HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)

Chapter 18

Duke brought Julie to the nick about two hours later. We’d had lunch and just back in our office when Beth came in to say they were here.

When we went out to greet them, Jenny had Julie’s daughter sitting at her desk. She’d given her a pencil and paper to scribble on while she chatted to Julie.

Duke looked happy that she was content and put his hand out to shake ours, as soon as he realised we’d come in. “We’re in the Hilton, Gavin – round the corner from you.”

“Good, don’t think it’ll be long before you’re living next door.”

“What?” Duke laughed at him.

“I wouldn’t put it past Chris to be on the case as we speak.”

A smile tinged Duke’s mouth when he asked, “Who the hell’s Chris?”

“MI5, like Reese. He’s the other cell’s Mr Make-sure-it-happens. They’ve got the first four houses in the street, with him giving home-owners offers they couldn’t refuse, for the last two.”

Duke said excited, “Bring it on – can’t bloody wait.” He slammed his hand over his mouth. Sorry, shouldn’t swear in here.

Jenny looked up, giggling and said aloud, “Why, Duke? It’s never stopped them, or us.” He laughed at her because she’d read his mind. She carried on, “Nearly everyone here does it now. It’s catching around them, and I’m glad they have more back-up with you here.” He was totally bemused. She added, “No secrets here. Fancy some tea?”

He grinned at her, “As long as it’s not laced with embalming fluid – love one.” Giggles rippled around the office hearing that, though it didn’t stop them working. They were intent on having every lead tracked down, for the day we made our final move on this case. Some were upset that they couldn’t help us from here on in, but they understood why. The safety of the humans was paramount, and all their efforts hadn’t gone unnoticed. They worked bloody hard for us – every last one of them.

Julie looked very amused. Jenny said to her, “Once you open your mind to it, you’ll see how fantastic it is, Julie; I’m Jenny.”

“I’m game, Jenny.” She looked at Duke and giggled. He was happy she was no longer worried about the changes to her life.

Tom took her a spare chair, “Here, Julie. Sit beside Megan.”

“Thanks. You do it too?” She was totally intrigued he knew her daughter’s name.

“Yeah, and I’m human.” She threw him a smile that no one missed, especially Duke. He knew what that meant, and he wasn’t disappointed at all, having felt that Tom was one of those gentle giants and un-attached.

“Correct, Duke,” Gavin told him. “Come into our office, they’ll be fine.”

Duke laughed and followed us in. Gavin closed the door and said, “Grab a seat – need to ask you something.” He quickly pulled the chair from the wall opposite my desk and sat down.

“Have you been down in the market near those three buggers, or strictly stayed in the flat?”

“Well, you know the answer or you wouldn’t be asking. Of course. I wanted to know if they could tell if I was a hybrid or not. The two sidekicks aren’t right in the head if you ask me. He treats them like slaves and they jump at his every word.”

“You don’t think they’ve been hypnotised, do you?”

“Christ! Good question. Not a fucking clue, Jane.”

Gavin asked, “The market’s open daily so do you fancy going there with us and Beth – like two couples?”

“No problem. I’m sure Beth won’t mind me holding her hand.” He laughed out loud, “Been a long time since I did that…must have been twelve at the time.”

I wrote the next question down so that no one would hear our thoughts. I asked him what year he was born in.

He said to me, “Don’t be shocked.” He wrote down nineteen twenty-seven.

I’d watched him write it and looked up, “I’m not. Harvey, who runs the other cell, is older.” I wrote his down and he smiled when he read it.

“He must have had it rough at first, like me. Be good to chew the fat with him.”

Gavin pushed in, “He’s coming when we have to act. What time does the market shut?”

Duke looked at his watch. “We’ve got two hours…could go now if you want?”

There was a knock on the door. It opened and Beth came in with her jacket on.

“Come on boys, Jane and I want some new make-up.”

I stood up. “Excellent idea, Beth. I keep leaving mine all over Gavin’s shirts.”

