Wet Daddy (£2.90 | $3.58)
This better be good? He’ll bloody crucify them if it isn’t.
“What!” Harvey blasted into the phone. He listened and I read his mind, for a few minutes.
Christ, this sounds fucking serious.
“Sorry I yelled, David, you sound dreadful. You should’ve had someone with you…don’t worry about that now. We’ll be there in half an hour. Just hold the fort and let no one in.”
His phone snapped shut.
I’d already turned on the speed. I was out of my gear and dressed in work clothes.
“I’m going to feed and I’ll be with you in ten minutes, Harvey.”
“I’ll organise everyone. See you when you get down, Alli.”
I raced to the blood room and picked up six bags.
By the time I walked into the sitting room everyone was waiting. Reese and Chris just stood there; open-mouthed and absolutely shocked at the speed we organised our exit.“I think you should come with us, Reese? It’s fucking gruesome but you should see what we deal with?” Harvey was deadly serious.
It was Chris who answered, “We should both see it, if you don’t mind, Harvey?”
“Ride with Alli and me. I’ll let you all know what we’re going to, en route.” We turned for the door.
“I’ll lock up, Harvey. Just go. I’ll catch you up.”
Chris and Reese had to move faster than they’d ever moved, keeping up with us. As soon as both back doors slammed Harvey took off. I heard seatbelts locking in the back. We don’t use them as nothing could harm us and we needed to exit fast.
The roads Harvey chose were clear; no nightclubs with people leaving and jamming everything up.
“Is everyone listening?” Harvey asked, his eyes scanning the road.
Yes, hit both our minds from everyone in the cars behind.
“Right. We’re going to the old foundry; three miles past the new one. Take first left off the Reading road. Whatever we’ve dealt with in the past has nothing on this fucking case.
“Prepare to be shocked, and I mean all of you. Two young couples went there for a shag and decided to check out the building. Both women fainted when their torches shone on the victims. Both boys vomited and ran, leaving the girls in there.
“One of the lads called for us and an ambulance for the two women. David was first on the scene and heaved his guts up. He was in tears when he phoned me…he’s really shaken up.
“I don’t know how many bodies are in there. David only saw a couple of them properly and had to leave, dragging the two women outside. If anyone feels sick; don’t stay inside, just get out of there.”
I’ve got my kit with me, Harvey.
“Thanks, Hillary. This will shock you, too. Andy, ring SOCO, please? I don’t think we need the doctor.”
I’m on it, Harvey.
“I’m going to describe what David saw. Women’s bodies have been tied up with all sorts of coloured stuff hanging off them. He said they’re really high up and the stench, unbelievable.”
“Fucking hell.” Reese was totally shocked, in the back seat.
“Welcome to our world, Reese.” Harvey was thinking for a moment. “Andy, get onto Marty now. He’s Billy’s mate who owns the tool hire shop. We’re going to need at least three generators and as many lights as he’s got. Tell Marty to bring plenty of fuel as this place is cut-off from the mains. I’ll sort him out with money when he gets there.”
I’m on it.
“Any questions from anyone?” No one replied. Harvey indicated and took the road to the foundry.
“Jesus, Harvey. You certainly shift when you have to?” Chris was excited in the back. He won’t be so bloody thrilled when he smells this little lot.
It’ll rock his world; I’ve already seen it, Harvey.
Harvey glanced at me and nodded, then he voiced, “Every second wasted, could mean someone’s life has expired, Chris. Don’t feel you have to come inside this place, either of you; it’s fucking horrific.”
Harvey, I’m ringing Derek, to get the other pathologists out here.
“Thanks, Hillary, I think you’ll need them.”
“What did Hillary say to you, Harvey?”
“She’s ringing for other pathologists, Reese. If you learn the mind thing, you’ll be able to hear everyone, in time.”
“Humans can learn it?” Chris was astounded but didn’t get the chance to hear a reply.
“We’re here.” Harvey drove through the gates and looked out for David’s car. He saw flashing lights and headed for them.
An ambulance was open at the back, with people on beds inside, attended to by two paramedics. David’s car was near the main doors with the driver’s door open. He was in the driver’s seat, sideways on. His head in his hands and his feet planted firmly on the ground outside.
