…for a moment the silence was blissful. Then the screaming started…
Writing team Leo and Mike Johnson have their day disturbed when a body turns up near their house.
‘Nasty piece of work that is’ Ro said when she returned. Then she sat and poured herself a cup of tea. Leo raised an eyebrow.
‘I found stuff out.’
‘The ‘church’ calls itself The Apostolic Gospel of The Lord. It seems to have originated in America. No surprise there, but what is surprising is that they now have control of three schools in the UK. There’s one in Somerset and two in Greater London, and the police are quite interested in them because there is some question of providing underage girls for a form of ‘marriage’. Or so I’m told.’
‘And how did you get told?’
She grinned. ‘Sex. That’s how I get told most things. Wasn’t even unpleasant.’
Mike laughed in genuine amusement. ‘Ro. You are bad! Who?’
‘A detective from the smoke. His name would mean nothing to you even if I could be arsed to remember it. But a combination of a blow job and a bottle of Ma’s sloe gin got him to part with all of his knowledge of the subject.’
‘You really should be careful’ Leo put in. ‘You can’t just go around importuning coppers for information.’
Ro grinned. ‘You’re right. I can’t. But I didn’t. He started it. I was helping out at the chippy when this long streak of piss comes in and gets all flirty. Uncle Bob gives me the high sign he’s a copper, so I agree to meet him for a drink. I reckon he still thinks he weaselled info out of me.’
‘The cage fighting scene hereabouts. Apparently the body in the river had been beaten up pretty badly before she died. The powers wondered if she could be a cage fighter. I said it weren’t likely as l hadn’t heard of anyone going missing. Seemed to satisfy mister slippy. But just to be certain I put the word out and nobody knows nothing, not even the dog fighting crowd what puts on the occasional real roughhouse.’
Leo frowned. ‘So somebody beat her up and drowned her? Nice.’
‘No. They certainly beat her up, but then they strangled her and threw the body in the water. My dad reckons they can’t be local or they’d have chucked her in below the dam.’
‘Unless they wanted her to be found. Though I can’t think why that could be.’
‘Me neither. And I gathered there was other stuff about the body. Something to do with very rough sex and ‘not quite human’ bite marks. My little friend was uncomfortable talking about that.’
‘I’ll bet’ Mike shivered. Ro’s face looked like she was eating something bad, but she pressed on. ‘The only other gem I wrung out of Constable Smalldick was that they are doing a facial reconstruction and the cops will be bringing it to all the houses on the riverbank to see what they can shake out. And they’ll be after DNA samples from the men too.’
‘Oh great’ Mike shivered and Leo put a consoling arm around her.
‘It don’t sound much like a Sunday school outing to me’ Ro said wisely, then she leapt up from the table. ‘Hoovering calls.’
When she had left the room and the roar of the vacuum cleaner could be heard from upstairs, Leo raised an eyebrow at Mike.
‘You reckon she knows?’
‘Not from me. But she has enormously good instincts.’
He considered that for a moment. ‘She does. And I wouldn’t at all put it past her to be tipping me the wink.’ ‘Me neither. Will it help?’
‘Yeah. I’ll get my head around it.’ He leaned his forehead against hers for a moment. ‘I dunno why you keep me’ he whispered ‘no possibility of children, and I’m a moody bastard.’
She grinned at him. ‘You forgot selfish. But I still can’t do without you – even after all these years and all the shit we’ve been through.’
His answering smile was a bit twisted. ‘And not even a pity fuck for at least a month…’
‘Do we do them? I thought our forte was hate fucks.’
This time he really did laugh before getting up. He wandered off, leaving Mike alone. She frowned, then got up and walked briskly into her own office.