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Authors: R D Ronald

The Elephant Tree (31 page)

BOOK: The Elephant Tree
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‘It’s more than that Angela. But I don’t expect you to understand. It just matters that Scott does,’ Jack said, raising the gun and pointing it at Angela.

‘No Jack, fuck. There has to be another way out of this, you can’t let any more people die.’

‘I’m sorry Scott, but in time you’ll realise it was the only way.’

‘I won’t let you kill her Jack,’ he said, walking to stand between his brother and the woman he loved.

‘Don’t test me. That would be a mistake,’ Jack said evenly, his sight focused intently on the target in front of him; the target that was now his brother.

‘I’m not testing you, there’s just no other play I can make Jack. This is all I have left,’ Scott said and closed his eyes, as his brother cocked the pistol.

The roar of a shot rang out.

* * *

Despite his best efforts, the trail, if you could even call it that, was cold and Detective Fallon was under increasing pressure to move on and prioritise other cases. Bryson made his thoughts pretty clear about what he described as Fallon’s
obsessive persecution of Paul McBlane.
But there were too many coincidences that just kept piling up for Fallon to let it go.

Unfortunately no-one was talking. The only other chance he’d had to speak to Stephanie Hutton had been when she’d awoken in hospital following her attack, which had only compounded Fallon’s suspicions that she knew a lot more than she was letting on. Speaking to her then got nowhere. It was clear how scared and confused she was, so he’d planned on seeing her again before she was discharged, giving her further chance to rest and recover. But then she’d gone and checked herself out early and fallen off the map.

Fallon had been to the hospital to see Glen Thomas as well and applied more pressure there. But whatever he could threaten Thomas with wasn’t enough to make him give up what he undoubtedly knew.

Twinkle still hadn’t turned up to shed any light on the incident surrounding him. All efforts to find him had so far proved fruitless, and without anything else to go on, Fallon was finding it difficult to justify this as his priority case, especially without the backing of his partner.

In a last ditch effort he’d decided to go back one more time and shake Neil Bennett down to see if anything worthwhile came out. They had pinpointed him as staying in the Walker building with a girlfriend, so that’s where Fallon was heading. His shift had officially ended and Bryson had been off sick anyway, but Fallon was determined so he went alone.

Flashing his ID in reception was enough to allow him to travel up to the apartment without anyone being alerted to his presence. The softly softly approach had gotten him no-where questioning this guy in the past so this time Fallon decided to go in hard.

‘Open up it’s the police,’ he commanded, and pounded on the door five times with the heel of his fist.

The hurried sounds of the latch being withdrawn on the other side indicated that at least someone was home. The door swung inwards revealing a female with pale skin and large frightened doe-eyes, wearing a white robe.

‘What do you want?’ she stammered, obviously not used to dealing with an intimidating police presence.

‘Neil Bennett, I need to speak to him now.’

She stepped away from the door, allowing Fallon inside.

The apartment was tastefully decorated; the only thing that seemed not in keeping with the surroundings was the man he’d come to question, who was sprawled out along an expensive looking couch.

‘Get up,’ Fallon barked at him.

‘What the fuck is this about? I told you everything I know already.’

‘No you haven’t, I know you’re lying and unless you give me something then both of you are being placed under arrest for obstruction of justice and taken to the station,’ Fallon lied.

‘Jesus Christ Neil, tell him what he wants to know,’ the now panicked Elizabeth said from behind Fallon.

‘I don’t know anything. I don’t know where Twinkle is, I don’t know where Scott is, there’s nothing I can tell you.’

Fallon decided to play out the bluff. He took out his handcuffs, turned and walked towards Elizabeth.

‘Mother fucker you better give him something right now,’ she shouted frantically, visibly shaking.

‘Alright alright, there’s drugs. A stash of drugs up at Scott’s place,’ Neil stammered.

‘Go on,’ Fallon said, turning back towards him.

‘It’s a box, buried. With our drugs in.’

‘Not ours,’ Elizabeth pleaded.

‘No, mine and Scott’s.’

‘Is there anything else in the box? Any papers or other pieces of information that could reveal the location of Scott or Twinkle?’

‘I don’t know man, I wasn’t there when he buried it.’

‘Right, you’ll show me where it is.’


‘No, not if you don’t want to, we can all go down to the station first and do that later if you’d prefer,’ he said, raising the handcuffs again.

‘Alright, fucking hell,’ Neil said, before Elizabeth could protest again.

Fallon drove as quickly as he could back out to Scott’s place in the country. A sullen Neil sat in the backseat not talking. He was no doubt regretting what he’d revealed under duress but knew it was too late to take it back now.

They pulled up onto the gravel approach to the property which was already occupied by two other cars: an old red Toyota 4x4 and a brand new black Lexus parked up with no-one inside.

Who else is here?’

‘I have no idea,’ Neil said, and sounded perplexed so Fallon didn’t push it.

They got out of the car and walked to the house. Fallon turned the handle without knocking first and discovered the door was open. He cautiously made his way inside and went room to room looking for occupants. Nothing, the house was empty although a television murmured in the living room and two glasses stood on the table.

‘Where are they buried then?’ Fallon asked, unsure whether

he should wait here for the owners of the vehicles to return or follow up on the lead immediately.

‘Out back in the woods.’

‘You know the exact location?’

‘Yeah I know where they’ll be.’

