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Georgie Coxton is a nurse living in London. She finds herself in a rut. A recent split with her boyfriend, work getting her down and a lousy coffee machine at the hospital all push her to want to do something different with her life. After finding a briefcase with a blackmail note in left by one of her patients that had died, she decides to do some investigating to find out more about her patient and the blackmail note.
Her investigating leads her into a world of corruption, a cult religion and murder.
The musty smelling leather chair creaked under his uneasy movements. This was a life changing decision made two weeks ago. It wasn’t like planning a holiday. Lives would be at risk. Particularly his. But if everything went to plan he would be safe and with his wife would be very rich.
The office was in the heart of the city. In a listed building that hadn’t been touched for at least seventy years apart from the usual internal maintenance and spruce up of the décor. It overlooked the hustle and bustle of Liverpool Street train station which, at times was an annoying distraction. Especially when the window was open and it was constantly in the summer due to the lack of air conditioning. It was now mid-September and an Indian summer meant the window was open once again and the ever present odours of the foods hung heavy in the air from the restaurants below.
The décor of the office was very much of a country gentleman’s study. The Dark wood was almost overwhelming to the uneducated eye. Bookshelves lined two walls. The rich, dark colour of the desk, that was at least one hundred and fifty years old, absorbed the light from the window it stood in front of. The solid wood door that led to the outer office was directly opposite. Rows and rows of law books lined the bookshelves which were constantly revised by the man working there in his capacity as the lawyer to one of the most legally trying men in Britain.
Roger Walters was in his early fifties with the usual greying hair for a man of his age. He was thankful he had hair at all as his father was completely bald by the time he was fifty. The loose skin around his chin gave away a time in his past when he was grossly overweight, which was only nine months ago, but the stresses of the job recently had an effect on his eating habits and his lifestyle became very unhealthy. He’d lost his appetite and suffered from migraines that kept him awake all night. Not, he thought, the ideal situation for someone who had planned to retire when he was fifty five. The job was getting to him and it was not surprising considering the man he worked for.
His wiry frame once again moved uneasily in his chair. He was cutting letters from some old newspapers and pasting them down onto a blank A4 sheet of paper. An anonymous blackmail letter was not something he had ever done before and he was always wary of someone coming in unexpectedly even though he had left instructions to be left alone. This was not an uncommon request due to the nature of his work so he didn’t think he would be arousing any suspicions. He pasted the last letter to the paper and studied his handiwork. No one will ever know who it was from.
Looking in his briefcase he double checked its contents. Today was the day to take the documents home. About a week ago Roger Walters had meticulously planned a robbery of these same documents from this very office. Of course they were never taken off the premises, just moved to a secure place. He had arranged things so that it had looked like there had been a robbery. This was all part of the deception. He wanted to get this money without anyone knowing who it was going to. He didn’t want to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. He would get the money transferred to an offshore account and through a myriad of other accounts, it would get lost in the system and be untraceable. But not to Roger who would be able to disperse it throughout the system and access it any time he wanted. His planned retirement which was at the end of this year would be seen out in luxury which was no more than he deserved after what he had been covering up for his employer. A victimless crime.
Roger put the blackmail note in the briefcase and started to get ready to go home. It was three thirty. He collected some work that he could do at home and left the office. Unbeknownst to him a camera had been watching him the whole time from directly above his desk in a light fitting. Watching from the comfort of his penthouse apartment just a few miles from the office, David Driscol, Rogers employer, tapped a pen on the side of his head.
“So Roger, you think you can blackmail me do you,” he said to himself. ”Let’s see what you’ve got to say for yourself.” He flipped open his phone and dialled a number. ”Dan! Go round to Roger Walter’s house. He should be there in about an hour. Bring him and his briefcase to my apartment. I’d like a word with him. And Dan, the briefcase is very important so don’t let anything happen to it or its contents. I suggest you get to his house before he does and stop him going inside. That way he won’t be able to hide any of the contents.” He flipped the phone shut and switched off the TV.
Roger made it to Hampstead station at about a quarter past four. Although it was still quite warm the clouds above had gotten thicker and darker. Looks like we’re in for a downpour he thought. His house was about a twenty minute walk away so he picked up his pace although this was hampered slightly by the fact that he kept turning round to see if anyone was following him. His migraine had begun again, which was a bit earlier than normal and he stopped to see if it would ease up. It did after about a minute and he continued on his way. Always looking round, Roger was becoming more and more anxious. What if Mr Driscol had known what was going on? He’d send his two men Dan and Frank to collect him and then who knows what would happen he thought. No! It’s all been planned! There’s no way he could know! Every little detail had been taken care of. No clues had been left, not even DNA strands. Come on Roger! You need to calm down and get a grip. Another minute of pounding from his head halted him in his tracks once again. He fumbled around in his pocket for his pills and put two in his mouth and swallowed. He was five minutes from his house now. He decided to make one last push to get home through the pain that was trying to burst open his head.
“Come on!” shouted Dan at the stationary traffic in front of him. ”What time is it now?”
“Twenty past four,” came the reply.
“Come on!” he shouted again.
Roger virtually fell through his front door slamming it shut behind him.
“Is that you dear? Are you ok?”
Celine Walters came out from the kitchen to find her husband bent over holding his head, pain drawn across his face. She rushed over to him and helped him into the lounge and onto the couch.
“Have you taken any of your pills yet?”
Roger gave a little nod.
“How long have you been like this?”
“About fifteen minutes,” he managed to get out between the painful throbs.
“Right, I’m calling an ambulance. We’ll get them to check you out in the hospital. Let me take that briefcase for you.”
Roger reacted by clinging onto the briefcase even tighter.
“No!” he shouted.
Celine jumped back as his reaction startled her. She frowned and left to phone for the ambulance.
Dan turned into Roger Walters’s road just as he was being led by two Paramedics from the house. Still in his hand was the briefcase.
“Bollocks!” he shouted. He watched as Roger Walters was loaded into the ambulance.
“What do we do now Dan?”
Dan pondered on the question for a minute.
“We’ll follow them to the hospital. Maybe he’ll only be in there for a short while. We need to get that briefcase whatever happens.”
A dark cloudy sky released its unrelenting rain as though it was desperately trying to put out a fire that had engulfed the entire earth. Streams of water ran down the roads into the drains washing away the filth from the daytime crowds that had made their way to and from work. The night had descended with the rain making driving almost impossible even with the headlights on.
It was now six o’clock on a Tuesday evening. The football crowds were slowly filtering into the ground, expressions of hope for a much needed win which had eluded their team for the first few games of the season. Market stall holders had finally packed up and left the cobbled road as desolate as when they first arrived at six that morning. The evening was just beginning and none so more than for the Accident and Emergency department in the local hospital.
The hospital stood in its own grounds of some two acres, enclosed by a brick wall that ran the entire perimeter. It was a nineteen thirty’s building. Built to last, but in dire need of renovation. Windows rotting from neglect. The roof had tiles missing or broken. No money had been spent on the exterior for some time. ”We don’t have enough in our budget,” was always the excuse that could be heard from the corridors of power that held the purse strings. Although it amazed the doctors and nurses how there was always enough money for redecoration of those same corridors and their rooms. Always enough money for new computers and printers. And always enough money for their bonuses.
Inside the A and E the place was alive with activity. An old lady wearing a moth eaten blue dress and wrinkled surgical stockings was stood at the entrance shouting.
“May you all burn in this god forsaken hell hole.”
Two orderlies quickly marched over to her and escorted her off the premises, expletives pouring from her mouth.
Flaking paint adorned the walls of the waiting room. The faded colour doing nothing for the spirits of the people seated there. Some thirty plastic chairs lined the edges of the room. Around 45 people were crammed into this same space. Many were friends or relatives of the injured parties. One young family, the mother, a six year old girl, and a three year old boy who was busy trying to repair the arm of the chair his mother was in with his plastic screwdriver, were waiting on the children’s father. They had been there since three thirty. At that time there were about fifteen people ahead of them.
A nurse appeared, wearing an expression on her face that could only mean she would be finishing her shift shortly.
