332 500 произведений, 24 800 авторов.

Электронная библиотека книг » Angela Marsons » Evil Games » Текст книги (страница 9)
Evil Games
  • Текст добавлен: 4 октября 2016, 23:14

Текст книги "Evil Games"


Автор книги: Angela Marsons






сообщить о нарушении

Текущая страница: 9 (всего у книги 23 страниц)

TWENTY-NINE

‘Jesus, Kev, put it away,’ Stacey said, turning left out of the car park. ‘It’s like yer palm cor let it go.’

Kev ignored her and continued to mess with his phone. ‘Fuck off, Stace.’

A slow smile spread across his face before he expertly used two hands to text.

Stacey had offered her services as designated driver to the Dunn house. No way was she trusting Kev to drive in his permanently distracted state.

‘If I had a dick, I’d name it Dawson,’ she observed.

‘Stace, I don’t know what you think you know, but whatever you think you know ain’t your damn business anyway, got it?’

Stacey shrugged. She didn’t get offended when he told her to butt out. In fact, she rarely got offended at all. She had an opinion and she wasn’t afraid to use it.

‘I know you’m heading for trouble, Sonny Jim.’

‘Since when did my private life become available for public consumption?’

‘Since you hassled us all for advice the last time she caught ya.’

Although his phone was on silent, she heard the soft vibration of a reply.

‘I’m gonna keep talking until yer phone goes back in yer pocket.’

‘Is this your idea of I’ve got a song that’ll get on your nerves?

‘Yeah, I like to call it, I’ve got an opinion that’ll get in yer brain.’

He sent another text message.

‘You are so gonna get caught. It’s a good job she don’t work in our office.’

‘What are you talking about, Stace?’ he asked, his fingers pausing above the keys.

‘We all know you’re putting it about, Kev. You’re a cocky bastard at the best of times but normally you’re a bit likeable to boot. But not right now. I don’t really like yer at all. And you’re getting on the Guv’s last nerve.’

Reluctantly, he put the phone away.

‘Aah, network gone down, Kev?’

He stared ahead.

Stacey shook her head. Whether he realised it or not, he was more bothered about the boss finding out than his missus.

‘Remind me again why we’re going to the Dunn house,’ she asked.

‘Scene of crime have finished the second sweep and the boss wants us to sign it off.’

Stacey knew that the techs had been back searching for forensic evidence since it had been discovered there was a potential second person in the room while Dunn had been abusing his child.

‘Now, I know it’s your first time with forensics but you’re not gonna embarrass me are you? I mean, it’s not like a computer game. These are real people, yeah?’

‘Oh, Kev, I think I preferred you messing with your phone,’ she said. Her addiction to the game World of Warcraft was a constant source of amusement to him.

‘Park just here on the left,’ he said, undoing his seatbelt.

‘I’m a detective, Kev. The big white van kinda gave it away.’

‘Smart-arse,’ he said, getting out of the car.

She locked the doors and followed him into the property. Her heart rate had increased just a little. He didn’t know how accurate he was.

Since joining the team of detectives eighteen months earlier, Stacey’s place had been in the office. The boss and Bryant tended to pair up. Dawson was often sent out on his own and she made friends with the computer.

For a short period she had resented it, but had eventually come to love the technological digging and searching for facts that would support the rest of her team.

And now the boss had thrown her a curveball and pushed her out of the safety zone. So, in some ways Dawson was right. She wasn’t quite sure how to act and as much as it pained her she would have to follow his lead. For now.

There was no activity in the living area as they strode through the house. She took the steps down into the basement. Three white suits remained.

‘All done, Trish?’ Dawson asked the one in the middle.

Stacey would never have guessed the figure was a woman. She pulled the white hood back to reveal a shaved head and a tattoo of a rose behind the left ear.

‘Trish, Stacey, Stacey, Trish,’ Dawson offered as an introduction. Trish offered her a brief smile. Stacey nodded in response.

Dawson faced the technician. ‘So, what did you find?’

Trish moved to the left. ‘The shadow in the footage was here,’ she said, standing by the wardrobe. ‘The camera was set up here, and the spotlamp was here.’

Stacey followed the woman as she used herself as a prop around the room.

