Day Six – To Ground
“Sir” Christine said as Bentley walked into the office, his Costa Coffee at his lips as he walked.
“Morning Christine. What’s new then, has our old boy turned himself in?”
“No Sir, ‘fraid not sir, but there has been another body sir.”
“Conference.” He didn’t stop at his desk he just walked straight into the conference room, which by now was the unofficial centre for the hunt for the serial rapist. DCI Hart had indicated at the end of yesterday that results need to come in soon, or the case would have to be escalated. Bentley had until the end of today, and if no further progress was made, then the CPO wanted it referring to the Serious Crime boys. Bentley had shrugged, he doubted anyone could have done more than he, and putting more people on the case risked it getting out into the public. And then there would be panic. He new the Chief, he liked things to be kept quiet, indoors so to speak.
Bentley took his Costa Coffee into the conference room and sat on one of the chairs, tilting it to rock on the back two legs. Christine Jackson hurried in with a pile of folders and papers from her desk.
“Sorry sir,” she said as she put the paperwork in some semblance of order on the desk.
“I never asked you Christine, why were you late on Monday?”
“When Vanessa Hilt first came in creating merry hell, you were not at your desk.”
“Sorry Sir, only with all this kicking off, it just never cropped up.”
“Well, it has now, and you are not telling me anything Christine,” Bentley pointed out. “Are you evading the issue Christine?”
“Sir, it was a private matter.” She really did not want to tell him that she was late at her desk because she was at Regional getting forms for her Sergeants papers, she knew he would just mock, and after the way things had gone so far this week, she now doubted her own abilities. There were things that she had not seen, would not have thought to do, so much still to learn. Perhaps she would wait another six months. She felt a little down about the whole thing.
“Give it a few months Christine,” Bentley said, “you’ll make it. You’re good enough. Now, what body?”
Christine just looked at him. He had known all along, how? The bastard, the bloody bloody bastard. How the fuck does he know everything? She pulled herself together and spoke.
“Sir, yes sir. Right, the body. Two men walking dogs scouring the river edge for stuff bought in on the tide found her yesterday evening sir. Name is Samantha Rawling. She is the young girl that went missing with her boyfriend after a meal with his parents, the boyfriend, Gordon Smith, is still missing.”
Bentley interrupted. “Wait, that is the couple from the other side of the river? Yes, from fucking Blackney? The other fucking side of the fucking river?”
“Sir, yes.” She didn’t add that he had discounted their disappearance as irrelevant to the case.
“So why the fuck are you telling me? There has to be something or you would not be fucking wasting my fucking time would you Christine?”
“Sir. The body was devoid of blood, however trace from her vagina and uterus is a match to our man.” She paused. “Sir.”
“Jesus. How the fuck did they cross the river? There would barely have been enough time to get around by car, it’s what, 23 miles by road, something like that?”
“Sir, er, one of the men said he saw two people running across the river back to this side when they approached an old boat hut on the river bank.”
“You are shitting me.”
“The other man didn’t see it, but confirms that his mate did say he had seen two people running across the river. He said he told his mate it was Herons.”
“Get SOC to that fucking boat hut.”
“Already there sir. And SOC also managed to do something with the disturbed grave at Raddles Mission, sir, they managed to extract some of the inscription from the stone sir.”
“No sir, the grave at the back of the mission that had been disturbed.” She passed a piece of paper across. At the top was a photo of the stone, and beneath were some words in an old script.
He e lie h El ed Va yre be are lest ye s ll dis rb hi assing woe shall be.
Beneath that was some words in ordinary script.
He e lie h El ed Va yre be are lest ye s ll dis rb hi assing woe shall be
Probably translates as:
Here lieth El??ed Vampyre (?) beware lest ye shall disturb his passing woe shall be.
No guarantees. There were other inscriptions but impossible to extract. Not sure if it’ll help.
Bentley ran his fingers through his hair and sucked on his biro. “This is just insane Christine. This is the twenty-first century. We do not have 8000 year old rapists running round killing people, nor do we have people walking on water, to my knowledge that was done once 2000 years ago and not since, and we do not have Vampyres being dug out of abandoned churchyards. How the fuck can Hart go public with this? We will be a laughing stock. No, there has to be another explanation.”
“Sir, Dracula came from Transylvania.”
“Christine, you repeat that ever again and I will personally shove those papers you so discretely went and got up your sweet little arse. Dracula was a fucking story, it is not facts. Do not ever muddy waters on a case with fiction. Don’t you ever do that again. I mean it, ever.”
“Sorry.” He was right of course, the only way to resolve this was to stick to the facts. She began to list them mentally in her head. An idea formed.
“Sir, why don’t we put a ‘concerned for the welfare’ notice out on Vanessa Hilt? We can just say that friends are concerned for her welfare after a recent trauma, she hasn’t been heard of, blah blah. If the press pick up on it, the uniforms can just say that she has been reported missing, any help etc.”
“Good plan. Don’t throw those papers away yet Christine you may yet fill them in. Make it happen. But, if the press ever find out about her rape, then they will have a fucking field day with us. We are one step ahead of them though, because we will say we were protecting her mental health following the devastating attack and did not wish to divulge details of such a personal nature. If they attack us, we fight back.”
He went back to rocking his chair as Christine sat drafting the press release.