Home > Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3)(8)

Dark Water (DCI Erika Foster #3)(8)
Author: Robert Bryndza


When she closed her eyes, an image rushed at her. A skull with bare eye sockets, the jaw and teeth opening wider. She got up to make some coffee when her phone rang. It was Superintendent Yale.

‘Sorry to cut into your Sunday night, Erika, but we’ve just had an offer come in from Jason Tyler. He’s agreed to name four of his associates, and hand over emails, and records of bank transfers.’

‘You make it sound like he’s buying a house from us…’

‘You know the score, Erika. We can hand this over to the CPS knowing we’ll get a result and probable conviction. It’s a result you should be proud of.’

‘Thank you, Sir, but the prospect of Tyler going down for a reduced sentence doesn’t make me feel proud.’

‘But he’ll go down.’

‘And what’s he going to do when he’s released? Start up a candle making business? He’ll be back, dealing.’

‘Erika where is this coming from? This is the result we wanted. A strong result. He’s out of action, we get to his associates, cut off supply to the dealers.’

‘What happens to Theresa, and the kids?’

‘They’ll testify, probably via video link, and they get a new identity.’

‘Theresa has an elderly mother and two aunts.’

‘And that’s very sad, Erika, but she must have known what she was getting into when she hitched her wagon to Jason Tyler. Or did she think all the money coming into their fancy house was from a candle making business?’

‘You’re right. Sorry, Sir.’

‘It’s okay.’

‘About the skeleton we found in hayes quarry. It’s been identified. A seven-year-old girl called Jessica Collins. Went missing in 1990.’

Yale whistled on the other end of the phone. ‘Jesus, that’s who you found?’

‘Yeah. I know the Forensic Pathologist, he’s notified the Specialist Casework Investigation Team, but I’d like to be the SIO on this case.’

There was a pause.

‘Erika, what are you talking about? You were assigned to The Projects Team as part of Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime.’

‘But Sir, I discovered the remains. It’s on our patch. The missing person case was originally led out of our borough…’

‘And a lot has changed since the 1990s. We don’t deal with kidnap or murder. You know that, we deal with proactive contracts to kill, major drugs suppliers, multi-dimensional crime groups, including ethnically composed gangs, and serious large scale firearms trafficking…’

‘And when I joined your team you said I was foisted on you like the aunt that no one wants to have for Christmas…’

‘I didn’t say it quite like that, but you are now a valuable part of my team.’

‘Sir, I can solve this case. You know my track record with solving difficult cases. I have unique skills which would benefit a historical murder enquiry…’

‘And yet after all these years you are still a DCI. Have you even considered why?’

Erika was silent on the end of the phone.

‘I expressed that wrongly, I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘But the answer is still no.’

 

 

8

 

 

Just before nine pm, Erika parked her car and crossed the road to Commander Marsh’s house. It was a smart area of South London near Hilly Fields Park, which looked out over the London skyline, glittering in the darkness.

The large double aspect bay window on the ground floor was in darkness, but lights were on in houses up and down the street and a couple of small groups of little children dressed in Halloween costumes were being escorted down the street and across the road by their parents.

Marcie Marsh emerged from the gate of a house a little way down the road, and with her were two tiny blurs of pink. They came toward her and she could see it was their twin girls dressed as identical fairy princesse, each carrying a little plastic pumpkin filled with sweets. Marcie wore black leggings, pointy ears and her face was painted like a cat. Erika couldn’t help but feel irritated by the costume.

‘Erika what are you doing here?’ she said stopping at the gate. The two little dark haired girls looked up at her. Wee they five or six? Erika couldn’t remember.

‘I’m sorry, Marcie. I know you hate me making house calls, but this really is very important. I just need to speak to Paul. He’s not answering his phone.’

‘Did you try the station?’ she asked opening the front gate and ushering the girls down the path.

‘He’s not answering there either.’

‘He’s not here,’ she replied.

’Trick or treat!’ cried one of the girls rushing back toward Erika and holding up her pumpkin.

‘Trick or treat!’ screamed the other.

‘Oh dear. I don’t have any sweets… but here’s something to get some more!’ Erika pulled out two five pound notes and dropped one in each pumpkin. They looked up at Marcie, unsure if this was allowed.

‘Wow, look at that, say thank you, girls!’

‘Thank you, Erika,’ they both squeaked. They were very cute, and Erika smiled back at them.

‘Just remember to brush your teeth after all those sweets.’

The girls nodded solemnly.

Erika smiled, ‘I’m sorry Marcie. I really need to speak to Paul. Do you know where he is?’

‘Hang on…’ she opened the door and told the girls to go and get ready for bed and then came back out. ‘Didn’t he tell you?’ she sighed.

‘Tell me what?’ said Erika surprised.

‘We’re separated. He moved out three weeks ago.’

‘No. I’m sorry. I really didn’t know… Where is he?’

‘He’s been staying at the flat. In Foxberry Road, until we sort something…’

They paused for a moment looking at each other. A cold blast of wind wheeled round the side of the house. The girls shrieked from upstairs.

‘I have to go, Erika.’

‘I’m really sorry, Marcie.’

‘Are you?’ she replied pointedly.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’

‘I’ll see you around,’ said Marcie, and she closed the front door.

Erika heard the twins shrieking, and went back to her car.

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