HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)

Chapter 17

We’d barely been in work a few seconds when there was a knock on our office door. Before either of us could utter a word it opened and John came in, closing it behind him quickly.

“Morning, John,” Gavin said, “Problem?” Neither one of us could understand why he behaved so ‘cloak and dagger’ – bloody fool.

“No, no. I couldn’t see Beth out there. Did it go wrong and that’s why she’s not in?”

Beth’s voice filled our heads: Has he got a bloody brain?

Not quite sure, Beth. We both heard her smirk at me while she stirred the tea.

I said to him, “Sit down, John and I’ll explain a few things. You need to remember this please?”

I felt his unease when he turned to find a chair, so I added, “You can stop feeling worried around us – I know you still do, especially when you learn about other abilities we have. You’ve no idea how advanced they are down there, so you’ll have to go with the flow and have a good chat with their commissioner, Ron.” He’s got more balls than you’ll ever have!

The door opened and Beth came in with a few mugs on a tray. John didn’t utter a sound, watching her dish them out and unable to take one from her.

She was pissed off and turned on him. “I’ve not got two bloody heads, John – get over it or ring your wife. Ask if you need to change that nappy you wear?” His mouth dropped open when we smirked.

Gavin found his voice quickly to dispel the situation, saying, “You know we can’t lie – sorry; wrong word. We say exactly what we think and Beth hasn’t had enough time to learn how to kerb it, John. I’m sure she didn’t mean it to come out like that.” He glanced at Beth thinking she’d say something. She said something, all right – surprised us.

“The thing is Gavin, I did. Sorry, John. I can call you that now, can’t I?” He opened his mouth to answer. She stopped him with more words. “I’ve been able to hear everyone’s thoughts since I’ve been here.” His face turned the colour of beetroot. She expected it and ploughed on, “Ring Ron like Jane said. Find out how to run this show the way he does or they’ll get someone else in who can. We’ve seen the shit they deal with, first hand and you couldn’t cope with it. Sack me if you dare? You know for a fact I’d be re-instated.”

Beth’s voice filled our heads: I’ll tell you when he’s gone.

She picked up a mug of tea and perched on the edge of my desk. He sat there in stunned silence until his brain kicked in, saying in almost a whisper, “I know it’s pointless speaking to you alone, Beth – you’d all hear me anyway. I’m sorry you saw what you did, that day. Please accept my apology?”

“I accept it, John, and make sure you get up to speed with Ron. You’ve no idea what’s ahead of us. I was bloody shocked, believe me.”

“Point taken. I’ll leave you to get on – phone calls to make.” He hurried out of the office. We looked at each other with wide sparkly eyes – unable to laugh out loud…he’d hear us. We made up for it in our heads.

When we’d calmed down, Gavin said with a grin, “Bloody hell, Beth. Thought I was hearing things.”

“You’ve no idea how long I’ve wanted to say that to him. I caught him kissing one of the new recruits, in the locker room. A guy.”

“That explains a lot, Beth,” I said. “I feel sorry for him.”

“He had to know I’d heard his thoughts that day. He told the guy he’d stand up to his wife and leave her. He thought something totally different and didn’t have the guts to tell the guy, who asked for a transfer shortly afterwards. He’s become a wimp, especially where she’s concerned. No bloody good to you.”

Gavin said to her, “It’s crossed our minds more than once, Beth.”

“I know, I’ve heard it. He’ll have to be on the ball when we catch that bastard.”

“That reminds me, surveillance to ring.” Gavin picked up his phone.

We nattered quietly while Gavin keyed in a number. He waited for someone to answer, getting more pissed off by the minute. He slammed his phone on the desk, saying, “Phil, come in here please?” He was in straight away.

“What’s up, Gavin?”

“Duke’s not answering his phone.”

“Fuck! He’s never without it. I know where he lives.”

“Come on, Jane, and you Beth. You’ll have to stay in the car, Phil.” He nodded.

I’m here, Gavin.

“Meet us in the back yard, Rod. Thanks.”

