Dead Silent

Dead Silent by Mark Roberts Read Free Book Online

Book: Dead Silent by Mark Roberts Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Roberts
front living room.
    ‘I need your body upstairs.’
    He laughed as he followed.
    ‘In your wildest dreams, fathead!’ called Clay. ‘And in my worst nightmare.’

4.15 am
    ‘Brace yourselves,’ said Clay to Harper and his colleague as they followed her into Leonard Lawson’s bedroom. The two anatomical pathology technicians were silent, except for one sharp intake of breath and an almost inaudible muttering that could have been prayer but was probably blasphemy.
    She watched the APTs look in disbelief at the body. Harper, fat and round; his colleague, thin. Laurel and Hardy in a horror movie. Clay followed their bewildered gaze. The sight of the old man’s suspended body sent a fresh tremor of shock through her. She remembered Thomas’s comment about the answer-machine message from another old man and wondered who the old man was and what he had of hers from the past.
    ‘What do you want us to do, DCI Clay?’ asked Harper.
    Clay stationed herself by the dressing table to get the best overall view of Leonard Lawson’s body. She looked at the APTs and said, ‘Follow my instructions closely.’
    She weighed up the situation. ‘Price and Mason, either side of the pole, top and bottom.’
    They moved quickly into position.
    ‘Grip the top of the pole,’ she said, ignoring the scratching of stirred memory beneath her scalp. Not now . ‘Slide your fingers under the bottom. Thank you.’ She fell silent, waited until she could see confidence in their eyes.
    ‘Slowly, lift...’
    Almost in slow motion, the officers lifted the pole from the surfaces supporting it, the old man’s body swaying as they did so. Clay noticed there was something odd about the old man’s torso, as if something was missing. The weight of his body shifted on the pole and for a few moments he swung from side to side like a piece of meat on a hook.
    No man, no matter what he has or hasn’t done , thought Clay, deserves this indignity . Hendricks’s theory – that they were sending him to hell – made increasing sense.
    Clay looked at Harper and his colleague. ‘As quickly as you can, I want an unzipped body bag on the floor in the space to where I direct Mason and Price. Take two of our evidence bags and a pair of cutters from your kit box.’ As they did this, Clay said to Mason, ‘Terry, the APTs are going to cut and bag the sections of spear sticking out of Mr Lawson’s body. They’re going to make those cuts over the body bag so that Mr Lawson can go straight into the vinyl.’
    Harper laid a silver body bag on the old carpet and unzipped it.
    ‘Bill, you and me will hold the bag open, top and bottom end.’
    They knelt down as Mason and Price guided the suspended body into place.
    ‘Cut the top of the spear!’
    Harper cut and the section of spear fell into the bag his colleague held beneath it.
    ‘The bottom section, please.’
    Snap. It landed with a rustle of paper.
    ‘Lower the body to the bag.’
    Mason and Price negotiated Leonard Lawson’s back, head and bottom into the bag.
    ‘Harper, I want you and your colleague to untie the knots that are securing Mr Lawson to the pole. As one of you unties, I’d like the other to guide his hands and arms, legs and feet into the bag. Any questions?’
    ‘I understand.’
    She looked across the length of the body bag and asked Hendricks, still kneeling at the bottom end, ‘Did you find out about The Sanctuary?’
    ‘Googled it. It’s a residential home for adults with severe learning difficulties. It’s private and, looking at their website, everything’s pretty high-spec. The people who live there are pushed to fulfil their potential, so they don’t just sit around watching TV all day. Guess what? It’s five minutes away.’
    Harper manoeuvred Leonard Lawson’s untied hands and arms into the confines of the bag.
    ‘Thank you, Harper,’ said Clay. ‘Go on, Bill.’
    ‘It’s art therapy, music therapy, sports, drama, trips out, here, there and everywhere.’

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