The Winter of Death – Part 3

After the briefing, McCann headed back upstairs, his mind working overtime with the events of the day so far. The anticipation was hot in his veins as he sat at his desk, the hum of office chatter buzzing in the background, telephone’s blaring, officers darting in and out, papers and folders being passed from hand to hand, cases being worked on and, hopefully, solved.
Starting up his PC, he waited for a few moments before being presented with the Kent Constabulary logo, and then he began to search the Internet.
Recalling the events from earlier, he entered in all the relevant details he could think of and started up the search engine. He knew it was a long shot, knew that he was clutching at straws, but he couldn’t resist the urge to find out, and, after no more than a few seconds, more answers than he could shake a stick at appeared in front of him.
List upon list of everything from religious references to famous works of art and literature covered more than a hundred pages. If only everything in life were that easy he thought to himself, just entering your issues into a website, waiting a few seconds, and there it was, everything solved.
Clicking through each one in turn he scoured the details, until, after a good ten minutes and on the verge of losing the will, he found what he was looking for. It was all there, in black and white, everything that he wanted, every sordid detail causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end, the realization both exciting and terrifying in equal measures.
Hitting the print button he slid his chair over, retrieving the pages from the large white printer, and, taking a cursory glance at what he had, he folded them and tucked them in his jacket pocket. He needed to eat.
He knew what he wanted, a big plate of something greasy and bad for him, with a big dollop of red sauce and some buttered bread to mop it all up with. Just the thought of it made him salivate, and, after only consuming half a piece of dry toast that day, the nausea was starting to set in, so heeding the call he headed for the canteen. A dead body on an empty stomach was definitely not recommended
After standing in the queue for what seemed like an eternity, listening to the inane babble of the dreadful women that worked behind the counter, with their talk of hysterectomies and dodgy bowels, he finally got to the front. It was then that he remembered the foul slop that they tried to pass off as food. Burnt sausages that looked like twigs swimming in treacle. Eggs like pale Frisbees, sloshing around in yellow goo, and the less said about the beans the better. Just a sea of juice that looked like it had been sitting there for a fortnight. Looking over the choices sitting forlornly in front of him he thought about leaving it, but his guts had other ideas. He had to eat. And after all, beggars can’t be choosers.
Sitting alone in the corner and picking over the remnants that sat on his plate, he listened to the hubbub that filled the room. Conversations at the tables varying from England’s dour nil-nil draw with some lowly ranked Eastern European team, the state of the countries economy and immigration problems, with some mild racism thrown in, and the discovery of the teenagers body that morning, all drifting in from various corners of the room. Nothing pierced his mind enough to bother him, the chat just drifting past and filtering into the ether, but it was interesting to listen to the things that got people in a dither. The things that made people mad enough that they would vent their spleen to almost anyone that would listen and if that meant a total stranger then so be it. The mundane and insignificant issues that people thought so important that they had to put themselves on the verge of a coronary in order to be heard. The wild hand gestures, the pointing figures. Comments such as ‘don’t you know that this country is going to the dogs’ McCann pictured his father, a man who, a year into his seventh decade, had still not lost any of his anger, and who still, every day of the week, much to his mothers annoyance and also mild amusement, would rant and rave at every article in the daily newspaper. Putting out his opinion on how things ‘should be’ and how things were so much better back in his day. The fact is, and was something that she had told him on many an occasion, that the world is what it is, a violent, nasty place at times, and no amount of vocalizing your displeasure at it is going to change anything. McCann wished that he had gained his mothers views on the world and on life in general, rather than the archaic and bitter ones of his father. Maybe, just maybe, he then would have been able to keep hold everything he wanted.
His food was starting to get cold as he sat there in his own little world; He’d had no more than half a dozen mouthfuls and felt that if he took down anymore his stomach would make him pay the price for it.
