HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)
Back at the station, we found out that Beth had had a hard time with Social Services.
“Time we paid them a bloody visit, Beth. Fancy coming with us?”
“Absolutely. I’d like to ring their receptionist’s neck – sticking me on hold, indefinitely. Not bloody once, either, Gavin.”
“Bring the address, Beth, and we’ll go now. I’m pig-sick of them, slowing us up.” Gavin looked at the rest of the team, “We won’t be long and the others will be back soon. Thanks for knuckling down.” Some of them raised their heads and nodded, others were so engrossed they didn’t hear him.
Beth jotted the address down on some paper and stuffed it into her bag; pulled her jacket off her chair and followed us out.
She told Gavin the address from the back seat. “Thanks, Beth. That’s very near us, Jane.”
“Nice houses around there, Gavin. I didn’t know you lived in that area.”
“A vampire brain comes in very handy at the casino, Beth, and I’ve made good use of it.”
She laughed at Gavin, “So would I, given the same circumstances. Fill your boots, I say. What did you find at the house?”
“Two kids dead, and the parents so stoned and pissed, they were incoherent. Plus enough cocaine to sink a battleship,” Gavin smirked, “well, garden gnome to be exact.”
I shoved in, “Big bloody gnome with two kilos inside. Can’t wait to interview them.” Gavin glanced at me and giggled. Bet you can’t! We both laughed at him.
When we were on our street, Gavin pointed to the house as we passed it. “That’s ours, Beth.”
“Very nice. You must rattle around in there.”
“We’ve asked Luke and Charlie, our pathologists, to share with us. They’re hybrids too, Beth.”
“That makes sense, Gavin. You think alike and can relax…”
“This is the street; what number, Beth?”
“Forty-nine – odd numbers on your right. My aunt lived on this street, years ago.”
I counted down the numbers, “There, the green one, Gavin.” He indicated and had to wait for a few cars to pass us and then he parked outside, on the street, rather than on their drive.
“I expected it to be offices, not a house like this.” I looked at the front, between the mature shrubs that almost blocked our view, now that we were right outside.
“Let’s sort them out.” We got out and headed up the short drive to the front door. Before Gavin could open it, a woman shot through it, at speed. She barged her way between us, screaming obscenities over her shoulder, at no one, since the door must have been spring-loaded and slammed shut behind her. She was weighed down with files and looked like she’d been up all night.
Beth said, sarcastically, “My God, they treat their case workers really well. That’s just how I felt, this morning – poor bugger.”
Gavin opened the door, “After you, ladies.” He followed us into a poorly lit reception area. Files, and I mean hundreds, were stacked everywhere there was wall space that didn’t contain a door. Even below the tiny hatch where anyone could have read them. We were appalled at the obvious indiscretion for their clients. There was a bell on the wall with a notice above, which said: Only ring the bell once. Gavin passed me and put his finger on the bell and left it there.
They said once!
We giggled and waited for the repercussions, we knew were coming. It didn’t take long for doors to open, and a head poke out of each one. Male or female; they all looked like thunder. Several of them opened their mouths to yell. Gavin took his finger off the bell and beat them to it.
“Police! I’m Detective Inspector Wells.” He took his warrant card out and showed it to the nearest shocked face, for him to read it.
He couldn’t as it was so dark. That didn’t stop him nodding like a donkey, having heard the authority in Gavin’s voice. He asked, timidly, “What can we do for you Inspector? I don’t think anyone here would’ve called you.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Gavin turned to Beth, “This is Detective Inspector Williams. While we were out on another case, she repeatedly called you about other children who have died within the last twenty-four hours. You obviously don’t feel that’s important to you. Social Services must mean something totally different to my understanding, and I’m sick of you giving her the run-around. The tally is twelve deaths, so far, and one of them had been missing for months, without you noticing his absence! Is there one person here who actually gives a shit? Don’t bother answering. The slovenly way you treat your case-notes has answered that for me.”
A man in his thirties, at a guess, tutted and muttered, “That’s a bit much! Where are the police when you need them?”
I walked over to him, “Perhaps doing your job, and not sniffing around your colleague, could help to lower your caseload?” Gavin and Beth giggled in my head. “I must remember to inform your wife. I’m sure she’d be very interested.” I looked at his colleague. “You should know better. That’s why you had to move from your last post and the one before that.” She turned a deep shade of red, from her neck up, and backed into her room, out of sight.
I heard the main door slam behind me and caught the smirks from a few of them, hoping we were going to have trouble now. I turned around and faced the woman who was beside Gavin. He was about to speak when she hollered, “Who are you three?” She’d had the desired effect on her staff, all slithered into their rooms, silently, like slugs.
Gavin held his warrant card aloft and said, “Detective Inspector Wells and you seem to be in charge here. I’d like to know who you are?”
She tried to hide the surprise on her face and uttered, “You’ll have to make an appointment.”
Gavin said forcefully, “There will be no waiting for an appointment. We’re here now and I want some answers. Is there somewhere we can talk to you?”
“You better follow me,” she said reluctantly and had to shift some files away from her door to open it. When we followed her in, she pointed to the chairs in front of her desk and she sat behind it. She still looked flushed when she fiddled with her cuffs inside her jacket sleeves as if we weren’t there. Gavin cleared his throat to remind her. She looked up and said, “Sorry, what did you want?”
He was really pissed off and said, “You had the main door open and heard everything that was said from the time I took my finger off the bell and if you can’t remember why we’re sat here; what chance do the kids have, you’re supposed to look after?”
“There’s no need to be sarcastic. Who are you?” I couldn’t listen to her bullshit any longer.
“Now you really are taking the piss, Mrs Howard. This is how you are with anyone who tries to point out your failings and believe me, I’ve seen them all.”
