HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)
The next morning we hadn’t been downstairs more than ten minutes; Gavin began making the tea, and I was spreading butter on a pile of toast when the boys pushed open the kitchen door…both sporting brilliant smiles. “Morning!” Luke spouted.
“Morning! No need to ask why you’re so happy.”
They laughed at me and Charlie found a knife to help butter more toast. “I can’t believe we’re here, Jane.”
“Now you know how I feel.”
“Stop gassing you two, the tea’s made,” Gavin said behind us. We could hear the mugs being stirred then Luke and Gavin giggling about something. I turned to see what had tickled them and they burst out laughing.
“Now what have I done?”
Gavin tried to straighten himself out; difficult – he was in fits. He looked up and started again. Now I was annoyed since I had no idea what they were laughing at. Then I heard Charlie chuckle and turned back to him. “Get it over with; tell me?”
Give him his due, Charlie was extremely brave, considering he could feel how pissed off I was. “You seem to be wearing most of the butter, in your hair – didn’t like to say.” I tried to suppress a smirk and failed, it blasted out.
“Blame him! He wants me to look like Shirley fucking Temple, and I can’t get it into a ponytail.”
Gavin stuck his oar in, then, “You’ve no idea how fast you were buttering that bloody toast, have you?”
I giggled and put my hand on my hip, “What the hell do you mean? I only know one way to do it.”
“Look up at the dresser, Jane, it’s flicked all over.” I looked up and he was right. Dollops of butter hung from under the shelves, about to drop.
“Shit! Your cleaner will hate me from now on.” Gavin came across the kitchen to give me a hug, after checking me out, to see if he’d get smothered in grease.
“Our cleaner, Jane…she works for you, remember?”
Charlie said, beside us, “Come and eat you two – first tiff, eh?” Wait ’til we bloody start – knocks fucking spots off you.
We both laughed at him and followed them out to the pool room where we ate, drank and chatted as if nothing had happened to spoil our day. I made a mental note of being careful and not go into overdrive, especially when handling anything so easy to flick as butter. Gavin listened to my thoughts and squeezed my hand, giggling to himself.
After our swim, I washed my hair again and we hurried to get dressed as we were going up to see what was in the attic. I was so excited I put my jumper on, inside out. Gavin was stood at my door, laughing at the pickle I was in, squirming to see what was wrong. I took it off, turned it through and pretended I hadn’t been an idiot; trying like hell not to laugh. Once it was on and I was happy, I looked at him, “Ready?”
He giggled, held his hand out and we joined the lads at the top of the main staircase. I thought we’d go to another part of the house and I couldn’t understand why Gavin had turned his attention to the beautiful floor-length mirror, facing everyone who came up the stairs to this wide landing.
It looked ancient in places where the silver was crazed behind the glass and the frame was very ornate and gilded. Tarnished now, due to its age, but still beautiful. Gavin gripped the right-hand side of the frame and pulled. Behind it was a doorway. Luke whistled behind me.
The mirror was hinged to the leading edge of an actual door though it was clearly wider than the width of it. Something caught Charlie’s attention which made me follow his gaze. There were discrete metal runners attached to the wall, near the floor and at the same height as the mirror, and with every inch, the door was opened, the other side of the mirror glided silently between the runners.
Who’s a clever boy, then?
Gavin smirked beside me and let the door open until it touched the wall. “If we have humans here, you’d have to be careful when you open this, from the inside, in case you killed someone. Maybe I should’ve planned it differently?”
“Leave it the way it is, Gavin,” Charlie spoke up, “we’ll be really careful. It’s stunning, like the rest of this house.”
Luke joined in, “He’s right, Gavin; don’t change a thing – we love it and can’t wait to see what’s up there.”
Gavin glanced at him, “Okay lads, fine by me.” What we saw at first was another staircase, not as wide, but exactly matching the main one to this floor. At the top was a Georgian window, slightly shorter than in the rest of the house which illuminated the stairs more than adequately. Those first rays of sunshine that promised a lovely day, kissed each tread to greet us. I grabbed Gavin’s hand and we headed up, through the shafts of sunlight, and one song bounced around inside my head. ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Gavin broke into my thoughts. I hadn’t thought of it like that, Jane. Very apt.
“Now you’re bloody talking – love Led Zeppelin,” rang out behind us from Luke.
We’d reached the top, our emotions soaring at the thought of hearing some of Luke’s CDs.
You’ve no bloody idea. Charlie’s words clamoured to fill my thoughts then battled with them as I’d already looked out of the window.
The view of the garden, unbeknownst to me that there was one at the back of the house, stretching out beyond the glass roof of the pool room, was stunning enough to take my breath away. My eyes were drawn along the fancy lead-work of the ridge to the manicured gardens in the distance. I say gardens because it was set out like small rooms, all different and appealing with gaps in hedges to step through, from one to the other, in their march away from the back wall of the pool. The buggers behind us were just as stunned as me and the whole scene had rendered them speechless, as well.