Pushing the plate away from him, disappointed and feeling slightly more nauseas than when he had started, he sat back and sipped on the glass of orange juice that he had bought, the taste slightly better than the food, and let his eyes wander over the room. The small area was dark and dingy and less than half full. Old badly painted landscapes in shabby frames and out of date Police posters covered the walls. An unclean window on the west-facing wall looked out over a patch of grass that had seen better days, overgrown with weeds and God knows what hidden underneath. Overall, it wasn’t the nicest place to eat, or to do anything for that matter. After less than fifteen minutes he put the crockery back onto the tray and dumped it back on the counter for someone to clear it away. Every day he said that it was going to be his last time here, but, guaranteed, same time tomorrow he would be standing in the same queue, thinking the same thoughts and slopping the same shit onto his plate.
He had wolfed down the food in next to no time, not taking a second to savour any of it, and then sat with his hands clasped around the steaming hot mug of tea. If the food was shit, then at least the tea was all right, and with the heating system in the cafeteria being on the blink, it was definitely needed.
Laid out in front of him was the information that he had printed from the Internet earlier on, the details of a case dating back twenty years. McCann knew when he had seen the body earlier on that day that the MO was familiar, and here it all was in all its grisly glory, the details concerning the ‘Lonely Hearts Killer’ case, as it was dubbed in the press.
Keith Mason had been 29 years old when he had butchered four young girls back in 1990. All four of his victims he had met through newspaper ads placed in the Medway Gazette and all four had had their eyes removed and their torso’s butchered beyond recognition before being dumped. More horrifying than that, if it could possibly be, was that on the night that he had been arrested in connection with the slayings, he had killed his wife and young baby son in their home in Rochester. The boy’s body, to that very day, had never been found.
Mason, who had been under psychiatric supervision at the time for severe depression after the deaths of his parents and younger sister in a road traffic accident, always vehemently denied the murders, stating, in one of his recorded ramblings, that the devil himself had taken the lives of the young girls and that he couldn’t be held responsible for the evil that had occurred. He hung himself in his cell in 1993, taking to the grave the whereabouts of his young sons body.
McCann sat flicking through the information for a good few minutes, going over the same points, mainly the methods that Mason used to kill his victims, and tried to get his head around the fact that they were identical to that of the current case. He’d heard of copycat killers, but that was always, in the main, written in the pages of crime fiction, or splashed across the screen on a Hollywood blockbuster, but rarely in the real world.
A voice plucked him from his thoughts as DS Conrad thumped his lunch tray down on the table and slipped into the seat opposite him.
“Fuck me it’s cold in here,” he said, taking a swig from his overfilled mug. “Every bloody winter it’s the same.” he then noticed the papers that McCann had spread out on the table. “What’s this, homework?”
McCann took down the last of his tea before wiping his mouth with a serviette.
“You could say that yes.” he paused, looking around the room as though he had a secret that he wanted no-one else to hear. “Listen, this may stupid, but, you remember, years ago, back in the 90’s, Guy who killed those girls, papers called him the Lonely Hearts Killer?”
Conrad took a mouthful of chips, after a few seconds creasing up his face. “Tell you what, I’m not coming here again. These chips are like fucking cardboard.” Picking his mug back up he washed down the food before focusing back on McCann. “Erm, kind of, but I was only born in nineteen eighty, so only from what I’ve heard from others.”
McCann picked up a photocopy of newspaper cutting and handed it over to him. “Check this out. Tell me what you think.”
Conrad lowered his fork, resting it on the side of his plate. Taking the paper, he glanced his eyes over it for a few seconds, screwing up his mouth, and then blowing out a long sigh.
“And you think this has something to do with our killer?” he said, without lifting his eyes from the page, reading on further. A few more moments and he looked back at McCann. “This guy, this Keith Mason, died in ninety-three. Sounds like a fucking loon if you ask me,” he paused; looking back and scanning his finger across the article, mumbling the words to himself until he came to the part he wanted. “Here, here, it says he blamed the devil for the murders.”
McCann nodded slowly. “Yes, yes I know.”
Conrad looked at him and frowned. “What? You don’t think that our case has something to do with this do you?”
A silence engulfed the pair for a long moment as McCann went over things in his mind. He knew that it was stupid to think that a twenty year old multiple murder case could have anything to do with their current enquiry, but he couldn’t help but wonder. He couldn’t help that his overactive mind was jumping all over it, and besides, they didn’t have a hell of a lot to go on at that moment.
“I don’t know, it just registered with me this morning is all, that I’d seen it before somewhere. And here it is,” he pointed to the printouts, “In glorious black and white.”
