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Evil Games
  • Текст добавлен: 4 октября 2016, 23:14

Текст книги "Evil Games"


Автор книги: Angela Marsons






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Текущая страница: 11 (всего у книги 23 страниц)

THIRTY-SIX

‘What child?’ Bryant asked.

‘I’m in the top level lobby, come up.’

Kim could hear his keys and loose change jangling as he made light work of the stairs.

‘What’s this about a kid?’

‘Our guy out there went to see his ex-wife who is now married to his disabled brother to try and get her back. Didn’t work out that way – but there is also a daughter that is biologically his.’

‘Jesus …’

‘Get on to that David guy to see if he knows what type of car Barry’s driving and the age of the kid. I’m gonna do a quick sweep of this level to see if there’s anything obvious.’

‘You mean like a little girl sitting in a car on her own?’

Kim knew it was a long shot but she couldn’t stand and do nothing. ‘Hey, I’m the damn pessimist in this relationship.’

Kim exited the lobby and turned right, searching the area furthest away from the incident first. From her position she couldn’t see a car matching the description in the area nearest to Barry. She had no wish to disturb the equilibrium between the doctor and the man on the ledge, but if she needed to get closer to search for a missing child, he could bloody jump.

She covered the entire right side in less than three minutes and reached the lobby. DI Evans stood beside Bryant who was talking on the phone.

‘Want me to conduct the search or take over here?’ Evans asked.

They were equal rank but she was here first. It was her scene.

‘You take over here. I’ll search.’

He pointed to the two officers crouched on the other side of the glass. ‘I’ll try and get Pinky and Perky closer under the cover of the wind. Two might have a chance of pulling him back over the railing. Think this doc is intelligent enough to understand some hand signals?’

‘Oh yes, she’s clever all right.’

Bryant ended the call. ‘We’re looking for a dark-coloured old Montego. Booted. Kid is four years old. Also, Guv, lady with the mobile phone almost had an accident as he was coming onto the car park. She says there was no kid in the car.’

‘Shit.’ Either the child was somewhere else or she was in the boot of the car, with a limited supply of oxygen. ‘Okay, pass the information down. They can take levels one and two, we’ll take level three.’

‘David had Barry’s sister, Lynda, on record as next of kin. She’s here.’

‘Leave her where she is for now. We have nothing for her.’

Kim headed down the stairs to the level beneath. Bryant caught up with her after relaying the information downstairs.

‘I’ll take right, you take left,’ she instructed.

Kim raced along the aisles, passing hatchback after hatchback.

The eerie silence heightened her senses. The child was here somewhere. She knew it. In what state, she had no idea.

As she travelled along the rows she spotted a booted, dark-coloured vehicle in the corner. Her pace quickened. As she got closer she saw it was a Mondeo. But a new one. Shit, she thought she’d found it. There were few cars left on this level.

The car park doors burst open opened and four officers emerged. Two headed towards her and two went the other way.

‘Other levels are only half full, Guv. Nothing,’ Bryant said, appearing beside her.

Damn it, she had to be here somewhere.

‘Start at the lobby and check again,’ she instructed.

‘Marm, over here,’ Hammond shouted.

Kim sprinted to the far right corner of the car park, in the shadows of the ascent ramp.

He stood beside a navy Montego on an X plate. Bingo.

‘Hammond, give me options?’ The officer could get into anything.

He took a lock-picking case from his pocket but ignored it and produced a mini hammer from the other. ‘Accuracy or speed?’

She nodded towards the hammer. ‘Stand back, everybody.’

Two taps and the window smashed, raining crystal shards onto the driver’s seat. Hammond reached inside and opened the door. Within seconds he had ripped off the steering column cover and hotwired the vehicle into life.

He glanced back at her. Kim nodded, and he pressed the button.

The boot lid swung open.

Kim looked into the eyes of a terrified little girl. Her tiny body trembled with fear, curled amongst the debris of a filthy car boot.

Kim let out a long breath. Frightened but alive. She’d take that.

Bryant moved forward. The child let out a whimper. The terror in her eyes moved up a gear.

‘Back off, Bryant. I’ll do it.’

