HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)
“Beth, would you bail the other parents and I want them to sign in every day, no exceptions – I don’t care what their excuses are.”
“Okay, Gavin. By the way, the Brooks boys were on the ‘at risk’ register and taken off about a year ago. They had no idea that Stephen was missing and blamed it on heavy case-loads and new staff.”
“Typical…what about the other families?”
Beth rolled her eyes and said, “Apparently they have a bug going around the office and half of them are off sick.”
“I’ll give them bug, tomorrow – thanks, Beth. Oh, get SOCO on the blower – we’ll need them and I hope we get Kevin.”
Tea was waiting for us in our office. I sat down and added sugar to our mugs and stirred whilst thinking about what was to come.
Gavin had been on a quick phone call and looked at me before he picked up his tea. “You’re worried…what is it, Jane?”
“Just a gut-feeling we’ll have more than one body to dig up. I won’t know for sure how many, until we get there, Gavin.”
“Christ! To do with, Brooks?”
“One, maybe, but the others – I don’t think so.”
“Bloody hell! John wasn’t wrong when he said things were getting out of hand.” Gavin picked up his tea. “We have to get on or we could be there for the rest of the bloody day.”
In the outer office several lads and Jenny, along with Phil, were waiting to be the digging party. “Are you sure you want to be in on this, Jenny?” Gavin asked, puzzled that she didn’t look in the least perturbed.
“I’ve seen plenty of dead bodies before. My family run a funeral business so I’ve seen it all and helped out when staff were off ill. Nothing would shock me, Gavin.”
We all laughed and Gavin said, “Welcome aboard, Jenny. You’ll be kept very busy.”
She giggled and elbowed the lad next to her as he still hadn’t stopped laughing. “Watch it, Nate, I’m a good embalmer.” He put his hands up in submission with a grin on his face.
You could embalm me any day! We glanced at Phil. That thought and the glint in his eyes proved he was interested in Jenny.
Gavin cleared his throat, “Jane thinks we have more than one body to dig up.” Surprise flashed across their faces. Gavin ploughed on as this would be the norm for them all in this team and they had to get used to it, bloody fast. “We’ll go to the house first and check if there’s a way into the field from their back garden – could save us a lot of hassle. Let’s go.”
We drove to the house and the team followed in one of the nick’s vans. Gavin shouldered the gate at the side of the house and when we saw there was no way into the field, Brooks had called it. Gavin trashed the idea of using his car any longer and parked it away from the house as forensics would need the room. We joined them in the van – Gavin in the passenger seat.
Phil was waiting to drive off. “We’ll have to find the farmer who owns that field?”
“It’s no field, Phil. Do we have a map in here?” Phil took his hand off the wheel and rummaged in the driver's door pocket. He passed a really old dog-eared map to Gavin who flicked through the pages, really fast, stopping abruptly. “Got it! We couldn’t see it, but there’s are large building marked on this map and these houses don’t bloody exist. Turn around Phil…there must be a way off this estate, to the left?”
I was in the back of the van, on the long bench seating; right behind Phil. Gavin turned his head and smiled at me. Are you okay, Jane?
Absolutely, Gavin. I can’t wait to get going.
Phil soon turned around and took the first original road he came to before the estate had been built. Gavin kept his eyes peeled for some sort of gate or entrance to the grounds behind Brooks’ house.
We came to a main road and Gavin said, “Turn left again, Phil. That estate might have skirted the back of the place, whatever it was – no name on the map.”
“I know what it was,” a voice drifted up from the back of the van. I turned to see who it was and didn’t know his name.
“What was it, Justin?” Gavin asked as he twisted around in his seat to see him.
“There was a derelict building on there when I was a kid. My dad told me, it used to be a hotel – when I asked him, Gavin. It was bloody grotesque and only fit for a horror movie.”
Before Gavin could say another word, Phil called, “There’s the entrance!”
Gavin swivelled around to look at the monstrous dark-red brick wall we were following on our left. Massive pillars loomed at us that used to have gates slung between them. Phil pulled in and stopped the van between the gate posts. A drive stretched out ahead, flanked on either side by mature trees, creating a tunnel beneath them. The whole thing looked depressing to me and I already knew there were plenty of ghosts waiting, pissed off that their building had gone.