A six foot six man, skin as dark as coal and a body that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been proud of when he was younger, stood up and acknowledged the nurse.
“Please follow me,” she said.
The crowd in front of him parted way as he followed the nurse through to the admissions area. The lights shone off of his bald head. A bandage covered his right eye and bloodstains covered his black jacket and white shirt. He walked with an air of authority. Intimidating, but not aggressive.
In the admissions area, just a smaller version of the waiting room with a few beds along the walls and portable curtains for privacy, a doctor was waiting.
“I’m Doctor Coxton. Would you like to follow me and we’ll take a look at that eye.” Doctor Coxton was a thirty three year old single woman. Her brunette hair tied up in a pony tail exposing a pretty face. This and her svelte body any twenty three year old would be proud of. Under her white coat she wore a dark green blouse and black combat trousers.
Both of them walked off down a long corridor. On either side, cubicles were filled with the remnants of the daytime trade. Victims who were in need of beds, but due to a lack of funding, none could yet be found.
Doctor Georgina Coxton stopped by an empty cubicle and ushered Mr James in. She motioned him to the bed and closed the curtain. The bed groaned under the weight of Mr James bulk.
“Now let’s have a look.” Doctor Coxton carefully removed the bandage to reveal the deep gash going diagonally across the eye socket. ”What happened?”
“I’m a doorman at the Anchor, the pub outside of the football ground, and there was an altercation with one of the away supporters.”
“How did he do this?”
Mr James winced as Doctor Coxton examined his eye.
“The bastard used a broken bottle when one of his mates distracted me for a second. I brought him along with me though.”
The Doctor looked a little confused. ”What do you mean?”
“He’s in intensive care.” A broad grin stretched across the bouncers face.
“Well luckily for you he missed your eye. You’ve just got a nasty cut that I will need to clean and stitch.” The Doctor removed her gloves and threw them in the bin. ”If you’ll excuse me for a second, I’ll go and get a nurse to clean the cut for you and then I’ll return to put the stitches in.”
“That’s ok. Just try not to let it happen again.”
“I’ll try, but I can’t promise.”
“No I don’t suppose you can.” She turned, pulled back the curtain and left to get a nurse.
On her way back down the corridor she accidentally collided with Doctor Rees.
“Whoops! Excuse me Georgie,” Doctor Rees apologised.
“You’re excused,” she replied playfully.
“I’ll catch you later for a coffee,” he continued.
“Sure. If I can stay awake ‘til then,” she replied while continuing on her way.
Georgie came across a coffee machine in the hallway. She made her selection and took a mouthful of the black substance that was in the cup. Her face screwed up as she swallowed.
“That’s disgusting,” she moaned. The cup hit the bin and spewed its contents over the rubbish that was already in there. ”You’d have thought I would have learned from the last four times I’ve tried this machine,” she told herself.
A staff nurse came bounding up to her.
“Doctor Coxton, can you examine the man in cubicle four.” She handed Georgie a folder with the patient’s details in it.
“Sure can,” she replied. ”While I’m doing that can you arrange for someone to clean and stitch Mr James cut?”
“Will do.” The staff nurse disappeared leaving Georgie examining the contents of the folder.
“Right cubicle four, here I come.” Georgie made her way to the cubicle, reading as she walked. When she got there she found a tall skinny man with greying hair and sweat on his forehead that glistened in the hospital lighting. A vein could be clearly seen pulsating on the side of his head. He was holding on tightly to a black briefcase.
“Yes,” came the reply. A grimace of pain filled the man’s face and he grabbed at his head with his free hand.
“Hi, I’m Doctor Coxton. I understand you are getting severe head pains.” Mr Walters’s actions confirmed what Georgie had said.
“My head feels like it’s going to explode.” Another throb of pain had Mr Walters clutching at his head again.
“Can you sit on the bed for me? Let me take this from you and put it out of the way.” She tried to take the briefcase, but Mr Walters refused to let go.
“Mr Walters, I can’t examine you with this briefcase here. Let me put it on the floor. This time Mr Walters was in too much pain to protest and let go. He sat on the bed holding his head with both hands.
“I’ve taken some pills for the pain, but it’s just not stopping.”
Georgie grabbed his hand and started to take his pulse.
“Have you had any other symptoms?”
“No. I’ve been having headaches for the last few weeks, but they’ve only lasted for an hour or so.”
Suddenly Mr Walters head snapped backwards and his hand was ripped from Georgie’s grasp as he grabbed his head once again. A blood curdling cry leapt from his lips.
“Mr Walters?” Georgie raised her voice hoping he would compose himself when he heard it. He didn’t have time. Blood started gushing from his nose and his ears. His whole face was contorted in a hideously grotesque shape. His eyes looked as though they were going to pop out of their sockets. Georgie tried to control the now violent convulsions. She was thrown backwards knocking her head against the wall. Immediately she jumped back up and grabbed the blood stained man crying out “Can somebody help me here?”
Almost instantly two orderlies threw back the curtain revealing the scuffle inside.
“What the…” cried one of them. They jumped into action restraining Mr Walters on the bed. Georgie staggered back regaining her composure. A nurse had now joined them with a couple of patients looking on from their own cubicles.
“Can you get Doctor Rees,” she barked at the nurse who immediately turned and ran down the corridor.
Mr Walters was still convulsing, blood streaming down his face onto the bed sheets. He screamed as though this would ease his pain. Georgie’s coat was a smear of red along one side.
Doctor Matt Rees came skidding to a stop next to Georgie.
“I thought this was a hospital not an abattoir,” he said in response to the bloody mess before him.
The plush office was lit with soft lighting creating an atmosphere of calm, though the three men inside were anything but.
“An ambulance came and took him away. He looked in real pain. He never spotted us. We made sure we were well out of the way.”
The cockney voice sometimes grated on David Driscol, and this was one of those times. He’d sent these two to do a simple collection job and they came back empty handed.
“So why are you back here now? Why aren’t you at the hospital getting that case?”
“We did follow the ambulance, but when we got there, about six police cars were outside, so we thought it best to hang back for a while.” Dan Bishop stood with a smug look on his face as though he was waiting for praise for what he had just said. Showing his initiative, or so he thought, was bound to put him in a good light with the boss.
David Driscol was stood behind his black leather chair staring out of the window. His fifty two years shown in the reflection in the window. The greying hair, the wrinkles around his eyes, the thinning lips. He stood at five foot nine and the chubby face and chubby body both helped to make up his fifteen stone weight. From the sixteenth floor of his building the driving rain obscured any sights he would normally be able to see of the city. Tower Bridge, the Gherkin building, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Canary Warf towers. All just blurred outlines on the horizon. The lights of these great structures would normally paint a magnificent skyline. One that is hard to beat by any city in the world.
David Driscol was a self-made man. Brought up in the then leafy suburbs of London, an area that is now built up and occupied by millionaires, he started work when he was fifteen with his dad on the milk round. Up at four every morning come rain or shine. This, after three years, was the catalyst that pushed him to make a success of himself. He never wanted to be forced into getting up at those times every day to get home and still be scraping around for money to live on. His dad had to take another job just to make ends meet, running himself into the ground.
This was what finally did him in. David was sure it was physical and mental exhaustion even though on the death certificate it says heart attack. David was only a quarter of the way to where he wanted to be by then. Nowhere near rich enough to be able to tell his dad he didn’t have to work anymore.
Getting things done was how he made it to where he was now. This situation was not new, but very rare.
“Get back there and get that briefcase! This time don’t return without it.” He turned and gave both men a stare that would have stopped a charging rhino in its path. ”If I don’t get it back then all my years of hard work will crumble into ruins and my followers will be without a leader. This cannot happen. Do you understand?”
David stared at the two men with a fire in his eyes that burned deep into their souls and sent an unearthly fear through their bodies.
“We won’t let you down Mr Driscol. You can count on us.” Dan Bishop began to back away grabbing onto his partners arm and dragging him out of the office. He’d never seen his boss this way before and he didn’t like it one bit.
