A Vanstone Novel
C P Sennett
All characters and events here and in this book are fictitious and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing.
Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett
A Long Cold Night
Slowly and with blurred vision Anna began to come round, unsure at first, her mind hesitant and unable to make much sense of what had happened to her.
She looked up at the ceiling of the room; it was her room as the tiny bit of mould in the corner was still there. Her mind began to clear and she wondered if she was dreaming, had she been robbed or worse, raped? There was a constant ringing in her ears and this was the last sense to return to normal as she tried to look around the room.
From what she could tell she was on her bed but as she tried to move, clearly still weakened from the ordeal, she realized she was tied firmly in place.
Anna tried to speak; her throat was painfully dry and produced no real sound. Something was in her mouth causing a tight pain on both cheeks. Then came a sound – a voice from beside her.
She dared not look.
“You’re awake,” said the voice, which sounded strong but not right, as if distant or obstructed. “It is wonderful to see you again. I want you to nod if you can hear me, as I can’t trust you to speak. Can you do that for me?”
It took all of the self-control she had not to thrash about or call out. Eyes wide she breathed in hard bursts through her nose as she nodded.
“Good girl” said the voice as she saw a black leather hand move across her eyes clearing some hair from her face.
“We have met before,” said the unusual voice before adding “I am a doctor.” Her eyes darted around and she slowly strained against her restraints.
She froze as a hand ran up her thigh; she had no clothes on and she felt the touch of a hand or glove snaking over her skin. She swallowed hard and closed her eyes tightly, as the hand slowed longingly on her bare breast.
“Are you ok? Nod for me if you are,” he purred.
Too terrified to do anything else, Anna nodded, as she closed her eyes wishing to wake up from this nightmare.
“I won’t rape you Anna, I promise and I am a doctor,” said the voice. “I’m a special kind of doctor, a plague doctor, do you understand?”
Again Anna nodded. Her mind and body were full of fear, unsure why she could hardly move her head or what was happening to her.
“There, there,” said the haunting voice as the hand began to stroke her cheek, “Don’t cry,” he said.
“It’s late Anna, very late and we have been playing for some time now. I know you’re sick which is why I am here… I’m your beautiful doctor and when I am finished you will have the face of a movie star.”
“I enjoyed your company but our time is at an end. Don’t worry my surgery won’t make a mess in your room but it is now time for you to go under the knife.”
Anna could hear a noise close by, as if a load of supermarket bags were being rustled at the same time. She strained against her bonds. In desperation she pushed her tongue against the gag in her mouth but it was on too tight.
Hearing activity to her left, she flinched as much as her restraints would let her as something flew across her, covering her from head to toe. It was a giant transparent sheet of plastic and was cold to the touch.
Despite there being very little light in the room and the sheeting now over her face, a tiny glint of silver came into view. As it grew bigger she knew the silver object was moving closer to her, terrible realisation flooded her soul as she saw it was a knife. She battled with all her strength against the bonds. Unable to break away, all the fight left her and breathing hard she turned away, too terrified to look at it any more.
Nothing came… She waited for what seemed an eternity before daring to open her eyes. The blow she dreaded never came and still whimpering she looked to try to see what had happened. Her eyes struggled to focus through the plastic sheet straining to see what her attacker was doing.
She saw something even worse than the knife, it was not the face of a man but a disfigured image that looked so horrific it stole her voice, she couldn’t scream, cry or do anything. Her breathing was so fast, she was close to hyperventilating. She just stared in horror at the sight before her, frozen in fear, this black garbed monster with a distorted face standing over her.
The already disturbing voice changed to one of anger as the figure rose up. “With this talon I will set the pox FREE!” With that, the knife plunged down at an angle deep into Anna’s chest.
The force of the blow pressed Anna’s body down deep into the bed springs as the air rushed to escape her lungs.
She tried to cry out but the gag kept her quiet, she jerked and convulsed on the bed. The killer watched every moment as the light faded from young Anna and silence took her.
Laurie heard the familiar ringing of his mobile. Quickly he got up off the sofa and made his way out into the kitchen to grab the call. Annoyingly he was too late and the call died off.
The caller display showed it was ‘John’. He gave it a few minutes to be sure John didn’t call back or was leaving a message. It was not like him to ring this late. Laurie decided a simple text reply would be best:
Did you mean to call? L, was all he put.
Moments later the phone rang again, clearly displaying John’s number again and the silly picture of John from a fancy dress party.