“Let’s get this over with,” dropped out of Phil’s mouth, as he put the van into gear.
The talking stopped and all our passengers looked out of the windows as it was almost night under the overhanging branches. When we broke through at the end there was a large circle of gravel with a heap of rubble in the middle.
Behind that was what looked like the base of a house, as if you’d ripped the house away from the ground floor, but on a much larger scale. A few brick were left here and there where walls used to be, revealing the size of the enormous rooms that must have been inside the acreage of space the building had covered.
I saw the horde of ghosts, waiting for me to get out. Oh, fuck!
What’s up, Jane? In the next few seconds, Gavin had read my mind. Are you sure you want to do this?
Positive! You better warn the team…I’ll have to shout or be mobbed and these buggers will crap themselves when they hear me.
Phil turned in his seat. “I’ll keep them in here, Jane. Do what you have to.” He looked down the van at the guys who’d heard him. “Stay put, you lot – we’re not getting out yet.”
Gavin opened his door and said, “Cheers, Phil.” I clambered between the seats, stepped down into the footwell and out of the van.
They were running towards us at full pelt. I raised my hand and yelled, “STOP! I WON’T HELP ANY OF YOU, IF YOU DON’T!” It was like they were on elastic and all pulled back as one.
“Christ, Jane – how the hell will you deal with dozens of them?”
“You can see them, Gavin?” I hope to God you can’t.
“Only what you’re looking at if I really try – not like you, I’m pleased to say. Sorry; that came out wrong.”
I grabbed his hand, “Don’t be…I’m thrilled you can’t, Gavin. I’ll send most of them on their way, once we’ve dug up the bodies.”
I left his side and walked over to them, checking out each one as they covered centuries in time. Some looked like beggars, standing in rags and were half starved. Workhouse, sprang-to-mind – poor buggers. The others spanned the different periods of fashion, almost to the present day. Some had been murdered while others had died in the building, now demolished, and all annoyed they were surrounded by other ghosts.
As I got closer they jostled and elbowed each other to get to the front. “I told you to stop and I bloody meant it!” I waited until they were still. “That’s better. Now, I didn’t just pop round to see you lot – we have a kid’s body to dig up and a woman who’s buried near him.” I pointed out to my right. “Several more graves are over there and I mean to help get them out of the ground, so I don’t want any more shit from you. Is that clear?”
But they took our home away. It was one of the beggar women who’d spoken up which surprised me. I suppose if you were on the streets, any place out of the elements, you called home – no matter how bad it was.
“Look, once we have them out of the ground, those that want to move on, and I know some of you don’t, will have my help. You’ll be better off on the other side, believe me.”
Thank you, my dear. I would love to see my family again.
I smiled at her. “It’ll be a pleasure and they’ve waited a long time for you to join them. Wait patiently, please, all of you – this could take a few hours and then I’ll come back.”
The team were out of the van and I listened to Gavin, directing Charlie and Luke, on my walk back to them all. They appeared from the tunnel and drove over to us, skidding to a halt on the gravel. Where the hell did you learn to drive?
Charlie laughed at me when he poked his head out of his window, “Dodgem’s!”
Phil was in a kink as he’d heard it and yelled, “Best place to learn!”
Charlie beamed at him, “Always fancied Formula 1 Phil – wouldn’t hurt, would it?” He flashed his eyes at me. I creased up and had to grab hold of Gavin who was in the same state as me. He could wreck the bloody thing and walk away, Scott-free.
We all heard one of the lads, tut at us for laughing.
Jenny jumped straight in. “You better wise up or get another bloody job! If you don’t have a laugh when you’re dealing with this shit, you’ll end up in a fucking nut house!”
Her hand slammed onto her mouth. Oh, Christ! Shut the fuck up, you idiot!
The lad in question had a faint smile on his lips, thinking she’d get a bollocking from us. Instead, I had a cosy chat with him. “What’s your name, please?” I asked, on my short walk to stand right in front of him. I could feel him shaking and he was so tongue-tied he couldn’t answer.