The hospital clock had just turned eleven thirty and the rain outside had eased to a few spots in the air. The two buckets capturing the water from the ceiling in the staff room were almost full. The leaks having finally stopped. The staff room itself was devoid of life except for Georgie who was fast asleep on the couch. Her blouse was sporting blood stains from the earlier episode with Roger Walters.
Matt Rees walked in and made his way to the kettle. Although the room was quite small, it had enough room for a couch, two arm chairs, and four chairs around a small table. The kettle sat on a kitchen cupboard with a fridge on one side and the sink on the other. A cupboard above the kettle stored all of the cups, coffee, tea, and sugar.
He switched on the kettle and began fumbling around for his own cup. The noise woke Georgie.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. Do you want a coffee?”
Georgie sat up and stretched her body while yawning.
“Please,” she said.
Matt picked out another cup and spooned in the coffee.
“How many sugars do you want?”
“Three. I need waking up.” She ran her fingers through her hair trying to untangle the knots that had formed while she tossed and turned on the couch during her sleep. ”How’s Mr Walters?”
“He’s another statistic on the NHS death chart. Poor bastard had the biggest brain tumour I’d ever seen. It was the size of a cricket ball.”
A smirk fell across Matt’s face.
“What’s so funny?”
“You’re going to look really cool drinking out of this Boyzone mug.”
“I look cool drinking out of anything even if it is a Boyzone mug,” she replied with a grin that showed off her shiny white teeth.
“I bet you are a closet Boyzone fan really, waiting for the day they reform so you can get your Boyzone scarf’s and T-shirts out of that hidden box at the back of your wardrobe. Waiting for the day they rule the music scene again and you can wear your T-shirts with pride.” Matt took a deep breath after his long playful sarcastic remark.
Georgie played along.
“Oh you’ve found me out Matt. How can I prevent you from telling everyone my dark secret? I’ll wait until you fall asleep in here one day and stuff one of my Boyzone socks in your mouth until you choke on the soft woollen material. No-one would ever suspect who the killer was.”
Both Doctors fell about laughing filling that one moment with a joy that is so rarely experienced in the hospital.
Matt opened the fridge as his laughter subsided.
“No milk again!” He slammed the door.
“Looks like it’s black coffee then!” replied Georgie.
The click of the kettle switch signalled the water had boiled. Matt began pouring.
“You know I can’t get over the size of that tumour. It was massive. How he lasted so long with only a headache is beyond me. One for the medical scientists to investigate I think.”
“Probably something they can get more funding for. More than likely out of our budget as well.” Georgie said this with a slight annoyance showing on her face. She was all too well aware of the lack of money spent on living patients, but when a puzzle of a case comes via a dead patient then it’s a case of dish out the money to find out what the problem was.
Matt carried the two coffees over to the couch and handed one to Georgie before he sat down. He took a sip and said,
“I’m sorry about before.”
“About what?” She asked in puzzlement.
“I was, well, abrupt with you to put it mildly. When I came to help with Mr Walters.” Matt timidly took another sip of his coffee. He sat as a school boy would in the headmaster’s office waiting to be punished.
Georgie put an affectionate hand on his knee.
“No, it was my fault,” she replied.
“How do you work that one out?”
“I just didn’t know what to do. He was bleeding all over me and I lost it.” Georgie was sat bolt upright now with her head bowed. ”Matt, I can’t cope any longer. To be honest I feel like jacking the whole lot in. I feel like a complete wreck most of the time. On Sunday I worked another sixteen hour day. I wouldn’t mind so much, but that was the fifth time in two weeks.”
Matt put his coffee down on the table.
“Everyone is under pressure at the moment, Georgie. You’re not the only one affected by the long hours and lack of support. All we do when we are in this room is complain about how things are. You are a good Doctor and I’m sure if you took some time off to recharge your batteries you would feel much better.”
“It feels like it’s gone beyond that point now.” She paused for a few seconds. ”Are you happy?”
“No I’m not. Not totally. But I’m a professional and I get paid to do what I do. How many people are totally happy in their job? Not many I would imagine.”
“Why shouldn’t they be happy though? Surely if you’re going to spend a big proportion of your life working you should find a job that you enjoy.”
Matt had got to his feet by this point in the conversation and started aimlessly wandering around the room.
“Have you heard about Jack Vincent?”
“He’s bought a one way ticket to Australia for him and his family. He’s got a job selling surf boards or something. A complete change of career. All of that medical training wasted.”
“That explains why he’s been walking around as happy as Larry. Now that’s what I’m talking about. If you find you’re not happy in your job you try something else. Maybe travelling half way around the world is a bit extreme, but he’s got the right idea.”
“I think his wife is Australian, so maybe not so extreme. But all those years training as a Doctor have gone to waste.”
“So you think he should stay unhappy for the rest of his life just because he’s trained in one thing?”
“I suppose not, but it seems a waste to throw all of that skill away.”
Georgie stretched her body again before carrying on.
“I just feel I need something to happen in my life and it won’t without me making it happen. Maybe I’ll take a year out and travel the world. Or emigrate to a different country like Jack Vincent.”
“Well whatever you decide, you’ll have to tell me another time. My break’s over now. I probably won’t see you again until tomorrow, so you have a good night and try to keep your spirits up.”
Matt left the room after finishing up his coffee while Georgie sank back into the couch pondering on what to do next in her life.
The silver nineteen ninety nine Mercedes pulled into the hospital car park and stopped in one of the numerous parking spaces that was available. Dan Bishop killed the engine and turned to the passenger.
“Right, when we get in, I’ll be posing as his brother to try to get to see him. I know it won’t be visiting time, but I can at least find out where he is. Once we find that out you cause some sort of distraction while I get the briefcase.”
Frank Shank, the cars passenger with an unusual name that got him picked on while he was at school, was a tall muscular built man who spent most of his day pumping weights. He had trouble relating to people and found it hard to talk to anyone who wasn’t inanimate. But he would have full blown conversations with the gym equipment. So much so that anyone around him would immediately move to the other end of the gym while he was discussing what sort of day he was having with a barbell.
A puzzled look spread across Franks face.
“What sort of distraction?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Use your imagination. You do have imagination don’t you?”
“Of course,” Frank replied. He paused for a few seconds. ”What sort of distraction would you suggest?”
Dan Bishop sighed. He’d known Frank for some time now and they had been through a few scraps together, but every now and then Frank would leave him feeling as though there was only one brain between them and it was housed in Dan’s own head.
“Why don’t you fake having a heart attack? That should keep the nurses busy.”
“Ok. How do I do that?” Frank replied in a spaced out kind of way.
Another sigh from Dan.
“You fall to the floor grabbing the left side of your chest as though it was tightening up and pretend you have trouble breathing.”
“Right.” Another pause. ”How long for?”
“For as long as you can. I’ll need to have a route around for the case. I’ll give you a signal when I’ve found it. And before you ask what signal, I’ll come up to you and give you a kick or something. Whatever I decide you’ll know it’s the signal.”
Frank nodded in acknowledgement as Dan stared at him making sure he understood what had been said.
“Ok then, let’s get going. Don’t say a word when we are in there. Let me do all of the talking.”
Again Frank nodded. Being silent he could do without any instruction. They both exited the car and made their way to the entrance of the hospital. It was a quarter passed midnight now and all around was quiet. The lights from the windows cast shadows from the trees into the puddles dotted around the pathway as a Doctor walked in front of both men.
Georgie was making her way from the main building to the west wing. There was a route internally, but it was quicker to go across the car park and she was in a rush. It looked like during the commotion with Mr Walters, she had lost her necklace that was left to her by her mum. It was a family heir loom that was nearly two hundred years old and the prettiest necklace Georgie had ever seen. When her mum was alive she always said it was meant to be worn and not left in a jewellery box or locked away somewhere to protect it.
They were the images she had of her mum. No matter what she wore, she always had the necklace around her neck. The never ending sparkle that lit up her neck in the dullest of light. No other jewellery was worn as this would detract from the centrepiece that nestled there for all to see.