‘So, given the mathematics and common sense, our subject would have been standing right there. Just where you are now, Stacey.’

‘Oh, shit,’ she cried, as though standing on hot coals.

Trish smiled in her direction. ‘It’s okay, he’s not there now.’

Stacey felt the colour rush to her cheeks. She was thankful that her skin didn’t show it.

‘Pass me the light, Mo,’ Trish said to another tech.

The infrared lamp was placed in her outstretched hand like a scalpel in a theatre.

Mo immediately headed for the light switch and the room was plunged into total darkness. The blue light was aimed at the ground. Stacey knew the forensic light source was most successful at picking up body fluids: semen, vaginal fluids and saliva, which were all naturally fluorescent. From her basic knowledge it could also locate latent fingerprints, hairs, fibres and shoe prints.

Trish stepped forward and highlighted the area. A small puddle, invisible to the naked eye, was now obvious upon the concrete.

‘Aww … shit,’ Kev said with disgust. The marking needed no further explanation.

Stacey stepped back and stumbled as the reality of her surroundings bore down on her. Yes, she’d seen photos. Yes, she’d seen footage. But she’d always been one step removed. Right now she was standing in a room where an eight-year-old girl had been stripped of her childhood forever. Daisy Dunn had stood in the middle of this space, terrified and alone, shivering, confused.

Stacey felt the tears prick her eyes. As the light came on she took two paces back and lowered herself onto the step.

A figure appeared above her. ‘First time?’ Trish asked, quietly.

Stacey nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

‘It’s tough. But don’t ever lose that connection. It’s what helps you do your job.’

‘Thanks,’ Stacey said, swallowing the tears.

Trish touched her gently on the shoulder. ‘And anyway, I have a little present.’

She took a small packet from the evidence tray on the desk. Bagged, taped and neatly labelled.

‘I have a single pubic hair.’

THIRTY

‘You know, Guv, you were pretty good up there,’ Bryant said, as they pulled away from Dudley County Court.

Kim shrugged off the compliment. Unlike some police officers, she never dreaded the inevitable court days. She’d never lied on the stand or even stretched the truth and so had nothing to fear.

The defence barrister had been Justin Higgs-Clayton, an officious terrier who had paid for his four-bed, three-bath, double-garage property by defending high-paying serious fraud cases.

She’d been handed the complaint almost twelve months earlier and had made a case against his client that would stick. The man in question had been registering false business credit cards to the AIDS charity for which he worked and had amassed a cool two hundred thousand.

This particular barrister knew when a case was strong and switched his focus to police procedure in an attempt to find a loophole that might get the case thrown out on a technicality.

‘Did you have the PACE book in your back pocket?’ Bryant asked her now.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 laid down every regulation and Code of Conduct for the Police Force.

‘No, but I think he did.’

‘What’s your bet?’

‘It’ll be guilty.’ Kim knew when she had done everything she possibly could to ensure that the lawbreaker went to jail. Her puzzle was complete on the fraud case. The Dunn case, she wasn’t so sure about.

‘Pull in here,’ she said as they passed the Brewers Wharf Pub on the edge of the Waterfront complex. It was a collection of bars, restaurants and offices built on the canal. The site had previously been the famous Round Oak Steelworks, employing 3,000 people at its peak and 1,200 at the time of its closure in 1982.

‘What, you want a pint, Guv?’

‘I’ll have a coffee. Your shout.’

Bryant groaned and parked the car. The pub was caught in the mid-afternoon lull between the lunchtime crowd and the after-work crew.

Kim took a seat by the window overlooking a black and white wrought-iron bridge that straddled the canal.

Bryant placed two coffees on the table. ‘You know, Guv. It just struck me that after all this time I’ve never once seen you take even a sip of alcohol.’

‘That’s because I don’t drink, Bryant.’

He leaned forward, intrigued. ‘Not even an occasional glass of wine?’

She shook her head.

‘A tipple at Christmas?’

She cut her eyes. He knew she hated Christmas.

‘Okay, scrub that. So you’ve never tasted alcohol?’

‘I didn’t say that.’

‘So, you just didn’t like the taste?’

‘No, that’s not it either. Now, just leave it.’