“A copycat?” said Conrad in between a mouthful of chips.
McCann shrugged. “Possibly.”
“Bit Hollywood though isn’t it? I mean, this is Medway, not Los Angeles.”
McCann nodded and sat back in his chair, glancing out of the window two female officers caught his eye, strolling along the footpath in conversation, he gazed at them for a moment or two and then brought himself back into the room.
“True, but a sick fuck is a sick fuck, no matter where they come from.”
Conrad raised an eyebrow and handed the paper back to his DI, picking up his fork and continuing to talk between mouthfuls.
“Come on though, you don’t really think that this could have something to do with that case, do you? I mean, anyone can read about this kind of thing.”
McCann shrugged. “I know, but,” he paused. “Its just a feeling, something about it, that’s all. It says that Mason always denied the killings, and…”
Conrad jumped in, grabbing up the page back that he had read a few moments earlier. “It also says, and I quote, that the murdered girls’ bloodied clothes were found in the boot of his car, his hair fibres and DNA were found at each scene and that he was been treated for psychiatric problems.” McCann went to speak. “But, and this is the best bit, it says that on the night he was arrested he had battered his wife and child to death. I think that says it all, don’t you?”
“Yes, ok, I get it, it was a stupid thing to bring up.”
Conrad looked at him and again raised an eyebrow, all the while still stuffing his face with sub standard food.
“It’s a shit case sir, I guess we need to take anything we can.” Taking another swig of his drink he changed the subject. “Anything from the post-mortem yet?”
McCann shook his head, wiping a crumb from the corner of his mouth.
“No, nothing yet. The DCI has asked them to make it a priority, but I doubt they’ll have much. I’ll head over there in a bit and see if they’ve got anything. Better than sitting around here waiting.”
He knew that he was going to have to face Dr Campbell again soon enough and after their confrontation earlier he could hardly wait.
They both rose, leaving their cutlery and plates, and headed for the door, both unsatisfied and still starving, chatting about whether it should be KFC or Subway to fill the hole, when an excited DC Fletcher came barging through, almost knocking them off their feet.
“DC Fletcher, everything ok?” asked McCann. The young female officer, stood at approximately 5ft 6 inches tall. She was a plain looking girl, but in no way unattractive. Her shiny red hair tied up on top of her head, her large blue eyes and elfin features belied her look of someone a lot younger than her twenty five years, a look that gave people the impression that she wasn’t up for the fight, an impression that was sorely mistaken. McCann had never, in all his time on the force, came across a female officer as good as DC Abbey Fletcher.
“Yes, sir. Maybe something. Just had a call from someone who said they saw a red hatchback parked up from the entrance to Foxborough Woods at just before one a.m this morning.”
“Ok, plates?”
DC Fletcher looked at the paper she had in her hand, then back to McCann.” Yes, that’s the strange thing, sir. I just ran a check on the number, turns out belongs to a Mr. Kenneth Aspen, who, believe it or not, reported it stolen yesterday.”
McCann narrowed his eyes. “Ok, get on to it. Get over and speak to him, see what get. And take DC Hagen with you.” she sighed, but nodded in agreement and headed off. Leaving McCann to listen to the sounds of his still grumbling belly.
8th December – Strood. Early afternoon.
DC’s Fletcher and Hagen didn’t waste any time in leaving the station and heading over to Strood to pay Kenneth Aspen a visit concerning his stolen car. Arriving at their destination, and parking the car where they could in the seen better days, narrow, terrace-lined street, they both exchanged glances and climbed out in the wintry chill.
Hagen glanced up and down the road and pulled his jacket up around his shoulders, the biting wind whistling from the north. “Fancy living in a place like this?”
Fletcher closed the driver’s side door and locked up the vehicle. Then, looking over the roof at her colleague, she flashed a smile.
“Doesn’t your mum live around here?”
Hagen’s eyebrows flicked up. “Fuck off, she lives in Rochester, you know that.”
Winding up DC Hagen up was no more than he deserved after recent events, and if there was anyone who was going to take the greatest of pleasures in doing so, it was Fletcher. Giving him a ‘whatever’ look she headed across the road and towards the house. Hagen shuffled after her, desperate to continue the conversation.