Georgie hastily made her way to the cubicle once she had re-entered the building. Fortunately it was free, and she had enough time to hunt around on the floor. A minute was all it took to find what she was looking for to her relief. Sitting back against the wall she cradled it as though it were a lost puppy that had been missing. The memory of her mum wearing the necklace filled her mind. This was the only physical connection she had left to her mum and one that she felt she would die if it were ever lost.
While on the floor she noticed the black briefcase that had been brought in by Mr Walters. Why hasn’t that been taken? Putting her necklace back in its rightful place she picked up the briefcase and checked it. It was locked with a combination lock.
“I’ll sort it out tomorrow. Right now I need to get home to my bed.” Georgie’s shift was over and all she wanted was to crash out and sleep for a week. Taking the briefcase back to her locker, she threw it in and locked it away until the morning.
Dan and Frank walked into the hospital stopping briefly to look at the board of directions. Following the signs they found a lonely nurse sitting at a desk scribbling on an official looking form.
“Excuse me,” Dan began, “My brother was brought in by ambulance earlier and I was wondering how he was.”
“What is his name?” The nurse was polite in her question.
“Roger Walters. He was brought in earlier this evening. I’m not sure what time.”
“Ok if you would like to take a seat I’ll find out for you.” The nurse said this with a bright smile.
She must have just started her shift thought Dan. Give it a few hours and that smile will disappear.
Both men sat down. The waiting room was quiet with a couple of people sitting around half asleep. A TV hung from one wall showing late night news of a major pile up on the M1 that had happened earlier in the evening. Frank sat uneasily on his chair, his big bulk finding it hard to settle into a comfortable position.
Ten minutes later the nurse returned with a Doctor.
“Mr Walters?” He called looking over at Dan.
Dan sat staring at the TV.
Dan looked around to see who Mr Walters was until he realised it was him.
“Yes,” he spluttered.
“Can you come with me please?”
Dan was taken by surprise. He wasn’t expecting this. Had they been rumbled already? He got up. As he did so he whispered to Frank.
Frank nodded in response.
The Doctor led Dan to an office just a few yards from the nurse’s desk. He closed the door behind him and motioned him to sit down.
“Your brother died earlier of a brain tumour which had grown massively and finally haemorrhaged.”
Dan didn’t know what to say. This wasn’t something he was expecting and the resultant expression on his face confused the Doctor.
“Mrs Walters was here when it happened. Did she not contact you to let you know?”
Dan thinking quickly on his feet replied,
“No, I’ve been away. I only got back an hour ago and the message left on my phone only told me he was brought in.”
The Doctor shifted a little uneasily. No matter how many times he had to break this sort of news to people, it made him very uncomfortable.
“Where is he now? Can I see him?”
“It’s not possible to see him now. I can arrange it for tomorrow.”
“Have all of his possessions been collected? Was there a black briefcase?”
The Doctor was taken aback. He’d never had to deal with such abrupt and unusual questions before after giving such bad news.
“I believe Mrs Walters has taken everything. As to what was there, I don’t know.”
Dan stood up and made for the door.
“Ok, I’ll go and have a chat with her.”
As he got to the door the Doctor asked,
“Would you like me to make arrangements for a viewing tomorrow?”
“No that’s ok.” With that Dan left. He headed for the exit saying “Frank!” and Frank followed.
In the car Dan sat thinking. Frank took out a bag of sweets from the glove box and popped one in his mouth. He offered one to Dan who turned it down.
“The bastards only gone and died on us. It looks like his missus has got the briefcase now.” A pause and an annoyed sigh was followed by,
“It looks like we’ll have to pay her a little visit.” He started the engine and pulled out of the car park. Things haven’t been simple on this job. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Why couldn’t it have been a simple track the man down, give him a few slaps and take the briefcase. This job was becoming more and more drawn out.
The next morning while Georgie was having breakfast she heard someone at her front door trying to get in. They were using a key. She grabbed the first thing she could that was heavy enough to use as a weapon, a frying pan, and quickly headed for the door. Just as she got to the hallway it opened and in stepped Johnny Salter, Georgie’s ex-boyfriend. He was a striking young man. Short, dark hair and chiselled features were the highlights of his face. He wore jeans and trainers and a leather jacket to keep the chill morning from his chunky torso.
“What the fuck are you doing here? You nearly gave me a heart attack.”
Johnny stopped dead in his tracks as he spotted the frying pan in Georgie’s hand about to be unleashed on his skull.
“I’ve come to get the rest of my things. I thought you were on the early shift on Wednesdays, that’s why I came on my way to work.”
“I was but I swapped with Jenny for the next couple of weeks. I thought you gave your keys back?”
“This is my spare set for emergencies.” He showed the keys to Georgie as though she didn’t know where they were.
Georgie swiped them from his hand before he could blink.
“I’ll take those. Have you got anymore sets?”
“I might have another set. I’ll check and drop them off. Can I get my things now?”
“Go on then.”
Johnny headed for the bedroom where he collected some clothes and a few personal items.
“Do you want a cup of coffee while you’re here?” Georgie called from the kitchen.
“Yes please,” replied Johnny. ”Nice and strong to try and wake me up.”
It was a good ten minutes before Johnny emerged from the bedroom and entered the kitchen. He dropped his sports bag on the floor overflowing with his clothes.
“I didn’t realise I still had so much stuff here. I had practically moved in.”
Georgie gave him his cup of coffee.
“How is it now you’re back at your brothers on a permanent basis?”
“It’s ok. I just need to get used to the smell of kebabs from the shop below again. I’m sure there are less cats and dogs in the area from what I remember.”
Johnny’s brother, Barry, lived in a two bedroom flat above a parade of shops close to the station. It was in the kebab shop below that Georgie had met Johnny. One of her binge drinking nights that ended with her grabbing a stranger’s backside, having a sloppy snog, and then ending back at his place, which in this case was just upstairs. This wasn’t a common occurrence. It just happened when Georgie was feeling very low and vulnerable and craved company. They would normally be a one night stand, but this one lasted for two years.
“How is your brother? I bet he hates me.”
“He’s doing well. His business seems to be picking up now. Won’t be long before he’s a millionaire. Or so he keeps telling me. No he doesn’t hate you. He knows, like me that it just wasn’t to be.” Johnny stared into Georgie’s eyes for a glimmer of hope that she may change her mind and take him back. Nothing. Georgie just continued the conversation.
“I’m thinking about going away for a while. Probably abroad somewhere. I want to make spontaneous decisions and see where it takes me while I’m still young enough to recover from any mistakes I make.”
“Wow! Was it that bad between us that you have to get out of the country?” Johnny was a little hurt, but deep down he knew that wasn’t the reason she was leaving.
“No, don’t be silly. I want to try something different. Somewhere different. Find myself. You know all of those things you’re supposed to do at some point in your life.”
“Got anywhere in mind yet?”
“Maybe voluntary work in Africa or Asia. They are always looking for people.”
Johnny swallowed the rest of his coffee and picked up his bag.
“Well I hope you find what you are looking for. Meanwhile some of us have to get to work.” He wrapped his free arm around Georgie and gave her a hug. ”You keep in touch from wherever you end up and let me know how you are getting on.”
Georgie put her cup down and hugged Johnny tightly. It reminded her how cuddly he was.
It lasted for a few minutes until Johnny pulled away and left the flat saying goodbye.
The hospital was bathed in mid-morning sunlight that was absorbed by the grubby windows. The car park was once again full yielding some much needed funds from the charges made to the drivers. Inside visitors filled the wards with chatter about nothing and everything. Mostly nothing. Flowers filled the vases for the women and fruit filled the bowls for the men. Numerous novels and crossword books cluttered up the bedside cabinets that would never be finished and eventually taken home to clutter up the bedside cabinets there.
Matt was walking along the corridor while reading a patients file. His day had started badly and was already going downhill. A mountain of work was piling up because he was covering Doctor Charles patients as well as his own. It seemed Doctor Charles decided it was a good time to try his new sun bed last night, but fell asleep under it and woke up as red as a lobster. Bloody Doctors should know better, he thought.