“Penny for them?” Gavin asked, just as his phone rang. “WHAT THE HELL’S THIS?” he yelled as he yanked his phone from his pocket. “WHAT?” Our attention snapped back to Gavin, waiting to hear why we were called – all thoughts of seeing anything else in the attic, gone.
“Sorry, Lionel – go on?” Gavin listened for a few minutes and then he spoke up again. “It’s okay. I’m pleased control gave you my number. I may be a little loud when I answer but don’t ever worry about calling here. Uniform should be there in a few minutes and it’ll take us at least thirty to organise things and get there. Are you okay to wait with the parents?” A few seconds elapsed. “Good man – we won’t be long.”
Before Gavin had time to utter a word, Charlie said, “We’ll meet you in Whitburn Close.” They both vanished.
I giggled at Gavin and he was amused. “This works brilliantly – we should leave, Jane?”
There were very few cars on the roads to the nick which meant Gavin could put his foot down, and on the way, he phoned control to make sure they’d called in the team. By the time we parked the car a group of them were making their way across the car park, to our offices – some bleary-eyed and obviously not used to such an early start, it being five fifteen. They’ll get used to it – they’ll have to.
“It won’t bloody kill them, Jane.” We both laughed at his choice of words; catching up with the last few to go in. Jenny held the door open for us, “Thanks for such a great night…we really enjoyed it.”
Gavin answered her, in our haste, “The first of many. We haven’t much time, Jenny – we’ll talk later.”
Shit – this doesn’t sound good?
Everyone turned to look at us when we entered their office and Gavin wasted no time barking orders at different members of the team.
“We haven’t much time. Beth, get onto Social Services. Check if they know Summer and Tristan Richardson…eleven Whitburn Close. Threaten them, if you get the same bull-shit. Phil, you’re with us, along with half of the team. The rest of you should be ready to leave if we call. You’re on an intense hunt to find out everything in the backgrounds of all the parents, so far, and that includes Mike and Chloe Richardson – every last detail, no matter how obscure. They’re all linked in some way, or I’ll eat my fucking hat. We’re off!”
No dalliance or mumbled objections occurred, half sat down with phones in their hands and the others filed out after us. I was very proud of them.
Even the ones that don’t mind-read are much more attuned to the others, since yesterday, Jane – wouldn’t have thought it possible.
It wasn’t far to Whitburn Close and we quickly found number eleven, already cordoned off with press trying to barge past Uniform officers, blathering any excuse going. We parked away from the house and walked up to the back of the reporters.
Gavin said to Phil, “Organise more Uniform to keep these buggers at the beginning of the Close, please, and make sure they only to let residents through?” Phil nodded and walked away with his phone to his ear.
We barged through them and then Gavin turned to face the horde of reporters. “I don’t know what you expected to find out when we haven’t been inside the house yet?” Then he looked up at Tom who was stood behind them – head and shoulder above their height.
“Tom, you and the team search every last one of this bunch, for scanners?” Some were scared and others were so cocky they were about to get a rude awakening. Cheeky buggers!
Now I had to poke my oar in. “They all have them, Tom. Any, who won’t give them up willingly, nick them, read them their rights and order the wagon!” I looked along the line of very disturbed paparazzi. “I’ll see you in court, in the morning.”
Tom’s face lit up, “Pleasure Jane.” It was then that some of them turned around, appalled to find eight people holding warrant cards aloft. The tone of Tom’s voice changed to very serious and one of authority. “Line up now and you heard our boss, hand them over?”
Well done, Jane. Let’s get on with this?
We were headed for the front door but first, we stopped beside Mehmet and Allan Guisborough, new to our nick. Mehmet grinned, “Morning, Jane; Gavin.” Allan stared at him, intrigued he’d called us by our first names.
Gavin giggled at Allan’s face, then said, “Morning, Mehmet. Allan, you’ll get used to us – first names only, in this team. What time were you called out, Mehmet?”
“Control was called by Lionel at four twenty-five. He wanted a Uniform presence before he’d go upstairs. I think the parents freaked him out with the garbled explanations they gave him and he wasn’t sure what to expect. When we arrived they were still going frantic and neither of us could make head-nor-tale of anything they said. I’m not surprised Lionel wanted someone with him. Allan stayed with the parents while we went up to the boy’s bedroom. Same as last time, Gavin, I’m sure of it.”
“I didn’t know you’d seen the first ones, Mehmet?”
“Yesterday afternoon. I had to collect a report from the lab and Luke was putting one in a fridge. I asked if I could see it; perhaps I shouldn’t?”
“I don’t mind how involved you want to get, Mehmet. That was one of another four bodies, Jane found, buried at the old hotel. This is the third case in two days.”
“Christ; sorry.” Allan cringed, having sworn in front of us.