“Rochester is nothing like this you know, down on the Esplanade, you’ve been down there enough times, it’s posh as fuck.”
Fletcher answered over her shoulder. “Dan, I don’t care. Rochester, Strood, its pretty much all the same to me.”
“Well that’s where you’re wrong –”
She stopped. “Dan, Dan. I don’t care, ok. No offence, but I just don’t anymore, so let’s just get this over with. We both know why the D.I sent us out together don’t we?”
DC’s Fletcher and Hagen had been in a two-year relationship until Hagen had called it off not three months previous. The fallout had been Fletcher finding that Hagen had been dabbling in some extra curricular activities with a young PC and proceeding to confront him in the canteen, before punching him in the face and repeatedly kicking him as he fell to the floor, screaming enough blue murder to wake a nation. It had taken four officers to pull her off and to save Hagen from more damage than the broken nose and cracked rib that she had already inflicted.
McCann, having witnessed the entire event, had fought tooth and nail to protect Fletcher from the powers that be and their calls for suspension and possible dismissal, stating that any woman with that amount of fight in her should be a welcome addition to the, on the whole, masculine society of the police force.
Delighted and, if McCann was honest, a little surprised, the whole matter, in the end, had been swept away and Fletcher let off with nothing more than stern talking too, on the proviso that he keep an eye on her and make sure that nothing like it happened again. Agreeing, and, making her aware of how close she came to serious consequences, the matter was forgotten, and McCann made sure that at every opportunity both parties accompanied each other on a job. With today being one of those times.
Hagen looked at Fletcher, an eyebrow raised. He was still wary of her after the attack, and still had the marks on his face to remind him of that day. But, he knew that he was to blame and fully understood why she did it, and, deep down and unbeknown to her, he regretted ever hurting her in the first place.
Nodding at her question and resisting the urge of a witty remark, they both made their way up Kenneth Aspen’s weed strewn garden path, towards the small two bed roomed semi-detached house. Knocking on the door, Fletcher stood back and looked at the upstairs windows, the grimy glass and shabby frames chipped of their white paint. The badly hung net curtains.
They waited for a moment or two, the silence between the pair of them never wavering. The air filled with the sounds of distant traffic and twittering birds. No answer.
Knocking again, they waited for a long moment until the sound of the chain being removed from inside startled them into action. Standing alert they watched as the door slowly opened and a shabby haired, bearded face appeared.
DC Fletcher spoke first. “Mr. Aspen?”
The door opened further to reveal a short stubby man in a white vest and dark blue jeans. In his left hand smoke emanating from a rolled up cigarette. In his right, a half empty glass of what looked like whisky. Not even half past eleven in the morning, thought Fletcher, and some people are already hitting the sauce.
“Whose asking?” the voice deep and cracked, showing heavy wear a tear more than likely caused by the items in his grasp.
Both officers, in tandem, pulled out their I.D wallets and held them up. Fletcher spoke again.
“I’m DC Fletcher and this,” gesturing behind her, is DC Hagen. We’re here about the car you reported stolen this morning, can we have a few minutes of your time?”
The figure in the doorway looked between the two officers, his eyes beady and unsure. Then, after a swig of the drink, he stepped aside and headed back into the house.
“Come in.” his voice distant as he moved away.
Fletcher led them inside to the equally shabby interior. A long dark empty hallway with dusty carpet under their feet, two closed doors leading off, led into a living area at the back.
This room was lighter and seemed, initially, to have a more homely feel about it. That was until closer inspection. The impression was that this was where Mr. Aspen spent most of his time. The ceiling stained dark yellow from smoke fumes. A tatty and worn brown sofa sat against one wall in front of a low table littered with empty and half filled glasses and bottles. Then there was the smell, a smell not too dissimilar to urine that hung thick in the air.
Fletcher and Hagen screwed up their faces and slowly entered as Aspen flopped himself down on the sofa, a plume of dust drifting into the air, illuminated by a shaft of sunlight.
” ‘Ave a seat.” He said, motioning his hand to two empty wooden chairs that sat in the corner. “I ‘ope you’ve got good news for me.”
