Authors: Katie L Thompson
“Where’s Danny?” Jamie asked when
she walked into the station.
“I was going
to ask you the same thing.” He looked at his watch. “I thought both of you had
“Sorry. I was
up late with Alex and we both slept through my alarm.”
“Did you have
a good night?”
“Yeah, we saw
something that’ll interest you.”
“I wanted to
wait until Danny was here, so I could tell you together.”
doesn’t look like Danny’s coming.” Carl pulled his mobile out of his pocket and
rang Danny’s number. It went through to voicemail.
I called him several times last night and it did the same thing.”
“What if he’s
in trouble? Despite what he says, that hit on the head really affected him. I
saw the doctor’s notes, they didn’t want to let him out until tomorrow.”
know.” Jamie took her own mobile out of her bag while Carl hurried her out of
the door. “I think I’ll get Alex to go over there and make sure he’s alright.”
“I don’t care.
What if he’s too ill to answer the phone?”
“Then he’ll be
too ill to open the door.”
him and called Alex anyway. “Alex is going over now.”
said, indicating to turn right.
she’d never been alone with Carl before. She didn’t know what to talk about.
“How was your date last night?”
“Do you really
want to ask that?”
her head, she probably didn’t want to know.
“Will you be
seeing her again?”
shocked. “Of course not.”
“Why? Are you
always like this?”
gets in the way of any social life. What’s the point getting close to someone
when you know that in the end they’ll leave because you don’t spend enough time
with them?” He kept his eyes on the road.
like you know that from experience.”
“I don’t want
to talk about it … Can you get that map?”
For the rest
of the journey they stayed silent except for the occasional direction from
Jamie when they got to a junction.
the car up outside of the main reception area and they hurried inside twenty
he’s not in yet,” the receptionist informed them. “Did you have a scheduled
“Well then I’m
sure he won’t be long.” She looked back at her computer screen – as far as she
was concerned the conversation was over.
Carl put both his hands on the desk between them. “The meeting was scheduled
for twenty minutes ago. Just how much longer do you think he’s going to be?”
sir, I don’t know.” She didn’t raise her eyes from the computer screen. “Please
take a seat in the waiting area.”
realise who we–”
Carl and Jamie
gave in and took a seat in the waiting area as instructed. His nine o’clock
appointment was already there and a few minutes later his nine fifteen
began vibrating in her pocket. “It’s Alex,” she told Carl before answering the
“I’m here now,
but there’s no answer. I’ve knocked on the door and rung the bell. Nothing.” He
answering,” Jamie told Carl.
For the first
time, Carl began to look worried. “Tell Alex there’s a spare key in the flower
pot round the back just before you get to the gate.”
the message on to Alex.
“Uh huh, found
it,” Alex said a few minutes later. He shivered.
“Call us back
when you find anything out. I think our man’s just got here.”
Alex slotted the key into the lock and hung up.
the man said. He stood in the middle of the waiting area and looked around him.
Carl put his
hand up. “Mr Brookes isn’t here. He sent us instead.”
hurried into his office and sat down on matching chairs.
“This is about
Sara Longacre, isn’t it?” He took a seat on the opposite side of the desk.
“It’s just terrible.”
“We heard that
she’s recently been promoted,” Carl took the lead.
anyone else in line for that promotion?”
really. Polly thought she might be in with a shot but truthfully, she had no
chance. Not against Sara.”
She and Sara worked together.”
out his notebook. “I seem to have lost my pencil. Has anyone … thank you,
Jamie. Did Sara and Polly have any disagreements?”
“No more than any
other people who work close together. If you’re with someone all the time there
are bound to be disagreements.”
“I think we
need to talk to this Polly,” Carl said, tucking his notebook back into his
pocket. “Where can we find her?”
she’s not in at the moment.”
“There was an
issue last week with an order. It went terribly wrong, and we lost lots of
money. Polly’s been … um … she’s not allowed to work for a few weeks.”
interest sparked up. He reached for his notebook. “Uh, where did I put it?” He
tried each of his pockets.
“Thank you.” He
turned to face Sara’s boss. “You said Sara and Polly worked closely together.
How do you know the error was Polly’s fault? Surely if they work together they
should both be blamed.”
“Look, I don’t
know why you’re asking all these questions. Polly doesn’t have a bad bone in
her body. She made a mistake.”
admitted to this mistake?”
“No, but no
one around here ever admits to making a mistake. Admitting to making a mistake
like that would cost you your job.”
“Will Polly be
at home right now? May we have an address?”
“I can’t give
out information like that. It’s confidential.” He shifted uncomfortably in his
give us the information or we get permission and force the information out of
you. You are getting in the way of a police inquiry.”
“It’ll take a while to boot up the compu–”
patiently for the computer to start up.
“I told you it
would take a while. It’ll be a lot easier if I just email you the information
“We can wait.”
her mobile in Carl’s direction.
“Take it,” he
going?” The boss looked shifty.
