary and a few mugs disturbing the peace, but it could be months, even years, between serious crimes like kidnapping and murder. Whatever crime there was, usually happened around inner Sydney and the Western suburbs, not on the tranquil northern beaches.
Now, because of the frantic voice yelling on the telephone ten minutes ago, things were sure going to be different, as this sounded like a possible homicide to Sergeant Campbell.
Young Constable John Warrick started to shake involuntarily as he checked his pistol and nervously spluttered out, ‘Sergeant...do...do...you think the killer will still be around the lagoon?’
Campbell shot a hard look at the green cop who had only been with the force for a month, then answered, ‘Listen here Constable, you bloody well get yourself together. I don’t know what’s down at that lagoon, but whatever it is, we sure as hell will handle it, you hear!’
Deep in Campbell’s head, he heard the fear-filled male voice on the telephone yelling again.
‘Oh shit! Oh my God! She’s dead....please come quickly...a body...a girl, the Dee Why Lagoon...help!’
The late afternoon sun was fading; throwing out a pale orange hue that hung close to the horizon. The beach was deserted at this time of day.
Sergeant Campbell parked the Ford as close to the sandhills as possible and suddenly felt a cold chill run down his spine. He slowly stepped from the car, everything seemed so quiet – deathly quiet. Both men gazed around the beach and sandhills – there was no one in sight. It was late May and cold at this time of year. The usual surfers and beach walkers had gone home for the day.
Campbell grabbed the young constable on the shoulder. ‘Come on, we have to hurry, we’ve only about half an hour of light left,’ he said forcefully.
Both policemen ran quickly over the sandhills towards the lagoon, their guns drawn and ready. To their right over the long expanse of sand, a strong Southerly wind had picked up the surf; the sound of waves crashing to shore was the only sound they heard.
Constable Warrick shot a quick glance back towards the Dee Why point break. He blinked his eyes. Between the heavy swells, he could have sworn he saw a lone surfer. No one in their right mind would be out there at this hour in these conditions he thought and dismissed the vision, thinking he was seeing things.
Several seagulls flew over the reeds that circled the lagoon; the still water took on a dark shimmering light that hauntingly made Constable Warrick shake inside.
Sergeant Campbell spoke in hushed tones.
‘We’ll split up, you circle around the right, I’ll keep going straight ahead,’ he said.
Warrick didn’t answer. He was numb with fear, all he wanted to do was have a piss and get the hell out of there. With every step he took between the reeds, and up to his ankles in water, the young constable had grave doubts whether he would actually make it in the police force.
Campbell stopped dead in his stride, his eyes wide with horror as he almost fell over the naked body. His mouth dropped open in shock and he softly muttered to himself, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’
The naked body of a young girl, with a hessian bag over her head, lay face down between the long grass reeds. The water surrounding the lower part of her body was red with blood; deep bruises appeared on her back, as though she had been hit very hard with something.
Campbell sank to his knees beside the body, she looked dead, but he had to check her pulse. With shaking hands, he held the small cold hand in his – his heart skipped a beat – he checked it again, then yelled out.
‘She’s alive!...Oh my God, she’s alive!’
Quickly Campbell untied the bag covering her head, then placed it gently under her head. He rolled the girl onto her side to clear her airways, then began resuscitation, praying under his breath that he could save her.
Through the stillness of the dark lagoon, Warrick heard the shouts from his sergeant.
‘Get over here quickly, she’s alive!’
Nothing could have prepared the young constable for the sight before him. Campbell was sitting amongst the reeds, cradling the lifeless head of a young girl.
She was completely naked, her body covered in bruises and blood. Her shoulder length dark hair hung matted around her face and a heavy flow of dark crimson blood flowed from a deep gash on her forehead. The blood trickled down over her small molded breasts; she looked about thirteen years old.
Warrick just stood there, unable to move or speak. Gently Campbell brushed the hair from her face, her eyes flickered slightly. And Constable John Warrick knew who the girl was.
‘Don’t just stand there you idiot, run to the car, get the rug from the boot and call a bloody ambulance!’ said the sergeant.
Warrick stumbled, then ran and ran, tears streaming from his eyes and emotions choking his throat – he could hardly breathe. ‘What kind of animal could have done this to sweet little Teresa Bentiamo?’ His mind was ablaze with how the family would suffer; they were his friends.
Warrick helped the sergeant wrap the rug tightly around Teresa’s cold body as they heard the far off sound of an ambulance siren.
Campbell squeezed the young constable on the arm.
‘You OK son? I mean, this is one hell of an introduction to the police force.’
Warrick bit his bottom lip and held back more tears. He took a deep breath and replied ‘Yeah, I’m OK Sarge, but…hell…I know the family. If she dies, how will they cope? And if she lives, how does she get on? Her life will be a nightmare of memories.’
Campbell couldn’t speak – in all his years as a cop, this was the worst he had seen.
The two ambulance men gently lifted Teresa’s body onto a stretcher and checked her condition. One month before her fourteenth birthday, Teresa Bentiamo was in a critical condition. She had been brutally raped and bashed, suffered severe hypothermia and had been virtually left for dead. It was the bad blow to her head that was causing the most concern as she lapsed in and out of consciousness. If she lapsed into a coma, it was feared that it would be the end.
Sofia Bentiamo ran screaming through the entrance of the Manly Hospital, her husband Dino at her side, trying to calm the hysterical waving of arms and anguish of his wife.
Sofia saw John Warrick talking to a doctor and threw her plump arms around the young constable. After what seemed an eternity of hysterics from Sofia, the doctor finally managed to sit the parents down and try to calmly explain the situation to them.
John Warrick held his arms tightly around both his friends.
‘Your daughter will live, she will recover – we are doing everything we can for her. Tomorrow she will be transferred to The Royal North Shore Hospital to undergo tests,’ the doctor said, then hesitated as Sofia lapsed into tears again and Dino covered his mouth with shock. ‘There’s nothing to worry about,’ the doctor continued, trying to sound optimistic, though his mind was full of doubts.
‘Teresa had a severe blow to the head, the tests are on the brain and eyesight, I’m sure she will be fine.’ The doctor squeezed Sofia’s hand.
‘Please-a-please-a, can we see her?’ Dino implored.
The doctor stood and held out his hands to the parents.
‘Teresa is sleeping now, but yes, of course you can see her.’
He opened the door and showed Dino and Sofia to their daughter’s bed, then left them in peace softly speaking to the young girl who couldn’t hear them.
Outside, Constable John Warrick looked seriously into the tired blue eyes of the doctor and said, ‘Tell me exactly how it is, doc?’
‘The bruising on her body will heal, the rape was brutal, her vagina was badly torn, and in time it will mend.’ The doctor hesitated and frowned for a moment, then continued, ‘The bruises to her arms and legs appear as though she was held down. I feel there were two men involved in this rape…not one. We will be doing more tests and I’ll keep you informed on what we find.’
Warrick shook the doctor’s hand and said, ‘We’ll find the bastards who did this, they won’t get away!’
The doctor blinked his eyes, his mind pondering whether he should say what he felt.
‘Constable, I’m afraid Teresa could be blind.’
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