I had to say something. “Don’t apologise, Allan. We swear, and you have to get rid of the shit we’ll all have to stomach before this is over.”
“Wise words, Jane,” Gavin said, “Let’s get this over with.”
He grabbed my hand just as I noticed Charlie and Luke pull up in their van, followed by Kevin and Neil, from SOCO. We’ll have a bloody house full in a minute.
Don’t worry, Jane, they’ll head upstairs first. We left the two lads and the front door opened before we got to it. Lionel must have seen us from a window and he looked haggard.
“I’m pleased to see you two. I have to leave in a minute, Gavin; sorry.”
“We’ve kept you waiting, Lionel; just get off and it’s me who’s sorry for detaining you.”
I left them talking and followed the emotions that hit me from the parents, mingled with protestations that just didn’t ring true in my head. I had to see them for myself and pushed the sitting room door open with one finger.
They were huddled together on the sofa; tissues, stark against the black leather beneath them and what they wore. Apart from the bleached-blonde long hair, adorning them both and covering most of their faces, they would only have stood out in the room, if they actually moved, had we not heard all the garbage exiting their mouths and the lies, sloshing around inside their minds. I felt Gavin’s presence beside me and we joined the wailing parents and looked down on them from the middle of the room, taking in the fact that there were empty bottles of vodka beside the sofa arm. A coffee table was laden with whisky tumblers, some with liquid in, over to the right, away from the sofa. More glasses adorned the top than people present in the room. The corner of a small mirror stuck out from beneath the sofa near their feet and still visible was a credit card they’d used to make lines to snort.
Both suddenly lifted their heads and the verbal diarrhoea was still incessant behind the curtains of hair, hanging over their dials.
Gavin yelled, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” The noise stopped abruptly, though the thoughts that hit us from them both, gave them away. “Sit up and shift that hair from your faces, NOW!” Gavin carried on.
I wasn’t sure if it was a man or woman, at first, when the hand raised and pulled hair aside so that we could see who it was.
When he began to speak he still slurred almost every word. “My wife…too upset…and who do ya think yoooou are…shouting in my house…like that? Our kidsss ’re dead upstairs!”
“Oh, you noticed, did you?” Gavin smirked in my head.
“Sooooo you’re the police?” S’all right Chloe, just kids……in the joooob two minutes.
“Yes, we are the police and it’s two minutes longer than you!”
Oooh, fuck! He stared at me.
“Mind if I get the cocaine you stashed before you called your doctor? Cute, not ringing us first, and I don’t know how you managed to stagger out with it.” I didn’t wait for an answer and left them with Gavin. Then I headed through the house to the kitchen and stopped at the back door. I put some gloves on, opened it and searched for a garden gnome, big enough to hold a two-kilo bag of Cocaine. Bloody idiots, there was only one in the garden and it stuck out a mile from all the expensive statues and garden furniture.
I carried it into the house, then I opened the front door to let Mehmet and Allan in. They smiled at me, holding the enormous ugly-looking gnome in my arms. “Don’t ask?” Mehmet giggled and they followed me into the sitting room.
Gavin was still standing where I’d left him. The parents were quiet but he was preening her hair, now she’d unveiled her face. No bloody oil painting, is she? I plonked the gnome on the floor in front of them and waited for some reaction. Nothing.
Gavin turned to Mehmet, “Take them to the station, please, separate cells.”
The man stood up, swayed and fell back down to his seat again. Mehmet pulled him to his feet and handcuffed him. Allan dealt with her. They were both silent when they were escorted to the waiting cars. We climbed the stairs to see the kids.
Charlie and Luke were near the door watching Kevin and Neal do their jobs. Luke pointed out the PC on the boy’s desk, still on and playing a music video, although silenced.
The kids and their clothing were saturated and they were lying in a pool of blood, wrapped around each other on the floor. Flesh hung from their mouths that had been ripped from the other sibling’s neck. They looked almost the same age, although the girl wore make-up, way past her years. Obvious to me as she didn’t really have the skill to apply it properly; habits hadn’t formed.
Charlie broke into our thoughts, “The PM’s, on the first five, from yesterday, should be finished by the time we get back to the lab, Gavin.”
“How have you managed that?”
“Reese has set us up, exactly the same as the London cell is now. We have five Home Office Pathologists, on stand-by, and they were called in after lunch, yesterday.”
“Thank God. Thought you’d be working through the night, the rate the bodies are stacking up, Charlie.” Gavin looked into the room, “Kevin.” He looked up. “You’ll find a large gnome in the sitting room, filled with a couple of kilos of cocaine, and other drug paraphernalia under the sofa. They were off their rockers on that and booze.”
I butted in, “There were four people here when the kids died, two other guys.”
“Thanks, Jane. I’ll check everything.” He got straight down to his work again.
“We’ll get back. We’re missing something and I don’t like it. See you two later on. Ready, Jane?”
- 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