Dark Logic Part 3

1: It had to happen

Gallery of charactersChapter 2 here

So much can happen in six months, so much water can be passed under the bridge.

And in these days when decent people are receiving blow after blow from the elite, from the seemingly brainwashed, from bad people everywhere, even in schools, when all seems gloom, those six months can actually produce good news, can actually get things working which never seemed likely to work.

To get to specifics, the little unsung ceremony in St. James the Less, Lytton-by-Sea, attended by no more than 25 friends and relatives, plus those who came to these things as a matter of course anyway [see Eleanor Rigby] saw Leyton Enoch Young [whatever had possessed his parents … never mind] and Jennifer Sarah Daniels [whatever had possessed her parents … never mind] wed … and she had taken his name, a great surprise to many attending.

Perhaps even more of a surprise was that Sarah Jennifer Daniels [whatever had possessed her parents … again never mind] was the bridesmaid and a willing one at that.

Sarah had even gone away with Leyton for a couple of days to a B&B in North Yorks. She’d turned up for that scheduled pizza at Madeleine’s and had told him then and there that Jenny was minding the shop, to get his Astra out, fill it with petrol, take his grab bag and off they were going – she already had hers with her at the pizzeria.

Faced with such a demand, what is any gallant man going to do?

The critical moment was in bed the first night when she told him she was wearing her tightest fitting pyjamas just so he couldn’t do anything, that she just wanted a night to talk to him about everything, the whole lot, what she thought he should do, what he thought … all of it.

The two sisters obviously hadn’t seen anything morally questionable about him being in bed with the other sister, they’d seen it as necessary, part of the agenda to achieve the ultimate result. What result?

Sarah confessed it had been growing on her since Tenerife that Jenny had the stronger claim. In all conscience, she, Sarah, could have tied the knot, many had done so on a far more shaky basis than that but she liked to roam, did Sarah, and not in a sexual way she quickly added, but in her freedom to move. Jenny was far more now for solid connections, a new life, making a future for herself and her partner.

In short, Jenny was the one. And not just that but she had to employ this Jane person because they’d checked her out [but of course, Leyton smiled] and she was the goods, she was high value for the firm. She, Sarah, had shown Jenny that Leyton’s coming back to her that way, on that afternoon, was hugely significant and she must not push her luck.

When the skippers had heard about and met Jane, that Jane might be their administrator from now on instead of the quirky girl Jenny, they could barely contain their enthusiasm, which had the effect of convincing Jane that this was definitely her work for the next few years and maybe she could find that elusive man of her dreams along the way. She’d get to keep her London connection too, as she was the boss running the show.

If all this sounded a bit too win-win, well don’t knock it, take it while you could. It was dovetailing so well that more than one person had commented that perhaps this had been ordained.

It had been a lovely platonic weekend with Sarah and her admonition that he’d better look after her sister was the final icing on the cake in his eyes. Sarah herself gladly accepted the offer of the new road haulage venture.

The bit that had sealed it though was twofold. The Patron had been keeping tabs and had nodded his approval at each move – Leyton seemed to be getting his house in order at last. But the one which really did it was when he’d returned from Sarah, she, Jenny, had been in the wheelhouse, quite anxious and he’d grinned fit to burst, he’d lifted her and swung her round and round, and had then had his wicked way at last. She’d wanted to wait for the ceremony but what was done was done.

Finally she saw some sort of secure future and she didn’t mean financially – that was already sorted – but in her head, with her life. She’d given him a right working over and that sorted that side out in his head too. He’d even become a little crazy for her, which suited her down to the ground as well.

And at the risk of being boring, that’s the way things often go when they finally get on a roll – in sport, in business, in life.

Things though do come out of the past to dog a person – Jenny had many skeletons who wished her harm, same with him from his copper days. Just as as on the political scene, the forces of evil simply can’t leave well alone, simply can’t let people live their lives in peace, they simply must interfere and force their ideology on everyone – that’s what had happened here and so, six months down the track from that day at the pizzeria, Jenny was not happy. She’d had a letter.

