Friday 19 – Saturday 20 February 2016
‘Poole, tell me again, exactly what happened? Exactly.’
Detective Julia Poole sighed. Her eyes ached, made worse by the squeezing pain in her temples. She was exhausted. She and her partner, Anderson Greene, had been on the Holly Quartermaine case for almost a week, and on the road for more hours than Julia wanted to speak out loud. They’d barely slept, and Julia’s visions had intensified in the few hours before they found Holly.
‘How many times do I have to go over this, Winters? I’m starting to understand what the perps feel like.’ She rubbed her eyes hoping to ease the pain.
‘Okay fine. Just start from when you left the motel.’
‘I hope Greene’s getting grilled the same way you’re grilling me.’
* * * * *
‘Locals are on the scene. Hopefully they won’t give anything away. I’m banking on Turner being dog tired, and sleeping through the night.’ Greene rested his phone on his left leg, and wiped his fingerprints from the screen. Poole was focussed, intent on getting to Ross Turner and Holly Quartermaine as fast as she could. She grunted in reply, and shook her head.
‘I don’t like this at all, Anderson. Something’s amiss.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘Do me a favour. Call David and Susan Quartermaine. Make sure they’ve followed my instruction to stay at home, and leave this to us. I’m not convinced that either one of them is capable of letting us do our job. If they don’t answer, get a patrol to their home to check on them. I need to know that they’re home.’
Greene acted immediately, dialling the Quartermaine’s home phone number. The answer machine took over, and he immediately disconnected the call. Without missing a beat, Greene called the police station, and ordered a patrol to the Quartermaine residence.
‘Looks like you might have cause for concern. No answer on the phone. The patrol officers will call when they check out the house. What’s your secret squirrel sense telling you?’
‘That the Quartermaines are going to screw it up for us, and things are going to go bad very quickly.’
* * * * *
‘And then what happened, Poole? All of it, every detail,’ Winters ordered.
‘I’ve already told you.’
‘And I want you to tell me again. Shit, Poole, why do you have to do this the hard way? Why can’t you just answer the questions, follow the damn instructions?’
‘Because you’re treating me like I’m a perp.’
‘Poole, come on, you know this is standard procedure after a death in which an officer was present.’
She looked at the empty cup in front of her, and then tapped its lip a few times.
‘Then you’d better get me some better coffee than this rubbish, and something to eat. Also, in the top drawer of my desk is my migraine medication. I could really use it about now. Thanks.’
Winters nodded, stood up, and walked to the door. Throwing it open, he gesticulated to a uniformed officer who strode over to the interview room. Winters whispered instructions to the officer, who quickly paced to Julia’s desk and rifled through her top drawer. He stopped at the water cooler, and brought a cup of cold water with the migraine pills to Winters. Retracing his journey back to his seat, Winters laid the medication and water out in front of Poole.
‘He’ll be back with some food, and a decent cup of coffee in a few minutes. Take your medication, and get your head together before we move on.’
She didn’t need to be told twice, ripping open the box of Maxalt, and tearing the protective sheath from the wafer before placing it on her tongue, and waiting for it to fully dissolve in her mouth. A small sip of water, and she was ready to begin again.
‘My concerns were validated when the patrol guys called Greene a few minutes later. The Quartermaines weren’t anywhere to be found. With a bit of prodding, the officers checked the last dialled numbers, and found out that David had called a friend of his who just happened to be a pilot, and that pilot also just happened to owe David a favour or two.’
* * * * *
‘You’re going to need to drive a bit faster, Julia. Quartermaine has a friend who owns a helicopter, and I’ve got a feeling he’s convinced his buddy to chopper him to Holly’s location. If that’s the case, they’ll be there in about five minutes, if they’re not already at the hotel.’
‘Shit. Shit, shit, shit.’ She pounded her hands against the steering wheel.
‘I’d recommend that you don’t do that unless you want the airbag to deploy, and at this speed, you’re likely to run off the road, and kill us both because you can’t see through said hypothetically deployed airbag. Frankly, I don’t think we’d be of any help to Holly if we’re both dead because of you whacking the steering wheel.’