Kim stood over the boot, shielding the child’s view of anything else around. ‘Hi sweetheart. My name’s Kim, what’s yours?’

The child was looking around her, eyes darting, trying to find something safe or familiar on which to anchor herself. Her cheeks were streaked with tear trails.

Kim turned to the two officers and Bryant. She motioned for them to move away. She dropped to her haunches so that her face was level with the girl’s.

Kim smiled and softened her voice to a whisper. ‘Just look at me, sweetie. Everything is all right now. Nobody here is going to hurt you, okay?’

Kim kept eye contact with the child. Some terror left her eyes.

Reaching in, Kim removed a diesel-soaked rag from the child’s hair. The girl didn’t flinch but her eyes followed every movement.

‘Sweetheart, Aunty Lynda is on her way up to get you. Now, you need to tell me if you’re hurt.’ There were no visible signs of trauma but she had to be sure before she even thought about moving her.

There was a slight shake of the head; barely discernible from the trembling, but still communication.

‘Good girl. Can you move all your fingers and toes.? Can you wiggle them for me?’

Kim looked into the boot and saw all her extremities moving.

She resumed eye contact. The terror was fading. ‘Can you tell me your name, sweetie.’

‘Amelia,’ she breathed.

‘Well, Amelia, you are doing a great job. How old are you?’

‘Four and a half.’

At Amelia’s age, the half was crucial.

‘I thought you were at least six. Now, is it okay if I take you out of the car?’ The sight of her lying there amongst oily tools and dirty sponges was offensive to Kim.

Amelia nodded slowly.

Kim reached in and gently placed her hands under the child’s armpits and pulled the small body up and into her own. Amelia instinctively grasped her hands around the back of Kim’s head, her legs encircled around her waist. Her head buried itself in Kim’s neck.

‘It’s all right, Amelia. Everything is going to be okay,’ she soothed into the girl’s hair. And she hoped she was right.

The girl’s tears were wet against her neck. She wondered how much the child had heard.

Kim heard the lobby door unlock. Two police officers, the male from the halfway house and a blonde female rushed towards her.

‘Amelia, I have to go now.’

Amelia held on with the muscles of a boa constrictor.

‘It’s all right, sweetie, Aunty Lynda is here.’

Kim used all her might to extract the sticky four-year-old from her torso and into the waiting arms of the relative.

Kim stroked the blonde hair once.

‘Detective Inspector, thank …’

Kim was already running across the car park. The entire search and rescue had taken less than eleven minutes but it felt like hours.

She took the stairs two at a time. DI Evans was crouched where she had been.

‘Kid okay?’ he whispered.

She nodded. ‘Lower level sorted?’

‘Looks like a fucking garden party. There’s about ten feet at one end not covered. My least useful officers are stood there. They should break his fall.’

‘What’s the doc holding?’

‘Business end of a safety harness. Nugent slid it up the doc’s leg while she was talking. Reckon she knows what to do with it and is either waiting for an opportunity to slap it on him or there’s nothing she can clip it to.’

‘What’s attached to the other end?’

‘Nugent’s belt.’ Evans shrugged. ‘Either he’ll stop the guy from falling or he’ll go over with him.’

‘Correct procedure?’ Kim questioned.

‘Fucking gazebos?’

‘Point taken.’

Sometimes you just had to work with what you’d got. If you got it wrong you faced a disciplinary hearing, and if you got it right you were a hero.

Kim checked her watch. By her reckoning he’d been on the ledge for forty five minutes. ‘He can’t last much longer.’

‘I’ll get back downstairs and serve tea and scones.’

He backed away and Kim took his position. The increase in wind speed meant that she could only make out parts of the conversation between them.

‘What good … jumping … Amelia?’

Kim could no longer hear Barry’s response.

‘Once … explain … judge … understand.’

That would be a cold day in hell, Kim thought.

‘You … Amelia … life … together.’ Suddenly there was a lull in the wind. The silence was broken by the clasp slipping from Alex’s hand and landing on the ground.

Barry flinched, almost losing his grip on the railing. He tried to turn and look over the railing. ‘What was that? Who’s there?’

‘It’s nothing, Barry,’ Alex soothed calmly. ‘I just dropped my mobile phone.’