We hurried out through the main office. They watched us, having heard what was said and knowing they couldn’t go near the hybrid we had to catch if that was what we were heading to. Phil sat in the front and gave Gavin directions to Duke’s flat. Then Gavin asked, “Charlie, you’ll have to meet us there. Flat 6G Newington House, Chambers Lane.”

Right. See you there.

On the way, we chatted about anything, apart from speculating on what we might find when we got there. When we turned the corner into the street, we saw the lad’s van in the distance, parked outside one of the houses that faced the high-rise blocks of flats. Gavin drove slowly towards them. I looked along the flats to see if there was a name on any of them. Most were covered with gang tags, way past hand height which made it difficult to see which one we were looking for.

Phil was listening to my thoughts and said, “I know which one it is, Jane. The lads are one block this side of it. I’ve known Duke for years. His name’s Ryan really – hates it. Christ, I hope he’s okay.”

We all knew this could be bad. Gavin glanced at him, “So do we, mate.” He parked in front of the van and got out. We followed him to the side window of the van, next to the kerb. Phil explained that we had to go through the stairwell and out the other side to the inner courtyard, as they were built in a square with all the walkways on every floor, facing into the middle. Duke’s flat was on the ground floor, halfway along on the right. We left Phil sitting in the van and made our way across the road to the next block down. The stairwell was dark and depressing, covered in graffiti and this was nowhere you’d want to bring kids up. Fat chance of that. We heard a baby crying as we exited the stairwell, inside the courtyard. Gavin took us along the ground floor flat doors until he stopped outside a blue one with 6G on the front. He knocked loudly and we waited a while to realise that it wouldn’t be answered. He pushed his fingers into the letter box and bent down to look inside. “DUKE!” he yelled into the opening.

The door opened on the next flat along and a young woman came out with a child perched on her left hip. “Can I help you with anything?”

Gavin answered her, “We’re looking for Duke – can’t get hold of him and he’s not answering his phone.” Gavin suddenly looked up, past the woman. Phil was coming towards us.

The woman turned to see what we were looking at and said, “I’ve not seen him, Phil. What the hell’s wrong?” She sounded worried.

“Can we come in for a minute, Julie?”

She nodded and said, “Of course, come in, all of you.” We followed her to her small, spotlessly clean although sparsely furnished sitting room. She put her little girl down on the rug and turned to Phil, “I’ve had a bad feeling for two days, Phil. Something’s happened to him. I know it.”

He gave her a cuddle. “We’ll find him, Julie. Don’t get upset.”

I spotted a pack of Tarot cards on the mantlepiece and asked, “Are you psychic, Julie?” It was Phil who nodded his head before she faced me.

“All my life, Jane. You are too, so you know how worried I am.”

“Yeah, I feel it, Julie. Seems odd to me that your brother lives next door, though.”

“My ex was too handy with his fists and why Duke moved next door. The walls are like paper and he could hear him kick-off. Mark didn’t hang around long and buggered off. What the hell was he doing for you, this time?” She glanced at Phil and back to me.

It was Gavin who answered. “Just surveillance, Julie, nothing more. He was told to keep his distance, watching from a flat that overlooked the market. Could he be with a girlfriend, anywhere?”

“He’s gay. If he is with someone, I’ll bloody kill him when he gets home.”

Just as the last word hit our ears, a voice rang out from the hall, “Anyone in?” The front door slammed and then a strapping six-foot-tall man filled the doorway staring at us.

Julie ran to him, “Where the hell have you been? You know I worry myself sick if you don’t phone.”

“Knackered battery. Didn’t charge properly, sorry. Why are you all here?” He looked at Phil, “Well? Filling my sister’s house with hybrids!”

I said to Gavin, blocking everyone else: He’s a hybrid and she doesn’t know, Gavin.

Thanks, Jane. Phil didn’t either. Look at his face.

Phil was shocked by Duke’s statement and said quickly, “Duke, this is Gavin, my boss. You’ve only spoken to him on the phone. He was worried about you not answering.” Julie stared at us; picked her kiddie up, backing away.

Duke grabbed hold of her and said, “It’s all right, Julie, they’re police.”

“I don’t give a damn if they are. I don’t want them near me. Get them out of here, NOW!”