Aside from two calls to Greene’s cell phone, they drove the next hour in silence. Greene alternated between answering and playing with his phone, and checking his weapon, a habit that Julia knew meant he was nervous about the situation they were in. When she finally broke the silence, their target location was only a few miles away.
‘This is where my vision gets a bit hairy, Greene.’
‘I think all of this has been in vain. We’re going to lose Holly. That’s why it was imperative for her parents to stay the hell away from this place.’
‘When you say lose, do you mean Turner’s gonna get away with her, or that she’s gonna end up dead?’
‘You think her parents are gonna be the cause of it?’
She replied in measured words. ‘No, not them as such. I’m not too clear on the details, but I don’t feel that they’ll be the outright cause of it.’
Poole glanced at Greene who was now looking as worried as she felt. A movement just ahead of the car caught his attention.
‘Shit! Watch out!’
Poole snapped her head to the left just in time to see Holly Quartermaine break free of the bushes on the shoulder of the road followed by Ross Turner. Before Poole had time to slam her foot on the brakes, Holly was out on the road, and up and over the bonnet of the car. David Quartermaine was in hot pursuit of Turner, shoving him to the ground, and pounding his head into the gravel.
* * * * *
‘She just rushed out on to the road, and into the path of oncoming traffic, which happened to be our car. It was unavoidable. There was no way that I could have braked in time to prevent hitting Holly. No way at all.’ She brushed the tears away from her eyes, and sipped at the water again.
Winters looked down at his notes. He hated seeing women cry, and worse still, he hated watching women who were his friends cry.
‘You know it’s all routine, Julia. There’s no suggestion that this was deliberate or that there’ll be any charges filed against you. I need you to know that. Okay?’ He spoke without looking up at her.
‘Yeah, I know, but it doesn’t make it any easier.’
‘We’ve finished with the parents, just so you know. Apparently, they arrived by chopper as you said, made their way to the motel, and contacted the daughter. They’re assuming Turner heard her talking to them, busted in her door. She ran out of the room to get away from him, the parents gave chase, she ran out, and well, you know the rest.’
‘What about Turner? What has he said?’ asked Poole.
Winters glanced at his teary colleague, and shrugged his shoulders. ‘He’s not saying anything until his attorney arrives.’ He recognised the expression on her face. ‘We’ll get him on this, and all of the other murders, Julia. I promise you that. He’s not going to walk free.’
* * * * *
Beatrice Corman slumped onto the sofa next to Julia, and she handed the detective a tumbler of whiskey.
‘Will he go away for this?’
Poole nodded. ‘Yeah,’ she whispered in reply, ‘I think he will. We got quite a lot of evidence.’
‘What does your gift tell you though? Have you had anything about how this is going to work out?’
‘Nope, nothing since the case . . . since I knew she was going to die.’
‘Wait, what? You knew she was going to die?’
‘I saw that she was going to be run over. Just didn’t think it’d be me driving.’
‘Yeah, well that’s one way to be slapped aside the head, Jules. It’s not your fault though, just so you know.’
‘I know,’ Julia lied.
‘Well, I’m just reminding you in case you let it slip your mind for a while. You see this stuff, but you don’t necessarily always see the way it’s going to turn out. That’s not how the gift works, and you know that. So, give yourself a break over this. By all means, grieve, feel sorry, feel guilty, but get up and move on because there are many, many others out there who need you and your gift.’
Julia gulped the whiskey in one mouthful, and winced at the heat as it went down her throat.
‘I really want to not discuss this tonight, Bea. Can I just be the friend who sits in silence, and listens to your exploits, please?’ Julia rested her head on Beatrice’s shoulder. She closed her eyes as Beatrice’s arm wrapped around her.
‘Sure. Who do you wanna hear about first? The woman who wanted me to commune with her Siamese cat, or Ted and his sudden and stupid desire to become a stand up comedian? Shit, I forgot . . . you’re the silent friend tonight.’
. . . The end . . .