As Alex spoke she motioned for the two officers to retreat back to where Kim was crouched, holding her breath.

They looked to her for confirmation. She nodded. The sound had spooked Barry and he looked as though he could drop any second.

The two officers returned to their original position behind Kim.

Barry was still trying to negotiate his footing to turn on the ledge. Alex motioned for them to move back further.

Barry had now fully turned and faced Alex across the railing. If they hadn’t moved he would have easily seen the three of them crouched ten feet away.

Kim seriously hoped the doctor knew what she was doing. Her skills were about to be tested and for now, she was on her own.

THIRTY-SEVEN

And now they stood face to face. Alex’s second disappointment was up close and personal. Hardwick House really had turned into a pain in the ass. No sooner was Shane tucked up nicely in Featherstone, she now had another damn loser trying to get her attention.

Alex was aware that on three separate occasions she could have talked Barry back over the fence but she wasn’t finished yet. She wanted answers.

Kim’s position behind the wall was hidden from Barry, but Alex could still make eye contact with the detective if she needed to. Ultimately the woman was out of earshot and that’s what she wanted. She didn’t need any interference.

‘They’ve found Amelia,’ she said.

Barry appeared confused. ‘But why has it taken so long? I told you straight away where she was.’

Oh yes, he had, hadn’t he. It must have slipped her mind. Of course he’d told her immediately but Alex had quite enjoyed watching them all chase their tails trying to find the little girl. She’d had information that Detective Inspector Stone had needed and had chosen not to share. Alex had never shared all that well.

‘Well, they have her now.’ She couldn’t really have cared less.

‘Is she okay?’

‘Barry, I think you need to concentrate on yourself first. We’ll talk about Amelia in a minute.’

‘I want to see her.’

And there sailed by another opportunity to get him back over the ledge safely. She waved it goodbye.

This was the first opportunity she’d had to question a case study after the act. Ruth’s pathetic confession had robbed her of that opportunity already. She’d exercised caution when Kim had been close by. It was important to her to gain the detective’s respect. But now they were speaking privately, the collection of data was her top priority.

‘How did you feel, Barry?’

He visibly paled. For Alex, the events that had unfolded were beyond her wildest dreams; the fact that her manipulations had been strong enough to incite such a high level of violence was an A plus for her. The perfect result would have been if the kid got it as well, and Barry hadn’t caused this high-profile suicide drama but she’d work with what she had.

‘I don’t remember doing it.’ He shook his head. ‘I knew what I’d done but I couldn’t remember actually doing it. I remember dragging Amelia out of the house. She was crying so I panicked and put her in the boot of the car. Then I went back and set fire to the house. I just wanted to destroy all trace of what had happened. Jesus, I don’t know what I was thinking.’

His eyes met hers and in them she saw a ridiculous shadow of hope. ‘They are dead, aren’t they?’

‘Oh yes, Barry. They’re dead.’ The detective inspector’s sign hadn’t confirmed who was dead but someone was. Alex preferred he have nothing to live for.

‘So, what drove you to consider suicide? Was it just the fear of being caught and punished?’

Please say yes, she prayed. The fear of being caught was a concern only for the consequences of his actions. How it would affect him. Actual remorse was a different thing entirely.

He thought for a moment and she fought to hide her expectation. She felt like shaking the answer from his mouth. All she needed was one positive result.

He nodded and Alex almost reached over and kissed him. Barry had done it. He had proven her point. He had carried out a heinous crime and done so without guilt. The failures, the disappointments, had all been worth it.

Barry continued talking.

‘At first, yeah. I was still panicking about what I’d done and couldn’t bear the thought of ending up back inside. But once I got up here the memories started coming back to me. I could see Lisa’s face, full of fear and hate, gasping for air.’

A tear escaped from his left eye and travelled down his cheek. Others followed and within seconds he was crying like a big baby.

Repulsion coursed through her. For just one moment he had been her triumph. He had been the result she’d been searching for. Briefly he had proven her right but now the guilt was written into every feature on his face.

‘Oh Barry, that’s such a shame.’