‘Did you really think you’d be allowed to get away with what you’ve done? Did you really think you could have a normal life after your murders, your hatred of people?’

That was it, formed from the classic cut-outs from newspapers, glued onto A4 – Leyton’s police contacts had not been able to track down the source.

Ok. He’d held her face between his palms and said, ‘Look, we’re not the usual victims. We’re both a handful for most people and we have backup. Whoever’s doing this is going to give us grief for a month, maybe three months, but they’re not going to win because our systems are good, we’ve made them that way.’

Unfortunately, then had come a letter to him, this time typewritten, which ought to be easy enough to trace.

‘Young, you’re being investigated for these …’

… followed by two pages of his supposed crimes where he’d cut corners, had forced an issue, many things.

Jenny had returned the same advice – they were going to beat this but it was going to take time. Jane would look after business matters for now.

II

First break came through Jane who’d been taken into their confidence, she’d been skimming through the manifest of the Northern Queen and hadn’t noticed one name, meaning that when she got to the Vera May, to see the same name on the list did cause her to finally notice.

She’d said nothing but put it to Leyton and Jenny and Jenny picked upon it immediately. ‘I know that name, he’s connected with Mandy Sobel. They connected in the last couple of weeks before her … er … departure, it just came up in my general backgrounding, I didn’t think anything about it at the time.’

Then she went as white as a sheet, tried to recover, saw she’d failed, two pairs of eyes were gazing expectantly, she tried to breeze her way through it.

‘He’s connected with the Tenerife guy, the one who died. Not brothers as far as I can see, just colleagues or friends.’

‘Meaning you didn’t send him after all?’

She looked hard at Jane who took the hint and went onto the deck. ‘It’s complicated.’

‘Why the hysterics, the weeping and sobbing? Ah, I see, don’t answer. You thought that … ah, and you took the blame.’

‘I didn’t. I made you think I was to blame.’

‘Why the hysterics?’

‘Can’t you work that out?’

‘Sarah – you were protecting Sarah again, as you’ve done many times in your two lives.’

Now she did burst into tears, which brought Jane back, Jenny broke the flow and said to Jane, ‘Leyton has nothing to do with this,’ and went back to wailing.

Jane’s eyebrows went sky high when he got in on the act and asked, ‘Are we better here or out there?’ She stopped again, pointed to the deck and out they went. They could hear her really let go once out of sight.

‘What the hell was that about?’ asked Leyton.

‘You really don’t know? Men! I’m going in there, you stay out here.’

And she did.

Eventually, Jenny came out and he knew this bit – he took her in his arms and held her ferociously. Jane smiled from the wheelhouse door and went to get something to eat and drink for them. Jenny was shaping to break away and take over but the arms won.

Jane came out and said, ‘Brownie points to you, Jenny, letting me do that. Brownie points to you, Leyton, because she chose your arms.’

He looked down at Jenny, who grinned and advised: ‘This is the point you say, ‘I’ll never understand women.’ ’

‘Not in front of you two. Let’s go in and eat.’

‘All right, where do those two names get us?’

‘It looks simple,’ said Jenny, taking a sip, ‘but it’s not. It could be revenge for Mandy, it might be made to look like revenge. Either way, we have nothing on them yet and one is dead.’

‘Same person for all?’ he asked.

‘Can’t tell yet – I get the feeling there’s the one person.’

Said Jane, ‘Me too. From the outside, it looks very much like a vendetta, a vendetta that’s already involved killing once, and almost did again. Seems to me your security level needs cranking up a notch.’

‘Which is also what they’re expecting, to hem us in, the better for the kill.’

‘You’re sitting ducks on this boat,’ said Jane.

‘I’m uneasy,’ said Jenny. ‘Sarah has radar, she really does. She was always the one who spent time on the reconnaissance part. You, Jane and I haven’t got that one working yet.’

‘All right, I need to get going again. May I leave the washing up?’

III

Leyton entered the pizzeria, saw Sgt David in the corner and went over. Madeleine called out and he ordered something lighter this time.

‘What have you got, Paul?’

‘For a start, this is hardly incognito.’

