This is part 12 of the Fiction Relay hosted on Sex Matters by May More.
The previous episode(11) can be found here.
Summary – To catch up with the whole story so far first read this over on Posy’s site. And then check out the narrative in italics below…
After Pete leaves, Carla goes to meet Ken Blake and is angry when he doesn’t show. She thinks it is just another one of his mind games and ways of keeping a hold over her, as he has since she was a pre-teen — their relationship had been dark from the get-go. On her way home, she bumps into Bill and after looking at the evidence he has hoarded all these years, encourages him to go to the police as he had been intending.
Steve does not recover from his injuries following the head trauma sustained from his fight with Yarnold, and dies once the life support is withdrawn.
Bill insists on speaking with Detective Walker, where he reveals the 2 flight tickets to Oslo, dated for 8 days after her murder, that he’d found in the alley behind Susie’s house on the day of her murder. One with the name of Susie clearly marked, the other has been partially destroyed by the elements and only the ‘mr’ part of the name is visible.
Walker contacts the airline and discovers the names of the passengers, and it’s not two, but three passengers; Susan Edwards, Elenor Wilson and Peter Wilson.
As Ellie is leaving the hospital following the death of Steve, Sergeant Pinting asks her to come to the station to make a statement.
Don’t Let the Dead Talk ~ Part 12 by Toolie
Within 5 minutes of putting the phone down from his conversation with Ms. Mansur, Detective Walker is beginning to feel that his initial euphoria regarding the revelation that Susan, Ellie and Peter were all due to fly off to Oslo just a week after the murder, is beginning to wear off. He’s seen it all before. Experience tells him it’s probably not going to lead anywhere. But nevertheless, interesting that no one thought to mention it at the time.
He’s clearly going to have to ask the questions though, he places a call to the desk sergeant.
“Hi Steve, Phil here, listen, I need to get Elenor and Peter Wilson in for a chat, it’s to do with the Susan Edwards case, can you get me their contact details.”
“Oh I don’t need to get Ms. Wilson’s info, she’s in the custody suite right now.”
“Pinting is questioning her, she was a witness in a possible break in that went wrong the other day. Her fiancée and another man appear to have shot each other. Oh, and get this, the other man is believed to be Ken Blake, you remember? He was that reporter guy who’s always givien us grief about the Susie Edwards murder…anyway, her fiancée died in hospital earlier, so Pinting bought her back in for further questioning.”
Walker can feel his heart beating a little faster, he’s not a big fan of coincidences, this now seems like something important…
“OK, I’ll pop down, get hold of Peter Wilson for me, I need him bringing in, straightaway.”
Standing in the small room adjacent to the interview room, Walker is able to listen in on the conversation, there’s no doubt Ellie sounds genuinely distraught. She‘s also pretty sure she recognised the man who forced himself into her house. It’s clear he wasn’t there to steal, this was personal, she felt threatened by him, turned and ran, only for her fiancée to shoot him dead. But this isn’t adding up, most obviously, why on earth would they have a gun in the house, and what did Blake want with her.
Detective Walker’s thoughts are abruptly disturbed by the shrill ringing of the phone in his pocket.
It was the chief.
“Phil, I thought you’d want to know, the SOCO boys have their initial findings from the shooting last night, the other man is confirmed as Ken Blake, and the gun used to shoot him has more than just Marchant’s fingerprints on them… ”.
The Chief paused for dramatic effect, but Walker was thinking ahead and remained silent. Disappointed that his bombshell wasn’t getting the desired effect, he continued.
“Under Marchant’s blood another set of prints have been found, including a complete thumbprint and we know it doesn’t match either Blake’ or Ellie’s prints. They are running a match now. If it belongs to someone with a criminal record, we’ll have a name for you”.
“Thanks chief, keep me up to date”.
Then, as an afterthought, “Chief, when Pinting has finished with her, would you put someone on her tail when she leaves, I want to know where she goes, if she meets anyone.”
“If you think it’s important, you’ve got it”.
Dave Edwards is nervously pacing his hotel room. Twice now he’s left the room to sit in his car. Twice he’s started the engine. The urge to flee is strong, he wants to just disappear, pretend none of this has happened. This is a nightmare, he feels deep down that the plan has failed somehow, is Steve even dead? Where is Yarnold, why do the police have Ellie?.
Backward and forward he paces. Racking his brain to see if any connection between him and that disgusting Yarnold man exists. He’d never considered that it may go wrong. The sickening realisation that he could be linked to Yarnold is squeezing the air from his lungs. He’d been careful to have nothing in writing, but he’d called him twice, even left a message once! Christ, what was he thinking.
But he won’t run yet, he knows he has to speak with Ellie, he has to find out what on earth has happened, he has to wait for her to come to him.
“Hi, Phil, we’ve bought in Peter Wilson, he’s in interview room 4”
“Thanks, I’m on my way down now”.
Detective Walker still isn’t sure if Oslo is connected to anything, is it important or simply another loose-end that needs tying up.
Entering the room, he decides to get straight to the point, let’s see how he reacts without the time to compose himself.
“Thanks for coming in. As you know you are not under caution, but some new evidence has come to light and I simply need to get your side of the story”
“errm, yes of course, I’ll be glad to help”. Walker notices he seems a little cautious.
