Authors: Mark Bredenbeck
Tags: #thriller, #detective, #crime fiction, #new zealand, #gangs, #dunedin
Brian, John… Hi Jo?” Bridger said, looking back at
shrugged his shoulders, "No one said she should go back to uniform
after the Watson case, so we just let her hang around", he said,
smiling at Jo as he spoke.
Jo did not
flinch "I've just been helping out until you got back Sergeant,
I've cleared it with my new boss, and Brian said it was okay", she
looked at Brian for confirmation. Brian nodded.
had joined the team very soon after Bridger had been promoted, she
had expressed an interest in Detective work and Bridger had needed
an extra pair of hands when they were looking into the abduction of
Marion Watson. She had proven herself a capable officer and showed
promise. He had not seen her since then but Bridger was glad she
had stuck around. She would help fix the gender balance on the
team, with Becky Wright being the only other female.
should look into making it a more formal arrangement", Bridger
that", John said, the darkness hiding the fact that he had his eyes
planted squarely on Jo's backside.
was also hiding the red flush spreading up Jo's neck and into her
cheeks as well as her radiant smile.
"You said 'New
boss' Jo?" Bridger queried.
we'll it’s just Gillian Holler, she's acting Senior Sergeant, only
until they get a replacement, you know after..." Jo's voice trailed
off. She did not need to spell it out. When one of their colleagues
had jumped off Lawyers Head, ending his life on a rock jutting out
of the cold Pacific Ocean, he not only left a hole in the
investigation into his past but also a large hole in the staffing
levels back at the Central Police Station.
not reply, instead they all walked over towards the blue Subaru
parked on the very edge of the car park partially hidden in the
darkness. The doors were open to the world along with the boot and
there were compact discs lying on the seats and foot-well. The
glove box hung open but looked empty and there was a strong smell
of cannabis in the cabin area. Bridger looked at the driver’s side
door lock, it had been punched open, he could see the tell tale
signs of a hotwire start with part of the wiring loom hanging below
He had never
figured out how it anyone actually did it, even with as many as he
had come across in his career.
The rest of
the car looked intact apart from that.
"I'd say they
had another car parked here, probably their own, and just ditched
this one here. It's as good a place as any to dump a car", Bridger
said. He looked over at the houses on the other side of the park,
across the road. Far enough away not to notice anything suspicious,
the car park was used any time of the day and night because of its
views over the city and out to the harbour. They would be well used
to seeing cars come and go. He would get someone to speak with the
occupants though, if only to tick that box. "Let's have a scout
about and see if we can find anything", he suggested.
found a pile of empty cider cans near the swings and had already
marked them as evidence. Bridger had seen John walk through the
area a few minutes prior without giving them a second thought. He
guessed everyone placed different importance on what was lying
around. A DNA sample from the cans may throw up a good suspect; it
would certainly prove that they had been in the area around the
time the car was abandoned and left wide open for them to find. He
knew that the council workers cleaned up in the area almost every
day. It was one of the more scenic places in the city. The tourist
buses stopped here on their way around Dunedin. The obedient
tourists would snap pictures on the advice of the bus driver who
did not want the view tarnished with piles of rubbish. Bridger
looked out into the darkness, the City lights shined brightly in
the darkness below them like stars; the view was
flashed though his mind of his wife Laura sitting beside him in
their car, looking at the same view. He remembered her telling him
then that she thought it was beautiful, she had said she found it
hard to distinguish between the view of the city and the stars in
the night sky. They had been so happy back then; he was almost at a
loss to remember why they separated.
himself out of the memory, he forced himself back to reality.
work Jo", he said, "Get them bagged up and we will get them tested
for fingerprints and DNA. John you can stay here and help arrange
for the car to be towed back to the central Police station for
forensic examination". John's face fell as he processed his new
task. It would take a couple of hours to sort out, but it would be
a reminder to him to be more observant next time. He turned to his
attention to the next thing "Brian, Jo, we will have a briefing
back at the Police Station, do either of you need a
"I got a ride
here with Brian, so I guess I'll go back with him", Jo said, while
looking at Brian for confirmation. He nodded in her direction.
"Good I'll see
you back at the office in about twenty minutes then". Bridger said,
before turning walking back to his car.
Martin sat in
the bushes, hidden in the darkness and the undergrowth. He could
see the police officers looking all around the car, inside and out.
What did they think they would find, it was a stolen car, the only
thing in there belonged to the owner. He watched anyway.
taken him ten minutes to get back to the park; he had used some of
the money from the store to get a taxi. The driver had not even
questioned him; he had just kept his eyes on the road as the police
had gone by in the opposite direction. Joseph and Tama had not
waited for him. He had left the store and watched as the Subaru
disappeared at speed down the road. He had a moment of panic at the
thought of his friends leaving him to fend for himself, but then
self-preservation had kicked in. Arrest was the last thing he
wanted; he did not shoot that man, so he had run, as far and as
fast as he could, ducking into bushes as the blue and red flashes
of the police cars got nearer. There were so many sirens that he
could not tell where they were coming from, echoing around him from
taxi had gotten nearer to Unity Park, he had seen Joseph’s BMW
driving in the opposite direction. The bastards had not even waited
for him here either. He knew that Joseph did not like him. Although
Joseph liked to keep company with younger guys, guys he could
control and be idolised by, Martin had never been one of the chosen
patted the money in his pocket, it did not matter much anyway, he
had the money, and now he had the rest of the night to
up in the darkness, he saw the female police officer pick up one of
the empty cans they had been drinking earlier. Shit, they will have
fingerprints all over them, he thought.