“Let me help you out, Tom – Jenny has more idea about this job than all of you put together. She was right; find another one if you can’t handle it or if you think we’re being offensive, laughing. You’re helping Charlie, so let’s see if you don’t need to let off steam, after that little lot.” He was as white as a sheet.
I turned from him and smiled at Jenny. Pleased you’re here, Jenny. She looked a bit startled at the words that filled her mind and then a smile grew on her face. Thanks, Jane. I nodded to her and joined Gavin.
“Glad that’s out of the way, Jane. Perhaps we can get down to some bloody work now,” Gavin said, loud enough for Tom and the rest of the team to hear how pissed off he was.
Charlie called from the back of their van, “Tom, you’re carrying these bins – come on?” His dressing-down made him shift pretty smartish and Charlie loaded him with the four bins they’d need. He grabbed trowels and sheets of plastic and anything else he’d use on the job and lifted out a large metal box with all his lab gear in.
Luke had two bins on the floor and was slinging in his gear. “Jenny, would you like to work with me?” Her face lit up. Absolutely! That was enough to put a smile on Luke’s face. “We’ll wait until we’re shown the other graves.”
She hurried over to the van to help him. “I love this kind of work – thanks.”
“You don’t have to tell me, Jenny – I know and the name’s Luke.”
Another van headed towards us from the tunnel – SOCO. Neil was driving and he pulled up behind Charlie’s van. They both got out to suit-up.
Gavin called over, “How did you find this place?”
Neil laughed, “Confiscated a scanner from my little brother before he landed in the nick. We listened to your directions for Charlie and Luke.”
Terry was struggling into his suit and said, “My aunt worked in this place.”
Neil blurted out, “Why didn’t you say…daft bugger?”
“Too much fun with that thing, to spoil it.” They grinned at each other and got down to work as they had to do their jobs first.
Charlie and Tom joined us. “I’ll take you to Stephen’s grave and then to Brooks’ bit of stuff on the side. He really thought a lot of her – bought her a lovely apartment, underground.”
Gavin looked back at our motley bunch, “Half of you follow us and we’ll be back in a few minutes.” He took hold of my hand and walked beside me through gardens that must have looked beautiful when the hotel was open. Now briars had taken over with thorns like razors that snagged everyone in turn. Thank God we had forensic suits on or our clothes would’ve been in shreds. It didn’t take long for me to find his grave as he was stood next to it.
I see you, Stephen. Say hello to Peter for me, please? He smiled and nodded his head then looked down at the pile of earth beside him; covered with rocks and so out of place a blind man could’ve found it. Showed us the mentality of Brooks in an absolute panic.
Neil caught up with us and started taking shots of the grave and surrounding area. Keith looked for signs of anything else we might destroy before he let Charlie take over.
When he did, he got on with his job, really fast. Our lot stared with open mouths at the speed he worked. He set up the bins on ground cover, to sift every gram of soil from one bin to the other. Next, he sheeted the area around the grave and gave them instructions on how to remove the soil, riddle it for any objects that may be useful to him; setting two lads on that and picked up his kit. “Tom, follow me with those bins – and the rest of you.”
I couldn’t see the woman, which was strange to me, then I realised why; she’d been buried alive and wasn’t ready to move on. Gavin’s face said it all…he was horrified but he didn’t speak out loud or in my head – my concentration was key.
“Maxine! Come on love; show me where you are?” I looked around and a figure began to materialise about ten yards away from Stephen’s grave. “Thank you. We have him banged up Maxine and he’ll be severely punished, I promise.”
That’s all I want, Jane. From the sound of her voice, I knew her soul had been in torment since he’d buried her – whose wouldn’t?
Everyone trailed behind me on my way to her and by the time I got there she was in tears. I gave her a cuddle while Kevin and Neil worked over her burial site.
“I’m so sorry, Maxine. How long have you been here?”
Three weeks. I refused to stay, on one of his weekends away.
“Why? What were they into, Maxine?”
He found swingers on the internet, and a group of them rented cottages for weekends away. It was the first time we joined them. I didn’t know, but one of the other women told me when I was looking for my boyfriend; he’d told him to sod off, not long after we got there. I was in the bathroom and was left there with them. It was supposed to be couples only and I told him to go to hell. He didn’t like it; we had a blazing row outside the house and he strangled me. When I woke up my mouth and nose were blocked with soil. I couldn’t breathe or scream and everything turned black.
