Authors: Ken McClure
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Medical, #Suspense, #Thrillers
Table of Contents
Gail Spooner smoothed the front of her skirt and evened her lipstick by pursing her lips several times as she saw the car slow down. She had been expecting it, because the same Ford Orion was on its third 'lap' of the area. It drew to a halt and she switched on her smile. Stepping out from the shadows, she walked over to the car and rested her elbow on the car's roof as she bent down to speak to the driver through the open window. 'Hello there,' she said as if he were an old friend. The driver leaned across to open the passenger door and said, 'Get in.'
'Oh, the masterful kind,' said Gail getting in and swinging her legs round to expose the maximum amount of stockinged thigh. 'I like a man who knows what he wants.' She turned to look at the driver and found no smile on his face. 'God, you're not the police are you?' she asked nervously.
'No. Where do we go?'
'The car park at the back of Tesco's. It's nice and dark there and no one will bother us.'
'No, not in the car.'
'I've got a place but it's going to cost you.'
'Forty five. More if you want extras.'
'You know, if I have to dress up or do anything ...'
'What do you mean?'
Gail said, 'It's all right, I'm not criticising. You can tell me what turns you on. Anything goes as long as it doesn't hurt.'
'No, nothing like that.'
'Right then, we'll have ourselves a little party shall we? How about a drink first?'
'No drink. Where do we go?'
'My place is in Spicer's Row. It's a studio flat, an attic really but it's cosy.'
The car crept through the dark streets and glided to a halt at the junction between Barton Road and Spicer's Row.
'We'll walk from here.'
The couple walked down Spicer's Row and turned into a darkened doorway to wait while Gail fumbled in her handbag. The rattle of a lipstick against a powder compact continued intermittently until it gave way to a more metallic sound as she found her keys. She reached up to insert her door key in the lock with her bag held awkwardly under her arm. Curtains moved and a face looked out from a ground floor window to their left.
'Nosey old cow!' hissed Gail.
The man looked away to the right and drew his collar up. Gail thought nothing of the gesture. She was used to men being ill at ease at being seen with her; pulled-up collars and furtive looks over the shoulder were all part of the job.
Gail led the way up a flight of winding wooden stairs which creaked badly. She stopped half way up to turn and say, ''You haven't touched my bum. They all touch my bum when I climb these stairs. You've got a bit of class. I like that.'
The man just grunted in reply and they climbed to the top where Gail opened a door and clicked on the light. They entered and she switched on a fan heater which rattled intermittently and filled the room with the smell of burning dust from elements which had not been used for some time. Gail took off her jacket and threw it casually on the bed. She placed her hands on the man's shoulders and smiled up at him, saying seductively, 'Let's enjoy ourselves shall we?'
Ignoring her, the man looked about him. A slight sneer played on his lips as he looked at the posters on the wall. They were mainly of film and pop stars but there was a large travel poster for the Greek islands. 'Have you been there?' he asked.
'Not yet,' Gail replied.
The man looked at her without expression for a moment before continuing with his inspection of the room.
'It's not much but it's home,' said Gail with a small forced laugh. The man did not smile.
Interpreting the man's silence as possible shyness Gail smiled and took a step backwards to begin taking off her clothes. She did it with the confidence of a woman sure of her ability to arouse men. When she was down to her underwear she turned sideways and simpered coyly, 'Perhaps you would like to help me with the rest?'
'So you are the masterful kind,' smiled Gail, spread-eagling herself on the bed and putting her hands behind her head.
There were a series of ribbons tied to the end of the bed. The man took them lightly in his hand and let them run through his fingers as if captivated by the sensation.
'So that's what you like ... Well, why not?' Gail held up her wrists and said in a husky whisper, 'Tie me. Tie me up and then I'll be completely at your mercy. Would you like that?'
The man smiled for the first time and Gail took this as a sign of success in figuring out her client. She simpered professionally as the man secured each wrist to a corner of the bed and then removed two more of the ribbons to start working on her ankles. Gail giggled and said, 'Don't you think you should take off my panties first?' She said it like a shy schoolgirl but the man behaved as if he hadn't heard and finished securing her. He stood up to admire his handiwork and Gail pretended to struggle a little against her bonds. 'You've got me now,' she whispered. 'What are you going to do to me?'
Beads of sweat appeared along the man's top lip and the muscle in his left cheek quivered slightly as he muttered something in what Gail thought was a foreign language. ''Here what are you talking about?' she asked, her voice suddenly taking on a degree of uncertainty.
The man held Gail's gaze while he reached inside his jacket and pulled out a velvet cloth. He unwrapped it carefully and removed a metal object to hold it up before her. 'Do you know what this is?' he asked. There was a hoarse quality about his voice.