He looked up as we pulled to a halt beside him.
Harvey was the first out and over to him really fast.
“Are you okay, David?”
“I am now, sir. I’m sorry I cried.”
“Don’t apologise for that. It means you care, David, and I’m sure some of us will be in the same boat before this is over. I’m ordering up the troops so if you’re okay to drive, you can go home.”
“I want to stay and help, sir? You’re going to need all the help you can get.”
I always thought you had guts.
“Did you get the kid’s names?”
“In my notebook, sir.”
“Well done. I’ll keep you on outside duties, David. I’ll need someone with brains out here, once everything gets going.” Harvey patted his back and pulled his phone out; rang control and ordered our team.
I opened the boot and pulled out forensic suits. Found torches, masks and hard hats.
“Have you got enough for us? We want to see this first-hand, Harvey?” Reese was adamant and Harvey nodded to me. This’ll fucking shock them.
I gave them forensic suits. “They fit Harvey, so they should be fine for you two, and use these hard hats; the building could be dangerous. Here, you might want to use these?” I gave them masks. I hope you put them on.
One by one, our lot joined us; kitted-out for anything inside.
“Let’s go?” Torches went on as we were leaving the lights from the cars.
Harvey and Jo pulled the huge wooden doors wide open, at speed, and the vacuum it created sucked out great wafts of warm air; acrid, almost chewable stench, blasting us where we stood. Reese and Chris gasped and started choking and gagging. They know what they’re in for, now.
When our torches were raised above eye level, the full horror was displayed across the building.
“Fucking hell,” slipped from everyone’s lips as we stared at the number in there.
Harvey and Jo went in first, shining lights on some of the swaying multi coloured abominations above. The bodies were hard to see at first; streamers and feathers bound around the fly-blown nightmares; crawling with maggots, dropping off like rain into the shadows across the building.
“Jesus, Harvey! Look at the floor, it’s crawling.” He shone his torch down.
“The cold air makes them drop, when you opened the doors, Jo.” Hillary scanned the floor and went on to say, “Everyone should watch how you walk in there or you’ll skid if you’re not careful?” I glanced at her. Utter disbelief filled her face.
Gina and I see the dead everywhere and are used to this if you ever get used to it. We have no choice in the matter, and it’s hard to concentrate, sometimes, when they’re bombarding you with questions. Ignoring them has become second nature – self-preservation.
Gina glanced at me. Lots of women were walking around aimlessly inside, at the back of the building. They kept looking up to their bodies above and then back to us. All were decomposed and would grace anyone’s horror movie.
Ignore them, Gina, we have to?
Harvey heard me. Are you two, all right?
We’re fine, Harvey. This is nothing new; you know that. Just carry on; we have a lot to sort out.
Let me know if it gets too much?
I saw a load of God-knows-what, dropping on Harvey’s shoulder.
“Make sure your hair’s tucked in, Alli?” Harvey called back.
I felt the back of my neck. “I’ll tuck it in for you, Sis.” Lucas was behind me.
“Thank you. I thought I’d missed some.” Lucas held his torch between his teeth and made sure it was all inside my collar.
“Use the Velcro and tighten it, you don’t want maggots down your neck.”
“Thanks, this looks fucking awful, Lucas.” We followed the others inside.
Harvey found a metal rod on the floor and he moved some of the feathers, hanging under the body of one of the victims.
“Jesus!” We all turned towards him. “Be very careful if you touch one with your hands. They’ve got thick wires hidden in all that stuff wrapped around them, with enormous barbs on. Hillary, come and look at this one?”
While Harvey was showing Hillary, I looked around and tried to count them and couldn’t; constantly distracted by the walking dead, poking me with bones instead of fingers.
“Lucas, come with me, please? We’re going to count them and I can’t concentrate. They won’t leave me alone, for a minute.”
“Sure. I don’t envy you and Gina, one bit, Sis. I’d go mad.” He held my hand and we started at the back and both counted as we walked towards the doors. Lucas didn’t know we were walking through the aimless women who nudged and stepped in front of me, asking if I could help them. I had to walk straight through some and I saw the shock on their maggot eaten faces.
“I make it, twenty.”
“Same here, Sis. I’ve noticed they’re almost skeletons?”