Laurie answered the phone. “What’s up? Servers back on line?” asked Laurie, referring to an online game they had been playing over the past few days.
“Laurie…” stammered John.
“You still there John… hello?” he said walking nearer the window to see if it was a signal problem. There was nothing wrong with the connection though, John was just lost for words.
“There’s been a murder, it’s someone we know,” said John sounding concerned.
“Laurie, you there still?” asked John.
“Yeah… Er yeah, so who’s died then, someone I know you say?”
There was a pause…
“Anna. Sorry John, Anna’s dead. I… I don’t know how else to say it, she’s gone. They said on the TV that she was murdered sometime today.”
His voice cracked as he replied, “How do you know? What happened?”
“I’m not sure; the police said the usual things, they are appealing for witnesses. A local resident apparently told the media he heard some officer say it looked like a burglary gone wrong.”
There was a long silence…
“You there Laurie? What ya doing?” asked John, hearing strange noises from the other end of the phone.
“I am heading round there; I may be able to help,” Laurie blurted.
“How are you gonna help the police? You’ll only end up getting added to a list of suspects, seriously Laurie, keep away. I know it sucks and you liked the girl but…”
The phone went dead.
Laurie opened the door and ran out into the rain, not entirely sure of the house number but he knew the road and set off, in the cold wind and rain.
He was part running and part stumbling as his mind was haunted by images of Anna’s slightly freckled face smiling back at him.
He carried on, soaked through now, his longish dark hair gave him the ‘drowned rat look’ his mum would often say, as it clung about his face. His grey t-shirt now tightly gripping his torso.
He rounded the corner into Vermont Road, knowing she lived somewhere along here, he set off up the sharp hill, but quickly staggered to a stop on the pavement.
Looking ahead he knew where she lived, it was obvious. Crime scene tape sealed off the area and a smattering of uniformed officers walking around going door to door scouring for intel. A few patrol cars were at the far end of the road and a big police incident unit van was parked outside what must be her home.
Laurie stopped; he just stood there in the rain for what seemed like an age before he put his left hand on a nearby parked car to steady himself. He felt weak and all of a sudden nauseous as he rested for a moment against the car.
He looked on ahead seeing the officers going about their work before his attention was directed to a lit doorway across the street. The house door was opened and an elderly male walked out onto his porch. The frail built man had a slight stoop and was painfully thin with short white hair combed in long strands across his forehead and his trousers up high around his waist.
The older male spoke, “You, what you doing with your hands on my car?” sounding more matter of fact, than angry.
Laurie looked at him slightly confused. “Er sorry,” he said. “My… my friend… she.”
“I don’t care!” replied the old man. “I’ll get the police down, they’re just up the hill. Keep off my car!”
“Sorry,” he said his voice fading partially.
“Get out of here you bloody nuisance, have some respect, coming around here gawking up at where that poor girl was killed. It’s no freak show, sod off!” he demanded shouting well above the noise of the rain.
“Anna,” shouted Laurie. “Her name is Anna you dick, I’m her friend and I just heard what someone did to her, so how about you show some fucking respect!” This type of outburst was out of character for Laurie but he was livid, livid that this had all happened, livid as seeing the police tape and officers somehow seemed to make it real. Also livid that this old guy seemed more worried about his damn car.
“I didn’t know the girl myself, we’re decent folk around here but my wife, she’s calling the police. We’ve have had nothing but reporters around here all day and it’s none of our business,” he said, as he went back inside his house slamming the door loudly behind him.
Laurie did not know what to say, he was ready to argue back but with the door now closed it stole his thunder. He stood there for a moment or two dumbfounded.
“Oi,” shouted a voice in the distance, “you, come here now!”
Laurie looked to his right and saw a police officer jogging down the hill pointing at him. Laurie’s first thought was to run and he took a couple of steps backwards as the policeman quickened his pace, bolting towards him now in as much of a sprint as he dared down a drenched hill.
Laurie stood still and put his hands up shouting back trying to sound as manly as he could.
“What?” said Laurie.
“What are you doing here, and your name please son?” asked the policeman.
“Laurie, er… I mean Lawrence Hood” he said stumbling over the words.
“I need to ask you a few questions, I assume that’s ok with you?” he didn’t pause for Laurie to answer. “What was all that shouting about just now?” he asked as he moved a little closer, close enough to grab Laurie if he made a run for it.
“Anna, I have just been told Anna was murdered, is it true?” Laurie could feel anger welling up inside him again.