* * *

Scott instinctively moved his hands to his chest searching for any pain or wetness from blood loss, then heard a thud like a sack of mail being dropped to the floor. He spun around. Angela remained bound to the tree, upright, eyes wide, uncomprehending.

Scott looked back around and saw his brother’s crumpled body on the ground. He didn’t understand.

‘Scott, are you alright?’

Scott looked up and saw the voice belonged to Detective Fallon who stood with his service revolver drawn, beside the silver birch.

‘Yes,’ Scott said, and ran to Angela and immediately began working loose the ropes that bound her to the tree. As soon as one wrist was freed she reached out and, taking a handful of Scott’s shirt, pulled him towards her. The sudden intensity of her kiss surprised him but he returned it with equal enthusiasm, sliding both arms around her back and holding her tightly against him.

When all ropes had been untied Scott’s attention returned to what was happening behind them. Neil hovered uncertainly behind Detective Fallon who was crouched over his brother’s body. His fingers probed Jack’s neck searching for a pulse. He looked up at Scott and shook his head.

Fallon had withdrawn a police radio and was now reporting events into it. He ordered an air ambulance and gave coordinates to their location.

‘Detective Fallon,’ Scott said, ‘I’m a little more pleased to see you now than I was last time. But I am wondering how the hell you found us.’

‘Back to the house first and I’ll explain.’

Neil, Fallon, Scott and Angela walked back towards the house. Despite her ordeal Angela had refused to wait and be taken by ambulance, insisting she was fine to walk with the rest of them.

When they reached the stile at the bottom of the land revolving blue lights could already be seen up by the house. A group of officers rushed past them acknowledging Detective Fallon, no doubt to the location he’d given over the radio. A helicopter also hovered overhead, searching for a suitable spot to land.

‘Is there any sign of McBlane?’ an older man in plain clothes that Scott took to be a superior officer asked Fallon, when they got back to the cottage.

‘No sign sir, officers are searching the area but so far no indication he’s been here.’

They went inside and sat in the living room. Angela refused any attention from the paramedic but did accept the offer of a phone call which she quickly made to her dad, thankfully in time, before he’d taken any rash measures of his own.

The next couple of hours consisted of questions and statements and again further questions. It became apparent that Fallon had been on to a lot of what had gone on regarding the violence and other criminal activity around the clubs for quite a while, but had so far been unable to produce enough evidence with which to bring charges. Jack had kept himself isolated so that no connection had previously been made with his involvement, which of course had now changed.

‘So how did you turn up when you did?’ Angela asked, as Fallon was rereading notes he’d taken from them.

‘You can thank Neil for that I suppose. We’d been unable to turn up any further lines of enquiry and Scott had dropped off the radar again, so I went back and shook Neil down for anything else he might know. His girlfriend was less than happy at the intrusion into her swanky apartment and insisted he gave us whatever he knew.’

Neil looked distraught at his betrayal, despite it having probably saved their lives.

‘He told us about the box of drugs you’d buried and after nothing had been turned up here during your previous search I thought there may have been more than just drugs buried down there. Information on Twinkle’s current location perhaps.

Scott kept straight faced. Everything was over now and so far he looked to have been able to avoid any charges being levelled at either him or Neil, and if Jeff could be kept out of the picture completely, then that was even better.

‘When we pulled up out front and saw both of the cars I suspected something was up, but it wasn’t until we heard the gunshot on our way through the woods that I realised exactly what. I immediately called for backup and proceeded to the location intending to wait for their arrival. When I saw Jack with the gun drawn I knew I couldn’t wait and under the circumstances did the only thing I could. Unfortunately the shot I fired to incapacitate your brother proved to be fatal. It was very dark down there and I couldn’t risk simply putting one in an arm or leg and hoping that he’d drop the gun.’

‘So what happens now?’ Scott asked warily.

‘You mean regarding the drug possession and alleged dealing that you and Neil were involved with? Well I’m told the amount recovered down by the tree isn’t exactly huge, and considering your co-operation to bring the matter to a close, especially the information regarding your brother’s involvement, it’s highly unlikely either of you will face prosecution.’

Angela reached across and squeezed Scott’s hand.

‘It looks as if McBlane may have seen this coming though and decided to flee with a couple of his closest associates. Warrants were issued and searches have been carried out at all of their known residences in the last hour. So far none of them have turned up. But someone like that won’t stay hidden forever. He’ll turn up again one day.’

Once all of the questions had been answered they were at last allowed to go. The paramedics checked Angela over and cleaned and redressed the wound on Scott’s hand, telling him he would still need to have it assessed at hospital. The police hadn’t finished at the cottage so Scott and Angela decided to go and spend the night at her place, dropping Neil off outside the Walker Building on the way.

‘What do we do about Jeff and everything that happened up in the mountains?’ she asked, once they were alone in the car.

‘I don’t know about you but I’d be happy to see the back of the city again for a while. I say we head back up there for a while and live the simpler life.’

Angela grinned and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. ‘Do you think you and Jeff will start growing again in the caves?’

‘I have no idea, maybe one day I guess. But with the amount of tinned food that was stored in the living quarter cupboards, McBlane may be able to stay alive down there for months.’

‘Oh my God, really?’

‘Yeah there’s water and ventilation. It may be cold and it’ll definitely be dark since Jeff cut the power, but I’d leave it a good while before I decided to venture back down again.’

BOOK: The Elephant Tree
12.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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