(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
“Whose car is that?” I asked the security guard wandering about the car park.
He shrugged, “Dunno, Prof, but Dr Robinson will be cross when he comes in, it’s in his space.” David had agreed to take the wains to school and collect them, I wanted to get in early to sort myself for when the police arrived. Wayne, our security man, wandered over to the car, a Ford Focus. “Don’t look like anyone teaching here left it.”
“Oh?” I walked over from my Jaguar and glanced inside the car. There was a Bible on the front passenger seat. I dialled the front reception office and asked if they had an owner for the car. It wasn’t one they recognised and it bore no sign of any pass for the university. It also looked as if it had been parked overnight.
My next call was to the police and amazingly I was put through to DI Patchworth who was the officer dealing with the incident and that of the stolen material. “How is the young woman who tried to kill me?”
“You alleged tried to kill you.”
“I was there, Mr Patchworth, you weren’t.”
“That is true but it doesn’t prove anything yet. The woman is in the care of the mental health services as she appears to have had some sort of breakdown and keeps on about the Angel of Death stalking her.”
To me that seemed a reasonable trade off given her intent to murder me, however, at the same time I didn’t actually wish her any ill, providing she or her friends didn’t try again.
I explained about the car and he remarked that amongst her possessions, Judy Whitworth, the failed assassin, had a bunch of keys one of which was for a Ford car of some sort. I suggested he try the one in the car park and gave him the number. He told me that he was intending a visit to see the hall again and to speak to me about my recollections.
Entering my office, Diane explained that she’d spent the last half an hour keeping the press at bay—there was a rumour someone had died after I gave my Darwin lecture. She referred them to the university press officer, who had even less information than we did. Apparently, said press officer was on his way over. I told her to make coffee for all of us and that she should sit in as she was there as well and may offer a different perspective.
“Won’t that annoy the police—two witnesses conferring?”
“We conferred at the time if you remember.”
“So we did. Okay, I’ll make three coffees.”
Tim Barnett the press officer was fairly new to the job having worked in local papers up in Lincolnshire before heading south, where his wife was regional manager for a supermarket chain.
We brought him up to date as we knew things and I mentioned the car. He said he had a friend in the DVLA who could get him a registered owner’s name. Using my phone, in two minutes, he had the name of the keeper of the car—guess who? Spot on, our little deranged wannabe assassin.
I wanted to see what was in the car so got the gate to tell me when the police arrived. Two minutes after I got the tip off, I was meeting the plod at the car. I was politely told to move away as this was police business and pointed out that I had an interest as an intended victim of a murder attempt so he had to arrest me or let me see what they found. Muttering something about ‘Pension Killer’ he allowed me to remain but not to touch anything.
The car opened at the bleep of the electronic key and two forensic officers in overalls and nitrile gloves checked the interior—there was the usual debris, empty food wrappers, a coat on the back seat and the Bible. The boot, however, was far more interesting and in there they found a box of gloves the same as the one she’d worn and a container of some fluid which I advised them to treat with great respect believing it to be our contact poison.
The box they turned up with to remove it was like something out of a sci-fi movie and the person who moved the container was wearing breathing apparatus and big gloves and a protective apron. Perhaps the stuff was dangerous after all, though part of me wanted it to be the soup she didn’t have for tea last night.
We adjourned to my office and I invited Diane in again and we both spoke to the Inspector. “So far, the glove produced some gunk that had been so degraded by heat that they couldn’t really identify it.”
“If that is some sort of contact poison what happens to the woman who tried to kill me?”
“She’ll be arrested and questioned if she regains her sanity.”
“Why do you think she won’t?”
“She was worse this morning apparently.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that.”
“Is that a genuine concern?”
“Why shouldn’t it be?”
“You allege she tried to kill you—so how come you’re not dead?”
“I appear to be somewhat immune to psychopathic individuals’ murderous intents.”
“How did the stuff on the glove become burnt?”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t you find all this a trifle suspicious?”
“Absolutely, but it seems strange things happen occasionally, which defy description.”
“Sounds a bit of a cop out for a scientist.”
“Not really, I might not understand things yet but it won’t stop me trying to find a rational explanation.”
“Like what—for the burnt glove?”
“I haven’t got one yet, possibly she touched some hot equipment.”
“Like what? Your heating isn’t on and everything else appears to be up on the stage. She didn’t go up there did she?” While I was trying to think of some sort of reasoned response his mobile phone went off and he excused himself to take it. “I have to go.”
“Don’t tell me, they found instructions on how to use the stuff in her Bible?”
“Please don’t say anything else, Professor, or I’ll have to caution you.”
“Because you just described the item they found seconds ago.”
“Are they really that stupid?”
“Are you simply the victim of an attack by extremists or is there more to it than meets the eye?”
“Not from my side, I assure you.”
“We’ll see, Professor, but even though your husband’s bank may hold my mortgage, I will find out the truth of all this and if that means investigating wealthy professors, so be it.”
“I will assist you in any way I can,” I lied.
“You better had, Lady Cameron,or it may be your pension which is at risk—good day.”
“Good day.” I responded.
“Okay, the plod’s gone, how did the glove melt?”
“Diane, I have no more idea than you do.”
“Odds on it was the blue stuff—you know the light your hands give off when you’re healing or thinking about people.”
“You haven’t seen that, have you?”
“Yeah, just ‘cause I didn’t say anything doesn’t mean I didn’t see it.”
Bugger—went through my mind but I said nothing.
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