Hillary had finished talking to Harvey and said, “They wouldn’t take long to get to that stage, Lucas. Heat would’ve built up in here, as well as the maggots and anything that hasn’t dripped out would’ve been eaten, pretty quickly. Some haven’t been here that long, and you’d never believe it if you didn’t know.”
“Have you seen anything like this before, Hillary?”
“No, Lucas. Nothing as barbaric as this. You wouldn’t want to see this, twice. The nearest I’ve come is an air crash, just after training. That’s ingrained in my memory forever, and I think this fucking tops that.”
“Where the fuck are SOCO! Andy, who’s coming, do you know?”
“Lee Chadwick, Harvey. He should’ve been here, by now. I’ll ring him again.”
“Don’t worry, Andy. I’ve got Keith’s direct line…I’ll ring him.”
Harvey walked away, waiting for Keith to pick up.
“Keith, it’s Harvey. I wouldn’t do this to you, if I didn’t have to, I’m sorry. Lee Chadwick’s on call and hasn’t turned up yet. To be honest, he’ll never cope with what we’ve got here. Hillary’s ordered up five more pathologists and my whole team are coming. I’m fucking shocked.” He listened for a few seconds. “We’re at the old foundry, three miles past the new one. You’ll see the cars. Thanks, Keith, I owe you one.”
“Thank God he’s coming. Lee would crap himself with the numbers we’ve got here.”
“I know, Jo…it’ll be shocking for Keith, too. He’ll never have seen anything like this.” Car lights flashed at the end of the building.
“That’s Lee now. I’ll speak to him before he comes in.”
Clouds shifted and the full moon shone so brightly, it was like dusk outside.
“Come with me, Alli?” I followed Harvey outside. “He’s got a new woman working with him. Now we’ll find out what she’s made of. I’m pleased we can see out here, it’s quite romantic.”
I banged his arm. “Behave, yourself.”
The van pulled up and they got out and came over to us.
“Evening, sir; Ma’am.” She’s a Hybrid, Harvey.
She smiled at us, hearing our thoughts.
“Who have you got with you, Lee?” Harvey asked.
“This is Sally Walker, sir. She’s been working with me for a week, now.”
“Good to have you on board, Sally.”
“Thank you, sir. I prefer Sal if that’s okay?” Lee looked around at her. You’ve never bloody told me that!
“That’s fine with us. Where were you before you joined our nick?”
“Straight out of training, sir.”
“Good answer…you’ve not picked up any bad habits. Whatever you’ve seen in the past, hasn’t prepared you for what’s in that building. Keith’s coming; you’ll need all the help you can get. Hillary’s in there and she’s ordered five more pathologists. She’s our main pathologist, Sal.” She nodded to Harvey.
“What the hell’s in there, sir?” Harvey looked at me.
“How many, Alli?”
“We’re not dealing with normal bodies here. They’re all wrapped in weird fabrics and thick barbed wires are hidden in it. You’ll have to be extremely careful. They’re hanging way above our heads and swing when they’re touched. I don’t want anyone stabbed by anything. Do you want to take a look or wait for Keith?” Lee was very dubious.
“I’d like to see in there, sir?” Lee isn’t coming; he’s bricking it. Harvey nodded to her.
“Come with us, Sal?” You’re going to be very useful to us.
Glad to hear it, sir.
When you talk to us in your mind or out of earshot of normal coppers, you get to call me Harvey and this is Alli, my wife.
Am I bloody pleased I picked this nick, Harvey? Everyone knows about your abilities, Alli. They’re shouting it from the fucking roof tops.
I elbowed her and giggled.
“If you feel sick at all, no one in here will think any less of you, if you leave, Sal.”
“Okay, Harvey.” She looked up as we approached the door. “Holy fuck!”
“Don’t leave your mouth open in here, Sal, for Christ’s sake?” She giggled at me.
“She sounds just like me.” Jo was giggling at Sal. Harvey glanced at Jo with a smile on his face.
Reese and Chris were just inside the doors with two bodies above them. “We’ve got a new one, who’s slipped through your net; the same as Jo did, Reese.” Harvey looked up as he told them. “Don’t open your mouth in there, it’ll be full in no time,” he said, then he couldn’t help giggling.