He pulled his chair closer. ‘Oh no, I couldn’t possibly. As soon as you want me to leave something it tells me there’s something to leave.’

Fantastic, she’d fallen into that one pretty well. ‘Actually, it was the second one. I didn’t like the taste.’

Bryant rubbed at his chin. ‘No, don’t believe you.’

‘Leave it, Bryant.’ Sometimes he just wouldn’t let go. Only he could push her like this.

‘It could be that you refuse to make a fool out of yourself because your inhibitions would be shot to hell. You could be an alcoholic.’ He paused. ‘Are you an alcoholic?’

‘No, I’m not.’

‘Then why don’t you ever take one little drink?’

Kim turned to face him and forced him to look into her eyes. ‘Because if I started, I might never stop.’

Shit, she hadn’t meant to say that.

She turned back to the window. On the night that Mikey’s headstone had been fitted she’d treated herself to a large bottle of vodka and a small bottle of Coke.

The resulting hangover brought with it the memory of alcohol-induced oblivion. For a few hours the pain and loss had been dissolved and her mind had been free of guilt and hate. Kim dared not visit that happy place again, for fear she might never come back.

‘Chicken baguettes?’ a male asked questioningly, holding two plates aloft.

Bryant nodded and thanked him.

‘Bryant,’ she growled.

‘You don’t do breakfast and we’ve been in court for six hours so I know you haven’t eaten.’

‘You really do have to stop mothering me.’

‘Well, start taking care of yourself and I won’t have to. Now, what’s on your mind?’

Kim watched as he took a bite of the crusty end of the baguette and followed suit, amazed at how their friendship worked. It was like an elastic band, at times stretched to its limit, taut with intensity and then twang, right back into place.

‘There’s something still bugging me about the Ruth Willis case.’

‘No shit.

Is this personal, Guv?’

‘How so?’

‘It was obvious that you didn’t have a lot of time for Alex Thorne. You took an instant dislike to her, so is this just self-perpetuating your negative view of her?’

Kim had asked herself the same question, but Bryant was mistaken on one point. She didn’t dislike the doctor. There hadn’t been any emotional reaction at all.

‘My gut is telling me something.’

‘Normally I have the greatest respect for your gut, but I think on this occasion it might be picking up white noise.’

Kim opened her mouth to speak, but decided against it. She took another bite of the baguette as Bryant rested his back on the plate.

‘Guv, I’m just dying to ask, is that a bloody dog hair on your jacket or what?’

The earlier conversation was closed. Kim knew that if she wanted to delve any deeper into what was troubling her about Doctor Thorne, she would be doing so on her own.

THIRTY-ONE

‘Okay, kiddies, update on the Dunn case. Dawson?’

‘Semen sample and pubic hair has gone for analysis. Still waiting on the results.’

Kim nodded. Useful, but not until they had a suspect.

‘So far I’ve spoken to most of his colleagues. Can’t seem to pin down Leonard’s manager though. Last place of employment was a branch of a car spares chain in Kidderminster. I’ve been twice now and the bloke’s never there.’

Kim turned to Bryant. ‘Note it down.’

Dawson continued. ‘Spoken to all of his family, and most of Wendy’s. Nothing but disgust for Leonard Dunn. Her brother is fiercely protective and wouldn’t allow me in the house. But he did make his feelings clear from the doorstep.’

Kim turned to Bryant. He noted it down.

‘Focus on the neighbours, Kev. I want to know everything about visitors to the house. Find the resident curtain twitcher and have yourself a cup of tea.’

‘Stace?’ Kim asked.

‘No new messages on Facebook since the arrest. Another nineteen folks have unfriended him and blocked ’is account. I’ll goo through the ones he’s got left, to see if there’s anything of use.’

From the corner of her eye, Kim saw Dawson take his phone from his pocket and turn away from her.

Bryant coughed loudly and Stacey kicked the wood where the desks met between them.

Kim held up her hand to silence them both, crossed her arms across her chest … and waited.

The room had been silent for almost a full minute when Dawson turned back towards his colleagues.

‘Are you with us, Dawson?’ she asked.

With six unimpressed eyes gazing upon him, he coloured instantly.