not been in trouble before so his fingerprints would not be on
record, but Tama's prints would probably fill a whole filing
cabinet. He had been caught more times than he could remember and
always for some stupid thing or another. He smiled as he remembered
the first time the Police had arrested Tama. He had come home and
proudly shown off the black ink on his fingertips, it was like a
badge of honour, which he had refused to wash off for
was honest with himself, he had felt a tinge of jealousy with all
the attention Tama received from that. They were only seventeen at
the time. Now his friend was becoming a bit of a liability and he
was no longer jealous.
wondered how Tama was feeling, having just shot a man. He had never
seen Tama in a fight, he had heard him talk the talk before, but
had never seen him put any of his rhetoric into action. Bloody
Joseph Kingi had a lot to answer for, he was sick of the hold that
Joseph had over everybody. A couple of knives would have been
enough to do the job, now he may have just been involved in a
murder. A cold chill ran up his spine.
was more movement over by the car, it looked like the police were
going to leave, at least some of them were returning to their own
cars. The lady cop had the bag of cans with her. The cars drove
away leaving two behind, one with a uniform and one without. The
police officers that did not wear uniforms were the ones you had to
look out for; the television had taught him that lesson early. They
were Detectives; and they were the ones that solved the crime. The
Detectives would be coming after them now; he would have to do some
thinking about how they were going to get out of this.
further back onto the bush, he stood up again and walked away in
the opposite direction.
Bridger finally unlocked his front door, it had been four and a
half hours since the phone call from Grant Wylie, over half a
normal working day. They had done everything they could to progress
the enquiry as much as they could. He just hoped it would not turn
from an aggravated robbery into a murder, but if it did, he knew
they had covered all the bases.
update from the hospital was that the victim was in surgery, he was
critical but stable. They would know more in the morning.
The house was
cold, even though it was the nearing middle of summer. It had a
slightly musty smell to it, something he usually attributed to old
men living alone in their blissful ignorance of cleaning.
expected to hear Laura's voice call out from the bedroom, the
question was always- 'is that you Mike?’ If it had been anyone
else, there was nothing she could have done about it, she had
already announced where she was. He had tried not answering her one
night after a night out drinking, thinking it would be funny to
scare her a little. She had appeared in the darkened hallway, a
pale frightened face staring at him. In one hand, she held a metal
torch, and in the other, she had her mobile phone. It was not so
funny trying to explain what had happened to the Police Call-Taker
she had phoned in her terror.
made him smile, something he had been doing more and more recently
when he thought of her.
true to say that 'absence made the heart grow fonder'. It was also
true to say that it was an effective tool for hiding the sins of
the past, you remember less and less of why she went away and more
of why you got together in the first place. A denial of one’s
faults, he thought.
stood now she had not returned to their home since the night she
walked out of his life. He had not laid eyes on her since the day
he saw her in the café with that man, kissing him on the cheek,
intimate and happy, so soon after their separation.
He had spoken
to her on the phone, but her conversation was always clipped and to
the point. 'When was he going to be out so she could collect more
of her stuff?', or, 'She still needed time to collect her thoughts,
clear her head'. Bridger hoped that there was no one else helping
her to cleanse the last remnants of their relationship from her
He made his
way through the empty house into the kitchen, turning lights on as
he went. As always, his felt his eyes moving to the cupboard above
the sink. He had not opened that cupboard door since shutting his
demon inside. It was a reminder to him that he needed to be strong;
he would not find any solace at the bottom of the bottle. Leave the
door shut and the light would not reflect on the amber liquid
enticing him to sink to new depths with the welcoming smile of a
One thing he
was grateful for was he had realised his predicament sooner rather
than later and was now able to use the cold hard surface of rock
bottom to give him some purchase, a foothold to lever himself out
of a very dark hole.
He toyed with
the idea of putting on some music, just to help him relax before
getting some sleep. He had recently discovered 'The Veils' and he
had put the Cd on the player in the kitchen earlier.
Andrews the lead singer, although English born, had attended school
in Auckland and so had a New Zealand connection. His distinctive
voice on the song Lavinia had touched him when he first heard it
prompting him to take a new journey down the road of his musical
taste, something he had not done in a long time.
his mind after looking at the clock on the wall, there would be
time for a few hours sleep before their shift started.
The sky was
growing lighter and he could hear bird call in the trees, he was
freezing in his t-shirt. He rubbed his arms with his hands, his
skin rough to the touch with goose pimples. It had gotten colder as
the night neared the dawn, the adrenalin in his system had slowly
abated and he had long since run out of the vodka he was
had been walking all night, aimless at first, sipping from the
bottle, the mouthfuls getting bigger the more he drank. He had
ended up in the wharf area at one point, searching for the ship he
had seen earlier. Stumbling onto the waterfront he realised that it
had already sailed, slipping into the inky blackness of the harbour
channel without fanfare, taking with it his drunken fantasy of
escaping his life. The area left in darkness; the only sound was
the gentle lapping of the water against the wooden piles, which had
emphasised the emptiness inside him.