Reese followed his gaze and stepped outside pretty quickly, with Chris on his tail.
“Sal’s been at our nick for a week, and works in SOCO, Reese.” Harvey turned to Sal. “Reese is our boss, from MI5. Chris here, we found out today, is our ‘Mr Fix it’ and also from MI5.”
“I can see you enjoyed saying that, Harvey, you bugger.”
“If you don’t laugh in this job, Chris, you’ll fucking shoot yourself.”
“The thing is, you’ll get up again. What chance have we bloody got?” Harvey laughed at him. “Cars are coming.”
“I can’t hear any,” Sal spouted, and Jo just creased up. “What did I say?”
“They’re a mile away, Sal. He’s got fucking radar ears. I’m sure he’s a bat.”
Harvey giggled, “This is Jo, our favourite comedian.”
Sal glanced at Jo…Harvey, referring to her as a man and smiled; realising she was gay.
You’ve got it, Sal. Floated out of Jo’s mind and we giggled in Jo’s head. She packed as many muscles as Harvey, and like him was stronger than any of us.
You should all come out and I’ll introduce you to our newest recruit?
Out they came and Sal was surprised, how many of us there were. By the time Harvey told her who everyone was, and who they partnered, Marty’s truck pulled in. Following him; four cars and our wagon, filled with the team.
“Let’s get Marty away from here, fast. I don’t want him to see in there…he’ll never help us again.”
Jo and the boys unloaded it with Harvey before Marty could blink. Harvey gave him a wad of notes. “Get out of here, Marty…you don’t need to see this; it’s not good.”
“Okay. Thanks, Harvey. Let me know when you want them picking up?”
“I will, thanks.” Harvey watched him drive away.
“Right, let’s get some lights on in there? Alli, come with me…we’ll have to talk to the team and they’re going to be shocked.”
Hillary was explaining things to the pathologists and Derek waved when he saw us…then he listened to her again.
Our team were standing by the wagon, all wearing forensic suits and hard hats.
“Sorry to call you out, but I’m afraid I had to…this is really bad. I’ll only ask you to go in there when necessary and you’ll have to have strong stomachs. We’ll have the press here at first light and your job is to keep them off our backs; this will take ages to sort out. We’ve got twenty women’s bodies to deal with. They’re all trussed up and hanging with fabrics and feathers, trailing off them. They are all very decomposed and we have to work out how to get them down.
“Debbie, David was the first one here and he’s really shaken up but he insists on helping. Put someone with him on the gate, who can communicate with you, to keep an eye on him?”
“Has anyone come in their own car?” Clare put her hand up.
“A little job for you, Clare. I want you to go to twenty Hanley Road and knock very loud. When the miserable old bugger answers, duck? He knows swear words you’ve never heard before. Tell him I want his chip wagon and drive it back here? He only knows me by Harvey, so if you give him my full title, he’ll think he’s being arrested.” She giggled.
“We used that once before,” Debbie threw in.
“And he did very well out of it, Debbie. Do you want someone with you, Clare?”
“Someone to drive my car back, sir?”
“Simon, you drive carefully. Don’t go to the door with Clare; he only likes women and we won’t get any bloody tea.”
Clare looked at Simon. “Come on you bugger, let’s go?” Simon laughed, and they ran to her car.
“Debbie, I want you to work near the building; organising anything the pathologists need. Body bags, vans or anything else they might want. I’m afraid we have to keep the doors open, and you’re going to see some gruesome sights, I’m sorry.”
“I’ll get this lot organised and come over, Harvey. You get off and leave this with me. You’ve got enough to do.”
“Thanks, Debbie, we’ll see you in a bit.”
On the walk back to the building. “Bloody hell, she’s stepped up to the plate, Harvey.”
“I think that’s the best decision we’ve made, for a while, Alli.”
“What do you think of Sal?”
Harvey chuckled. “She’s going to be as much trouble as Jo.”
Harvey Burgess. I’m not trouble; bloody cheek.
We both heard her laugh. Keith pulled up beside Lee’s van. We could see he was staring at Lee, still in the driver’s seat. Keith got out; fury filled his face then he looked over to us, “What’s his problem?” Before we could answer he’d banged his hand on Lee’s bonnet. We could see Lee, jump in his seat. “Get out! They don’t pay you to sleep on the fucking job!” Lee got out and stayed near his open door.