“To take a
was pacing the car park.
“I got in,”
Alex said. “He was in bed. I think he’s got a fever or something. Looks awful.”
“Take him to
He won’t go. He just keeps saying he’s fine.”
be able to stay with him today, would you? Just until one of us can take over.
Please. Please.” Jamie stopped and clasped her hands together with her mobile
tucked between her ear and her shoulder.
thank you thank you.”
went back into the office, Carl was sitting at the desk on his own.
the piss,” Carl said. “Apparently the printer in this room doesn’t work, so
he’s gone to collect it from the printer down the hall. He’s been gone for
ages. I don’t think he’s coming back … Was that Alex? Is Danny okay?”
he’s got a fever. He’s making him stay in bed, because he won’t go to the
doctor’s. He’s going to stay with him until one of us can get there.”
Danny. Doesn’t trust a soul in the NHS.”
“Why don’t we
just look at the computer and write the details down. I think you’re right,
he’s not coming back.” She grabbed a spare piece of paper and a pen off the
desk and started copying down Polly’s details.
“Why didn’t I
think of that?” Carl asked, although he was talking more to the air than to
matter if you had thought of it, no one can read your writing.”
Jamie folded the piece of paper and put it in her pocket.
On the way
back to the station they stopped to buy two takeaway coffees.
this stuff,” Carl said. “I forgot just how good real coffee is.”
“You know, as
opposed to that rubbish we have in the station.”
“I can’t tell
Carl shot her
a look of disbelief. After parking the car, Carl got out and left Jamie to
clamber over the seats.
waiting.” She rolled her eyes.
“I’m sorry. I
didn’t know you needed help getting out of a car.”
the lock button on the car key and walked into the station – he’d unlocked the
door while waiting for Jamie to get out of the car. He walked straight into
Jamie’s whiteboard. “I do wish you’d leave that thing tucked up in the corner,”
he said, rubbing his leg.
be a problem if you watched where you were going.”
slumped down at his computer desk.
“One of us
should probably go and check on Danny. Relieve Alex for a little while.” Jamie
checked her mobile for any messages, but there weren’t any.
“I’ll go in a
minute,” Carl said, his head still in his arms on the desk, “just give me a few
minutes. Some of us didn’t have a lie in like you.”
call eight fifteen a lie in.”
rang, and Carl stretched to answer it, his head still on the desk, grumbling as
he did so. “Uh huh … great … thanks for letting us know.”
asked when he’d hung up.
“That lady you
gave a card to, one of the neighbours, says the car is back.”
“The one that
picked the girl up.”
look any the wiser.
“The girl on
the doorstep. The one who stood there for a while waiting for the door to open
and then got picked up when it never opened. The one we think all the phone
calls were from. The last person to speak to Sara.”
“Oh okay. No
need to go on, I know who you mean.” Walking out of the door, she said, “What
“He’ll have to
It was after
Carl had locked the door that Jamie remembered her cup of coffee, still sitting
on her desk.
“Can I drive?”
Jamie asked when they got to the car, she didn’t like the idea of climbing over
the seats again – the handbrake always stabbed her and made her leg go dead.
time, we’re in a bit of a hurry now.”
the plan?” They were driving down the country roads at eighty kilometres per
hour, if she didn’t speak she’d scream.
“See if we can
catch this person and ask them some questions.”
“We don’t even
know who’s going to be driving.”
we’ve been told, it’s not going to be the girl, is it? The neighbour estimated
she’d be around fourteen years old. Maybe it’ll be a parent or older sibling.”
Jamie sat back
in her seat and held on tight. She was determined not to make a fuss, although
they were going about ninety kilometres per hour when it was only safe to do
screamed when they whizzed around a tight bend, “just ‘cause it says you can do
one hundred kilometres per hour doesn’t mean you have to do it.”
per hour, darling. We’re not in Canada now,” he said, showing no intention of
“I don’t care
what you call it, slow down.”
want to catch this guy? It might be our only chance.”
“Yes, but I
don’t want to die in the process.”
“We won’t die.
I’m used to these narrow roads.”
A car came in
the opposite direction, and Carl swerved into a passing place to get out of the
passing place hadn’t been there we’d be dead right now.”
“Just as well
it was there then, eh?”
unbelievable.” She tightened her grip and ducked her head – she couldn’t watch.
screeched around another bend.
car’s still there.”
Carl pulled up
behind the other car. “You see if there’s anyone in the car. I’ll go up to the
happy to have her feet on firm ground.
“Can I help you?” Carl stood
behind a black haired guy who was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a dark brown
The guy turned
around to face Carl. “Oh … uh. Sorry officer. I wasn’t doing anything bad. I
promise. It’s just … no one’s answering, and I was–”
“It’s a crime
scene. No one’s allowed inside so of course no one will answer.”
His eyes widened. “What happened?”
realised that this guy was likely to be no help to them whatsoever.
