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Illegal Entry: Chapter 8

...The DC had sneaked a long appraising look at the naked body together with every other red blooded male in the vicinity. But only McGann had met her when she was still in one piece and breathing. Only the DI had had the pleasure of spending time in her company when her flesh was still warm to the touch. Conroy wasn’t telling Yarrow anything about that...

And McGann is far from pleased when he hears the name of the Specdial Ops officer who will be investigating the deathof this young woman.

To read earlier chapters of Steph Spiers’ tough crime novel please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illegal_entry/

Sunday Morning

On self imposed guard duty, patrolling only ten feet away from what was left of the poor little wench, another wave of hot flush started at his feet and rushed over his body as Detective Constable Bill Conroy began sweating profusely again despite the chill in the air. This level of anxiety was tangible and manifesting deep in his impressive gut. Now he didn’t know if he needed most to empty his bladder or fart capaciously, stress always triggered his bowels into overdrive and this morning’s do was enough to irritate the calmest of intestinal tracts.

Perhaps if he moved about the pain and discomfort would be less. From the gatepost on the car-park Yarrow watched in disbelief as the diminutive detective began rushing backwards and forwards in a state of agitation. ‘Whatever’s McGann’s pet gnome doing now?’ muttered Yarrow turning away to watch the passing traffic for signs of grey vans and mushroom dishes.

Conroy’s short thick thighs were chaffing where the corduroy trousers rubbed mercilessly against a dampening crotch. The extent of his self imposed territorial search area stretched between the top of the pathway down to the car park and a spot where he could keep his eye on the hunched figure of Tony McGann, who Conroy mindfully expected could flake out, or freak out, at any moment.

‘Oh no. Not again,’ grimaced Conroy. Yarrow was approaching, his face red from the climb up the embankment.

‘Still nothing doing?’

Conroy stood still. ‘The Fire Crew arrived a bit ago, came up the track, but no-one’s allowed to move the girl from under the wheels until the home-office pathologist’s put in an appearance,’ Conroy answered, preening that Yarrow was deigning to discuss things with the likes of one as lowly in the pecking order as himself.

‘And it’s a bloody Sunday.’

‘On Sunday things take longer,’ replied Conroy, he knew that. Yarrow was staring at the smudge of copper coloured hair on the ground by the wheel. The DC had sneaked a long appraising look at the naked body together with every other red blooded male in the vicinity. But only McGann had met her when she was still in one piece and breathing. Only the DI had had the pleasure of spending time in her company when her flesh was still warm to the touch. Conroy wasn’t telling Yarrow anything about that.

‘Here look, Crime Scene – camera crew’s showed up. Best . . go sort ‘em.’ Yarrow nodded towards the DI as he scrambled away.

Conroy remembered last Thursday only too well. He couldn’t think about anything else. It had started with an all nighter outside a Chinese Take-Away. True to form they’d begun the day proper with a punch up in a station canteen, gone on to roughing up a snout at the dog track and ended up in a China town brothel.

Not your average day even for McGann. Yarrow was right, now the photographers had arrived he had to do something about McGann. Conroy moved away, over his arm was slung the leather jacket which McGann had previously laid over her face. It was no good he’d have to sort out McGann sooner or later. Conroy’s feet slipped on the wet shingle.

‘The photographers are here Gov’nor. I’ve brought your jacket back; it’s a bit wet. Yarrow’s standing point.’ McGann glanced in Yarrow’s direction just as a shaft of sunlight glinted from under the edge of a cloud band and caught his eyes causing him to blink in acknowledgment.

‘Thanks.’

‘Don’t mention it. No sign of DI Coppnull yet, Sir.’

‘Who else is here?’ said McGann scarcely audibly holding on to the soaked leather jacket with both hands and patting the pockets until he felt what he was looking for: the hip flask was still safe.

‘Besides our team from up the road and that lot from Digbeth, Yarrow says the pathologist has just pulled up, but she hasn’t got cracking yet.’

‘Who’s in charge from Digbeth?’ the seated figure asked quietly glancing towards the triple wheels of the engine hoping to catch a glimpse of the sheen from her chestnut hair spread out over the pebbled strewn ground. But all he could make out were the feet of a gum-booted cameraman and the spindly tripod legs.

‘Ahhh.’ Involuntarily, McGann raised a hand across his mouth to stifle the sound behind his palm, forcing breath out through his nostrils. The coldness of the morning air turned the breath to steaming particles which escaped above his clenched, rain soaked fingers as they fled skywards.

‘Can I fetch you anything Gov? Coffee? There’s a place over by the . . . . ’

‘Nothing,’ interrupted McGann staggering forwards towards the small crowd gathered nearest the body.

Conroy had never seen his charge retreat so far back: he wasn’t gregarious at best but now: so quiet. Those dark eyes bore witness to the anger and misery which gripped his stomach like a balled fist: swollen, red rimmed with the promise of more discharge. McGann’s pallid face wore its usual swathe of blue shadow melting into his neck to disappear under the collar of the habitual black shirt.

McGann’s shoulder was trembling. Conroy’s mum would have said to rub him up quick with a rough towel. Without the jacket his body had lost its natural warmth. ‘He’ll get hyporthermia. Langworth’ll blame me,’ muttered Conroy under this breath, he still couldn’t decide if the DI was shivering or shaking with anger. ‘I just wish for all the world the boss would just hit sommat again and get it over with.’ Conroy knew him well enough to know like death and taxation; McGann clobbering something was bound to happen.

‘Best put this back on Gov. You’ll catch your death. It’s bloody freezing out here.’

‘Right. Yes. Put it back on,’ the DI replied mechanically.

In slow motion the drenched man slid an arm into the sleeve of the calf-skin and turned his back on the corpse.

‘You don’t know then?’

‘Know what?’ asked Conroy confused.

‘Who’ve Digbeth have sent?’

‘Oh yeah, Yarrow said to say it’s not Digbeth proper. It’s Regional Special Ops Unit, that’s where their Super wants the Incident Room set up. You know, round the back of Hurst Street in the old nick annex.’ McGann didn’t answer. ‘You remember, where we had that bit of bother the other morning.’ Conroy noticed the Inspector’s hand rise touch the bruise under his right eye, McGann said nothing in confirmation. He remembered all right.

‘Okay. So who’s coming from Special Ops?’

‘You won’t like it Gov’nor.’

‘I don’t like it now. Who is it?’

‘Detective Superintendent Sampson-Berne.’

‘No way!’ McGann exhaled through his mouth as if the news was all too much to cope with, ‘Not that muppet!’

‘Sorry Gov. I did say you weren’t going to like it.’

‘Larry Sampson-Berne couldn’t detect shite on a blanket,’ McGann said as a matter of fact without any animosity. Pulling the other arm into the damp jacket, deliberately slowly, McGann stood shook out his shoulders and thus prepared, moved towards the dead girl.

‘You sure you want to have another decko, boss?’ clucked Conroy, doing his best impersonation of a mother hen. McGann nodded, turning away from the over protective influence of the detective constable and towards the Brummie ‘B’ Crime Scene Investigation team leader. Sampson-Berne glared in McGann’s direction, his face hard set, and then returned to the mobile conversation he was taking. Conroy groaned inwardly: apparently no love lost there either.

Unimpeded, McGann waited a few feet away from the cameraman, leaning his weight onto his bent arm, the elbow joint pressing against the cold steel of the engine plating and supporting the weight of his head as if it was too heavy to hold up all by itself. The coldness of the metal was soothing against the heat of his forehead.

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