Day 6 part 3

“They will need to go to ground Christine.” Bentley was siting backwards on a chair, musing aloud looking at the map on the wall which now included a pin on the far side of the river.

“How many do you think ‘they’ are sir? I still am not happy about the murder being the first offence followed by the rapes, and then another rape and murder. It does not sound like the MO of one person. And then Vanessa Hilt is missing, do we presume she is dead, awaiting discovery, or is part of them? Sir?” Christine wanted the benefit of her DI’s experience, his thoughts. She had her own ideas, but did not really want to speak them aloud, not yet.”

Bentley twirled the chair around and started to rock back and forth. “Okay, right. Well. Let’s think this through again, but from the perpetrators perspective. You write on the board.”

Christine picked up the blue marker and stood waiting his words.

“One,” he said, “there is a chemist. Some clever arse has come up with a new formula, a drug that shows up as an unidentifiable protein in a victim, but that dissipates and is totally absent within about 24 hours. So, draw a circle and write Chemist in it.”

He waited and watched as his instructions were followed.

“Okay, next to that write Vanessa, but don’t put her in a circle yet. We know she is clever, and intelligent, and we know she works at the hospital with access to all kinds of drugs and chemicals, but we also know from school records that she was useless at Chemistry. I don’t think she is our chemist, and if she is, why raise the matter to our attention the way she did?”

“Sir, If I were the Chemist, I would be interested to know what the police knew. It could be a clever ruse to see if we could work out his formula, she may not be the Chemist, but she may well be working with him, feeding us misinformation, and then awaiting our feedback. Your suspicions spooked her and she went into hiding.”

“Put a circle round her name but make it cross the Chemist’s circle.”

“But then again sir, she could simply be a victim. If the events were exactly as she described, well, I know I would be bloody traumatised. Waking up in my own bed with no sign of B&E, no memory, and evidence between my legs of sex I had no knowledge of? Every woman’s nightmare sir.”

“I have always thought women dream of rape Christine.”

“That sir is fucking out of order.” She put the pen down and left the conference room. Occasionally he went to far. In the office she checked her emails. SOC interim report. There were a number of bare footprints in the mud and silt in the boat house. The same footprints were evident at a number of places along the bank, indicating a possibility of going up into the town. There was also a trail of footprints emerging from the river high water mark further up stream, and down stream, beyond the boathouse, a trail of foot prints leading back to the high water mark. The boathouse contained four distinct DNA samples. She went back into the conference room.

“Sir SOC report. Vanessa Hilt and Rapist DNA both present in the boat house, also the girl victim and her missing boyfriend Gordon Smith.” She gave him a summary of the footprints report and ended with, “and I will accept your apology for your utterly crass remark.”

“I haven’t made an apology.”

“Sir, you bloody well better had,” and she stared him in the eyes.

“Write Rapist underneath the first two circles. The one thing that we know Vanessa Hilt cannot be is a rapist. The doctor has examined her and confirms that she is a female and does not have the necessary equipment to rape.”

Christine Jackson just stood still. She did not pick up the pen.

“Oh fucking fine. I am sorry Christine for my remark. Now pick up the fucking pen.”

Christine wrote RAPIST below the CHEMIST and V.HILT circles.

“Now, the only thing missing is our murderer. Write murderer next to rapist. By Hilt\s own admission we know she was in the vicinity of the Evans murder at about the time of the murder.”

Christine wrote MURDERER next to CHEMIST, it fell neatly under the V.HILT circle.

“Sir, I assume that we can no longer treat Vanessa Hilt’s statement as reliable?”

“No, but we know what time she left the hospital, so the time frame is right. So Christine,” he sucked at his biro before a moment and then continued, “is the Chemist the Rapist, and Hilt the murderer, have they always been a twosome, playing us from day one? I want an absolute full history on Vanessa Fucking Hilt, I want to know it is possible that she isn’t who we think she is, and I want to know the name of everyone at that bloody hospital that she had coffee with more than once. I will not be taken for a fucking fool. That Chemist must have associated with her somehow, and get some bloody warrant’s, I want all her email records and I want all her phone records. I want to know everyone she has spoken to. ”

He got up and took the red marker drawing one circle around CHEMIST and RAPIST, and another around V.HILT and MURDERER.

“Bitch” he said and threw the red marker across the room. “Fucking bitch.”

“Sir,” Christine called from the other room, “Delivery for you, from Bill Nash. I am off to the Magistrate to get the warrants.

Bentley went out to his desk, there was a small cardboard box addressed for his ‘Personal Attention’. He opened it and looked at the contents and laughed loud, the first laughter he had enjoyed since the case began. In the box was a neatly coiled string of Garlic Bulbs.

John Silver sat quietly on a sofa in his house, there was a panther at his feet. In his addled brain this was completely normal, he saw things all the time that other people didn’t know existed. The panther seemed generally uninterested in him and more interested in licking and washing itself. He stood up at one point and the panther had growled. He sat down again quite quickly.

Vanessa had not bitten him, she wanted him to pass muster if necessary. She had put him under her thrall and tried to make sense of the stream of words that came form his mouth. She doubted that a taste of his blood would give any more clarity. A housekeeper cam daily in the evenings to prepare food and clear up the day’s messes, she brought all the necessary food and provisions with her. On Fridays she came earlier and did laundry, but she didn’t come at the weekends, instead, she made a number of extra dishes on a Friday that he would eat over the weekend. That had taken nearly an hour to extract and decipher.

“Should we feed from her, and turn her?” Vanessa had asked, “that way she can carry on undetected.”

“No my daughter, for as soon as she is turned, she will care not to carry on with her onerous duties, also, I suspect she is old, and I have no care to surround myself with old and ugly immortals for the rest of eternity.”

Vanessa shrugged, “fair enough, then we shall keep her in our thrall then. I suspect that if we both do it, there will be no risk of leakage. She will just carry on.”

“We may damage her mind if we are not careful, too many times repeated and a strong minded thrall will begin to deteriorate.”

“Yes, I am well aware of that, your memories are very clear on your past mistakes, thank you.” She couldn’t bring her self to call him father, she still had recent memories of her biological human father, and Eldred most certainly was not ‘father’ in that sense. “We will need to feed, and there is no food here, we must go out and about to feed, nor make this the central point of our feedings.”

“I welcome your suggestions as to how we might achieve this. You are more familiar with this time period,” he almost rasped as he spoke, “you will be able to think of an ideal feeding ground I am sure, but do not delay, I feel the pangs stirring within me.”

“You said the blood is tainted, when drugs have been in the system.”

“Yes, it tastes ‘off’, you will still feed, but it won’t raise your endorphins.”

“Can we use the thrall to stop addicts from using?”

“But of course. Their bodies will still go through withdrawal unless we give them a taste of our blood.”

“I have a plan. We will need to feed just once more from the wild, and then we will cultivate our own source of food, a source that can live here, unmissed and that can be discarded at will. Just a taste of our blood will fix them up, but won’t transform?”

“No, to transform needs not only your blood, but your instruction to transform them at the moment you feed.”

“Good. The housekeeper should be here soon. Do you want the first honours, or shall I?”