Stepping around the low table, they grabbed the two chairs and pulled them closer to the sofa and sat. It was then that they became aware of the rooms centre piece. A 42-inch flat screen TV and a top of the range Sony DVD player, both housed in a dark wood entertainment unit that covered the entire opposite wall. Each shelf lined with seemingly hundreds of DVD’s and CD’s.
Hagen this time took up the reigns.
“If we could start from the beginning Mr. Aspen. We’d just like to confirm a few details with you first.” He flipped open his notebook. “Could you start by confirming the make, model and registration of the vehicle for us please.”
Aspen looked at them again, both in turn, a creepy smile appearing on his face. “All the same you coppers.”
Hagen frowned. “I’m sorry?”
A little louder. “I said, you’re all the same you coppers. What, don’t you believe me?”
Fletcher jumped in, her tone hard. “Sir, if you could just confirm the details that have been asked, then we’ll be able to help you as quick as we can.”
Hagen turned to her and flashed a frown.
“Got yourself a little livewire their sonny.” Aspen said, his voice breaking into a cough.
Neither officer rose to the bait and sat waiting as Aspen recovered from his coughing fit, a large swig of alcohol and a drag on his cigarette seemingly easing the problem.
“Ok,” continued Hagen. “If we can please get on with this Mr. Aspen, you want us to find your car don’t you?”
Holding up his hands in mock apology. “Ok, ok, I was only yanking your chain. Bloody ‘ell.” pausing for another drag. “The motor. Yeah, It’s a red VW, Golf model. 59 plate, lovely little runner, twenty thousand on the clock.” He shook his head. “Fuckers, that’s what they are, ‘ope I don’t ever get my hands —“
“Thank you, Mr. Aspen.” Interrupted Fletcher. “If we can get back to the issue. Do you have any idea when the vehicle could have been taken?”
He sat back in his chair, folding his hairy arms over his portly belly. “Well, I used it to go get me giro on Monday, so, what’s that, two days ago. Yeah, that was it.”
A man lounging around in his vest, on the booze before midday, living in a house that would make a squat seem like a palace. But, able to afford such luxuries as the latest electrical equipment and an almost new brand new car, the whole scenario highlighting the joy of the benefit system in full effect.
“And you didn’t use it yesterday?” asked Fletcher.
Aspen shuffled in his seat, stubbing out his cigarette in a large glass ashtray that sat on the armrest of the sofa.
“Nope, not yesterday.” He chuckled to himself. “I ‘ad a few bevies and woke with a stinker, so didn’t get really get up, only to ‘ave a piss, you know how it is.”
Hagen raised his eyebrows, thinking to himself that this was turning out to be a complete waste of their time. An idea then sprang into his head as to how he might get this resolved without much more aggravation.
“You are aware of the seriousness of our visit aren’t you?”
Aspen looked up, a frown creasing his forehead. “What d’ya mean, seriousness?”
Hagen tucked his notebook back into the inside pocket of his jacket and leant forward.
“Mr. Aspen, this morning the body of a young girl was found brutally murdered —“
Aspen’s eyes flew open, a panicked look on his face. Slamming his glass down on the table. “And, what, you think I have something to do with it? I’ve only reported my fucking car nicked.”
Hagen grinned slightly. “Well, that’s the thing Mr. Aspen. I just don’t know. I mean, was it nicked, or is this just a little game that you are playing? Besides, a vehicle matching yours was seen at the scene late last night.”
Aspen sat looking for a long moment, his earlier cockiness seeping away as quick as the smoke from his burning cigarette.
“Listen, I got up first thing and me motor was gone, ok? I looked out the window and there it wasn’t. First thing I did was call you lot. I don’t know nothing about any murder.”
Fletcher, seeing that Hagen had broken his attitude decided to get in on the act. Hagen, on the other hand, had other ideas.
“So, how about you give us some details as to where you were last night?” he continued.
“Last night, where were you?” catching Fletcher out of the corner of his eye, her face scrunched into a frown.
Aspen’s hand has begun to shake, hot ash falling from his cigarette. “You are shitting me?”
Hagen shook his head, meeting the wide-eyed stare of Aspen. “Not at all, now, last night, where were you?”
“Here. I told you, I had some bevies and feel asleep.”
“I know what you said, but can anyone confirm that?”