Gavin laughed and said, “Come on, then. Waterproof mascara for you.”

In the car on the way into town, I looked into the back seat. “Yeah, if I get waterproof, Beth, I won’t leave the rest at the bottom of the pool.”

“You have a pool?” Duke asked.

Gavin answered, “We certainly do. Come home for a swim when we’ve finished? Ah, shit. We have to think of Megan…it’s twelve feet deep.”

“Oh, she can swim.” He felt how shocked we were and added, “Julie took her swimming when she was a few months old. A cousin of hers died, messing about in a river, so she was adamant that Megan learned as soon as she could. Jules will be thrilled, she hates the local pool. She always made Megan wear arm-bands in the big pool if she wanted to do a few lengths by herself. Older kids just don’t think.”

I twisted around to see Duke properly, “I think that’s fantastic.”

He giggled and said, “So does Megan, she loves it, Jane.”

“Then you must come – have dinner with us?” I looked at Beth, “You and Rod, too, Beth. The only thing is we skinny dip. What about Megan?”

Duke smiled and said, “Once you’re in, Megan won’t see anything. In any case, she won’t be in there very long. Jules will have her dressed before you get out.”

Gavin muttered something which made me turn back to look out of the windscreen. I could see the reason he sounded pissed off. There was nowhere to park.

“I’ll try the supermarket.” He turned right and drove into the clogged up car park, driving around it a couple of times until he saw someone loading their car with shopping. He sat back from them with his flashers going until they’d manoeuvred out, leaving us the empty space. Some dozy idiot, coming the other way, tried to sneak in before Gavin. He hit the siren which made the other driver change his mind bloody fast, backing up again to get away from us. Gavin said under his breath, “Yes, mate, fuck off.” Then he drove in and parked the car; turning in his seat he asked Duke, “What stalls are near theirs?”

“They’re on the cobbled section that feeds onto the pedestrian bridge across the river, so that stretch is usually full of traders selling women’s gear. The cafés down there are full all day long.”

“Bugger. I can see problems if we have to catch them there.”

“You couldn’t do it, although where they wait it out, when the market inspector’s sniffing around, would be perfect, Gavin. Behind their pitch, there’s a cut between the shops that leads to the causeway. I’ve watched all of them go to digs, across the road from the end of that alley. After about an hour, one of them goes out to check he’s gone and they start all over again.”

Gavin blurted out, “Christ, Duke, you’ve put my mind at rest.”

“We’d still need help, Gavin.”

“I don’t doubt you. I’ll ring Harvey tonight. Perhaps, when we’ve taken the ladies for a walk down there and Jane gets near enough to read their minds, you could show me what the set-up is at their digs?”

“Definitely. You’d need to know before you ring him.”

I had to smile to myself, watching the women in front of us, trying to walk on the cobbles in six-inch stilettos. Gavin squeezed my arm, linked through his.

They have to be nuts, Jane.

The price of fashion – broken ankles.

Beth sniggered behind us. What they’re wearing is only fit for the bedroom.

I turned around and laughed at her: When I saw Alli’s shoes I nearly died.

Me too.

Duke pushed his oar in: Now you’ve got me interested, the pair of you.

Gavin turned and said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ till you see some of their gear. My eyes nearly fell out at one point.”

Duke laughed out loud and then he muttered, “Can’t wait.”

I could see the bridge between people in front of us and asked, “Where are the make-up stalls, Duke?”

“One on your left near the bridge.” Too close to them. “There’s another over here, on your right, Jane.” I glanced back and he was pointing to one coming up. Gavin had seen it and he steered me towards the stall with a crowd of women around it.

A guy’s voice was cracking jokes with one of the women in front of me. She and her friends were laughing, although I couldn’t see who it was. I looked up to Gavin when he sniggered about something. He knew I was losing patience, glancing at me with a smile: They’ve just paid him, Jane.

