An #FF Tale – Chapter 13

The rear wheels of the Airbus A321 touched the asphalt and Chris Brenchley eased the nose forward. The spoilers deployed automatically and the co-pilot engaged reverse thrust at his command. He smiled as the aircraft bled speed along the runway. Flying was his life and he never tired of it. On instruction from the tower he vacated the runway on the rapid exit and began the taxi to the terminal.

Whilst the majority of passengers were now stood jockeying for position whilst reaching for bags in the overhead lockers Jane Hamilton remained seated. She could never understand the rush to get off an aircraft only to stand waiting at the baggage carousel. Geneva wasn’t the nearest airport to her destination but it was the best flight she could get at short notice. She had made a booking for a hire car at the Hertz desk at Gatwick before leaving and she checked that the confirmation slip was still in her pocket. The aircraft was now at the gate and the line of standing passengers in the aisle began to disembark. Jane waited until her section was empty then stood, took her flight case from the overhead bin and unimpeded walked to the exit past the smiling hostesses and a rather dapper looking Captain onto the air bridge. She was travelling light and smiled to herself at the sight of her fellow passengers leaning over baggage carts waiting for bags that weren’t even off the aircraft yet. She walked past them through customs and followed signs to the Hertz desk.

The sound of the hatch being lowered and a key in the door lock stirred Doug from a light doze. The jailer looked at him impassively. “Come on mate. The Chief Super is here to see you.” Doug threw back his blanket and stood up. He felt dirty and smelly but worst was the bottom of a birdcage feeling his mouth had. He straightened his clothing and stepped out of the cell into the bright corridor and the jailer passed him his shoes. He then ambled after him to the main charge desk. Sat before him was a smart officer who contrary to most officers in black t-shirts was wearing a white shirt, tie and epaulettes emblazoned with a crown and a pip.

Chief Superintendent Gavin Stephens introduced himself and explained his presence at the suite, the purpose of the extension to his detention and that Kate Harney, who had been briefed by him was on the phone to speak to him. Doug nodded and accepted the handset as it was passed to him.

Kate went on to explain the review and extension process and what was likely to occur in the additional 12 hours the Chief Superintendent was authorising. “Your 24 hour period expires at 9pm tonight” she explained. “The extension will take you to 9am tomorrow whereby you must be charged or released.” Doug was slightly confused why things were taking so long. “What are these developments?” he asked. “The police are giving very little away but they say that a discovery has been made and that forensic issues are being fast tracked. The enquiry is apparently opening up in another direction which is being pursued but they expect to be interviewing you again around 10pm tonight.” Doug sighed, “So it seems I’m stuck and there’s nothing I can do. I’ve not had a phone call yet. Can I at least do that?” Kate confirmed she would speak to the Chief Super and ensure it was granted. Doug handed the phone back to the officer who spoke briefly with his solicitor before hanging up. “The custody sergeant will sort your phone call for you. If you have no other questions that’s you and me done.”

Doug now stood at the desk facing Rural Sgt. He had been handed his mobile and relayed to him a number from his contacts. “Thats the number and the name is Frankie.” The Sgt made the call using the landline, confirmed the call would be accepted then handed the phone across the desk. Doug followed the pre-arranged protocol and gave basic information about his arrest, showed a little frustration and asked about the welfare of some fictitious family members. “Yes Frank. Other than that I’m fine. I don’t know how long I’ll be. The police seem to be moving slowly. Listen I was due to visit my mum tomorrow morning. I’m unlikely to get there. Will you ring Gloria and explain why? Thanks mate. Cheers. Bye.” He hung up and passed the cordless phone back to the Sgt.

The key phrase to ring Gloria was all Frankie needed to hear. He knew exactly what to do. He reached into his desk drawer and removed a small cash box. He unlocked it and took out a mobile phone from within. It had a pay as you go sim card with £10 credit and had never been used before. He dialled a number from memory and waited for it to connect. A male voice answered. Frankie passed his message. “I have some information for you. Gloria’s son will not make his appointment.” Frankie then disconnected the call, removed the sim card and cut it into 4 pieces. Then taking the pieces and the phone he lit a fire in his log burner and allowed it to get to temperature before destroying both within it.