‘Sorry, Guv, it’s the father-in-law. He’s …’

‘Kev, shut up. Don’t embarrass yourself any further. Our next conversation will be very different. I will not warn you again. Clear?’

He nodded and stared ahead.

‘Good, okay, everybody get to it.’

Dawson was the first out of the door.

Kim remained seated where she was but tossed Bryant the keys to her car.

He looked at her and then Stacey.

‘Ah. Bryant, get yourself out of the room,’ he acknowledged to himself.

Kim smiled as he breezed past her.

‘Stace, don’t look so worried,’ Kim said with a smile, when just the two of them were left. ‘You’ve done nothing wrong.’

And that was the truth. The DC very rarely did anything wrong.

‘I need you to do something for me. Just to put my mind at rest. Can you do a little digging on the doctor?’

‘Thorne, yer mean?’

Kim nodded. It wasn’t an official request.

‘Yer looking for anything in particular?’

Kim thought for a moment. ‘Yeah, I want to know how her little sister died.’

THIRTY-TWO

Kim brought the Golf to a standstill in front of the car spares warehouse. Bryant visibly relaxed and checked himself for injury.

‘Jeez, Guv, I hate it when your driving speed tries to keep pace with your brain.’

‘A little whiplash never hurt anyone,’ she said, getting out of the car before he could respond.

The entrance to the premises was a heavy, glass push-door that led into a small reception. The area was clean and tidy with a desk that rose to her midriff. A two-seater leather sofa sat to the right of the desk.

‘Ugh … smell that,’ Bryant said.

It was a smell Kim recognised. Oil mixed with grease and a top note of lubricant. To her, it was delicious.

A man stepped through the doorway carrying a front brake assembly, then placed it on top of the reception desk.

Kim guessed him to be early forties, with a receding hairline that was trying to hide behind a short, spiky style that was better suited to a teenaged son. He wore a light blue shirt that was clean despite the environment. A badge marked ‘Brett – Manager’ indicated they had found the elusive employee.

‘May I help you?’ he said, looking from one to the other. His customer-service-training smile was just a second later than the words, indicating he was working from a checklist in his mind. Greet. Smile.

Bryant showed his warrant card and introduced them both.

No longer needed, the smile disappeared. ‘Someone’s already been here a couple of times and spoke to the lads. I don’t know what I can tell you.’

‘Perhaps you could just tell us a bit about Leonard Dunn.’

Asking the man an open question gave them the opportunity to assess him as he spoke freely.

‘He came to us through a government scheme. We got paid to take him on. Started him in the stores but he was making too many mistakes.’

‘Were you required to keep him for a set period?’ Kim asked.

There had been many back-to-work schemes initiated by the government to reduce unemployment figures. And they all did. For a while.

Brett smiled in her direction. ‘Yes, twelve months’ minimum, but it just wasn’t working out.’

‘What did you do about it?’ Bryant asked.

‘Obviously, spoke to him. There wasn’t any improvement, so we put him in a van.’

‘And?’

‘I got two complaints about his attitude and one about his body odour.’

Kim hid her smile. ‘What next?’

‘I offered the government their money back.’

‘You tried for a refund?’ Bryant asked.

Kim didn’t normally like people being referred to as possessions but in the case of Leonard Dunn she was happy to make the exception.

‘Any strange habits?’ Bryant asked.

He shook his head. ‘He was overweight and could have showered a bit more but not particularly remarkable.’

And not an obvious child abuser, Kim thought, knowing that there was no such thing.

If only they could be picked out by skull size, or by the distance between the eyes; once thought to be an indicator of criminality. All she’d need was a tape measure and a notepad and they’d all be behind bars.

‘Did he have any friends here?’ Kim asked.

‘No, and I lost a few for putting him forward.’

‘For what?’ Kim asked.

‘The employment scheme,’ he said, irritably.

Bryant frowned on her behalf. ‘I thought the government put him forward.’

‘It was me that suggested it … after meeting him at a bloody book club.’

Bryant cast a glance her way. She offered no response.

‘Okay, Brett, thanks for your time.’

Kim nodded in his direction and led the way back out the door.

Once back in the car, Kim’s fingers tapped on the steering wheel.