‘Better it’s not. For you, it’s just a chance meeting in public, for Jenny, if she’s watching, or Sarah, it’s a worry. For Jane too. Best this way.’

‘As you wish. She called her sister about 23:20.’

‘Just before she got back to the B&B. She roams, I go in, she comes in later, I go out and roam.’

‘You went out roaming about 02:30?’

‘Ah, I see. OK, she’ll need to explain.’

‘Six calls in the one day.’

‘Anything else?’

‘Only those six calls, no other calls to anyone.’

‘Two phones?’

‘Yes. One orange, one vodaphone. And one other. Private net, one of the departments, can’t access it.’

‘The vodaphone?’

‘Only five for the day – three to you, one to Jane, one to a number I’ve written down here.’

‘Tell me.’

David grinned. ‘To Madeleine here, ordering a pizza and drink.’

‘So it’s the departmental number, if any, that she’s pursuing.’

‘And I can’t help. You know why.’

‘Fine.’

‘Officially.’

‘Thanks, Paul.’

They gave themselves an hour in bed before his roaming. She came straight out with it. ‘How does Sgt David come into it?’

‘Let me ask you one – do you still use the departmental phone from when you were with Haas?’

‘No, wh-. Ah … That’s spying on your wife.’

‘That’s rubbish – you know my contacts, you know the sorts of things I can check. You also know I eliminate as I go on.’

‘Can he check that line?’

‘Can’t tell you.’

‘Meaning yes. All right, I’ve hacked it. It’s not tapping because it doesn’t work that way – call it hacking.’

‘Is Sarah as adept as you?’

‘I’d prefer you leave Sarah out of it now, Leyton. I have to do this my way.’

‘That bad, eh?’

‘No, it might just keep you and me alive. I’ll say this – you’re not roaming tonight, no need – I know what the issue is, I’ve sorted the letters to you and me, I’m now onto your wife Jane.’

‘May I ask if the three are connected?’

‘They are.’

‘Motive?’

‘Wrong conclusions by people who think themselves clever, poor data. You remember the issue with your brother, how I got in, how it was like a tug on a spider’s web, they couldn’t track me but knew someone had been in. So they shifted data further in to see if I could – I couldn’t. That’s when I knew we had to stop. This time I’ve been able to misdirect my point of origin and go in one circle further. I’d say they’re sure it’s me, most of it is the paedo thing as usual – they’re paranoid, my lack of interest in that does brand me a bit. I’ve got all I can get from that source but there are some juicy phone numbers all the same.’

‘Has our going to B&Bs been about our security or to go in from different places?’

‘Doesn’t work that way, this departmental system. So no to both.’

‘You’re then in mortal danger.’

‘Yes and no. You’re actually my protection right now. I’ve been watching the moves and they cease when we come together. That one had me scratching my head. Idiosyncrasy of this person? But it checks out each time I went in -’

‘Fed in, to make you feel secure? Take us both out?’

‘Possibly, possibly.’ She thought it through. ‘I need to explain something. If you cross them, as I now have, they will take that person out, no question. This is their modus operandi. Doesn’t matter how innocent, how guilty – if you come to their attention, that’s usually it. They rule by terror.

You’re an ex-cop, you know how departments work and sub-departments and sections set up for a purpose. The only rule is funding but sometimes the funding is private – it’s a very fine line between legal and mafia. All these people think they’re untouchable or else it’s tit-for-tat, spy-v-spy. Keep that firmly in mind – ruthless, vicious but think they’re way more clever than they are.

One of the local squad in Luxembourg was sent bum data about Jane. I know you’d like to know who actually did it, pulled the trigger but that’s not really the point here as a policeman, the point is who sent the bum data? And was it incompetence, design or deliberate incompetence? That’s the big question I’m facing.’

‘Not Sarah?’

‘Please leave her out of it. I’ve spoken to her, spoken to Jane. You need looking after. The crews like Jane but you’re the acknowledged boss who keeps it on an even keel. You once said I was wedded to the scene, to the situation and you wanted me to want you for you. I do. This is my way of expressing it. I do this protective thing best, it’s my metier, it’s the only way I can really show you my love. Don’t be harsh on me, I’m sharing this now but a couple of things I have to deal with myself.’

