Monday, 20 April 2015

Publishing Demands (part 3)

"Where's Inspector Lodsbury?" I demanded, as we walked into the Police Station.
The desk sergeant briefly looked up from his desk and said, "He's in his office. Who's looking for him?"
"Gabriel Rathbone." I said. "We've got a breakthrough with the Glasgow Gazette Kidnapping."
The desk sergeant's eyes widened, looking up. "You better come this way, sir." She said, and led me and Robin through a myriad of corridors into the control room for the case. Lodders and a group of other brightly coloured policemen stood in front of a white board with pictures of the missing people.
"Inspector, some people think they've got evidence on the Glasgow Gazette case."
Lodders turned around and cried, "Gabriel? Why aren't you in the hospital?"
"Who can lie around when there are cases to be solved?" I asked. "The black car the eye witnesses saw doesn't exist."
"I told you!" One of the other officers cried. When we looked at her, she explained, "One of the cameras I looked at earlier didn't show footage of the car. Only the minority of footage showed it, yet most of those were the more trustable of sources."
"What's the conclusion, then?" Lodders asked. "They were kidnapped by a phantom car?"
"Well, obviously," Robin said, "the footage with the car was fake, planted almost. Your trustable sources weren't too trustable."
"That doesn't explain the eye witness reports." A sergeant pointed out.
"Who gave the reports?"
"The usuals." Lodders said, picking up a printed manuscript of the interviews. "The Homeless, shop keepers, taxi drivers."
"The Homeless are easily bribed, shop keepers are unreliable due how busy they are, and taxi drivers never tell the truth to police!" I cried. "And anyway, even if any of them had seen a car, it's quite possible they saw it a few days before and got confused. It would explain how the footage was filmed, and the main cameras were bribed to replay the footage."
"So we're back to square one." Lodders said.
"Yes, but we know something definitely." I said. "The kidnappers can't be far away."
At that exact moment, a desk sergeant ran in. "We've a call from the kidnappers."
"Patch it through." Lodders announced, "Julian trace it will you?"
Julian nodded and clicked a button as Lodders pressed the speaker switch on the phone. "Hello?" He called.
"Is this Inspector Lodsbury I address?" A morphed voice asked.
"Yes, yes it is. May I ask your name?"
"No, you may not." The voice replied. "How is the ransom coming along?"
"It isn't. We don't have any proof that the hostages are still alive."
"Then how do you ask for proof?"
Lodders pondered for a moment, but I knew he already had a plan, he was just buying time for Julian to find their location. I quickly swallowed a pain killer, as my shoulder throbbed. Lodsbury cleared his throat, announcing, "You are to take a picture of the hostages alongside todays edition of the Pavilion Post. You send it to us and then, only then, do we begin to consider your demand."
There was a sudden beep and Julian threw his thumbs up.
"I presume that means you've just tracked us?" The distorted voice asked. "As you can see, we're a fair way out."
"They're right sir, they're on the frontier of Comrie." Julian said. "Although, further up that way, you wouldn't be able to get a good phone reception."
"Your tracking man is right. We are further in the countryside than it would appear, I just took a ride to the frontier so I could make this call. Now, here's the deal, by post, it's going to take a day for the paper to arrive by our calculations, so you send tomorrows. When that arrives, the day after, we'll send you a photo by post, due to the lack of wifi for an email. That'll take a day to get to you. When it does, then you can send us the ransom. Understood?"
Lodders replied positively. "We'll phone you when we send it."
And with that, he hung up. "Julian, get down to the tech department, I want a tracker in the envelope with the paper tomorrow. Perry, take an off roader from the carpool, get to the frontier, ask around for the sign of any land rovers or other vehicles like that. It would probably be logical to look for them."
"Consider it done, Inspector." They both said, hurrying off.
"Right then, Gabriel, Robin. Time to settle down for the night."

The Following Night

"There we go then." Lodders said, as we watched the bleeping icon in the letter come to a stop on the screen. "The address we were given at the pub was pretty helpful, with the half dozen officers we posted there."
"Posted being the optimum word." I laughed.
"Quite." Lodders replied.
A phone at the back of the room began to ring loudly, screeching it's trill at all of us, still ignoring it. One of the sergeants picked it up and answered it, holding it in the crook of their shoulder, announcing, "A body has washed up in the Clyde. Do you want it?"
"Give it to Blake." Lodders said. "We're still busy on this."
"Mind if I go have a look?" I asked.
"Sure." Lodders shrugged. "I've never seen you so restless."
"Something isn't right." I said. "I can feel it."
Lodders laughed. "You're so paranoid."

One of the sergeants gave us a lift to the docks, where the body had been pulled out of the water. Bit by bit. There was a separate examination table for each body park, after the water had ripped the body parts apart. "You used to looking at corpses?" Blake asked, as I and Robin stared at the chest.
"Yes, we've inspected quite a few." Robin explained. "By the looks of things, this one was tortured before death."
"Barbaric really." Blake said. "How anybody can bring themselves to do something like this, well I don't know."
"Can we have a look at the head?" I asked, stepping away from the torso.
"Sure." Blake gestured. "It's over here."
We walked over and the forensic officers cleared away around it, showing us the head. It was disfigured, but easily recognisable. Robin gasped. "Good God, that's the editor of the Glasgow Gazette!"

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