Keith pulled on a forensic suit in a rage. “Where’s his sidekick?” he asked Harvey bluntly.
“Doing her job, Keith.”
“He got a woman, did he, and she’s showing you up, you lazy bugger.”
“You can’t call me that?” affronted at being accused of being lazy.
“I can, when I’ve come from my fucking bed, to bail you out. Who's on call tonight…not me? How long has she been in the job, Harvey?”
“A week.” Harvey was enjoying this.
“Go home Lee…you’re no fucking good to me; you’ll be a bloody hindrance. Come on Darren. We can’t even shame him into coming in there.”
Christ, I don’t fancy his chances, when this get’s out in SOCO. They’ll go to bloody town on him.
We followed them to the building and waited for any problems when they saw what was in there.
They both looked up, but it didn’t stop them in their tracks. Keith and Darren had gone up in our estimation.
“We’ll find out what she’s done first, Darren.” They went over to Sal.
“Hi, I’m Keith and this is Darren, another SOCO team.”
“I’m Sal. I started at the back and I’ve done all the ones near the outside wall, on this side, and I’m making my way to the back again along these four. I’ve not done any over there or the two over the doorway.”
“Brilliant! Someone with some brains at last. Thank you, Sal. Darren, that’s your side and you can do the two over the door. I’ll have a good look around for anything else, from here.” Darren walked carefully in the building but started running outside, to get his camera equipment.
“Keith?” He turned back to Sal. “There’s a metal staircase in my back corner and I’ve seen oily handprints on several of the steps.”
His eyes lit up. “Where did they find you?”
“Up in Annie’s room, behind the clock,” poured out of her mouth, as she carried on taking shots of the women above her.
When Keith passed us, “She’s a fucking gem; brains and wit.”
His happiness didn’t last long when he got to his van. He had a blazing row with Lee.
“We’ve got to figure out how to get them down. I know how I’d like to do it. Lucas, Olli, Jack and Jo, I need you here, please?” Harvey took them outside and I tagged along.
“Any suggestions on how we get them down?”
“The same way we took that bloody chute down. Get rid of the humans and get on with it,” Olli threw in.
Lucas said, “Tell Reese, we need to do it with the humans there, and get him to say it’s top secret. That way, we’ll never have to worry again.” Olli nodded.
“I think you’re right, Lucas, and it’ll help us in the long run. I’ll go and speak to him.”
“Harvey, I’ll go up to those gangways and see if we can tackle it from up there.” Harvey put his thumb up to Lucas and they both left us.
“Hi, Alli. I can see from here what you’ve got to deal with; the poor buggers.” Debbie cast her eyes across the bodies, stirring slightly when a light breeze moved the air around. The doors were nearly as tall as the walls, opening up half the front of the building and the grotesque scene caught every breath of wind.
“Harvey’s organising how to get them down, Debbie.”
Gina and Bren came out. “We’re bored, Alli.” Gina looked fed up.
“When they’ve got the first ones down, Gina, you’ll be able to help Derek and Hillary as you’ve been to a couple of PM’s.”
“Good, and I think Bren wouldn’t mind helping them, either.” Bren’s face lit up.
“You’ve got that right, Gina. Please, Alli?”
“That’s you two sorted, then. Go and tell Hillary you’re helping them?” They both giggled and hurried over to her.
“Christ, I don’t think I know Bren at all, Alli?” She looked stunned.
“Debbie, she didn’t know what she was interested in until she came to work with us. You gave her the best start, in this mad fucking world, anyone could ask for.”
“Can I have a closer look inside?” Debbie didn’t like compliments, any more than me.
“Is your hair tucked in? Maggots are dropping off them, Debbie. Turn round and I’ll check?” It looked fine. “Do that Velcro up and I’ll take you in? I know the doors are open but the stench is worse in there, Debbie.”
She reminded me, “I was on the team, digging up the thirteen babies.
“I forgot, Debbie, sorry.” She pulled the strap tight around her neck and followed me inside.
“Don’t look up with your mouth open, Debbie or you’ll be getting an early breakfast?” I said with a giggle.