Aspen shook his head. “No, they can’t.” He paused, looking between the two officers. He went to speak but stopped, seemingly dumbfounded by the current events.
“So, you can’t confirm if you were in the Parkwood area, late on Tuesday evening then?”
Fletcher leaned forward, sensing the unease that had crept into the room and that Hagen wouldn’t stop until he had Aspen confessing to everything from the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.
“Mr. Aspen, look, all we want are the details of the car that was stolen, ok? So, if we can all just calm down a little.”
Aspen jumped from his seat, his voice raised. “Calm down? You tell me to calm down when this little oik,” pointing at Hagen, “is practically accusing me of murder. I should have both you badges. Its bullying, that’s what it is, bullying a civilian –”
“Fletcher rose to meet him, her voice filled with intent. “Mr. Aspen, will you calm down. No one is accusing you of anything, ok? So can we get back to the case in hand please.” She paused as she re-took her seat. “Now, your vehicle, where do you park it? I notice that most of the parking seems to be on the street out front.”
Aspen took a deep breath, once again looking between the officers in turn. “Right outside, if I can get a spot. If not, I’ve a garage around the corner.”
“And last night?”
“Somewhere out there, can’t think.”
“And you locked it when you left it last?” Fletcher continued. Hagen seemingly no longer interested after her interruption a few moments before.
Aspen disgruntled at the insinuation. “Yeah, of course I did.”
“So, whoever is responsible would have had to have, say, smashed a window, or broke the lock to obtain entry?”
Aspen frowned. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Actions, which would have caused some, if not a lot, of noise.”
“Maybe, yeah.”
“Noise, which would have possibly caused neighbours to look out of their windows?”
“What you getting at?”
“Nothing at all, just surmising. Have you spoken to your neighbours at all?”
Aspen shook his head. “Nah, don’t have anything to do with them. Stuck up most of ‘em. Not my kind of people at all.”
Fletcher nodded and looked again at her colleague, who’s face still held the look of a scolded teenager.
“Where do keep your keys Mr. Aspen?”
“Yes, house keys, car keys.”
He nodded in the direction on the hallway behind them.
“In the kitchen drawer.”
“Would you mind getting them for us?”
Shrugging his shoulders he pulled himself up from the sofa and trudged past them. Once he was out of sight and earshot, Hagen turned angrily towards Fletcher. His voice hushed but brimming with fire.
“What the fuck are you playing at? I had him there. How unprofessional are you?”
Fletcher held a hand up. “How dare you call me unprofessional. Who the fuck do you think you are? I’m trying to get us somewhere, not accusing the guy of anything you can think of.”
She wasn’t finished, not by a long shot, but at that moment the disheveled figure of Aspen came back into view, a frown on his face.
“Everything ok?” asked Fletcher.
“They’re not there.”
“Maybe you left them somewhere else?”
He stepped back into the room and passed them for the sofa. “No, I def left them in the drawer, I remember clearly…” he paused, eyes darting in his head.
“Something wrong?” asked Hagen.
Aspen lowered his head and mumbled, more to himself than to his guests. “Monday night, hang on,” his voice lowered further.
Fletcher. “Monday night? What happened Monday night?”
“Mr. Aspen?” she asked again.
He looked up and met both their gazes. “This bloke, in the pub,” rubs his forehead. “Got talking to me, you know, nothing funny or anything, seemed a bit drunk, just asked me about what motor I drove, stuff like that.”
“Ok, and you didn’t know him?”
“Nope, never seen him before in my life. Seemed a bit of a, I don’t know, odd geezer, but harmless enough.”
Hagen. “What did he look like?”
“Like I said, ordinary, you know. Young, I think, bit of a kid.” He paused, eyes hovering over the floor. I don’t know, can’t remember.”
Hagen. “Ok, and then what happened?”
“I don’t know. He came out to the motor and then, that’s it, I don’t remember anything else. I’d had a few to drink, you know, like you do.”
Fletcher. “So, you remember talking to a man, but you don’t know what he looked like. You also remember him accompanying you to your car, but nothing else?” she hummed in thought. “So, there’s a good chance that he could have just taken the vehicle, dropped you home maybe and then just driven off, besides, it seemed you were quite drunk and wouldn’t have realised anyway.”