‘Are you saying that no one part of that old government crew is after us, except that they suspect the hacking is you?’

‘They know I never pursue their main game, never have, never will. It’s kept me alive so far. It’s a lesser player in this who fed the bum data, her vendetta. It seems that way to me but I’m not there yet, there are smokescreens everywhere, the closer I get.’

‘Is it going to end soon?’

‘Very soon.’

‘You’re going to kill someone?’

‘Not personally, not if I can help it. I’m married now and don’t want to lose you.’

‘Where’s Sarah tonight?’

‘Watching this B&B. It’s time I set you straight on something else, husband of mine.’

‘Set me straight. All right, I’m all ears.’

‘As a policeman, you have a case for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months and you deal with people as you find them. But in a longterm investigation – remember my last one took two years – people do change, relationships change, health changes, habits change. The person at the start is not always the person at the end.

So, because of your type of work, you focus on other things as a higher priority – means, motive, opportunity. Right so far?’

‘Pretty well but I do see those things outside of my work and sometimes within. But generally yes – go on.’

‘Do you know anyone in perfect health? I don’t. Unless it’s someone very young, all sorts of things might be going on -’

‘Alcohol -’

‘That, yes. But three things almost no one I’ve observed factors in nearly enough in calculations is how healthy a person is, what issues he had, which then brings in debilitating diseases or those he just doesn’t want anyone to know about and which affect the brain … and then there are drugs. Narcotics, yes, but often prescription drugs which have been kept on too long.’ She paused and got her breath. ‘And Leyton, those are major, major factors. You could be looking at me and judging my responses related to you – for example my reticence in lovemaking – and concluding based on yourself. You might though know nothing about what’s been going on in my own life and how that directs what I do.’

‘Can you get down to it, love?’

‘Herpes – do you know anything about it?’

‘Oh my goodness – you?’

‘Stop and think before opening mouth – that was crass. Think it through.’

‘I have. Sorry. I’m listening.’

‘Question – there’s not always a correlation, I know that, but there often is. Think of a young Adonis or a hot chick as they say. Are they not going to have vastly more body contact with ‘the beautiful people’? They become this thing they call A List but what does it mean? It means putting their genitalia all over the place. So that gorgeous girl with the beautiful smile – would you touch her with a barge pole? You don’t know where she’s been, what care she’s taken.’

‘And in the beach culture, they’re running around barefooted and bare everything, a group thing.’

‘Yep. Now think of me, poor Jenny, can’t find a man, shy, reticent. Any idea why not?’

‘I’m starting to be horrified.’

‘Now look back, Leyton, at the past few years in our circle. Miles – did he put it about?’

‘No but Chloe did. Laura did too. Frank. Maybe not Amelie.’

‘Yes but did Amelie ever kiss her sister?’

‘This is horrific – almost everyone could have that inside ’em and they wouldn’t know how it got there.’

‘No one really thinks about it up front. Now, I’m not saying you’ve touched Jane but what if you’d given her a peck, exchanged a slight amount of fluid? Do you know her past? Because I do, I found out.’

‘And your sister – I kissed her.’

She gathered herself and was struggling. ‘Are you aware she’s HSV2. Just let me grab the iPad.’

She leaned over, opened it, went to Google, found this and showed it to him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex

‘Go on – read it. Did you see the words ‘highly contagious’? Scenario – you and your wife are the type who’ve had one partner only – each other – but one day some man gets fresh with her at the office, plants a kiss, nothing special, just part of the office banter, she’s flattered -’

‘Say no more. And I kissed Sarah.’

‘But even if you hadn’t, you’ve kissed me, and I’ve kissed sis many times. Not after I knew about her but what good is that? OK, I stopped kissing her and she knew why, she resented it more than you can imagine, Jan thinks she gave it to him. You’ve been in clinches with Laura, I’m not saying you cheated, not at all. And what if [ex-wife, deceased] Jane was clean and you’d given it to her?’