He saw Georgie leading a man with a bandage wrapped around his hand covered in blood. He looked quite upbeat about it and was chatting away with her as though there was nothing wrong with him.
“Georgie!” he called. ”See you in the staff room at twelve.”
Georgie looked up.
“Ok. While we are there I’ve got something I want you to look at for me.”
“No need. I’ve seen pictures of it on the toilet wall,” he replied with a wry smile.
A broad grin spread across her face as she followed her patient into the cubicle.
“Was that your bloke?” Steve Logan, the man who was bleeding profusely from his hand, turned round as he asked.
“No,” smiled Georgie. ”Now let me look at this hand.”
Steve Logan winced as Georgie removed the deep red bandage. He was a slender man with dark wavy hair cut to the shoulder. His facial features were very similar to Tom Cruise in his younger days. However he would dwarf Tom if they stood next to each other as he tipped six foot two in the height category. Casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt he had the look of a man on holiday or a labourer. A deduction Georgie had become quite skilful at over the years and she had only been proved wrong a handful of times.
“So Mr Logan,” Georgie said quickly glancing up to look at his face and then back at his hand, “why would you try and drill a hole through your hand?” She smiled.
“Call me Steve,” he replied flirtatiously. ”Well, it’s going to sound silly.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all.”
“Hmmm. Maybe not this one. I was doing a bit of DIY and listening to my music, pretending the drill was a gun, and bang, I got shot.”
“What were you listening to?”
“Fun Loving Criminals.”
“Great band, but I’m not sure you should be playing around with plugged in electrical tools.” Georgie began cleaning the wound. ”I went to see them last year with my ex-boyfriend at Brixton Academy. Great live band.”
“Was it June the eleventh?”
“I was there. Right at the front. Man, what a great time that was. Lucky there wasn’t any drills around that night. I might have created a few patients for the local hospital.
Georgie let escape a little chuckle at Steve’s quip.
“That Huey’s a pretty sexy guy.”
“He sure is.” Steve winced again as Georgie applied more water.
“So do you fancy him then?”
“Excuse me?” Steve was taken aback with the question.
“Do you fancy Huey?”
“No I don’t. Why do you think I’m gay?”
“Just asking an innocent question. You agreed he is a sexy guy.”
“I can see why women would find him attractive, but I don’t.”
Steve was getting uncomfortable with the questioning so decided he would ask his own questions.
“So, if that Doctors not your boyfriend, do you have one?”
“That’s very forward of you and not appropriate for this situation.” Georgie said this with only half conviction and quickly mulled over in her mind what was happening. A good looking patient seemed to be coming on to her. All ethics say she should stop it right there. No good can come of it. Or could it? What’s to say this person couldn’t provide the excitement she craved in her life? Should she take that chance? What’s the worst that could happen? They would break up after a few months and she would be back to where she is now. Or they just shagged and never see each other again. It was time for one of those spontaneous decisions.
“We broke up recently so I’m young, free, and single again.” She continued with a quick glance at Steve’s face to see what sort of reaction it would bring.
“Touché. I recently split up with my girlfriend. Seems like we’re in the same boat. What happened to your relationship, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Georgie hesitated for a few seconds before deciding to continue.
“We just seemed to grow apart. I think I’m looking for a bit more excitement before I get too old. Maybe travel the world. How about you? How did yours end?”
“Pretty much the same as yours. I think some people are just not meant to be together.”
“This may be uncomfortable,” Georgie interrupted. ”I’m going to put some stitches in.” There was a silence as she stitched up Steve’s hand. She was concentrating on the stitches; he was biting his lip trying to subdue the pain in his hand. A couple of minutes had passed before Georgie had finally finished.
“There you go. A work of art if ever I did see one. Keep it covered and clean and the stitches will eventually dissolve. No more pretending your Huey either.”
Steve gave out a short laugh.
“I won’t. Listen, I’m going to be down the Swan pub at about eight. If you are around I’d like to buy you a drink.”
Georgie was about to answer when nurse Gibbons slung back the curtain and spurted out,
“Doctor Coxton! We have an emergency that’s just turned up in the ambulance. We need you there now.”
“I’m all done here now.” With that Georgie sped off to the waiting ambulance leaving Steve without an answer.
Snack Attack was the place Dan and Frank had chosen to fill their hungry bellies and discuss recent events. The strong smell of grilled burgers and slightly burnt onions was what made them choose this place over the numerous eateries along the High Road. Their luck wasn’t in with this briefcase and they weren’t going back to Mr Driscol without it. It would be more than their lives were worth. Mr Driscol wasn’t a forgiving man and he’d as soon as have you killed rather than you fail him twice. This briefcase was the most important thing in their lives at the moment and they didn’t know where it was.
Frank was devouring a quarter pounder with cheese and Dan was having a one way conversation trying to figure out where the briefcase could be.
“Well we know the wife’s not got it, and the guy had the briefcase with him when he was taken to hospital, so unless she collected it yesterday and dropped it off somewhere, which is unlikely, it must still be at the hospital. We have to hope it’s still at the hospital otherwise we have no way of finding out where it could be.”
Frank nodded in agreement as he slurped away at his drink. He had finished his first burger and was about to start on the next one. Dan was always amazed at how much Frank could eat and not be twenty stone. Unlike himself. His belly seemed to settle down in a chair a good two minutes after the rest of his body.
“Once we’ve finished here we’ll head over to the hospital. I’ll try and get some more information as his brother again.”
The waitress came over to them and asked if everything was ok. They both nodded. She caught sight of blood on Dan’s forearm.
“Have you cut yourself? She asked in a concerned way.
Dan checked his arm.
“Oh…no! It was from an earlier…erm…accident.” He licked his finger and then rubbed the blood from his arm. The waitress smiled and moved onto the next table.
“I thought I got rid of all of that blood,” he said to himself quietly.
One thirty and Georgie finally got to rest up a while. She ditched her blood splattered coat and headed for the canteen. In it she found a couple of nurses munching on their sandwiches and not much else. A lot of noise was coming from the kitchen as the dirty plates and cutlery were being returned from the wards. Georgie walked up to the serving area and spoke to the woman behind the counter.
“I think I’ll have the fish today. Or shall I have the chicken salad?” She stood there looking at the menu which was handwritten on a white board. Drumming her fingers on her chin, she deliberated for a few seconds. ”Definitely the fish,” she finally confirmed to the woman.
Sitting down with her plate, Georgie dug in to her food. She hadn’t eaten since breakfast, which was unusual for her because she has at least a packet of crisps and a bar of chocolate before she has her lunch.
“Ahh! I’ve finally caught up with you.” Matt had just walked into the canteen. He sat himself down onto the chair opposite Georgie who didn’t even look up from her food. ”Boy it’s been busy again this morning. It’s like having a conveyor belt of patients, one after the other. If they paid me by the person I’d be a rich man.”
Georgie looked up while chewing on her food.
“Excuse me while I eat. I’m famished. You carry on talking.” A speck of food fell from her mouth back onto her plate.
“That’s ok. Take your time. I’ve got about an hour to kill. It’s just that what you said earlier has got me intrigued. I’ve been thinking about it all morning.”
Georgie looked up puzzled as she put a bit of fish in her mouth.
“You remember? You said you had something to show me.”
In all the hustle and bustle of the morning she had completely forgotten about the briefcase in her locker.
“Yes! It’s in my locker. Let me finish this and I’ll go and get it.”
“I’ll go and get myself something while I’m waiting then.Can you recommend the fish, my dear?”
Georgie shrugged her shoulders.
Matt left her at the table while he went to get his food. By the time he got back she had finished and left.
When Georgie returned, Matt was halfway through his food. Not your gourmet meal you would find in a top class restaurant, but good enough to fill a hole in your stomach he thought. As he took a swig of his coffee a briefcase was dropped onto the table.
“I like your new style in handbags,” he quipped.
“Very funny. I found this last night in the cubicle Mr Walters was in. When he was brought in he was clutching it for dear life. I had to virtually prise it out of his hands.”
“So give it to the reception and they will arrange for it to go back to his wife.”
Matt had finished his food now and was draining the last remnants of his coffee from the chipped mug.