“Can you tell me why, back in 1995, you bought tickets for yourself, Ellie and Susie to fly off to Oslo. The departure date was just 8 days after Susie was murdered“.
Walker noticed his eyes widening a little, he seemed to stiffen a little, looking left to right on the table in front of him as if searching for an answer…
Seconds pass before he answers,
“How do you know, I mean what makes you think we were… “
“We have two of the tickets, and the airline keep good records. It was confirmed to me this morning that you were lead passenger, you bought those tickets, and I need to know why?”.
Walker can see his brain whirling, looking for a way out, trying out replies in his head, but he’d been silent for too long. As if realising this himself, Pete slumps, his head dropping on to his arms on the desk in front of him.
“Take your time, remember we know you bought them, all I want to know is why”.
“I didn’t buy them, she bloody did” was all he could mumble.
“Who, Pete, just tell me who”.
“Sonia did, Susie’s mum… “.
This is not what Walker was expecting at all…
“OK Pete, we need to start at the beginning. Why did Susie’s mum buy you tickets to Oslo, take your time”.
Over the next 30 minutes the story revealed that Sonia was concerned about the company her daughter had been keeping. She’d stumbled across a diary Susie had hidden in her room. In it were revelations of sordid details of her sex life. Detailing all the men she’d performed sexual acts on, one set of initials kept cropping up, KB, and some of the sick stuff she’d read about the two of them had made her feel ill.
But it wasn’t just the diary; rumours of her daughter were rife in the town. Sonia had been having an affair with a local copper, Dan Marchant, and he’d told her things that ashamed her, well, as ashamed as someone cheating on her husband was allowed to be. She’d confided in Pete and Ellie’s mum, who’d also heard the stories.
The plan was for Sonia to send her away to stay with a distant cousin who’d settled in Oslo many years before and for Pete and Ellie to accompany her.
Susie’s mum hadn’t told her husband because she knew he’d not agree and would fly off the handle, do something stupid, she didn’t want to have to explain the sex diary to him or the rumours of his precious little innocent girl, and especially not the source of the gossip. No, she would have to think of something else, but only after she was safely away from harm.
“I honestly had forgotten all about the bloody trip with all that happened, but I remember I had been on my way with the tickets to tell Susie it was my idea. Susie’s mum knew if she’d told Susie she was sending her off to Oslo, she’s never have gone. I had to pretend it was my idea, a spur of the moment thing, a great adventure.
But when I got into the woods, I could hear her voice, she was with another of her bloody men. I loved Susie, but she never looked at me. I’m ashamed to say I just ran off, I was upset, humiliated”.
Sobbing heavily now, he’s hardly audible.
“Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I’d stayed. I could have helped her, she’d still be alive today if I had.”
The one thing still ringing in Walker’s head when the interview was over were the initials, KB… Ken Blake.
Ellie’s first thought on leaving the police station is to get to see Susie’s dad as soon as she can. He must be worried sick, she desperately needs to talk to someone who will understand. Picking up her car keys she heads straight off, oblivious to the car pulling out and following from a safe distance.
The knock on the hotel door makes Dave Edwards leap out of his chair, he’d been lost in his dark thoughts, peering through a gap in the curtains, he’s delighted and relieved to see Ellie standing there and she’s on her own, he can tell she’s been crying, she looks so small, so diminished by whatever has happened.
Ellie quickly runs through the events of the past 12 hours – Mr Yarnold has somehow failed to kill Steve, it’s likely he’s been shot with his own gun. Then a man had turned up at the apartment and would no doubt have raped and killed her. And something else, she recognised him as the reporter who’d covered Susie’s murder. Steve had turned up and had shot the reporter, but he’s now dead, lost his life saving her.
She’s breathless once she gets to the end, relieved to have been able to tell the truth to someone involved. But sitting quietly opposite her, Dave is white-faced, waves of nausea washing over him.
“So Steve didn’t kill my daughter … We’ve had an innocent man killed, this whole thing has been for nothing”
He’s angry now, he trusted Ellie. He’d been too easily convinced that Steve had killed his daughter. Maybe he’d always just needed someone to blame, and now he will have this on his conscience for ever, another life sentence.
Struggling to control his anger, he asks, “You say Steve was badly injured, covered in blood, there’s no way he’d have just walked out of the apartment unless he’d somehow managed to kill Yarnold. So what has become of his body, has it been discovered yet?”
“No, I don’t know, I mean I don’t think so, they would have said, wouldn’t they?”
The realisation begins to dawn on him.
“We have to find Yarnold, it’s the only thing that connects either of us to the killing, let’s hope he’s still in the flat”.
They know they don’t have a choice. They need to see if Yarnold is at the apartment. Then, if as is likely, he’s dead, they need to get rid of the body before it is discovered. The prospect of even touching a dead body and somehow getting it out of the building and into the boot of Ellie’s car without being seen, before burying it where it won’t be discovered, seems too daunting a challenge. But what other choice do they have?
They decide to drive down and wait outside the apartment until darkness. Pulling out of the hotel car park, an unmarked police car pulls out behind them, unseen.
“Detective Walker, she’s on the move again, heading south, with a passenger, an IC1 Male, want me to follow them?”
“Yeah, let’s see where they are heading”
The baton has been passed to Steel Charmer.