Jane walked along an endless row of cars continually pressing a button on the keyfob. Nothing happened at first but eventually the indicators flashed up ahead on a Peugeot 307. She dumped her bag on the back seat and then climbed into the driving seat and fired up the engine. She had booked herself into a small hotel close to Chardonnay but had a long drive to get there. The rental receptionist had said the satnav was already set to English. She was pleased to find this was correct and quickly entered her destination. With a route calculated she pulled out of the car park and turned the car to the west and France.

Cairnsy had worked around at the edges of something hard on the floor. It was roughly 40cm square and seemed quite thick. His fingers could not gain purchase despite scratching away at all four sides. He was lay on his side right by the access portal with one hand taking support from the side of the opening and the other scrabbling at the edges of the object. He looked up at the crowd of officers stood peering at him. “It’s not budging. I don’t know what it is.”

DS Bruce crouched down next to him. “If you can’t move it then leave it for now. Before you give up though stick your head in with the torch and see if you can tell me what it is.” Dave was not overly chuffed at the idea of sticking his head into a tomb but soon realised that he was almost doing that anyway. He raised his eyebrows at the DS just to indicate his minor objection then rolled flat into his front. Placing his right hand and arm into the hole he gradually hitched himself forward so that his head and arm and right shoulder were within the chamber. The ceiling in the void was slightly higher than the access point and he could angle his head up a little. He reached out and ran his hand across the flat surface. It felt like stone and then he realised there were small indentations in the surface that felt like they were filled with soil and dirt. He carefully brushed off the surface and then illuminated it with his torch. His angle of vision was poor but he could now make out the chiselled letters; “Francine Scholes-Renners – Our Greatest Treasure.”

Inspector Winter had stood and watched the developments at the churchyard. He now knew he was chasing a false lead. “I think we can leave this with you Sir. We have a reservation in a local hotel for tonight and we’ll head back to London tomorrow.” Mark Payne turned toward him and shook his hand warmly. “Thank you for your time and input. This still could go anywhere. I’ll be in touch if I think you can assist with anything.” Winter released his hand. “It’s been a pleasure” then turning to his team, “Come on chaps. I think it’s time for some refreshment.”

Mark Payne stood thinking for a while but concluded this was not a crime scene and did not need Cairnsy to guard it. “Listen people. This is fast becoming a very sensitive case. You must maintain complete confidentiality. Do not even speak to other staff about it. You’re all aware of the content of the document Pink found and somebody is going to have to go and explain this to Lord Scholes-Fogg.” He paused whilst looking at Bruce. “With all due respect Sir, after today’s encounter I am not doing that!” Mark Payne smiled. “Don’t worry Bruce. This is my responsibility but I need to think a bit more before I go and knock on his door. You can give me a lift back as you need to interview Beattie. These two can tidy up here” he said as he looked toward Pink and Dave. Mark and Bruce then headed back to the car park.

“You understand the implications of this Dave?” said Pink. Dave was on his knees pushing the door of the tomb closed. “I hadn’t thought much about it to be honest. At least not whilst my head was stuck in here.” “I guess that’s fair enough” she conceded. “The document indicates that Lord Edward Scholes married Amylou Renners. There was always a suggestion they were lovers but it was never proved. She was buried, as you know, miles away on the other side of the graveyard. Probably to distance himself from her but it seems from this document that it was probably breaking his heart.” Dave stood up and brushed the dirt and muck from his trousers. “It’s a shame but it’s only a sad tale of love. I’ve got the key. Let’s go.” Pink grabbed his arm. “Dave just stop and think a minute. Lord Scholes married her secretly and they had children. That document details a son who was sent to France as a baby. The daughter, Francine, dies very soon after birth and is buried here. If the marriage can be proved to be lawful it undermines the peerage and it’s hereditary succession. If the son, Edward Scholes’s first born, can be traced to today then the current rightful heir to the peerage may well be wandering around blissfully unaware of his rights to it and quite possibly the Calder estate.” She paused for a moment. Dave was silent and had a far away look in his eyes but she could almost hear the wheels turning inside his head. “I never thought of it like that. No wonder the Super wants this keeping quiet.”

This post is fiction but the characters are people I follow on Twitter and by referencing to them I recommend (#FF) them to you. The story is just a different way of #FF’ing that gives me some pleasure. The personalities of my Twitter characters portrayed in this tale are hypothetical and in no way reflect their true professionalism and personal qualities.. it’s meant to be fun.

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