I huffed and waited until they’d finished giggling at his quip. A busty blonde turned in front of me, asking, very politely, “Excuse me. My boss will kill me for being late.” I giggled and moved to let her out. Now I was at the front and the guy serving was a stunner – eye make-up…great hair and personality, by the hordes of women clamouring to be served by him.

As soon as I saw him my mind filled with one thing: He’s a hybrid.

Duke was behind me. My gaydar’s working too, Jane. If you knew how long I’ve waited…

I smirked at Duke just as the guy clocked him above my head. When another two women left his stall, Duke and Beth filled the void. He was a bit disheartened when he saw Beth holding one of Duke’s arms. She was oblivious to what was going on as she scanned the goods he was selling.

Duke said to her, “Make your mind up cous, we haven’t got all day?”

Beth suddenly twigged and played along. Looking at him she said with a smile, “Stop your bloody moaning, Duke – you offered to bring me. I could have come with Rod, tomorrow.”

While all this was going on, women held goods out to the guy who hadn’t taken his eyes of Duke. One of them yelled, “Do you want to sell this, or not?”

He glanced at the woman, then back to Duke: Don’t go anywhere.

Duke only had to smile at him. He relaxed and carried on serving the women until the stall was empty of everyone but us. I’d collected a pile of stuff I wanted and so had Beth. He passed me a shallow basket to drop them all in and gave one to her as she hadn’t finished choosing some eye-shadow.

“Are you all together?”

I opened my mouth to answer but Duke answered him: We’re all coppers on surveillance.

Gavin was surprised he’d told him. I wasn’t.

You after those bastards, down there?

Duke nodded: These two are my bosses, Gavin and Jane. This is Beth and really is Rod’s girlfriend, and I’ve waited for you to come into my life for fucking decades.


I cleared my throat and said, “Now we’ve got that out of the way, Liam, how much do I owe you?”

He giggled, glanced into the basket and said, “As you’re inviting me to dinner tonight, we’ll call it a tenner.” I cracked up and found him a ten-pound note.

“We have to get near those buggers for a few minutes. Stick it in a bag – we won’t be long.” Gavin held his arm out for me to link it. We crossed to the stalls on the other side and I made out I was looking at the clothes on each stall until we were on the one next to the three hybrids. I made a meal of checking all the dresses along the rails, only masked from them by a sheet of plastic that the stall-holder had erected to shelter all the stock, in case it rained.

Gavin hung around at the front of the stand, glancing at some stuff I held up for him to comment on, but looking thoroughly hacked off like any normal bloke would, surrounded by women’s clothes, and with a woman intent on emptying his bank account.

One of the hybrids threw a sarcastic remark, about how I couldn’t make my mind up, like most women. Gavin answered, grunting like I was the witch from hell, giving me a pathway into the hybrid’s sordid mind. Once in, I delved into every part of it. Richardson’s name was spread all over his memory so that’s where I was going, as soon as I could interview him again.

I walked out of the stall and said, “Nothing I can’t live without, love. Let’s go home.”

Gavin pretended to be relieved. “About bloody time.” He looked towards the hybrid and raised his eyes.

When the hybrid threw back a few empathic words, I quickly stole a glance at him. I knew I’d seen him before, but where?

On our way back up the bank to the others, Gavin conveyed his thoughts: You’ll remember, Jane. We’ll have some fun tonight – could be the last time for a while.

That feeling’s swamped me all day, Gavin.

I know.

Beth, Duke and Liam were waiting where his stand had been when we left them. Beth gave me the carrier bag full of my goodies, saying with a giggle, “Well, I’m glad we came – sure you are?”

“I’m sure Charlie and Luke will be interested, too, Beth.” She laughed at me as we left the empty space and made our way through the oncoming tide of shoppers to our car.