“Maggots on toast, lovely.” Keith passed us carrying a steel case with all his gear in.
Reese walked into the middle of the building, saw Debbie and nodded to her. Good to see you don’t mind this sort of thing.
And you. I didn’t think you’d get your hands dirty? Reese looked totally shocked. Harvey was behind him, grinning. You’re getting the hang of it, Reese. He looked back at Harvey and smiled.
“Could I have everyone’s attention, please?” Reese waited until they were all looking at him.
“I’m from MI5 and look after Detective Inspector Burgess’s team. What I’m about to tell you is top secret and must not leave this building…it comes under the Official Secrets Act.
“Harvey’s team consists of Hybrids and humans. It’s the first team that’s ever been successful, so far, and with their help, we’ll have more in the future. They’re clear up rate is phenomenal…they’ve broken records across the country.
“They read minds; have extraordinary brains and special gifts and we need them as we’re losing the battle. I’d like every Hybrid in this room, lined up behind me, please?”
We all walked over and joined Harvey, Hillary and Sal included. Surprise was on several faces, but not shock. I saw Derek smile at Hillary and heard Keith say, “Takes all kinds.” I knew then, we’d done the right thing.
“Thank you for your acceptance,” Reese carried on. “Some of them are extremely strong and will have to use brute force and a few tricks to get these poor women down. I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s done. Thank you.”
Usually, when people are told something so extreme, there’s a hum of talk afterwards. We heard none of that and everyone carried on working as if they’d heard nothing unusual.
“I leave this to you now, Harvey.”
“Thanks, Reese. I’m pleased you came. What did you find out on the gangway, Lucas?”
“Has anyone got paper…I’ll have to draw this?”
Keith walked over with a pad and pen. “Keep them, they’re spares.” He put his hand on Harvey’s shoulder. “I knew there was something special about your lot. I like it.”
“Thanks, Keith. We’re glad everyone knows and we won’t have to pretend anymore.”
“That must have been frustrating for you…you like to get on with it, like me. I’m interested how you’re going to achieve this.”
“Give us a few minutes and you’ll see.” Keith nodded and got back to his work. “I think that was a brilliant idea, Lucas. We won’t have to pussyfoot around, anymore. Show us what you’ve worked out?”
Lucas drew a plan of the gangways above us.
“If you look at the gangway, the outside of it runs right around the building, eight feet from the wall. The lights don’t show you from here, but it’s obvious when you get up there and look down to the lit area below.
“Across the supports, holding the gangway stable to the walls, are very long rods, giving it extra strength. They’re welded where they touch each other and are on top of the supporting rods. You’ll see the outside women hanging from those rods.
“Another set of rods are welded about four feet from the gangway into the centre of the room. Those are welded on top of the handrail and only run from front to back.
“I propose we break the welds on the centre ones, first. It’ll be tricky, but we should leave the bodies attached to the rods, to carry them down the stairs. If we’re careful, we’ll get them down without damaging any. They’re not hanging down but lying almost horizontal, and if the fabric or feathers skim the floor at all, it won’t matter. I think if we keep our hands above our heads it’ll be easy.
“When they’re away from here we tackle the outside ones. We’ll have to clear everyone out before we try it. The gangway is going to be very unstable and may collapse. It’s not rigged to the roof, in any way.” Before anyone could comment…“I could make it stable…I’d need my climbing gear to do it.”
“Andy, drive Lucas home? While he sorts his gear; get any tools he’ll need from the cellar. Don’t forget to lock that door again? If the cleaners go in, they’ll faint.”
“It’s done. Come on Lucas?” They left the building and I saw them vanish, as soon as they were away from any humans.
The chip wagon’s here, Harvey.
Thanks, Clare. “Debbie, put two people on it who don’t read minds? We’re gagging for a bloody drink.” She hurried out.
“Jo, you and I are breaking the welds. Jack, you stay with me and Olli go with Jo. It’ll be difficult carrying them down the stairs and we’ll need two of us on each end. Andy’s turned some of the lights up to the roof.”
“Don’t worry about thinking yourselves up there. They’re going to be fucking gobsmacked when they see this anyway. Let’s go?”
“Come with me you two and watch?” I took Chris and Reese to the other side of the building. Hillary stood watching with the other pathologists, beside us.