Gail's eyes were wide with fear. 'It's a knife,' she stammered. 'It's one of these knives doctors use ...' Terror had tightened her throat and made her voice sound strained. She watched helplessly as the man brought the blade down slowly towards her skin. He paused and then cut away her bra straps cleanly. He removed the material before tracing the flat of the blade gently to and fro down and across her stomach before cutting away the rest of her underwear.
A distant smile appeared on the man's face and Gail found her voice. 'Steady on, they cost me a fortune,' she joked nervously. 'They're French.'
The man looked at her as if lost in a dream but then suddenly his eyes hardened. Gail's fear turned to terror. She opened her mouth to scream but the man covered it with his hand and brought his face down close to hers. 'You're right,' he whispered. 'It's a knife that doctors use ...’
'How do you feel?' Sue Jamieson asked her husband.
Scott Jamieson looked up at the pretty girl who was smiling down at him, her head slightly to one side. 'Amorous,' he said.
'I am serious.'
'You're not on,' laughed Sue.
'Come back to bed.'
'There isn't time. You can't be late for your interview,' she said sitting down on the edge of the bed and ruffling her husband's dark hair.
'Of course there's time,' said Scott Jamieson. He circled his arm round Sue and pulled her down on top of him but she remained adamant. 'There isn't!' she said putting both hands against his chest to fend him off.
Jamieson relaxed his grip and smiled. 'I love you,' he said softly.
'I know you do and I love you,' said Sue. 'But right now ... shower!'
'You win,' conceded Jamieson swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Sue looked at the scars on his body as he sat up and kissed his shoulder on impulse. 'Change your mind?' he asked.
'Get on with you,' she said. 'I'll get breakfast.'
Jamieson turned on the shower with his right hand and felt a sudden, sharp twinge of pain in his fingers that made him draw back with a soft curse. He stretched his fingers out and examined them as he had done a thousand times before in the recent past but there was nothing untoward to see, no disfigurement, no indication of misalignment, no obvious reason why he should not hold a scalpel again if it were not for a residual stiffness that prevented him keeping perfect control of it. Give it time Jamieson, he reminded himself and immediately felt pleased at his new-found philosophical attitude.
It was a view he could not have expressed in the early months of his recovery when a mixture of frustration, self pity and blind anger had ruled his head and made him almost insufferable to live with. But Sue had never wavered. From the time of the accident she had been a tower of strength, nursing him through the physical pain and then the mental anguish that followed. It had even been her who had made him face up to the obvious - that he should at least think about changing specialties, an idea he had found abhorrent at first but had eventually come round to considering and finally to giving it a try.
A change to pathology had been the first idea to be mooted but a career among cadavers and the sweet, sickly smell of formaldehyde had held little attraction. Too many of the pathologists he knew were well on the way to alcoholism and he could understand why. For him, medicine was about saving lives not finding out why they had failed. He knew that this was a ridiculously simplistic view of things but white tiles and the stench of death were not for him.
That had left radiology and the lab specialties, haematology, biochemistry and microbiology. In all, Jamieson had spent eighteen months trying to find a new niche in medicine but in the end he had admitted defeat. His academic performance in refresher and re-training courses had been beyond reproach but once the challenge of learning something new had receded he had been left with an undeniable feeling of restlessness that he suspected the laboratory specialties could never satisfy. He was temperamentally unsuited to them, having known the excitement and challenge of surgery too well.
Jamieson had reached the point of considering leaving medicine altogether and joining his father's business when one of the consultants on his last re-training course had persuaded him to let him put his name forward for a job he thought Jamieson well-suited for. He was unwilling to say exactly what the job would be, only that it would not be ordinary and that it would not be a desk job. Agreeing finally that he had nothing to lose by applying, Jamieson was invited to attend for interview at the Home Office.
Scott Jamieson was thirty-three, eight years older than Sue. He had been brought up in the Scottish border town of Galashiels, a mill town that nestled on the banks of the River Tweed in soft, rolling countryside. The eldest son of a successful mill owner, Jamieson had been educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh like his father before him. Blessed with an easy charm and both physical and scholastic ability, he had sailed through his school years and in the process, acquired the confidence of someone who had never known anything other than success.
A down to earth father and the level headedness of the border folk who were his friends and neighbours had prevented this confidence from ever fermenting into arrogance. It was one thing to be captain of rugby at school quite another to take the field with the rugby- mad border teams on a Saturday afternoon. Self-opinionation had a habit of coming to grief in border mud.
From school Jamieson had gone on to Glasgow University to study medicine after taking a year out to work in his father's mill. Although he had enjoyed the experience of working in the mill, he knew that the life was not for him and had been relieved when his father had not seemed too disappointed when he told him as much. The fact that he had two younger brothers probably helped.