This story is now on the list to be finished so over the new few weeks, expect a new episode every few days.
The reason why new episodes have been sporadic, 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.
Things are about to get complicated…
We took the elevator down to one of the basement levels, and then along a long poorly lit passageway which in my estimation had taken us to another building.
It would not have surprised me if it had been part of a large underground complex used in the second world war, safe from the overhead bombing raids. Certainly, a lot of the fittings and paintwork looked very, very old, and I could imagine armed soldiers stationed along the length of the corridor each in his own little cutaway.
At the end, the building was a lot more modern and bright.
There was a large open space, and we headed towards one of the corners where the walls had wallpaper scenic views that if you didn’t know it was a photograph, it could almost be mistaken for a view overlooking the Thames.
It made that corner space more liveable.
There were two desks, more computers, and another girl who appeared like she had been waiting for us.
“I was told you wanted to view CCTV for the day of the recent street bombing.”
If the girl knew what I was looking for, then Monica would already have seen it and most likely had it analyzed by a team of experts. If it wasn’t for the fact I wanted to see it myself, I might have just gone to her for the official report.
I sat down beside her, and Joanne remained standing, behind us.
“OK. There are seven cameras in that location, five of which were working at the time. There is one across the road from the café, and it provided a good view of the actual explosion.”
She brought it up on the screen and ran it from shortly before O’Connell passed the front. Then he came into view, walking as though he was purposefully going from one place to the next, almost stopping to look sideways into the café. A prolonged moment looking through the window told me he had seen the reporter.
We could not see the reporter from our viewpoint.
But it was clear that O’Connell had seen something else because his pace quickened.
Then the explosion happened, and he was caught up in the aftermath, as was I as I had just entered the frame, following diligently. My effort to look nonchalant, and not following O’Connell was not very good. If this was a training tape on what not to do, that was me.
Watching it was horrifying, watching myself being blown a short distance across the pavement, followed by rubble. Watching a dozen other people suffering far worse injuries were far worse.
I saw myself getting gingerly up off the ground, then seeing two men running past in the opposite direction, one of whom was McConnell. I hadn’t realized at the time it was him. Then we disappeared out of frame.
“Is there a camera farther along?”
She checked the list, picked a site, and brought up the feed for that timeframe, and just in from on the left-hand side was me, pinned to the ground by two men, and a street policeman, covered in dust walking up to us.
A discussion ensued, then the two men got in the car and drove off.
McConnell then suddenly reappeared from the right-hand side of the frame, walking past me and the policeman now on the ground.
Where had he come from? How did he manage to get back to the bomb site, if that was where he had gone?
“Can we go back to the bomb site from where we left off before?”
A few seconds before the footage recommenced.
A minute, perhaps a little longer passed as those who had survived were trying to get up, McConnell reappeared from an alley two shops along from café, almost untouched by the blast, and crossed the road.
A few seconds later another person came out of the alley and followed him.
“Can you focus on that person who came out of the alley?”
She stopped the feed, zoomed in, and then cleaned up the blurry image until it showed a woman’s face.
“Who is she?”
She brought up the comments that went with the footage. It had been already reviewed previously, as part of the investigation into the bombing.
“They couldn’t formally identify her.”
“Anyone hazard a guess?”
“No. She’s still a person of interest though.”
I gave the girl a piece of paper with a list of seven of the scientists from the laboratory. “See if you can find wives of the male scientists.”
Joanne had been intrigued the whole time we had watched the event unfolding.
“That was you caught up in the explosion, wasn’t it?”
The pictures had been grainy and indistinct, so all I looked like was an anonymous blob. Monica had obviously not told her of my involvement.
“Yes. And McConnell. I suspect McConnell did get the hand-off, but not from the journalist. The journalist was in the café with the wife of the scientist who stole the information, though it would only be speculation to assume they were together, or whether she was there to sell the information, and give it to McConnell.”
“Anna Jacovich, wife of Erich Jacovich. Microbiologist,” the girl said.
McConnell had lied.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022