The four of them disappeared and a second later they were either end of the first rod they were breaking off.
Harvey and Jo used one hand under the rod, to push upwards, and the other on top of the handrail, circling the gangway, to push down.
We all heard the metal groaning with the extreme pressure, forcing the welded metal apart. It took a few minutes but eventually broke away with an almighty crack, echoing around the roof. Maggots and dust rained down to the floor with the shock.
A second later, Jack and Olli were on top of the gangway’s handrail with one foot on either side of the corners and took hold of the rod from Harvey and Jo’s hands, lifting the bodies clear of the handrail, giving it back to them again.
Once down they helped take the weight on both ends, holding their arms high above their heads. The bodies would drag on the floor if they didn’t. Slowly, they manoeuvred the hanging bodies down the stairs, without breaking any apart. They were all very delicate, and bones could’ve easily been knocked off if they weren’t careful.
Two men from the pathology team had already laid a huge sheet of white plastic on the ground.
Harvey, Jo and the boys, held the bodies high above one end of the sheeting. Whilst lowering the rod and slowly stepping sideways, the four bodies were laid out on it, in a row.
The pathology team moved over, and Hillary said to them, “Be very careful, everyone? Each body has heavy gauge barbed wire up through the middle of it. It’s hidden in these fabrics, in front or behind their thighs. I know you’ve had all your shots, but we don’t know what we’re dealing with here. I don’t want to see anyone on my fucking table, in a few days.” They all nodded to Hillary and Derek ended up on the next body to her.
“Were you ever going to tell me, Hillary?” He looked at her, waiting for an answer.
“I was actually, Derek. I told Harvey, just after I’d asked you to be my partner; I didn’t think you’d care. We’ve been a bit busy since then.”
“I think it’s fucking brilliant, and your family are bloody amazing. I’m really chuffed to be working with you all.” She could see by his smile.
“Thanks, Derek. You’ll be invited home, now that you know, but I warn you, we have a very excessive personal life. I think you’d enjoy it,” she said, then smiled at him. He winked at her and they got down to work.
“Have you come out of your coma, yet?” Reese laughed at me.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’m amazed how strong Harvey and Jo are.”
“Both of them could pick your lovely car up, single handed, and put it down without a scratch.”
“I don’t want them to try it, thanks?” He looked offended.
“I know. It’s your cock.” When I walked off, I could hear them laughing behind me. Harvey and Jo were giggling in my head.
Debbie walked in with a tray of mugs, keeping well away from the hanging bodies, making sure nothing dropped in before we could drink it. “Grab some tea while you can, you lot?” She looked around. “Have you seen Andy and Lucas, Harvey?”
“Andy’s driven him home for his climbing gear, Debbie. He’s going to rig the gangway to the roof, to stop it collapsing when we take the outside bodies down.”
“Bloody hell, I didn’t know he could do anything like that?”
“He’s climbed Everest four times, and dozens of others, Debbie.”
“Not just a pretty face, then?” she started giggling. “I shouldn’t have said that; he’d have heard me.”
Harvey laughed at her. “He’ll take it as a compliment; don’t worry. What have you got the team doing out there?” He picked up a mug and drank from it.
“There are a couple of side entrances, just for foot traffic. I’ve put two people on each of them. Simon and Clare are walking the boundary, making sure it's not possible to get in here, any other way. It’ll be light soon and the bloody press will try anything.”
Harvey, there’s another road access, at the very back of the property. We’ll need a squad car out here? We’ll stay and wait for it.
“Thanks, Clare…I’ll ring for one now.” Harvey pulled his phone out and rang the control room.
Debbie said, more to herself, “I’ll get more tea for the pathologists and SOCO.”
While he was ordering the car, Harvey noticed that Lee was still sitting in his van, and walked over to him.
“Why aren’t you in there, helping, Lee?” Harvey was pissed off with him already, and when he didn’t get an answer, he yelled, “Go home! I want you in my office, first thing in the morning. We’ll take Sal home. Leave now!”
Lee started the engine and drove away from the building, without even looking at him.
“Fucking little twat!” Harvey yelled after him, though, by the time he got back to us, he’d calmed down. Lucas and Andy drove in and pulled up near us. Harvey waited, to help Lucas carry anything he might need.