Aspen shook his head, his expression blank.
“Were you on your own on the night in question?”
“Sorry?” he said, his eyes flickering back up.
“The pub, were you with anyone or did you have company?”
“Saw a few regulars, had a bit of banter, but no one else.”
“And this man that you got talking too, he was a regular was he?”
Shaking his head. “No, as I said, never seen him before.”
“And how about recognizing him again, if you saw him?”
“I don’t know, I mean, I guess, maybe. The alcohol fuzz takes a while to clear, but maybe in a day or two something will come back.”
Fletcher saw Hagen shaking his head from the corner of her eye at the blank expression that had fallen over Aspens face. The fact that this man could, in all possibility, have seen someone who could help them with their enquiries. But, due to, either, his drunkenness or the fact that people like him had no intention of ever helping the police, it was obvious that their efforts were all seemingly a waste of time.
She rose from her seat, joined a second later by Hagen.
“We’ll be in touch Mr. Aspen.” She said, tucking her notebook away.
They walked out into the winter sun, leaving Kenneth Aspen rolling another cigarette and feeling slightly bemused, and stood at the end of the garden path they had not twenty minutes previous walked on with so much hope.
“Well that was a fucking waste of time.” Said Hagen, looking to the sky.
Fletcher turned to him. “Excuse me? You didn’t seem to think that when you were in the middle of making wild accusations towards him.” She stepped closer to him, raising a finger at his face. “And another thing, don’t ever, ever, get in my face again about being unprofessional, you got that?”
With that, she walked away, a grin spreading across her face.
He sat in the darkness of his bedroom in the pokey upstairs bedroom, and logged onto his laptop computer. Wondering, hoping, that he would have a reply to his email, just the thought that he would have a response causing a stirring in his groin.
He had made the first move a weeks previous, before the first killing, sending the pretty brunette a cursory ‘thumbs up’ and ‘hey how are you’ message. As was the norm when you liked someone and wanted to let him or her know you wanted to chat.
She had replied a little over an hour later, telling him that it was nice of him to get in touch and asking him a few questions, what job did he do? What was his favourite take-away? Did he like to travel? The same old bullshit questions that everyone asked, to which he gave the same old bullshit answers that he always gave.
Only this time he was Tom. He had changed his profile account, just a few a few subtle changes, but ones that were just enough.
They had chatted that evening for an hour or so. Going through the same motions as always. Along with his change in appearance he was now a warehouse manager, who lived alone with his two cats, Bobby and George, after the famous darts player. He liked locally brewed beers, the music of Oasis and some day wanted to travel America in an VW Camper Van. She was fascinated by the travel story and gushed about how much she would like to see America as well, telling stories of the places that she had already seen, saying that it seemed they had some good things in common. He remembered laughing at how stupid she sounded, with her constant use of ‘lol’ and ‘pmsl’ and a smiley faces at the end of every sentence.
He also remembered the sensations of masturbating over her picture, her yellow and orange summer dress hiding a large pair of breasts, and wondering at the time, if he would be allowed to do it for real once the life had been sucked out of her.
He hadn’t waited around and dropped the question, suggesting that they meet, and tonight he was hoping that he would have his wish.
He waited a few moments for the laptop to start up and then he hit the Internet icon and went to his favourites list before logging onto the website. His stomach was churning and hands had started to shake and sweat. The anticipation was getting too much as it slowly loaded the correct page, he was sure that it was doing on purpose, keeping him waiting, keeping him hanging on, cranking up the tension.
What seemed like an eternity passed before it finally hit the webpage, the bright colours and cute icons dancing on the screen of the homepage. Clicking past this he went into his correspondence, and there, like a big golden gem, was what he was hoping to see.
Hey Tom :o) thanks for the email. Saturday sounds like a great idea lol :o) Looking forward to meeting you at last. What did you have in mind?
Alice .x.
He read over the email a couple of times. The ‘what did you have in mind’ part sticking out. Of course, what he really had in mind he couldn’t tell. What he really had in mind was only for him and one other to know. That she would end up just like the first. Only this time, Detective McCann was going to receive a little gift. A little something that he wouldn’t forget.


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