‘I’m mortified.’

‘I’m not a religious person but I do see the value in one-to-one and only one-to-one. And that’s why I’ve been hard to get … with everyone.’

‘But my brother.’

‘I took a guess that a geek might not but he had been with this Beth, so I decided not to when he came down to London. I kept it computer focussed and gave him some hugs, that’s it. It sounds callous, unromantic, cruel – but we owe it to our own partner to be clean.’

‘And not just with herpes.’

‘Not just with herpes, no. Don’t forget HIV and the other STDs. Dirty needles. You go into hospital for something routine and come out with diseases.’

‘Stop it, Jenny, I’ve got the idea. Anyway, why did you agree to me in the end, if I’d been with Laura?’

‘Because I saw your records. I showed my old badge which is still current as far as the expiry date goes, they showed me you’d had a general test twice in the last year and it had gone into most things. You think I’m a calculating monster, don’t you?’

‘No, I know you’re like this and I know you’re honest as much as you can.’ He asked the obvious: ‘And you? Diseases etc.? Health?’

‘When we get back, we’ll go to the drawer with my records and you can see for yourself.’

‘And I was thinking of Sarah as my partner.’

‘Yes … and I let you sleep with her. But I’d also told her if she had bodily contact that way, that was it for her and me.’

‘She kissed me on that Tenerife trip.’

‘But not at the B&B. She even wore a bodysuit. She knew then she had to extract herself from you. With Tenerife, you remember, you were in hospital and had all sorts of tests done, probably seemed a bit weird for a gunshot wound to the leg. You probably put it down to the Spanish way. I hacked the file and put in tests they should run.’

‘You’re a terror. Did you get him to shoot me?’

‘No, I said to fire close so you fell over or else push you over in the street or do something so you would be separated from my sister. You think it’s because of fierce jealousy.’

‘It looked like it.’

‘It was to prevent the man I thought was going to come to me in the end letting in something contagious.’

‘Did you order my wife killed?’

‘No, but I know who did. When they take your mind, they do it with drugs and electricity. The drugs are highly addictive … and lucrative … even after they have you, even now.’

‘Where is she? Still outside here?’

‘You’re not going near her. If you do, it’s over with us. She’s not in her right mind and has barely been in her right mind during the time you’ve known us. She thinks she’s doing us a service guarding us. I’ve had this for a long time now, Leyton.’

‘Hence all the calls in one day.’

‘Hence all the calls in one day. You want to divorce me?’

‘What do you think? Will she ever come out of it?’

‘The drug addiction, yes. The herpes – no. It’s started into her brain now – I’ll show you the report. Whatever medicine can do, it’s doing it.’

‘Why? Why did she order it?’

‘Now listen to me. She didn’t order it, she was connected with one of the Luxembourg crowd who got the message from over here. You were the target but the message was switched. I still haven’t got to the bottom of it and I need a month or so. And yes, what you’re thinking is right – there’s someone loose over here and I can’t make up my mind. I thought the new Jane but am not so sure now. It could be one of the skippers, one of the crew. Not the one I called, he has no stake in your life. There’s someone else.’

‘There are of course two entirely separate and logical explanations which fit the facts as we know them. First is that the whole thing was my doing – I planned and organized it to be with you. Second is vice-versa – that you organized it all, that Sarah is not medically as you say at all, hence you tell me to keep away. And before you go beserk, I’m putting those up as theories which can’t just be dismissed out of hand.’

She was calm. ‘All right, they’re plausible. You will see those reports, you will do your own homework, then you’ll tell me what you think. By then, I should have tumbled to who this person is.’

‘You interested in who I think it is not?’

‘Naturally.’

‘Looking at my wife’s demise, the word coming through from here, was it some section operative or was it one of the gangs. Seems to me that’s an important distinction. If one of the gangs, then it would be someone high up in the gang here, not necessarily the Patron but someone who had access to the phone or some way of communicating. If it was a section or cavalier hit, then it was someone Luxembourg would listen to.’

‘There’s another one – it was completely European. Someone from Holland put through the word and someone in Luxembourg took it up.’