‘I don’t know how I could have done that to her. I love her. And Adam’s my brother. How could I just leave them there to die? What kind of man am I to do this to people I love? Amelia will grow up without a mother because of me.’

Alex hadn’t quite meant that. Her disappointment was at his failure to perform but she let it go, along with her hopes of a positive result.

For the second time her research had been destroyed by her fucking nemesis: guilt.

Oh lord, how she abhorred disappointment.

‘No, she won’t, Barry.’

‘What?’

‘Amelia won’t grow up without a mother.’

That ridiculous hope again widened his eyes. ‘You mean Lisa isn’t …’

Alex shook her head. ‘I mean Amelia won’t grow up at all. She died in the boot of the car. You killed your daughter too, Barry. They’re all gone.’

The words she spoke were soft and final.

A look of total despair shaped his features.

He looked into her eyes, searching for the truth. A slight nod gave him the answer and she allowed the coldness in her eyes to reflect the gravity of his actions.

He let go of the railing and fell to the ground.

‘Barry, no,’ she cried, reaching for him. It was an empty gesture. She was glad he’d let go.

Kim ran towards her. ‘What the fuck happened?’ she screamed looking over the railing.

Alex moved away from the edge of the car park and the sight below. She formed her expression into a state of shock.

Kim grabbed her arm roughly and turned her so they were face to face. Kim’s body shook with rage. ‘Tell me, what the hell just happened?’

‘Oh my God … oh my … I can’t believe … oh Jesus …’

‘What was he saying? Why did he jump?’

Alex wrung her trembling hands. ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what happened. I think he realised what he’d done and he couldn’t live with it.’

Alex could see the detective wasn’t quite buying it.

‘But he knew what he’d done. I heard him tell you what he’d done almost an hour ago. Why did he jump now?’

Alex summoned a few tears. ‘I don’t know.’

Kim opened her mouth but the sound of her mobile ringing stopped her.

‘Yeah, Bryant?’

She listened for a couple of seconds and then looked over the railing. ‘You’ve got to be kidding. They worked?’

She listened to his response and then switched the phone off and put it back in her jacket pocket.

‘Canopy broke his fall. He’s not dead. Yet.’

‘Thank God,’ Alex breathed, while her mind screamed, Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Kim grabbed her by the arm. ‘You’re coming with me. We both have questions to answer.’

Alex allowed herself to be guided by the detective. Just this once.

THIRTY-EIGHT

Police constable Whiley’s home was a three-bed semi-detached house built in the Fifties. A tidy porch jutted out from the property with a colourless dried flower arrangement as decoration.

The day had been dry and the front garden bore the sight and smell of the first grass cut of the year.

Kim suspected Mrs Whiley was putting her husband’s free time to good use. Training for his forthcoming retirement.

‘Good to get out though, eh?’ Bryant said, knocking on the door.

Kim nodded her agreement. The incident with Barry had produced a small forest of paperwork which had kept them busy for most of the day.

The door was opened by a woman dressed in navy cotton trousers and a sweatshirt. A few damp blades of grass clung to the hem of her slacks. Maybe she hadn’t been training her husband after all.

Her face was round and pleasant, framed by a greying hazel bob that fell an inch below her ears.

‘May I help you?’

‘Detective Sergeant Bryant. Detective Inspector Stone. May we speak to your husband?’

Her expression altered slightly.

‘He’s on holiday.’

Bryant didn’t miss a beat.

‘It’s just a couple of questions to do with a case …’

‘Barbara … let them in,’ Whiley’s voice called from the end of the hallway.

Kim entered and headed towards Whiley’s position at the back of the house. A second sitting room was positioned next to the galley kitchen. The room was small but uncluttered, a single chair facing the window with a matching two-seater separating the room from the kitchen.

She and Bryant both sat at the same time. It was a snug fit.

‘You haven’t told her you’re on suspension?’ Bryant asked as soon as Whiley closed the adjoining door.

Whiley shook his head and sat on the single seat. ‘No point. I don’t want to worry her.’

He removed his reading glasses and placed them on a small table to the left of his chair.

‘Barbara’s worked as a cleaner for forty-two years. She’s counting the days until I retire. The mortgage is paid and my pension, together with a bit we’ve put aside, should see us okay.’