“No. I’m going to find out where she lives and take it myself. I want you to open the case for me. If anyone asks, we don’t know whose it is and we need to break in to find an address.”
“Why? Why not just give it to reception. It’s a lot less hassle.”
“I’m just curious.”
“Nosey more like.” Matt checked the lock on the briefcase. ”A combination lock! Shouldn’t be too hard to get into!” He wiped his knife on a cloth and attacked the lock with it. It flew open within a matter of seconds. ”There you go.”
“That wasn’t very subtle. I could have done that.”
“You didn’t ask for subtle,” he smiled.
Georgie rummaged around inside, pulling out papers and letters until she found an envelope addressed to Mr Walters.
“135 Carmen Road. That’s on my way home. I’ll drop it off when I finish today.”
“Seems all a waste of time to me. Isn’t there anything better you’d rather do after work?”
“It’s not going to take long. Besides, I’ve decided to be more spontaneous from now on to see what happens. You never know, it might be a life changing experience. Mrs Walters might know someone who knows somebody, who’s looking for a Doctor to consult on a movie or even be in it. And then I’d be whisked off to Hollywood to live the life of a movie star. Mix with the likes of Tom Cruise, Jodie Foster and Tom Hanks.”
“Yes and pigs might fly or the NHS will be run properly. Those sorts of things don’t happen in real life. They only happen in the movies. We’re meant to Doctor in hospitals for the rest of our life and be happy with it.”
“Well if that’s your attitude then that’s where you’re going to be for the rest of your life. As for me, I’m making a change and it starts today.” Georgie picked up the briefcase and walked out of the canteen leaving Matt to ponder over the thought of being in that same hospital for the rest of his life.
The two heavies once again found themselves sat in their Mercedes in the hospital car park. Both men’s bellies full to the brim with burger and chips. Their breaths stinking of cooked meat and onions. Dan was trying to explain to Frank what was going to happen again.
“Exactly how we planned it the last time we were here. When I give you the sign you feign a heart attack. Hopefully it won’t come to that. With a bit of luck they will let me in without any hassles. Although where I’m going to look I don’t know. It could be anywhere. I’ll have to play it by ear.”
Frank nodded his acknowledgement finally grasping the plan.
They left the vehicle and walked to the entrance of the building. As they approached, Dan’s attention was drawn to a woman who was just leaving. She was walking towards them. Nothing out of this world he thought, but something drew his gaze to her. He looked down to what she was carrying. A briefcase. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The briefcase they were looking for was right in front of them and being taken off of the premises. As she walked passed Dan stopped. He turned in an inconspicuous way and watched her get into a car.
“Quick!” he said to Frank who had nearly made it into the entrance. ”Back to the car now!”
Both men walked quickly with Frank asking,
“What’s going on?”
“Get in the car and I’ll tell you.”
They got into the Mercedes and, through deft driving; Dan managed to get on the main road one car behind the woman’s Audi.
“That Audi in front has our briefcase. I hope she’s not taking it to the police. We’ll have to get to her before she does. I don’t like doing it this way. There could be too many witnesses, but we can’t let the police get hold of that briefcase.” The Mercedes continued on it’s pursuit of the Audi always keeping a good distance behind with Dan keeping an eye out for a good place to make his move.
Georgie’s blue Audi turned into Carman road. Tall trees lined either side with their branches drooping towards the grey tarmac. The late afternoon sun sat just below the roof line of the houses causing long shadows to fall across the road.
“133… 135. Here we are.” Georgie pulled up outside of a large, semi-detached house with a black BMW parked in the drive. Climbing plants sprawled up the brickwork encompassing the double size windows and a well-kept front garden showed the occupants cared about how they looked to the outside world. She got out of the car and grabbed the briefcase from the back seat.
As Georgie got close to the front door she could see it was slightly ajar. Something at the pit of her stomach churned. She had an eerie feeling as though something was wrong, but dismissed it as her paranoid imagination.
“Hello!” she called through the crack in the door. She rang the bell and listened while the chimes played their all too common tune. ”Hello!” she called in a louder voice. Nothing. Pushing the door open slightly she peered in. She felt an air of disturbance which contradicted what she saw. An ornately decorated hallway contained a centre stairway. The walls were papered with a faint flowery pattern that wasn’t too overpowering. The dark wooden floor was highly polished and reflections of the paintings on the walls could just about be made out.
She must be in the garden thought Georgie. She called out once more before continuing into the house. Once inside her sense of smell went crazy. There was something very familiar about the aroma, but seemed out of place in these surroundings. Walking through the hallway she passed a room on the left. Once again, ornately decorated, but with beige carpet from wall to wall. Paintings filled one of the walls that she could see and on the other one directly opposite the door was a large fireplace that went from floor to ceiling. The furniture filled the room just nicely with two armchairs nestled into the bay window and a sofa up against the opposite wall below the paintings. A glass table separated the two which had a statue of a Roman lady laying down holding up the tabletop.
She continued on into the kitchen. A large space filled with immaculately kept worktops and shelves crying out to be used greeted her. It was either a new kitchen or Mrs Walters spent all day cleaning it. Georgie’s own kitchen would have fitted into a quarter of the space. She looked out into the garden looking for Mrs Walters, but saw nothing. No sign of life, whatsoever. Now Georgie’s imagination was working overtime. Something must have happened! Maybe she went out and just forgot to shut the door. No, the cars still outside. Perhaps she went to see a neighbour. Yes, that must be it.
She hadn’t convinced herself and her heartbeat began to slowly increase. Georgie decided to go upstairs. Maybe she’s had an accident and can’t answer.
“Hello! Mrs Walters. Are you there?” she called from the bottom of the stairs. Still no reply. Grabbing hold of the handrail she slowly made the climb to the top. Four bedrooms led off of the landing. Her heartbeat filled her ears as she opened the first bedroom door. The site that awaited her was of devastation. A ransacked room. The wardrobe doors and draws were open and emptied onto the floor while the bed had been upturned. A broken mirror had shattered leaving shards hanging from the frame.
Fully alert now to any dangers, Georgie cautiously made her way along the landing. Everything inside her was screaming for her to get out of the house, but she couldn’t stop herself from continuing. Couldn’t stop herself from finding out what had happened. Something in her mind made her pass the next bedroom and enter the largest bedroom. At the door the familiar aroma had increased and just before she opened it she remembered what it reminded her of. The time Mr Walters was in the hospital and was bleeding everywhere. The distinct smell of blood. She opened the door and her body shivered at the sight that greeted her.
The room had, like the previous one, been ransacked. Nothing was left unturned. But this time the bed sheets that were on the floor were soaked in blood. It had congealed into lumps where there used to be puddles. Georgie’s heart skipped a beat at the bloody mess that lay before her. She stood motionless, as quiet as she could, listening for any sounds. Sounds that would suggest that the intruders were still in the house. What seemed a lifetime passed before Georgie was happy she was alone.
As she scanned the scene she noticed a foot poking out from under a sheet. Quickly she rushed over in the vein hope that there was still life in the body, but deep down she already knew. Trying not to disturb too much, she managed to get to somewhere to check for a pulse. As she suspected, it couldn’t be found. Every ounce of her being was telling her to phone the Police. She’d never been at a murder scene before and she felt all a tingle. Her heartbeat had continued on its double time and she was breathing heavily. Finding a chair by the window that overlooked the garden, she sat trying to regain her composure.
So many things were running through her mind. Who would do such a thing? For what reason? Surely it wasn’t a simple case of burglary! But why would anyone want to kill this woman? It was obvious whoever did this was looking for something going by the way they left the place. Whatever it was it was valuable enough to commit murder. Suddenly she had an idea so powerful in its impact that it made Georgie sit up with a jolt. The briefcase! She looked down at it on the floor. Mr Walters was hanging onto it for dear life when he was brought into the hospital which Georgie thought was a bit strange at the time. If you were in that much pain holding onto a bag was the last thing you would do. Maybe there is something in it that these people were looking for.
