Tuesday 5 – Thursday 8 January 2016
There was no respite for Julia Poole. Her head continued to throb, and the pain behind her eyes didn’t recede.
‘What? What is it, Poole? Why are you still feeling like shit?’ Anderson Greene had seen her deal with the after effects of visions many times, but this lingering pain was a first.
‘I don’t know, but it won’t let up. Pass me the trash can, I think I might need to throw up.’ She vaguely gestured in the direction of Greene’s rubbish bin.
‘Hey, use your own!’
She offered him a small, mischievous smile. Despite feeling like death warmed over, Julia’s sense of humour remained intact.
The office burst with life around them. Police officers, detectives, witnesses, suspects, persons of interest, lawyers, scene of crime officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers were Anderson and Julia’s constant office companions.
‘We should find a quiet place, and you can go over again what you saw.’
‘I can’t make sense of half of it, Anderson, so what’s the point of going over it again?’
He gripped her shoulder. ‘Because something may fall into place. You know how it works, just like interviewing a witness or a suspect, we go through it again and again, and eventually something will suddenly fit, or you’ll remember a piece of information that you left out before. Come on, let’s go.’
Anderson walked off. Julia reticently followed.
* * * * *
Upon hearing the news of the disappearance of his only child, David Quartermaine caught the first flight to be by his ex-wife’s side. She didn’t exactly greet him with open arms, but Susan was grateful for his company. She desperately needed someone to lean on, someone who knew and loved Holly as she did.
‘Any news?’ David asked immediately after Susan opened the front door. Greetings, at this point, seemed a waste of breath.
‘Nothing yet,’ she replied. She stepped aside, and allowed him to enter her home. He smiled, and walked inside to the front room, placed his beaten leather overnight bag in a corner, and slumped on to the sofa.
He wore on his face the worry lines of not knowing where his daughter was. The flight itself was not difficult, but the fear of not knowing where Holly was, who had taken her and why, or what they were doing to her was eating him up.
‘What are the police doing?’
‘Can I get you a drink? I’ll get you something to drink. Coffee okay?’
‘Just tell me what the police are doing, Susan,’ he snapped. She stood looking at him for just a moment, and then bolted to the kitchen to pour some coffee. David followed at a safe distance.
‘I’m sorry, Susan. I didn’t mean to snap. I just need to know what the hell is going on.’ He wasn’t used to pleading for information of any sort, let alone information about his daughter.
‘They haven’t told me anything. Two detectives came by, asked a lot of questions, then one of them spent a whole lot of time in Holly’s room, and then they left. That’s it.’ She couldn’t face him, not after losing his daughter. The coffee pot and cup were less judgmental than David would be, so she chose to maintain eye contact with them instead of him.
‘Do you know their names, the detectives? Maybe they’ll tell me something,’ he spoke softly.
‘Greene and Poole. One of them, the woman, left her card. It’s over there by the telephone.’ She gestured to her left.
‘I’ll give them a call. Is it okay for me to use your phone, Susan?’
She nodded, and the tears that had begun to well in her eyes dropped from her face. She clumsily wiped them away before turning around.
‘Before you call, David . . . it’s my fault that she’s gone. I didn’t tell them, the detectives, but I think I drove her away.’
He turned around to face her. ‘What do you mean?’
‘There was a boy . . . well, more like a man, that she was seeing. I didn’t like her spending so much time with him, so I forbade her to see him. I think I pushed her towards him.’ She couldn’t stop herself from crying now even if she wanted.
‘Ross Turner. He’s far too old for Holly. A man that age shouldn’t be interested in a young girl, but it was like he was fixated on her, David. It’s not right. He’s not right.’
David tossed the name around in his head. ‘I’ll tell the police that you’ve just remembered this. Maybe they’ll be more forthcoming with me if they have any information about Holly.’ He picked up the phone handset, and dialled Julia’s cell number.
* * * * *
No one would suspect an older man travelling across the country with a younger woman if he explained it properly. All she had to do was follow the story, and everything would be fine long enough for them to get to Switzerland.
‘Are you sure that you can remember this, Holly?’ he asked.
‘Please, Ross, I’m not five years old. Of course I can remember what you told me to say. I know I’m blonde but it’s not that difficult.’ Holly smiled at Ross, and snuggled back into the RV’s plush leather passenger seat. ‘Wake me when we get there.’
The road ahead was long, but to Holly it was an exciting invitation to a new life away from everything that she felt had been weighing her down, and preventing her from really living. She was sure that her mother would be sad, and positive that she would have involved the police. But life with Ross was worth the risk – a wealthy, independent, older man would be able to give her the life she felt she deserved.
Ross Turner smiled back at her. She was utterly oblivious to his plan, and to who he really was. When they were safely out of the country, and in Switzerland, she’d find out the truth, and by then it would be too late for Holly to do anything about it. He couldn’t wait to tell her about the others.
. . . To be continued . . .