“That bastard tried to run us off the fucking road!” Lucas was fuming.
“He’ll be sacked tomorrow, Lucas. I’ve had enough of that lazy bastard. Can I help you with anything?”
Lucas opened the back of his van. “I’ll use those two coils of rope, Harvey, and I’ll wear all the other stuff I need, thanks.” Harvey drank his tea for a minute, looking inside the building.
Lucas lifted a pair of boots out of his van that had huge spikes on the bottom and at the front, pointing forward. He sat on the van’s tail-gate and changed into them.
“They look bloody vicious, Lucas.”
“They’re for climbing ice. I’ll use them to spike the roof timbers, to keep me stable, Sis.” He finished lacing them and stood up. “It feels weird having them on my feet, after all this time.” He turned into the van again and pulled out a belt and harness. He stepped into the harness and buckled the belt up. He grabbed, with both hands, loads of the metal loops I’d seen before. They had barrel screws that travel across a gap to another metal bar, to lock them tight. He put them down where he’d been sitting.
“Remember these, Sis? Carabineers.” I grinned at him. “Can you open them up if they’re closed? I have to link them onto this belt, Sis.” He picked out the open ones and started locking them on to it. I opened them as fast as I could.
“We’ve got plenty of time, Sis, you don’t have to rush. They’ll have to get the next four women down before I go up.
“Harvey, I brought a pair of heavy duty bolt croppers. They might want those barbs cutting off the bodies before they load them into anything – on the front seat.”
“That was good thinking, Lucas; never crossed my mind. I’ll take them in now.” Harvey got them from the front seat and hurried to the building.
“Here, Lucas, you must be gagging for a drink?” He smiled at Debbie.
“I did hear you. I thought it was funny…thanks for this.”
“You obviously haven’t looked in the bloody mirror, lately. Some of the team…I won’t tell you who thought their bloody luck had changed when you first came to work. They were very disappointed when they found out you’re gay. I’ve heard what they were thinking…kept me entertained.” She smiled at him and left. Lucas was in fits.
“That’s told you, Mr Smith. I’ve just had a thought. When you get hitched to Andy, whose surname are you using?”
Lucas grinned. You’ve noticed I hate it.
“His, Sis. Anything’s better than Smith. The disbelief on people’s faces when I’ve told them; even in airports and they’ve got your bloody passport in front of them – bloody embarrassing, all my life.”
“Won’t Jed mind?”
“He hates it, too, and if they marry, he’ll take Abbey’s. They’ve already talked about it, Sis.”
You’re a bloody angel, Harvey. That made us listen.
It’s not me who’s got wings, it’s Lucas. You’ll see him fly soon, Hillary.
Lucas was laughing. “She will.”
Can you pull the fabric away? I need to get the jaws on straight, to cut them. That’s it; hold it for a second? We heard the wire break.
Christ. Good job I’m strong, it’s carbon steel. These have been made by a bloody craftsman.
They go right up through the bodies and out one side of their spines, near the neck. It was difficult to see at first with all this stuff on and the bones have collapsed inside the wires, bound around them. Whoever’s done this has gone to a lot of trouble, Harvey?
I don’t bloody understand it, Hillary. I’ll cut them on the others.
While we were listening, Lucas continued to fill his belt. He pulled a bag from the van, and a hammer, with a sharp spike on one side of the head, which he slotted into a holder on his belt. The bag was left on the back of the van. “Let’s see how they’re getting on, Sis?”
“What’s in the bag?” Now I’m being nosey.
Lucas laughed. “Pitons, Sis. They’re used to hammer into tiny fissures in rocks. Harvey knows all about that, from when he worked in the quarry. He’s told you…I’ve seen it. Remember? I’ll hammer them into the roof timbers with my ice pick and fix a rope to them. Harvey can stand on the gangway and use one of these,” he jangled the Carabineers, “to hold the rope to the handrail then we’ll work across the building. It’ll look like the markings, either side of a zebra crossing.”
“I get it, now…very clever. I bet you didn’t think you’d be using your stuff, ever again?” He put his arm around my shoulder and gave me a squeeze.
“Right again, Sis. Where’s Andy?”