‘Well, that was a complete waste of time,’ Bryant grumbled.

‘You think?’

‘He gave us nothing.’

‘I disagree, Bryant,’ Kim said thoughtfully. ‘I think we might want to have a closer look at this book club.’

THIRTY-THREE

Barry watched as his wife, daughter and brother left the front garden and entered his house through a door frame constructed by him beneath a canopy he had designed.

He had only meant to look, catch a glimpse of Lisa and Amelia, to get a sign, a clue of their suffering, before making any kind of decision. But, standing here now, he knew that he could not go back. Who the hell did Adam think he was? It was his family, and his brother had no right trying to take them from him. Everything he loved was in that house and he was not prepared to let it go without a fight. He owed Lisa that much. Alex had been right.

Barry knocked on the door, mildly irritated that he was forced to seek permission to enter his own property, but that was about to change.

The door swung open and the face he had dreamt about for four years greeted him in horror.

For just a second, neither spoke.

‘Barry, what are you doing here? You know …’

‘I’ve come home, Lisa,’ he said, brushing past her.

He strode into the living room, leaving Lisa no choice but to close the door and follow him.

In Barry’s mind the house had remained the same and the only difference was Adam in his place, but he now saw that was not the case. The room had less furniture than before. The corner sofa that had taken three years to pay for was gone. A three-seater and a two-seater lined the walls. In front of the TV, in prime position, his position, was a big empty space, ready for a wheelchair.

Barry briefly acknowledged that Lisa had needed to make short-term changes to accommodate Adam, but it wasn’t permanent. It could be put back to how it had been before. Soon, he would have a job and would be able to refurnish the house.

The brick fire surround and gas fire had been replaced by an inbuilt electric screen, flush with the wall, displaying a fake flame.

Again, nothing that was irreversible.

‘Who is it, darling?’ Adam called from the kitchen.

As he entered the room, Barry was vaguely aware of the lowered work surfaces and kitchen units but his eyes rested immediately on the tangled mop of blonde curls of his daughter. He caught his breath. She was even more beautiful than he remembered.

A dash of fear passed through Adam’s eyes but he placed a protective arm in front of Amelia.

Oh, that hurt. She was her father and she didn’t need protecting from him.

A cold front moved into his brother’s eyes. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’

‘I’m here to see my family, of course,’ Barry answered, simply. He had no need to be hostile to his brother. Barry was about to take his life back and then Adam would be out in the cold. Adam deserved his sympathy.

‘Amelia, go to your room.’

She looked at the bowls and cake mix ready for use on the lowered counter. ‘But Daddy …’

Uncle, Barry thought but said nothing. It didn’t matter. She would soon know who her father was.

‘Amelia, please,’ Adam asked, gently.

She nodded and headed for the door.

Barry ruffled her soft hair as she passed by. She moved away from his touch. He understood that and didn’t blame his child. She didn’t know him. But she would.

‘You’re not supposed to be here. You know that.’

His wife stood with her arms crossed in front of her.

He moved towards her. ‘Lisa, we have to talk.’

She stepped back. ‘About what?’

‘Us.’

Barry heard the motorised wheelchair as Adam came in from the kitchen. That single sound confirmed that Alex had been right in encouraging him to come. Lisa could not possibly be happy.

He had built this prison for her and now he had to set her free.

‘Barry, there is no us.’

‘Sweetheart, we can try again …’

‘Don’t call me that,’ Lisa snapped.

‘It’s time for you to go,’ Adam offered.

Barry turned to his brother. ‘This has nothing to do with you. It’s between the two of us.’

Adam reached for the phone to the right of the sofa. Barry turned and grabbed it, ripping the lead from the wall.

‘Barry, for fuck’s sake …’

‘Is it too much to ask for a bit of privacy with my own wife?’

‘She’s not your …’

‘We divorced, Barry, remember?’ Lisa said, softly.

Barry turned back to her, phone still in hand. ‘And I understand that you had to do that, Lisa. I know what I did was wrong. I’ve paid the price for it.’

Lisa looked sad, regretful. ‘Not in a million years have you paid the price for what you did to us.’