Georgie took a couple of deep breaths to steady her jangling nerves. If the killers find out that she has it she could be next on the list. What if they are waiting outside now? It’s unlikely she thought. It looked like Mrs Walters had been dead for some time. It’s unlikely they would have waited around. What would they have waited for? In case someone was to bring the briefcase to the house from the hospital it was left at? I don’t think so! Plus when Georgie called the police they would surely drive away anyway.
Yes I must call the police she thought. But what about the briefcase. Georgie couldn’t help herself. She opened up the bag and rummaged around inside. Loads of official documents and letters addressed to someone called David Driscol of Lion Foods. Hello! What’s this? A hand written envelope with David Driscol’s name on it. It looked as though it was written by a child. There was no address and it wasn’t sealed. Georgie carefully took out the letter that was inside and unfolded it. Words had been spelt out using letters cut from a newspaper. Immediately images of a crime program popped into her head. A blackmail note! Surely not! He didn’t look the type of person to blackmail anyone! They are usually…well, criminal looking. Mr Walters looked like someone you could leave your keys to your house with when you went on holiday. The letter was short, and as Georgie read it, straight to the point.
You will deposit five million pounds into
the below account by Friday the 29th of September.
If you do not I will make public certain
documents that I have that implicates you
and your companies in fraud and murder.
Safeguards have been made to ensure my safety
if you ever find out who I am so if anything
happens to me, the documents will be
Even though it was a short letter, Georgie had to read it again. ‘Wow!’ she thought. This is big. She put the letter back and packed away all of the papers back into the briefcase. She sat there staring at it for a few minutes. Her hands were trembling. Something she hadn’t noticed before.
What to do she thought. Ninety five percent of her being was screaming to phone the police and hand everything over to them and forget about it. Go back to your safe life and stick at what you know best which is being a Doctor. But there was five percent nagging at her to grab this opportunity to make something happen in her life. Take control and create an exciting path to follow. Phone the police, but put the briefcase back in the car and don’t tell them about it. When you are at home you can assess the situation once you’ve been through the papers properly. If things get too hairy or there’s nothing you can do, you can give the case to the police and tell them you found the briefcase in the hospital the next day, which is partly the truth.
Georgie stood up and paced around what space there was in the room. Cloud cover had thickened and the threat of rain once again loomed closer making the room darker. Taking her phone from her pocket she dialled the emergency services.
Dan had parked the car a good distance from the Walters house. He had never before returned to a scene of one of his crimes and didn’t want to get too close this time. He had managed to find a place that afforded them a good view of the house, but kept them from being seen. She had been in the house now for a good ten minutes. Dan was getting worried. She was bound to phone the police as soon as she found the body. He needed to get in there before they turned up.
“I’m going into the house. We can’t wait any longer. You jump into the driver’s seat and get ready to make a quick getaway.” Dan jumped out of the car and quickly made his way along the opposite side of the road to the house. He was about five doors away when he crossed over. Suddenly the door to the house opened and Georgie came out. He slowed to a normal walking pace and watched her discreetly. She walked to the car, carrying the briefcase, opened up the boot and dumped it in. She stood by the car as Dan walked passed. About two houses passed, Dan quickly looked over his shoulder to see Georgie still standing by her car. A blue flashing light caught his eye as he looked back. Damn! They’re here already he thought. He crossed over the road and out of sight around a corner and ran round the block back to the car.
Why had she put the briefcase in the boot of her car? Had she seen what was in it? Even if she had, she wouldn’t be so stupid as to keep hold of it especially after what had happened to Mrs Walters. All these questions were running through his mind until he reached the car. He got in and took a moment to catch his breath.
“For some reason she’s put the briefcase back in her car.” Dan was keeping an eye on what was happening outside of the Walters house. The police had taken the woman inside now, but she hadn’t removed the briefcase from the boot.
“What does she think she’s playing at? What does she think happened to Mrs Walters? Does she think she cut herself while pealing the potatoes?”
“I don’t know,” replied Dan, “but it’s done us a big favour. Whatever she’s thinking, it’s bought us some time. We just need to follow her and pick our moment.” Dan sat back in his chair inwardly thanking his lucky stars. Things were finally going their way.
Georgie had taken the officers into the house to show them the scene that she had stumbled on. The ambulance men had turned up, but were unable to do anything until forensics had been and taken and recorded any evidence they could find. Georgie was sat downstairs in the kitchen. Her hands were clasped around a coffee mug and she was sniffing the aroma emanating from it. A WPC was taking notes as Georgie explained what had happened. She was just over five foot and had a stocky figure which seemed to be forced into her uniform. She had placed her hat on one of the work surfaces and it revealed strawberry blonde hair tied in a bunch. The freckles on her nose shone in the kitchen fluorescent light from the thin layer of oil that had escaped from her pores. A touch of foundation wouldn’t go amiss thought Georgie.
“So you dropped in on the way home from work,” the WPC said.
“Yes that’s right. I treated her husband yesterday. He died of a brain tumour. While I was treating him, there was a bit of a struggle when he was in pain and he lost his watch. I found it on the hospital floor at the same time I was looking for my necklace which had also come off. Anyway I found out that he lived quite close to me so I thought I would drop it off.” Georgie wasn’t sure how convincing she was. When she had decided to keep the briefcase she racked her brains trying to come up with a plausible excuse for her being there. It was while she was pacing the bedroom that she spotted the man’s watch on the bedside table and then the idea came to her.
“You saw nobody around at the time you arrived?”
“No, and the door was already open.”
The WPC checked through her notes then said,
“We’ll need you to come down to the station to make a formal statement and for us to take your fingerprints. Can you make it for tomorrow sometime in the morning?”
“Yes, I can do that.”
Just then two men in suits walked into the room. One of them, of Mediterranean descent, was dressed in what looked like a very expensive suit. He had short, dark hair and a plump face although he wasn’t fat. He stood at around six foot, they both did, and looked quite well built save for the paunch that was visible around his waistline. The second man was kind of scrawny and the suit he was wearing looked like something from Mr Byright and didn’t sit too well on him. He had fair hair cropped to his shoulders and his face was very gaunt with sunken eyes. He looked as though he hadn’t slept for a week.
Both men showed their badges and the first man spoke.
“Hi, I’m DI Aslan and this is DS Hope. We’ve taken charge of this case. Has this lady made a statement yet?”
The WPC was a little flustered at the two men’s entrance and hesitated as though she was trying to find the best way to answer.
“Yes,” she finally said. ”She will make a full statement tomorrow down at the station.”
“Good. We will be conducting the interview. I know this must have been a bit of a shock for you, but we need to have as much information as possible so try and remember as much as you can tonight. Writing it down is always a good idea.”
“Yes I will,” said Georgie. ”Can I get off home now? I feel a little bit shaken.”
“If the WPC has finished with you,” said DI Aslan
“Yes, I’ve got everything I need for now.” The WPC tore off a small sheet. ”Here are all of the details of the case that you will need to present when you get to the station tomorrow. That’s my name there. Try and get a good nights rest and if you do remember anything more that you feel might be relevant to this case, do make a note of it.”
Georgie put her cup down and took the paper. She scanned the sheet briefly, then folded it up and put it in her back pocket.
“Who do you think did this?”
“It was probably burglars who were interrupted by the home owner,” replied DS Aslan unconvincingly.
Georgie nodded slowly, turned and left the house. The sooner she was away from here the better. Besides she wanted to see what else was in the briefcase. She had to rein herself in from rushing to her car to avoid any sort of suspicion. By now the police had put a cordon around the entrance to the house and it was making people walk on the other side of the road. A PC lifted up the tape for Georgie to get under and he politely said,
“Good evening miss.”
She just smiled and said a polite thank you.
“Right! She’s on the move.” Dan made Frank jump as he was dozing off into a light slumber. He started the car and waited for the blue Audi to pull out. As it did another police car came passed them. Frank pulled out behind it, but as they got to the house it stopped in the middle of the road.
“Damn! She’s getting away,” shouted Dan as he watched the car turn left at the bottom of the road. The police car slowly parked on the drive and finally Frank was able to get passed. When they got to the end of the road he turned left, but after five minutes of searching, they gave up. The blue Audi was nowhere to be found. Frank pulled over and turned off the engine.