“Am I supposed to feel threatened by that? You have no idea who you’re talking to, Miss.” Sending bloody kids here.
I turned to Gavin, “Give me some handcuffs, please? I’m arresting her.” She stood up in shock.
Gavin gave me the handcuffs. “There’s no need for that!” she exclaimed.
“Why not?” Gavin asked her. “You insist on holding us up, either by phone or now and a few days in the cells might make you realise that your job is on the line because I’ll make damn sure it is. We’ve had to deal with eleven deaths, in the last two days and no one here is in the least bit concerned. You’re not fit to look after children’s welfare.”
“Perhaps I could help you. What children?” Gavin shook his head at her. He took the handcuffs from me and put them on her. She complained like hell, though Gavin drowned her out, reciting her caution.
“You do not have to say anything, but you may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Let’s go.” She yelled and screamed at Gavin. Water off a duck’s back. All that accomplished was her colleagues exiting their rooms, smiling. They won’t be so happy when she’s taken to the nick as we hadn’t finished here yet. Gavin dragged her through the front door and smiled at me. Then he said to Beth, “Ring for the wagon please?” She giggled and pulled her phone out.
The poor case worker, who’d passed us earlier, got out of her car and laughed her head off, seeing her boss in handcuffs. She mumbled, “About bloody time!”
Gavin turned to his ward, “I see you’re very popular with your staff. They should have plenty to say to us, then?”
Howard sneered at Gavin. I’ll be out in five bloody minutes.
Gavin answered her thoughts, “How much would you like to bet on that?” She just stared at him.
The wagon arrived on the street, “Come on, Mrs Howard. Enjoy your stay with us and we’ll talk to you when we have time. You must know how long that could take as we’ve had to waste plenty coming here.” Gavin walked to the street and held her hands until she’d climbed the steps into the wagon. He closed the cage and doors then he said to the officer, “We’ll talk to her when we get back.” The officer nodded; climbed in and drove off.
On the way back to the nick, Gavin pulled into our drive, “We might as well have a sandwich here; okay with you, Beth?”
She giggled, “I’d be lying if I said no, Gavin. It’s gone lunch time, and I can’t wait to see inside.”
He laughed at her and pulled up near the front door. We got out quickly and he had the front door open in a flash. Beth didn’t say anything on our way to the kitchen. Gavin made the sandwiches, I made the tea and we took her into the pool room to eat. Once she was over the shock, she laughed at the pair of us. “This place is gorgeous. You’d have to prise me out of here.”
“You’d get bored in the end, Beth. Now Jane is with me, I don’t mind being at home at all.” He flashed his eyes at me. She cottoned on and giggled, picking her tea up.
I changed the subject, “Mrs high-and-mighty Howard is going to cry when she hears how much her colleagues have dropped her in the shit.”
“Play with fire and you should expect to get burned, Jane,” Beth piped up. “Especially as she treated them so well. She’s got no bloody radar; mind you, she was so sure of herself in that office of hers. Bet you can’t wait to interview her?”
“How did you guess?” We all laughed.
Gavin spoke up, “The Richardson’s are top of my bloody list; let her sweat for a bit.” He looked at his watch, “We’ll have to round this up, ladies.”
Luke was waiting to see us. “What can I do for you, Luke?” Gavin asked, shaking his hand.
He gave me a hug and then he said, “I’ve brought you something.” He held up a small forensic bag. “We don’t know if it’s relevant but it was in the ear of one of the kids from the hotel grounds. Bit grubby, I’m afraid.”
Just one look and my mind filled with our talk to Suzzy Mullins. “It’s what we’ve been missing, Gavin. Why didn’t I see it?” Tears dribbled down my cheeks.
“You can cut that out, Jane, right now.” He cuddled me and asked Luke, “Do you have the iPods that the kids were listening to?”
“They were sent over to Kevin. I’ll get them back.”
“Tell Kevin and Neil not to listen to them; just in case, Luke. They’re human and we don’t know what the hell we’re dealing with.”
“On it now,” Luke’s last words before he vanished.
Phil, could you come in here, please?
The door opened immediately, “Hi, what can I do for you two?”
“We have a big problem, Phil. All the kids were listening to music. At the Richardson house, there’s a PC in the kid's bedroom. It was playing a music video with the sound off when we saw it. I don’t know if it’s been shut down, I bloody hope so.” Phil looked worried. “What’s up, Phil?”
“Are you saying there’s something in the music making them kill each other?”
“Precisely. Luke’s gone for the iPods from the first bunch of kids. We’ll listen to them, a human couldn’t.”
Phil offered, “I’ll get the PC if you like? This has to be local or there’d be deaths across the country, and I’ve heard nothing from any other nick.”
“I hope to God you’re right, Phil. Collect the PC and bring it straight here.” He didn’t answer, leaving us in a hurry. Gavin turned his attention to me, “I wish you wouldn’t blame yourself, all the time. Without you, we wouldn’t be anywhere with the case.”
He was cuddling me when Luke appeared, “Oops, sorry.”
We laughed at him and Gavin said, “Perfect bloody timing, Luke,” lavishing it with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Luke didn’t give a hoot, raising his hand. It contained five forensic bags. “Untouched by anyone, Gavin. Just a thought; iPods are usually empty when you buy them. The kids didn’t look old enough to mess around with iTunes, so who loaded the music, if it’s dodgy? Couldn’t have been the parents or they’d have been in the same state as the kids.”
“A hybrid,” fell out of my mouth. Gavin stared but Luke remembered something.
“Reese did tell us about rogue hybrids, the London cell have had to deal with.”
Gavin said, “I think it’s time he paid us a visit.”
- 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