I’m back home and this story has been sitting on the back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritizing.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Chasing leads, maybe
It was all over in the blink of an eye. The swat team had secured the scene, zip ties, and shoved me into a corner with two burly men standing over me, guns ready in case I tried to escape.
Before the next wave, I had time to consider what just happened. Obviously, Dobbin or Jan had set the scene. She lied about being able to track Maury, they found him, brought him back to the room, tortured him, and then killed him. The few seconds I had to look at the body showed signs of intense interrogation.
A side benefit was to stitch me up for the crime. The fact the police were at the door a minute after I’d arrived meant they had been waiting for me to come back. That pointed to Jan as the informant.
But to what end. If they considered I was the only one who could find the USB, why let me get caught by the police.
Jennifer would be safe. She had been in the foyer a full ten minutes before I arrived, and was sitting in a corner when I passed her. If they knew she was involved, she would have been missing. Hopefully, she would have seen the swat team arrive, and leave.
A few minutes after the swat leader spoke into his two-way radio, a middle-aged woman and a young man in his late 20’s arrived, the woman first, the young man behind her. A Detective Chief Inspect, or Superintendent, and Detect Sergeant. He was too well dressed to be a constable,. One old, one new.
The young man spoke to the swat leader, the woman surveyed the scene, looked at the body, then at me, shaking her head slightly.
I tried to look anonymous if not invisible. The fact they had found no ID on me would not count well for my situation, or so I had been told. Nor was the fact I preferred not to speak.
Never volunteer information.
A nod from her and the two swat guards took several steps back. She pulled a chair over from the side of the bed, and once three feet away, sat down.
“I’m told you are refusing to answer any questions.”
“Refusing to answer and simply not talking is not the same thing.”
“You do speak.”
“What are you doing here?”
“This is my room, along with a young lady, who as you can see, is not here. That much you should have gleaned from the front desk.”
She pulled a card out of her pocket. “Alan, and Alice Jones. Not your real names I suspect., nor very original. Do you know who the man on the bed is?”
“He told me his name is Maury, not sure of his first name, but that wasn’t his real name. His other name was Bernie Salvin, but that might also be a fake. He was one of two men who were in charge of my training.”
“I suspect it might be above your pay grade.”
If she was shocked at that statement she didn’t show it. In fact, I would not be surprised if she had suspected it was likely it had to do with the clandestine security services. Torture victims were not an everyday occurrence, or at least I hoped for her sake they weren’t.
She gave a slight sigh. “And who do you work for?”
“There’s the rub. I have no idea. I’ve just been caught in the middle of a bloody awful mess.”
The second rule is always to tell the truth, or as close to it as possible so you don’t have to try and remember a web of lies, and trip yourself up at later interviews. And keep it simple.
“So, no one I should be calling to verify who you are?”
“No. Not unless you can revive the man on the bed. I’m only new, been on the job after training for about a week. I was part of a team running a surveillance exercise when a shop exploded and the target disappeared. I’ve been trying to find out what happened.”
Her expression whanged, telling me she was familiar with the event.
“Do you find out anything?”
“Only that the would be a body in the shop, a journalist, that was trying to hand over some sensitive information. I have no idea what it was, or who he was. The target, whom I suspected was there for the handover, is now also dead. So, quite literally, two dead ends. Do I look like someone who could do that to a man?” I nodded in the direction of the body.
“You’d be surprised who was capable of what. Do you have a real name?”
“I do, but I won’t be telling you. You have my work name, that’s as much as I can volunteer.”
“A few days in a dank hole might change that.”
“A few days in a dank hole would be like a holiday compared to the week I’m currently having.”
She smiled, or I thought it was a smile. “I daresay you might.”
There was a loud noise and some yelling coming from outside the door. A man burst into the room, two constables in his wake.
A man I didn’t recognize.
She stood. “Who are you?”
“Richards, MI5.” He showed her a card, which she glanced at. She’d no doubt seen them before.
“We’ll be taking over from here.”
“This person?” She nodded her head in my direction.
“Leave him. We’ll take care of him.”
“Johnson, Jacobs, let’s leave the room to them. We’re done here. Places to be, gentlemen.” She nodded in my direction. “Good luck, you’re going to need it.”
© Charles Heath 2020-2022