“A murder took
place here on Saturday morning.”
“That’s why no
one answered the door to my daughter.” His face went pale. “Neil was away all
weekend which means … oh no … no … no.”
Jamie came up
behind them just as the guy slid down the wall with his head in his hands.
“How do you
know Mrs–” Carl began, but Jamie put her hand on his shoulder to stop him.
They took a
step away to give the man some space, but didn’t move too far away in case the
whole thing was just a show, and he decided to run.
Why?” he muttered.
Carl went to
answer his questions, but Jamie stopped him.
want to know, not yet,” she said. “He’s talking to himself, not us.”
straightened out her blouse – wishing she hadn’t chosen today to wear white –
and sat on the floor next to the black haired man. “How do you know Mrs
When he looked
up, she passed him a tissue.
ex-wife. We don’t speak anymore, but she still sees our daughter every now and
then when Neil’s away with work.” He sobbed and blew his nose in the tissue.
Neil tell us any of this?”
know, and he can’t find out. Sara always said she’d tell him, but she never
did. After a while she said she couldn’t tell him, she’d left it too long.” He was
silent for a few seconds. “I guess it doesn’t matter if he finds out now.”
“Can you tell
us how this works then? The bit about your daughter.”
“Sara calls me
when Neil’s away for the weekend, and we arrange for Zoe, our daughter, to
spend the weekend with her. The only other contact I have with Sara is to say
when we’re fifteen minutes away.”
your name?” Jamie asked, realising she’d missed out vital information.
“How old is
enjoys spending time with her mum?”
“I don’t know
if she enjoys it, but she always comes home with a new wardrobe of clothes.”
to Carl. He shook his head – he didn’t have anything else to ask.
“Let us know
if you think of anything that could help us. Do you need a lift home
somewhere?” From the state of him, it didn’t look like he’d be fit to drive.
“Okay and no.
I’ll drive myself home in a while. I’ll go to the café for a bit or something.”
sure that was a good idea, but he wasn’t theirs to worry about.
until Greg had left the premises before driving back to the station.
“What are you
looking at?” Carl asked, thankfully he was driving at a more reasonable speed
now that they weren’t in a hurry.
“I have a
missed message from Alex.”
“That’s what I
was going to do, but then you asked me what I was doing, so I had to stop to
talk to you.”
Jamie said when Alex picked up.
“About an hour
ago, Danny said he was feeling better and wanted something to eat, so I made
him that soup Mum always makes when we’re ill.”
“Good idea. He
needs to eat.”
That’s what I thought. It’s just, when I’d made the soup and went back to his
room, he wasn’t there.”
“What do you
mean, he wasn’t there?” Jamie looked at Carl who just laughed.
“He left a
note saying he’d gone to the station.”
there in about five minutes.”
“Sorry, I was
only gone a few minutes.” Alex hung up.
Jamie put her mobile
in her handbag. “You’ll never guess what’s happened.”
“Oh let me
try. Danny made some excuse to get Alex out of the room and is now at the
station waiting for us?”
“How did you
believe in having time off work or being ill. This isn’t the first time he’s
done something like this.”
screeched to a halt in the parking space.
“Hey, you said
I could drive if we weren’t in a hurry,” Jamie said.
then I decided I didn’t want to die today.” Carl pushed the station door open.
everyone,” Danny put on a fake accent – it was awful.
believe you tricked my brother like that,” Jamie said.
“I know. I’ll
apologise to him later, but that soup he was preparing smelled awful.”
Jamie let the
conversation drop. There was no denying it – Alex was terrible at cooking.
“So, what have
you two been up to? How did the meeting this morning with Sara’s boss go?”
Danny in on everything they’d done that morning while Jamie made herself
comfortable at her desk. Although, it was only eleven o’clock, and she wasn’t particularly
hungry, she took her sandwiches out of her top drawer and took a swig of cold
coffee. She’d only taken a few sips before they’d been rushed out of the office,
and she’d hate to see it go to waste.
have something you wanted to tell us?” Carl asked when he’d finished filling
“Uh hum,” she
mumbled through a mouthful of sandwich. She brushed the crumbs from her hands
and retrieved her mobile from her bag. “Do either of you know the place in the
woods where the waterfall is?”
said in unison.
“Alex took me
there last night, thinking it was some unknown location.” She flipped through
the pictures on her mobile until she found the ones she wanted. “There were two
people there when we got there. They were very close.”
“You mean a
pair of lovers?” Carl interjected.
“Sort of, I
suppose. Anyway, I took some pictures,” Jamie said.
pictures of a pair of lovers?”
She shot Carl
a glance to make him shut up. “Do you recognise this woman?” she handed the mobile
“Yes,” he said
immediately. “That’s the cow who slammed the door on my head.” He looked closer
at the picture. “Is that Mr Longacre?”
over Danny’s shoulder – now interested in the conversation. “But, what are they
Longacre did kill his wife with the help of someone else.”