This’ll be interesting. Gavin glanced at me.

Duke cuddled his sister tenderly and said quietly, “You have a problem on your hands, then, Julie.”

Holy shit! “What the hell do you mean by that?” She was bordering on hysterical.

He pulled back to look at her face. “They aren’t the only hybrids in this room. Are you scared of me?” The blood drained from her face; shaking her head at him – tears rolling down her cheeks.

Beth suddenly said, “I’ll make us all some tea if that’s okay?” Duke nodded to a door at the back of the room and then paid his attention to his sister again.

“Not for us, Beth,” Charlie said before she got to the door. “We’ll get off, Gavin and drop Rod back at the nick. Nice to meet you both.” His last words fell on deaf ears as she was staring into Duke’s face, bewildered. They left quietly.

She whispered, “How long?”

“A few months back. You won’t come to any harm from me or any of these people here. I’m not saying all hybrids are like us, they aren’t, and that’s why I was on surveillance for them.”

She looked at us, “I’m sorry I reacted like that.”

I said to her, “I think you took that pretty well, considering. Our boss crapped his pants when he found out.” She laughed at me and relaxed.

Beth brought mugs of tea in and handed ours out. “Don’t know if you take sugar, either of you?”

“One in each, please,” Duke answered. Beth went back for their drinks. “Sit down, Julie. I have a lot to tell these folks.”

There were only two fireside chairs so we sat on the floor. Julie thought we were funny. She sat down and offered the other chair to Beth when she brought their tea in.

Duke took a swig from his mug, sat down with us and began, “He’s the weirdest hybrid I’ve ever seen and he’s not alone – three of them. Don’t know how you’re going to stop them with only six of you – insane even trying.”

Gavin cut in, “That’s the least of our worries. We have at least a dozen from London to call on, and here in half an hour by chopper.”

“You’ll fucking need ’em.” He pulled a face and looked up to his sister. “Sorry, Julie. I know I said I wouldn’t use that word anymore.”

I butted in, “Julie, every hybrid swears like us. It’s an affliction we can’t stop, sorry.”

“I don’t mind it, Jane, only Megan’s trying to talk and she’ll pick it up.”

“We’ll be careful, Julie.”

“Me too, hun, sorry.” Duke looked back to us. “How do you want to work this? I’ll help you all I can.”

Gavin said, “We’ll have to buy some of their CDs, drive away from town and check them like we did before. We listened to the ones five kids were wearing. They were all the same. A human couldn’t listen to them, Duke.”

I pushed in, “They can’t all be the same or we’d have had more deaths.” Julie’s head shot up, staring at me. “We shouldn’t be discussing this here. We’ll go, Julie, I’m so sorry.”

“I’ll take you next door, Jane,” Duke said, got up and went over to Julie. “I won’t be long, half hour, tops.”

Julie got up with her little one to see us out. “I won’t freak out if I see you again,” she said, following us to the front door.

I turned back to her, “Now you know about us I’m sure we’ll see more of each other, Julie. Thanks for the tea.” She smiled and closed the door.

Duke had his door open by the time I looked towards his flat. I hurried to get inside. The rain was hammering down and played hell with my hair. Inside, we could see that Duke had spent a bit more money on his furnishings.

He asked us to sit down and then said, “I’m actually glad you came today and Julie knows about me now. God, I had no idea how to tell her. I can buy her somewhere decent to live now, instead of that bloody dump. I’ve seen you at the casino, Gavin – small world.” He huffed at himself.

Gavin said, “Yeah, you scrub up well, too. When Phil said the name Ryan, it didn’t click that was you. I haven’t taken Jane yet, she’d cause havoc reading minds as well as she can.” I giggled at him.

Duke laughed, “Perhaps we should try it one night?”

“When we’ve finished this business, it’s a date. Why don’t you move near us?”

“Houses along there don’t change hands that often. Keep your eyes peeled and let me know if anything comes on the market; good idea.