Liam seemed quite happy to come back to the nick with us. When Julie saw Duke come in with Liam. She knew he’d found someone special, even though she couldn’t read his mind. It was obvious to all who saw them follow us into their office. One of the lads whistled. Duke pushed his fist in the air to howls of laughter from the rest of the team. He was happy and he didn’t care who knew it. He put his arm around Liam’s shoulder and announced, “I’ve finally found my soul-mate. This is Liam, everyone.”

Liam laughed at him and then the clapping started; desks were banged and whistling filled the air. It didn’t go on for more than a few seconds, stopping abruptly when John walked in with a face like thunder, yelling, “What the hell’s going on here and who the hell are you two?”

That pissed me off so much I did the speed thing until I was right in John’s face.

The very fact I’d done it in front of everyone, scared the crap out of him. It didn’t stop him looking around, checking if they were just as gob-smacked as him.

I’d had enough. “Don’t worry. They don’t care what we do. We’ve been accepted by them – pity I couldn’t say the same about you. Throwing your weight around in here won’t work. I thought you realised that and just because you’ve had a row at home, don’t take it out on us? And, for your information, John, Duke works for us and you. If you’d bothered to read everyone’s file that was sent here by Reese, you’d know exactly who he is and the fact he’s worked surveillance and undercover from this station for years. Anything else you want to know?”

He was so flustered, he couldn’t speak.

I said to him, “Go and have a cup of tea, calm yourself down and then we’ll come and tell you how far we’ve got with this case. I think you should at least know, since you haven’t asked when the other hybrids are coming to help us.”

That shook him. Without saying a word, he nodded, turned around and left their office. No one said anything about my conversation with him and all carried on as if it hadn’t happened.

Jenny was in the kitchen making tea at the time, so as soon as he’d gone she brought out a large tray of mugs for the team.

“Get a drink all of you. I’ll bring yours into your office, Jane.”

“Thanks, Jenny.”

We took Julie, Megan, Duke and Liam in with us and closed the door.

The smile on Liam’s face said it all but he didn’t say anything.

Gavin smirked and said, “It’s all right, Liam. He’s the only idiot who can’t read minds around us, and if Jane had bollocked him in his office, they’d have heard it anyway. He knows that much.”

I pulled out my chair and said, “Here, Julie, sit at my desk with Megan.”

“Won’t you need it?”

“No, I’ll sit on a spare one. She can still do her drawing. I think you’ll have a desk in here soon, Duke.”

“God, I’ve never worked in-house before.”

“That’s because he didn’t know what you are. He was the same with Gavin until I put him straight about a few things.”

Gavin laughed, remembering it. It was only seconds before Duke and Liam knew about that day, vividly. They were both giggling when Gavin asked, “How long have you worked that pitch, Liam?”

The door was knocked and Jenny came in with the tea. She smiled as she put the tray down, announcing, “No embalming fluid or bromide. That would have stopped your fun tonight.” Duke laughed at her.

Gavin asked, “Why don’t you and Phil come to dinner, Jenny?”

“I can’t, Gavin, thanks. My parents are away, attending a funeral for one of the rellies.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks, but I didn’t know him, Gavin, and they hadn’t heard from him in years. They had to go – would’ve looked bad if they didn’t. Phil’s coming to stay until they’re back.”

“You’ll be tired tomorrow, then?”

She smiled at me, “Not if I can help it. I stay at his a lot now and he hasn’t stopped me working, yet. We’re quiet at the moment and one of the lads will go to any call-outs. I have to be at the end of the phone, that’s all.”

“If you get held up at any time, just ring, Jenny.”

“Thanks, Gavin.” She glanced at her watch, “Better go, nearly knocking off time.” She hurried out.

“Come on, Gavin. Let’s go up and speak to him. This shouldn’t take long. Drink tea you lot.” We both vanished and heard Julie laughing just as Gavin knocked on John’s door.

We arrived home about ten minutes later than usual. Duke parked next to our car and when they got out he whistled at the house. Charlie and Luke arrived in their van and took it around the back. They didn’t want to invite thieves who targeted vans, and Luke said it spoiled the look of the house. Who were we to argue with that?

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