‘But we can be “us” again. Just give me a chance to show …’

Lisa nodded towards Adam. ‘No, I meant us.’

Barry moved towards her and gripped her upper arm. ‘You can’t be imprisoned with him forever to compensate for what I did. You can’t stay with the man out of guilt.’

She winced and then shook off his touch. ‘Is that what you think?’

‘Look at him,’ Barry spat. ‘He’s a fucking cripple and I won’t let you give up your life when you know we should be together.’

‘You fucking bastard,’ Adam raged.

‘Stay out of it, you thieving wanker.’

Lisa stepped out of his reach. The familiar smell of her was overwhelming. She only ever wore Eternity.

His wife stood beside his brother. Her voice was kind, sympathetic. ‘Barry, it’s time to move on. There is no us anymore. You need to make another life for yourself.’

The words were gentle, patient; in a tone usually reserved for persuading children to eat their vegetables.

He met her earnest gaze.

Suddenly, he turned and saw what he’d missed on entry. Photographs. Above the fireplace was a family photo. The angle had been cleverly positioned to disguise the wheelchair but the tuxedo and bouquet jumped out with the clarity of a 3D movie. As did Lisa’s smile. He knew that smile.

He looked again.

Lisa stood beside Adam with her hand on his shoulder. There was no pain, no regret, no bowed head, no apology. Just fact.

Adam’s hand found Lisa’s and squeezed. A show of togetherness, unity. Lisa’s other hand, the one with the gold band, rested on her stomach, protectively.

At that moment, Barry’s world ended. All the hope Alex had given him died in his soul. His body felt like a shell, devoid of bone, muscle or organs. There was nothing.

Alex had been wrong.

He looked at the two of them, side by side. His brother, who had everything that had once belonged to him: his house, his wife, his daughter. His crippled brother had taken his entire life away from him. Erased him. Barry could imagine them lying in bed night, laughing at the feelings he still had for his ex-wife.

The familiar red mist cloaked his mind and he welcomed it back like an old friend. He had perfected techniques over the years to keep it away, or at best to control it. Right now, he embraced it.

Everything outside of these four walls dissolved into a vacuum. Right here, right now, was all there was. The holocaust had arrived and there was nothing else left.

Barry moved towards them slowly, offered his hand to Adam.

Barry saw the tension leave the upper body of his brother. Adam knew it was over. Barry knew it too.

Adam raised his hand to accept the handshake.

With one fluid movement borne out of having a ruthless trainer in the boxing ring, Barry’s right hand pulled Adam from the chair and loosed him onto the ground. A well-placed kick to the temple rendered him unconscious.

‘You fucking bastard,’ Barry spat.

Lisa managed one quick gasp before Barry’s left hand grabbed her throat, silencing her. ‘And you are a deceitful bitch.’

He pushed her against the wall and gazed into her eyes. Like a drowning man, their whole life together played out in his mind.

Her eyes showed fear and hatred. Good.

His wife’s terror fed the rage that filled every cell of his body. Every nerve ending in his fingers demanded satisfaction. They must both suffer what he had been made to endure.

His hands encircled flesh that he had caressed, kissed, bitten.

He spat in her face. ‘You cheating, disgusting whore. You did this to me.’

He squeezed the soft skin, compressing the airway that gave her and her unborn baby life.

Her arms flailed as her lungs screamed out for air. Desperate.

He squeezed harder, his eyes burning into hers.

‘B … arry …’

The sound of his name on her breath aimed straight for his heart. It was a sigh he remembered, but not like this.

The tears sprang to his eyes, blurring her already distorted features. His left hand released her throat as his right fist thundered against her temple.

‘Fuck you, bitch …’

Damn it, he still loved her.

She coughed and spluttered, her hand clasped to her neck. ‘Ame– ’

Even then Barry would have forgiven her anything; accepted her mistakes, until he saw her direction of travel.

Her nails dug into the carpet pile as she struggled to reach the inert form of her crippled, unconscious husband.

‘You’ll never see our child again,’ he said, kicking the back of her head.

Barry closed the lounge door behind him and shouted up the stairs. ‘It’s okay, Amelia. You can come down now. Come on, come down to Daddy.’


    Ваша оценка произведения:

Популярные книги за неделю