“Right, I watched them selling CDs for two days so if you haven’t had any deaths for a while, they can’t be selling them off that stand. They have to be pirate copies. They sell hundreds throughout the time they pitch there. The other two are always on the look-out for the market inspector; knowing what times he does his rounds. They pack up fast and are back as soon as he’s gone. From where I was, I had a scope trained on them for hours. They were selling bent CDs and up to nothing else. The money they turned over must be going to the drugs trade – a serious amount of cash crossed that pitch.”

“Richardson was into cocaine,” I pushed in. Recognition flashed in Duke’s eyes. “You’ve heard of him?”

“Who hasn’t in this town? He doesn’t make friends, that one.”

Gavin said, “His two kids were victims.”

All Duke said was, “Payback.”

“Time we interviewed that bastard again, Gavin.”

“I’ll get him shipped here for tomorrow…”

“Too late!” Gavin stared at Duke. “I have acute hearing. Something big is going down tomorrow. I didn’t get all of it with the noise from the market but they kept referring to Tuesday.”

Gavin pulled his phone out to ring Reese. He spoke to him for a couple of minutes, asking for Richardson to be brought to the nick today. When he closed his phone, he said, “That’s sorted. Reese will bring him here by chopper, early this afternoon.”

Duke asked, “Who’s Reese?”

“MI5. He runs the only two cells in the country. He’s a hybrid, Duke. You wouldn’t believe how advanced they are in the other cell. They’ve had to be. Think this case is bad, theirs are beyond fucking belief.”

“What would I have to do for your commissioner to know I joined up years ago – basic training again?”

“No,” I said to him. He smiled as he’d read my mind. “Reese will be chuffed to bloody bits you want to join us. Come to the nick and bring Julie with you? The human girls in the team will keep them company.”

“The quicker she’s off this estate the better. I want no backlash from anything I do, hurting her or Megan. Can’t trust any bastard these days – especially around here. Now she knows, I think we’ll check into a hotel until I find a house. She wouldn’t let me get anything for her home and wouldn’t move in here with me. Very independent is Jules. I’ve wanted to ship her out of here for a long time. She has no idea how old I am or the fact that I’m not her brother. I’ve been a hybrid for years and moved next door when I saw the way she was being treated by that moron. I saw him battering her on the way back from the shops. I had a few words with him for hitting her when she was pregnant. He left soon after that so I’ve looked out for her ever since. I love her as my sister and that will never change, it couldn’t, and you know I’m gay so there’s no problem there.”

“Alli, from the other cell showed me how to do hypnosis. You must be good at it, to keep that from Julie all this time?” He just smiled.

Phil play-punched his arm, “You bloody fooled me, too, you bugger.”

Duke laughed and said, “You seriously need a gym, Phil.”

“And some fucking hybrid radar – worked with that bugger for nearly two years and didn’t know.” Duke doubled over, laughing.

We went into Julie’s again and she was surprised when Duke asked her to pack some things as they were going to a hotel.

“Don’t waste your money, I’m all right here.”

“Sit down a minute, please?” She sat down and he kneeled in front of her taking hold of one of her hands. “Until you knew what I was, I couldn’t tell you this, Julie. I didn’t know how to broach the subject and I was scared you’d reject me, once you knew. Your persistence, every time I tried to help you with anything, other than being here for you, didn’t help either.” She smiled at him.

“I remember some of those arguments,” she said, giggling.

He laughed, saying, “Yes, so do I, and the cup you threw at me – bounced off my bloody head.

“Listen, I have more money than I can spend. We’re going to a hotel and I will buy us a house near these buggers. Leave it all here, apart from special things. You and Megan can have everything new.”

I felt her tears before they showed in her eyes. She leant forward and cuddled him. “If you’re sure,” she whispered.

“You’ve made my day, Julie. Dry your eyes and I’ll help you gather a few essentials together, Megan’s stuff. We can come back for the rest.” He looked at us. “We’ll see you later at the nick. This won’t take long.”

“How are you going to shift everything?” Gavin asked.

“Range Rover. It’s garaged, Gavin. Couldn’t leave it on the street on this estate – would’ve been stripped in minutes.”

Medium Rare
Medium Rare
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Devil’s Dyke
The First
The First
Split Decision
Split Decision
Critical Moments
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Wet Daddy
Wet Daddy