“Listen Mr Hood, I’ll ask the questions for now!” he stated as he casually touched a button or something on the radio of his police vest. “I need to establish who you are Mr Hood and what you’re doing here? How old are you?”
“19” Laurie replied bluntly.
“Do you have any ID on your person?” asked the officer.
“No, as I said I have just been told a friend of mine has been murdered, I only live down there,” he pointed adding, “a few minutes away.”
He remembered his old Jujutsu instructors words of wisdom, say as little as possible to the police unless you’re 100% percent the victim in any situation. Laurie had nothing to hide though and trusted his gut as he carried on with the honesty tact.
“Anna, is she dead? Has someone killed her?” He said pointing at the officer.
The officer attempted to say something but Laurie interrupted.
“Is she dead, tell me, it’s a simple yes or no question?”
Again the officer was trying to say something else and beginning to raise his voice to try to talk over Laurie.
“LISTEN,” said the officer clearly. “You don’t want to get dragged down the station on a public order offence or for obstructing me in my line of questioning?” said the officer. “I need you to calm down and listen to me young man.”
Laurie seemed to calm a little at this point, the fear of anything legal was enough to worry him, as he realised he was getting a bit too animated.
“So, Mr Hood tell me what was all the noise about?” asked the officer. “And as we’re both getting soaked here make it quick and we can take it from there.”
Laurie didn’t like the way he added ‘take it from there’ at the end. “I was at home when a friend of mine called John called telling me Anna had been killed. I knew Anna Brook from school and I ran around here to see if I could help. I have literally just found out.”
The officer nodded with an impassive look on his face “Ok, go on.”
“Well that’s about it, I ran here just now and felt a little sick, seeing all the police car’s and all. As I rested against this car here” he pointed at the silver Ford Escort next to him. “Then the old man from the house opposite came out shouting at me about his fucking car.”
The offer was listening and nodding despite the downpour. “I need to ask you to curb your language please Mr Hood, just calm yourself and carry on?”
Laurie took a deep breath and sighed. “Well that’s it, there is nothing else to say, the old man came out and starting shouting at me to leave his car alone and stuff like that.”
“Were you doing anything to his vehicle?” asked the officer casting his eye over it.
“No, I felt sick seeing this stuff here and a little weak so I rested on it, that’s all.”
“Have you been drinking or anything else you wish to tell me about?” he asked in a serious tone.
“No, I’ve not taken anything officer.”
“Ok Mr Hood, I’m going to need you to come over the road with me, as I need to speak to the gentleman at number 142.”
Laurie nodded “Sure” he added as he followed the officer across the road towards the black fronted door. As they approached the door opened and the porch light lit up the old man standing defiantly facing them.
“Good evening sir I’m officer Jones, is everything alright?” he said sounding far friendlier to the senior citizen than he did to Laurie.
“Alright, what do you think, there is a bloody young girl dead up there and you’re wasting time talking to me again?”
“But sir…” was all he managed.
“This girl is dead and the wife and I have had nothing but you police and reporters snooping around and bothering us. Leave me alone will ya!” he said half closing the door.
“This young man.” Said officer Jones pointing to Laurie who was standing slightly in front of the officer.
“This lad was leaning on my car, I told him to get off it and he did, what you dragging him into this for?” asked the old man.
“So he wasn’t doing anything suspicious then?”
“No the fool was getting wet and gawking at what’s going on but other than that nothing. He isn’t your killer for Pete’s sake, just leave him be and us the hell alone.”
“Ok sir” stammered the officer “Goodnight and nobody will be bothering you again.”
Before he finished the sentence the door was firmly closed and officer Jones reverted back to his normal condescending tone. “Follow me please Mr Hood.”
Laurie did as he was asked and they walked out onto the street.
“Can I go then officer?” asked Laurie feeling a little worse for wear as the adrenalin left leaving him.
Officer Jones paused. “Sorry Mr Hood, I would like you to come to the station to give a statement, is that ok with you?”
Laurie’s heart sank as fear gripped him. “You, taking the piss? Do I have to, am I under arrest?” he asked.
“No and I won’t warn you again about the language son, you’re a person of interest and I would like you to help me with this line of enquiry, you don’t have to come to the station but I would like you to do so of your own volition?”
Laurie nodded. “Do I need to bring anything?”
“No, my car is around the corner, please follow me?” he said motioning for Laurie to keep close.
To view the next free chapter, chapter 3 click here.
Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett
Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing