The Hanging Garden

The Hanging Garden by Ian Rankin Read Free Book Online

Book: The Hanging Garden by Ian Rankin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ian Rankin
she’s from Sarajevo.’
    ‘Does she say how she ended up in Edinburgh?’
    ‘I didn’t ask.’
    ‘Would you mind asking her now?’ Rebus gestured back along the corridor. The two men walked together, Colquhoun’s eyes on the floor.
    ‘Sarajevo was hit hard in the war,’ he said. ‘She’s twenty-two, by the way, she told me that.’
    She’d looked older. Maybe she was; maybe she was lying. But as the door to the Interview Room opened and Rebus saw her again, he was struck by how unformed her face was, and he revised her age downwards. She stood up abruptly as he came in, looked like she might rush forward to him, but he held up a hand in warning, and pointed to the chair. She sat down again, hands cradling the mug of sweetened black tea. She never took her eyes off him.
    ‘She’s a big fan,’ the WPC said. The policewoman – same one as the toilet incident – was called Ellen Sharpe. She was sitting on the room’s other chair. There wasn’t much space in the Interview Room: a table and two chairs just about filled it. On the table were twin video recorders and a twin cassette-machine. The video camera pointed down from one wall. Rebus gestured for Sharpe to give her seat to Colquhoun.
    ‘Did she give you a name?’ he asked the academic.
    ‘She told me Candice,’ Colquhoun said.
    ‘You don’t believe her?’
    ‘It’s not exactly ethnic, Inspector.’ Candice said something. ‘She’s calling you her protector.’
    ‘And what am I protecting her from?’
    The dialogue between Colquhoun and Candice was gruff, guttural.
    ‘She says firstly you protected her from herself. And now she says you have to continue.’
    ‘Continue protecting her?’
    ‘She says you own her now.’
    Rebus looked at the academic, whose eyes were onCandice’s arms. She had removed her skiing jacket. Underneath she wore a ribbed, short-sleeved shirt through which her small breasts were visible. She had folded her bare arms, but the scratches and slashes were all too apparent.
    ‘Ask her if those are self-inflicted.’
    Colquhoun struggled with the translation. ‘I’m more used to literature and film than … um …’
    ‘What does she say?’
    ‘She says she did them herself.’
    Rebus looked at her for confirmation, and she nodded slowly, looking slightly ashamed.
    ‘Who put her on the street?’
    ‘You mean …?’
    ‘Who’s running her? Who’s her manager?’
    Another short dialogue.
    ‘She says she doesn’t understand.’
    ‘Does she deny working as a prostitute?’
    ‘She says she doesn’t understand.’
    Rebus turned to WPC Sharpe. ‘Well?’
    ‘A couple of cars stopped. She leaned in the window to talk with the drivers. They drove off again. Didn’t like the look of the goods, I suppose.’
    ‘If she can’t speak English, how did she manage to “talk” to the drivers?’
    ‘There are ways.’
    Rebus looked at Candice. He began to speak to her, very softly. ‘Straight fuck, fifteen, twenty for a blow job. Unprotected is an extra fiver.’ He paused. ‘How much is anal, Candice?’
    Colour flooded her cheeks. Rebus smiled.
    ‘Maybe not university tuition, Dr Colquhoun, but someone’s taught her a few words of English. Just enough to get her working. Ask her again how she got here.’
    Colquhoun mopped his face first. Candice spoke with her head lowered.
    ‘She says she left Sarajevo as a refugee! Went to Amsterdam, then came to Britain. The first thing she remembers is a place with lots of bridges.’
    ‘Bridges?’
    ‘She stayed there for some time.’ Colquhoun seemed shaken by the story. He handed her a handkerchief so she could wipe her eyes. She rewarded him with a smile. Then she looked at Rebus.
    ‘Burger chips, yes?’
    ‘Are you hungry?’ Rebus rubbed his stomach. She nodded and smiled. He turned to Sharpe. ‘See what the canteen can come up with, will you?’
    The WPC gave him a hard stare, not wanting to leave. ‘Would you like anything, Dr Colquhoun?’
    He shook his head.

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