Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
“Who was that geezer?” asked Danny.
“Gareth’s brother, Geraint. I thought I introduced everyone.”
“Not to me you didn’t. Gareth didn’t have a brother, he’s got a sister called Hi-wind or something.”
“Say that again,” I said firmly.
“Gareth didn’t ’ave a brother, he’s got a sister.”
“How d’you know that?”
“He told me ages ago, she plays soccer in ladies team in Brecon or something.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, he told me when we were larkin’ about with a ball in the garden, he saw Trish play and said she reminded him of his sister, Hi something or other.”
“Yeah, could be.”
“Simon,” I called, “we’ve got a problem.”
“Tell your dad.” I urged Danny.
“Gareth didn’t have a brother, he’s got a sister.” I left them to talk and went to call Andy Bond.
I explained what had happened. “We haven’t had anyone here purporting to be Gareth’s brother, we’ve been talking to a woman, I think.”
I gave him the car number, he checked it against the computer. “It’s a rental car, it could take days to find out who rented it. I’ll get CID to speak to you in the morning.”
“Anything on James?”
“No, nothing as far as I know.”
Daddy was talking with Simon and Danny. Trish meantime called me. “Is this the number of the car?” she showed me a slip of paper.
“It’s owned by a rental company.”
“Yes I know.”
“This is the guy who rented it?” She showed me another screen.
“How did you find that?”
“Better you don’t know, Mummy.”
“Did Sammi show you?”
“Um,” she blushed.
“Can you cover your tracks?”
“And this is the man and where he lives?”
“According to their computer, it is.”
“Never tell anyone you can do this, and certainly never tell the police.”
“I might only be eight, Mummy, but I’m not stupid,” she yelled after me I was already running.
“Can you put the kids to bed?”
“Yeah, where are you going?”
“To check something out.”
“An address, if I’m not back in an hour, Trish knows where to send the police.”
“Send the police...?” Simon goldfished.
“I love you, sweetheart.” I pecked him on the cheek and grabbing my bag and my coat—all dark colours, I scooped up my image intensifier and rushed off to the car. I could vaguely hear Simon calling after me, but I was intent of seeing if the car was where Trish predicted it would be—at the house of the quarry owner’s son. It gave new meaning to quarry, as this man was now my quarry.
I was there in half an hour. It was a huge place purporting to be patrolled by guard dogs—why can’t they ever be patrolled by dormice? Those I can deal with.
I walked round the property having parked my car some little distance away. I couldn’t quite see over the tall wooden fence. Oh for an electric screwdriver and a drill bit.
The place was at the end of a cul de sac of very large and expensive houses, and the property in question backed on to some trees. Not bad for a bankrupt, though of course the guy who killed himself signed everything over to his wife so technically this was her property.
Using the image intensifier I wandered into the woods, my trainers virtually silent on the hard earth path. I found a tree which I thought I could climb and with difficulty began to scramble up through the branches. Finally, after a very sweaty ten minutes, I grunted my way on to a branch which enabled me to see over the fence. Bingo—there was the BMW hire car.
I took a photo of it, with the number plate showing sufficiently clearly to identify it. We now had a case for the police to visit. But looking round a bit further, I saw a bit where the wooden fence looked lower, it would be a bit of a squeeze, but I’m not that fat.
The descent was quicker, mainly because my foot slipped and I fell about six feet into a bush, frightening myself and nearly causing heart failure to a couple of pigeons who were roosting in a nearby tree. It took me a few minutes to get my breath back and to ascertain that I hadn’t actually broken my neck or anything else.
Once I managed to stand up and wipe off the mud and twigs, I slipped through the woodland and trotted along the fence to the area where it seemed lower. On closer inspection it wasn’t only lower it was loose and a few minutes work with my penknife and I had opened up two panels like a small doorway.
From my view in the tree, I could see the house had a basement area on the one side just past the swimming pool. Swimming pool—that’s a laugh with the summer we’ve had—they wouldn’t have had to fill it, just let the rain do it for them.
As I trotted across the yard between the pool and the house, a security light came on and a large dog hurled itself at me. I dropped and turned on my back and the dog jumped clean over me and fell into the pool, splashing through the plastic floating cover and disappearing from view. I certainly wasn’t going to rescue it and get eaten in the process. Shaken, I did think about retreating but instead started to explore the outside of the house, hoping they didn’t pick up on the security lights coming on.
If they had James, and that was a big if, would they hold him in the basement, like they do in the films? Probably not as this wasn’t a film, it was real life. I crept round the place and chanced upon an open window from which I heard voices.
“You sure they didn’t twig you?”
“I charmed them all, especially that stupid Scots git and his dopey daughter.” My ire began to rise.
“They didn’t name me as such?”
“Nah, they said they had a suspect but it has to be you, doesn’t it, besides you’ve got their investigator.”
“Yeah, I’ll need to sort him in the morning—take him for a little swim at the quarry. Keep in touch, I’ll call you if I need you again. Here’s your money.”
“What about the dog?”
“I’ll call him in while you leave.”
I ran to the BMW, and as luck would have it, the car was unlocked. I slipped in behind the front seats and kept low. A minute or so later, he got in his car after putting stuff in the boot and drove off. I’m surprised he didn’t hear my heart beating. I wished I’d had the presence of mind to record the conversation on my phone, but it was probably too quiet anyway. I wondered if Mr Stone, yeah that’s his name, found his dog, I suppose it would depend if it could climb out the shallow end.
At this moment, I had other things to think about. Then astonishingly, the car stopped and he got out and went into a corner shop. It was nearly eleven o’clock. I jumped out of his car and grabbed the envelope he’d left on the passenger seat, then I scurried away up an alleyway and called Simon.
He was furious but came to get me, parking his car at the opposite end of the alley, which was just as well, because our fake brother was walking all round his car looking for his envelope. When we looked at it, it had five thousand pounds in it in used twenties. Oh well it would pay for the funeral.
We collected my car and drove home. “He’s going to kill James tomorrow, he said.”
“Drown him you said?” Simon clarified.
“I’ll bet that’s at the old quarry.”
“What if he goes to do it tonight?” I felt really worried.
I called Andy Bond and told him what I’d done. “You silly cow, don’t you ever learn. Okay, we’ll do a search of the quarry at first light.”
“What if he does it tonight?”
“Sorry, it’s far too dark to do a search and those places are death traps.”
“Si, d’you know anyone with a chopper with a searchlight and thermal imaging equipment?”
“One we could hire.”
“I’ll check in the morning.”
“Okay, Mike Rennie used to be a police pilot he’s got a chopper—it’s going to cost an arm and a leg.”
“Simon, you’re a billionaire.”
“I won’t be for much longer at this rate.”
I left him to make his call while I had a cuppa and changed my jeans.
“Where d’you think you’re going?” he said as I returned.
“For ride in a helicopter,” I smiled back at him.
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