Monday, 27 April 2015

Publishing Demands (part 4)

We spent most of the day up at the police station closest to the scene of the crime, watching as particularly clever forensic officers pieced back together the body and attempted to work out the cause of death. DNA tests were taken, as well as pictures that were to be shown to the Editor's next of kin, if the DNA tests failed. His wife wasn't needed in the end, however, as the Editor had once broken into a shop as a kid, which meant his DNA was on record and easily identified. "It's who you thought, Rathbone." Blake told me. "Do you want me to send word ahead to Inspector Lodsbury?"
"No, don't worry." I said. "We need to return any time now, so I'll tell him myself. We're going to have to change our plans, though. No chance of paying a ransom now."
"Indeed." Blake laughed. "I'll get one of sergeants to give you a lift, Mr Rathbone." He stuck out a hand. "A pleasure to meet you."
"Pleasure to meet you, too." I smiled.
Blake repeated the process for Robin, who asked, "Can you give us a time of death, Inspector Blake?"
"We don't have specifics, Miss Greenhouse, however we expect it was some point before the last twenty four hours. I'll forward you an exact time when we get one."
"Thank you." Robin said, shaking his hand. "I look forwards to working together soon in the future."
As we climbed into the sergeant's car, Robin said, "It makes you think, the kidnappers had no intention to ever take the picture, or any of that."
"Indeed." I replied. "You've got to wonder though, why did they go through all that rigmarole if they had no intention to do it? What did they spend the time doing instead?"
Robin shivered. "I'd prefer not to think."

We pulled up outside the only other police station in Glasgow and raced up the steps, taking passes from the lady at the desk. I attempted to move my arm as I ran, but felt a slight twinge of pain racing through me. In the heat of the corpse's discovery, I'd almost forgotten what had happened. That, or the painkillers I'd almost overdosed on were too good.
There was a buzz in the air as we entered Lodders' office, a buzz that didn't seem to fit the morbid news we were about to present. "Gabriel?" Lodders asked. "Whatever's the matter?"
"The body in the Clyde belonged to the Editor of the Glasgow Gazette." I said.
Lodders stared at me, bemusedly. "What?"
"The body that was pulled out of the Clyde was the editor of the Gazette. He'd been ripped apart by the water, suggesting he'd been in there a while, and the forensics officers thought that he'd been dead for about twenty four hours." Robin explained.
"That doesn't make sense." Lodders said. "Look what we've just received."
He handed me a ripped open brown envelope with a large picture protruding from it. I took the picture and stared. "That's not possible." I said.
Robin, on her tip toes, stared over my shoulder at it, announcing, "But that was taken today, purportedly, right? The Editor was dead yesterday."
The picture was of the kidnapped people holding the newspaper we'd posted them, stood in a dark room with plenty of stubble on their faces, the same stubble as was on the Editor's head.
"Is this some kind of wind up, Gabriel?" Lodders asked. "It's certainly not in the best spirit."
"No, I'm being serious." I said, slumping into a chair. "Check with Blake, if you want."
Lodders gestured to a sergeant to do so.
"That means this picture is a fake." Lodders said.
"Obviously." Robin said. "Question is, why? And how?"
"It's not a fake." I said, everything dawning on me. "And I reckon I know where they're being held."
"Somewhere near the River Clyde isn't a location." Lodders said.
"Don't worry." I grinned. "Much more specific than that. Now, quickly. To a car!"

Lodders drove us out from the police station in a battered old Vauxhall Astra. I rode shotgun, Robin annoyed in the back, and gave directions at every junction. "I don't see why you can't just tell us where we're going?" Robin cried.
"It'd spoil the surprise." I said. "Turn left here."
"Robin has got a point, Gabriel." Lodders said. "I always like to know where I'm going when I set off. There's a reason why Sat Navs don't have a random destination button."
"Well, personally, I think that would be a brilliant feature." I said. "Imagine all the fun you could get up to! Right here."
"Hang on, I know where we are." Robin said. "Are you sure about this Gabriel?"
"Of course." I said. "Where else to hold the victims, if not the place where they were kidnapped from?"
And with that, we pulled to a stop outside the Pavilion Post's building.

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