“Let me think for a minute.” Dan sat there chewing on his nails. It was a habit he picked up from childhood when he sat for any exams. Frank looked away. It wasn’t one of Dan’s most attractive qualities and sometimes it made him nauseous.
“For now we’ll drive around and keep a look out for the car parked up somewhere. She must live close by! If we have no luck with that, we’ll have to go back to the hospital. I’m guessing she works there. Probably a nurse. We should be able to find out more there. Come on. Let’s try down the next turning.”
Frank started the car and pulled away. He had a feeling they were not going to find anything. Dan mulled over in his mind how he was going to find out who this woman was. He was good with remembering faces so felt sure someone in the hospital would recognise her from his description. And he knew what car she drove. Yes, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If it was Mr Driscol wouldn’t be happy. He continued his search through the car window dreading the consequences.
The island was situated a mile off of the south west coast. No ferry service was available. This wasn’t part of the deal that David Driscol had brokered for it two years ago. Instead his private helicopter would get him there whenever he wanted to visit. It was two miles wide and five miles long and only inhabited by small mammals, birds and a herd of wild goats. Ideal for what David wanted it for. No interference from the outside world and a place he could make his own laws.
His mansion and temple had been built in the time that he had owned it and both were now ready to be used. His years of planning for his followers to have a haven to visit and pay homage to him and their god was now ready to be opened to them. The mansion stood in lush green grounds that, although new, looked as though they had been growing there for years. The building itself contained thirty bedrooms, all decorated in the luxury that every mansion deserved and having fantastic views over the surrounding area. Downstairs contained grand reception rooms, a swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, games room, a home cinema that seated fifty and a large conference room. Externally the building was dressed in Aztec carvings from pre Columbian times and this theme was continued inside with the walls and ceilings covered in colourful murals depicting hunting and sacrificial scenes.
Just off to the left was a smaller building that held another twenty bedrooms and behind that, buried in the wood, were a number of stone built cells with barred windows. A hundred yards to the right of the mansion stood the temple. Built to David’s own design it reached the same height as the mansion and was a circular shape topped off with a dome roof. The inside was filled with marble and sandstone carved statues of figures from the same era as the statues in the mansion. In the centre of the temple a miniature version of the Aztec pyramids with an alter on the top stood surrounded by a seating area. This was the centre piece of the building and made from sandstone.
The helicopter nestled on the helipad that had been built some one hundred yards in front of the mansion. Out jumped David Driscol and soon after Mike Brown his architect. They had known each other for fifteen years now and had worked together on many projects. Mike was a slender figure of a man. His stony features were half covered by the stubble on his chin. His hair, though receding, was as full as when he was eighteen years old, and as dark. He was dressed in jeans, a polo neck top and a blazer with highly polished shoes on his feet.
The blades began to slow as the pilot shut the engine down. David and Mike stood back from the building to take in its form. A smile crept onto David’s face as he took the whole picture in. From the time he left his job with his dad, until now, this was what it was all leading to.
“It works for me from the outside,” he said to Mike. ”Let’s take a look at the inside.” He led Mike to the entrance and the giant arched door which loomed over them both. “This is the moment of truth. Let’s see how close it is to the computer models you showed me.” He pulled out the keys and opened the door into a giant hallway. And was amazed.
The initial impression was overwhelming. The central staircase dominated the hall as it swept upwards to the first floor. Exactly how the computer model showed it. Mike revelled in the look on David’s face. From previous experience he knew how David could react to finished projects, but this was by far the most satisfying. David walked in staring at every feature he could find and touching every part he could reach. He was living his dreams.
The next few hours were spent touring the building from top to bottom. Mike would explain the processes of any feature David would ask about, something he was more than happy to do because Mike loved showing off his knowledge. He felt he was good at what he did and he wanted everybody to know it.
“What’s this?” David’s face changed as he asked. He was referring to a carved statue in the swimming pool room that hung over the pool sprouting water out of its mouth.
“Ahh…yes. We had to compromise on the statue because the only person who was able to create the exact form you requested refused to work with us. I think you’ll agree the likeness is uncannily accurate.” Mike was speaking very calmly feeling he had fulfilled David’s architectural desires in pretty much every detail.
David’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the monstrosity before him. A rage welled within him bursting to get out and there was nothing that could stop it.
“If I’d want something this fucking ugly I would have commissioned a statue of you, you fucking smug wanker. You find that man and you persuade him to create the statue I want. If he resists you make sure he knows that I will torture every one of his family until he does. Now, you make sure that the next time I come into this room, that hideous piece of junk has been removed.”
David stormed out of the room leaving Mike stunned and reeling from the sudden about turn in David’s persona. He’d been on the end of one of David’s tirades before, but not one that was so unexpected. It left him a little shaky and reluctant to follow, but he pulled himself together and carried on with the tour.
Jem Aslan and Julian Hope returned to the station. Their office was on the second floor. Small, but big enough for what they needed it for. There was just the two of them in CID in this branch. It wasn’t an area that needed a big department. Besides they had resources to call upon if needed. Today was the day they used that resource. The local Bobbies were out on the beat collecting the information they needed. Doing the house to house. Trying to gather the information for the new case they were now involved with.
Jem Aslan was proud of his move to CID. A move he had fought tooth and nail to get for four years before he finally succeeded. Racism still existed in the force, regardless of where your parents came from. If your features and colour didn’t match, you had to work five times as hard to get the same rewards. Jem had the mental scars to prove it.
“I still think it’s just a burglary gone wrong.” Jem and Julian were discussing the case.
“But the way the murder was committed seems a bit, well, too professional to be just a burglar that had been caught in the act.” Julian had been with Jem for just a year. Transferred from the boys on the beat. A local copper with lots of ambition.
“Some people like to broaden their horizons. Take an interest in other areas. I bet if and when we catch up to this punk it will be no more than him getting caught out doing his day job.” Jem was in his chair by the window with his feet up on his desk. ”You jump on the computer and check out the database for this Mrs Walters. And see if you can find her husband. He’s probably still at work. I’d rather we spoke to him first than him finding out by getting home and seeing his house cordoned off.”
“The boys downstairs are already on it,” said Julian as he sat down by the computer. ”When will forensics be finished?”
“Not for a while yet. We won’t have any results before tomorrow.” Jem gazed out of the window. The early evening had descended and was lit up by the street lights and car lights below. He stood up. ”I think I’ll head off home now seeing as there’s not much else to do.” He walked up to Julian and put his hand on his shoulder. ”Don’t work too late will you? You’ve got a baby to get home to.” With that he left Julian on his own.
Outside Jem walked around the corner and straight to a public phone. He put his money in and punched in the numbers.
“Hello! It’s me! Get your monkeys to meet me at the usual venue tonight at eleven. I’m not happy with their fucking handy work.” He slammed the phone down and walked off.
The Mercedes turned into another small road leading to a dead end. They had been driving around for about four hours now and the swish swash of the windscreen wipers was so hypnotising it was putting Dan to sleep.
“I think that’s about it from this area. We’ve tried every street we can find. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be easy.”
Dan jolted awake from the sound of Franks voice. He’d had four hours sleep over the last forty eight hours and it was catching up on him. He shifted in his seat, sat upright and wiped the dribble from the side of his mouth.
“You’re right. I need to get some sleep anyway. We’ll get to the hospital first thing tomorrow morning and get the information we need there. I don’t think she’ll do much with it tonight.”
Dan’s mobile vibrated in his pocket. He pulled it out, saw it was Mr Driscol that was calling and answered.
“Hello Mr Driscol.” Dan fell silent as he listened. ”Ok Mr Driscol…Will do…Bye.” Dan threw the phone on the dashboard.
“There goes our early night. Jem’s been on the phone to Mr Driscol. He wants to meet us tonight at the usual place.”
Frank gave a knowing smile.
“I can see you’re not unhappy about it. Let’s go and grab something to eat.” The car turned round and headed off to the row of restaurants on the high road.