‘But why Jane?’

‘I don’t know.’

IV

Leyton Young was in Luxembourg.

He’d met with Paul David in Lytton, whose section head knew he was seeing Leyton and knew they couldn’t go exploring officially over a gang matter but if Leyton was given contacts and a certain amount to cover costs, then he could combine their job with his own exploration. Paul’s boss was on the level according to him but Leyton didn’t know him, he’d been brought in to replace the one he’d exposed in his last act as an officer.

Naturally, Leyton had followed up where Stevens had got to.

They wanted him to follow up on the Livange-Wickrange affair, the government allegedly favouring one of the two sides bidding – it was a private-public matter. The interest of the UK police was how far it involved certain gangs in the UK.

As paul said, as he explored that, he could bring in the other matter as well and someone might say something in an aside, where he wouldn’t make direct contact.

The down side was that he was shooting blind. He had no clue who was kosher, who was not, who was leading him into a trap, who was giving him the good oil. He had his natural instincts, his nose plus his experience but felt they were not going to be enough. Also, his French language was not up to scratch.

Jenny had shown him all the documents as promised, they sure seemed in order, he’d checked with one of the hospitals as to whether she had been there that day, Sarah and yes, she had.

Luxembourg was a treat this early autumn, he met his first contact, Lefebvre, in a park on a bench and in an instant, before he’d done the slightest exploration, the answer was given. He recognized Lefebvre both from the bar and from near the hospital – he at least had not pulled any trigger.

Lefebvre showed his ID, an internal investigator of Luxembourg itself into the EUACR, posing as a contractor in order to secure a bid. Lefebvre showed him a photo he’d taken – it was date and time stamped, though that meant little, and there were two men in an alcove. ‘Bear those faces in mind, M. Young, now I shall give you two names to go with them. Once you return, run the names against what you remember of the faces.’

‘And you’re saying?’

‘Those two men should never have been together. One was the giver of the contract, one was a tender, the date was five days before the award. Guess who it was given to? Now, you remember the layout of that hall, you remember the angles. You tell me what happened.’

‘My wife saw them together. But how could she be expected to know who they were?’

‘Who did you come over on behalf of? Your wife could easily have been snooping. She went with someone who approached her, at one point she went with me as well.’

‘The two facts together were too much for someone who had to remove anyone who’d seen the two in conference. But even if the contract is for millions of Euros -’

‘2.5 million Euros.’

‘Why would they kill her?’

‘They could pay her off but for what? She was going back to Britain, she was expendable, sorry, there’d be little repercussion.’

‘So she saw something she shouldn’t, that was it?’

Lefebvre handed over another shot – Jane with the first of the men in the first photo, standing to the side of a pillar, deep in conversation. ‘Could be anything, M. Young. Could be that he put an idea and she rejected it, could be that she became angry, as incorruptibles do. Could have been anything.’

‘I see.’

‘There is another aspect. This was a property building scam but that property was going to be used for an organization – Little Friends of Luxembourg, a kindergarten chain in three EU countries. Look it up, see who the patron of that is. There must be no scrutiny of that aspect whatever. I don’t touch it, I concentrate on the property angle.’

‘That gives it an edge.’

‘An edge?’

‘It makes it more than just corrupt trading.’

‘Yes it does. You can explore it if you like but you know my recommendation.’

V

He’d phoned Jenny, she was at the boat when he returned and after the first fifteen minutes, they got to talk over coffee.

He showed her the names, she suggested he didn’t Google them now but go to another town tomorrow, to a library with an internet cafe – look, if he could spare her a day, she’d go and do it.

One of the names rang a bell but she couldn’t place it. ‘You going to pursue it, Leyton?’

‘Unless you come up with a reason, hardly any point, is there?’

‘See what I come up with. Nothing special with the boats while you were away, you can check the logs.’

VI

Jenny came back in the gloaming and with her was Sarah, he was stunned. They had two pizzas with them.

‘Eat, drink, then talk,’ said Jenny.

Sarah opened. ‘I’m so ashamed you found out about me … about that. I had to back off.’