‘How long can you keep this story going?’ Bryant asked.

‘Dunno. I’m hoping the force will realise soon that it had nothing to do with me. It’s not like I could have stopped him.’

Kim marvelled at his calm demeanour. Whiley was far more concerned about the repercussions from his wife than the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.

Bryant sat forward as the door opened.

Barbara stepped inside. ‘Tea … coffee …?’

Bryant shook his head.

‘White coffee, no sugar, please,’ Kim said. Whiley would want his wife occupied while this conversation took place.

She felt for this officer. He’d offered his whole working life to the police force and his retirement was in jeopardy because of the actions of someone else.

Barbara left the adjoining door open. Whiley stood to close it. A shadow passed the doorway.

‘Ha, young lady, you’re not going out like that,’ Whiley said, looking the figure up and down.

Kim craned her neck to see a girl about eighteen years of age coming down the stairs. Her skirt was tight and black and barely the width of a tea towel. Black stockings, a leather jacket and one earlobe enlarged by a central ring completed the look.

Kim had seen worse and from the murderous look of disgust the girl offered her father, so had she.

The girl said nothing to Whiley, mumbled something to her mother and left through the front door.

Whiley sighed before closing the door and sitting in the single seat.

Kim marvelled at the knowledge that out there on the streets of the Black Country Whiley commanded respect and obedience. As an officer of the law, he was a figure of immediate authority. In his own home he lied to his wife and had no control over his daughter.

‘So, we need to know more about the night you visited the Dunn house,’ Kim said, moving the conversation along.

He wrinkled his nose. ‘Nothing to tell, really. Just a routine domestic.’

Kim waited for more. Nothing came.

‘There was someone else involved and we need …’

‘What do you mean by someone else?’ Whiley asked, sitting forward.

‘In the basement. When Dunn abused Daisy.’

He let out a whistle. ‘Jeesus.’

Bryant slid forward on the sofa. ‘If you could just talk us through the night two months ago when you visited the Dunn household. We’ve already spoken to Jenks. He told us they’d been arguing about some teacher. Can you tell us any more?’

Whiley looked up to the ceiling as Barbara entered with a mug of coffee for Kim. She nodded her thanks before Barbara exited the room and closed the door.

‘We got the call at tea time or thereabouts. Jenks was driving. He knew where it was and got us there within a few minutes. I know Dunn was still shouting when we arrived.’

‘Did you take him into the kitchen?’

‘Yeah, normal practice,’ he said, defensively.

‘Of course,’ Bryant said. ‘Did he say anything while you were in there?’

‘Just raging about this teacher who’d tried to say something wasn’t right with Daisy. I could empathise with the bloke. We were told our Laura had learning difficulties and it was a load of rubbish. Some of these teachers get a bit too involved in people’s business. So, I just calmed him down, told him I agreed with him.’

‘Jenks said Mrs Dunn was on the phone when you arrived?’ Bryant asked.

‘Yeah, don’t know who she was talking to. Jenks dealt with her and the kids until I brought Dunn back into the room.’

‘Jenks mentioned a look from Daisy. He said he thought she was trying to tell him something. Did you notice anything?’

Whiley rolled his eyes. ‘He’s imagining it. I was the one who sent them off to bed and I didn’t see any look.’ He smiled, indulgently. ‘He’s a kid, thinks he sees things everywhere. The girls were a bit nervous ’cos of the shouting but nothing out of the ordinary.’

Kim stood. They were learning nothing.

Bryant followed suit. ‘Well, if anything else comes to mind …’

‘You know, I’ve just remembered something. The reason Dunn was so agitated. It was ’cos the teacher had come to the house. Yeah, that was it. He was angry ’cos the teacher had brought the girls home.’

Once outside, Kim turned to Bryant.

‘Dawson interviewed the teacher during the investigation, right?’

‘Of course.’

‘Well, I think she’s worth another shot,’ Kim said, feeling her spirits lift.

They had learned something, after all.

Kim already knew that Wendy was not the person in the basement but if the teacher had managed to voice her concerns on that first visit, had the woman covered for her husband? And if so, did she know the identity of the person who was in the room?

It was a question that needed to be answered.


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