“I’m so sorry to hear that, Maxine. We’ve come to take you out of the ground and I’ll help you move on if you want it.”
Not yet, Jane. I want to visit my family before I go.
“I understand, Maxine. We will need your address?”
6 Lyle Terrace, Sale, near Manchester.
“Christ, he must have brought you here in the boot of his car. Where was his wife – she was there?”
If she was, I didn’t see her.
“That doesn’t surprise me. Go now Maxine; see your family as you don’t need to watch this. Look me up if you want to move on.”
Thank you, Jane.
She vanished and I turned back to everyone, “We’re going back to Luke and I’m sorry it’s taken so long.”
Charlie answered immediately, “Hey, you can’t rush what you do, Jane. We’ll have her out of there in no time. I’ll start this and check how they’re doing with Stephen.”
Kevin and Neil had gone back to their van to change into different forensic suits. Cross-contamination was a complete no-no in this job and they also had to make sure they had everything they needed for another crime scene.
On our way back to Luke, Gavin put his arm over my shoulder and said, “That was fascinating to watch.”
“You’re more tuned into me, by the day, Gavin. I just hope you don’t pick it all up. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
“I’m here when it gets too much – you know that.”
I looked up to his face and smiled, “You didn’t have to say it…I’ve known that since the first minute I met you.” I felt his hand grip my shoulder. That was enough for me.
Luke and Jenny had everything they needed beside them in the bins. The rest of our team were in the van with the sliding door open, waiting patiently; although they exited quickly when they saw us – Tom’s dressing-down was still vivid in their thoughts. I chucked in my head with Gavin. Very bloody wise! They don’t want a repeat performance.
Keep them on their toes, Jane; they’re scared of you. Then he cracked up in my head, forcing me to giggle at him. He knew as well as I did, I wouldn’t harm a hair on their heads, but they were still very wary which kept us totally in charge. The first thing we did was to change our forensic gear which took a few minutes. Beth was right, it did get easier.
As we approached the other graves I was shocked rigid when I saw them standing beside their tombs. They were kids, not much older than the others we’d found at Mullins’ house and all had their throats ripped open. Gavin gripped my hand tighter. What the fucks’ going on with these kids?
“I haven’t a fucking clue, Gavin!” I looked back at Luke; curious at my outburst. “Four kids – same as before.”
By the time we left there, we had the names and addresses of all the kids; Maxine was on her way to the morgue with Stephen and Luke had just finished. He had to wait with Charlie for the body-van to come back for his haul. What a bloody day!
Back at work, it was almost knocking off time. On the way to our office, Gavin stopped us in the teams. “I’m very pleased with you all today and that does include you, Tom.” He looked up in surprise. “You knuckled down and worked hard with Charlie. He told us before we left; he’d work with you any day.” A smile broke out on his face and he nodded to Gavin.
We won’t have any more shit from him. Gavin smiled at me and we hurried into our office to collect our gear – I was desperate for a swim to get away from the ghosts.
“Let’s get out of here, Jane.” I grabbed my bag and jacket, held Gavin’s hand and on our way out he told them to go home. Chairs pushed back immediately and chatter started but we didn’t hang around. Gavin took the short-cut home and hurried to open the front door. He knew what state I was in – swamped by dozens of ghosts that clung on until I hit the water which made them slough-off, so fast, it was heaven.
- HWSNBN Chapters 1/2
- HWSNBN Chapter 3
- HWSNBN Chapter 4
- HWSNBN Chapter 5
- HWSNBN Chapter 6
- HWSNBN Chapter 7
- HWSNBN Chapter 8
- HWSNBN Chapter 9
- HWSNBN Chapter 10
- HWSNBN Chapter 11
- HWSNBN Chapter 12
- HWSNBN Chapter 13
- HWSNBN Chapter 14
- HWSNBN Chapter 15
- HWSNBN Chapter 16
- HWSNBN Chapter 17
- HWSNBN Chapter 18
- HWSNBN Chapter 19
- HWSNBN Chapter 20