‘In your own words, explain your health, especially the brain.’

‘The HSV I’m afraid is real. Genital. The part about it creeping to the brain I’m not so sure about. It was one doctor’s opinion and I want two more. In this country though, it’s all database coordinated, so they’d know I’d asked.’

‘What if we get you to a non-EU country, two of them even? You’d need a pretext, something happening to you, maybe a fall, something innocuous.’

‘Ahem,’ Jenny coughed, ‘here comes the first hard word to extract money from you. It would cost, that would.’

‘The business will cover it – fact-finding.’

‘You’d do that?’

‘Well why not? I’d do it for Jane, obviously for you.’

‘I won’t come over and smother you with kisses, Leyton,’ breathed a very relieved Sarah. ‘Consider I have though.’

Jenny was delighted, Sarah wasn’t staying overnight, she was in a B&B at the eastern end of Lytton – he knew of it.

In bed, Jenny opened up. ‘I have no words for what you’re doing but I have to tell you some other things going on. When she goes over there, we need someone on the ground to help, to observe, to log where she goes, what she does, who she meets.’

‘This is your sister.’

‘I know. I must have some questions answered, we need to know who pursues her too. We need eyes on the ground. So we need to choose a country where you have contacts or I do. Better yours because she knows mine. And we need to get her there by boat.’

‘She’ll know that it will be happening.’

‘Yes. She’s great at sniffing things out, as I once said but she’s not so good after that – she loses interest, loses the scent. I’m more the bloodhound.’

‘I’m not sure we can do two countries, if only for the lack of contacts. There is one though and I’ll need to pull in some favours. Can be done.’

VII

Approaching Christmas, the most galling thing was that the sending of Sarah to Norway had achieved nothing positive.

The first hospital in Vossevangen had confirmed the diagnosis and prognosis for the brain, the one in Haugesund had begun to, when she was rumbled and had to depart tout suite. No one in particular had followed her, she hadn’t known anyone and had kept to herself in the places she was staying, she was a most forlorn figure and Leyton’s heart had gone out to her. They had no track on her calls this time, so maybe she’d made a few of those.

She herself was convinced she was on the way out and was almost resigned to it, Jenny of course accepted it but he didn’t. There was something altogether too convenient, too pat about it. You’d hardly call the identical diagnosis and prognosis of three teaching hospitals ‘convenient’ and yet she seemed as fit as a fiddle and was asymptomatic on the HSV as far as oral went.

The obvious check he wanted to do, the one prevented by the body suit last time, was the genital but how on earth could he do that with his wife’s sister, someone he’d been expressly forbidden to go near. And yet it seemed to him he was the only one, if he was right, that remained to help. If he was wrong and he tried to check, he’d lose Jenny, possibly Jane and Sarah would die anyway or become a vegetable. Jenny’s attitude was puzzling because she knew he would not try to make skin contact, she’d put that in his brain and yet he thought she’d be a bit more sceptical, a bit more driven to explore every last possibility … as he was.

She, Jenny, brought the subject up. ‘You don’t trust me.’

He took some time to reply. ‘If there was the slightest possibility my sister had been misdiagnosed, if there seemed to be something going on, I’d move hell and high water to find out and help her.’

‘I’ve done that, she went to two hospitals and a GP. Do you think this is easy for me? Psychologically? My sis? I kept you away for the reasons I’ve told you. Then I reversed that and she came to us, comes to us regularly, you’re observing her most days, speaking with her. I don’t see what else you want – she’s happy doing this, you give her work to do.’

‘Does she show genital symptoms?’

‘Ah, so that’s it. No she doesn’t. If she did, I might have allowed you a glimpse, if she had allowed you.’

‘And it doesn’t strike you as anomalous? Have you noticed any brain fade?’

‘Yes … but to be fair to you, that might have been the drugs.’

‘One possibility which struck me was that you and she are killing her off as a storyline in order to protect her from those bastards in Holland. That makes you altruistic and I’d be happy with that.’

‘Leyton, you’re going through exactly what I went though over sis. I admire you, truly.’

Gallery of charactersChapter 2 here

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