This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 1010 words.
The next morning, Rodney was surprised to find the girl was still there, fast asleep in his bed. He had spent an uncomfortable night on the sofa, fully expecting her to try to escape, or perhaps scream, smash a window, anything to alert the outside world to her presence. He had intended to lock her in when he went to work, but as she seemed happy enough not to try any funny business, he just shut the door as he left at the usual time for an early shift.
Once at work, he zipped through his own regular duties, then took an early break. In the old Lion house, he removed the new padlocks he had used, and put them in his pocket. Then he grabbed the mattress, box, lantern, and any trace that the girl was ever held there. He loaded it all onto one of the carts they used, and took it off to the incinerator. Once it was all consigned to the flames, he finally relaxed.
Marjorie slept late. When she was up and about, she checked the front door. Not locked. Interesting. Then she picked the post off the mat behind it. She shook her head at how stupid this young man was. In her hand, she held a letter addressed to him. And not just any letter, a bank statement. She walked back into the bedroom, and put the letter into the bottom of her school bag. Now she knew his name, bank account details, and the address where she was staying. She sat back on the bed, and wiggled her toes. To the empty room, she said, “How dumb can you get?” And laughed out loud.
The Chief Constable was on a roll. Tina decided she must get more sleep, if she was going to put up with being told off by him at that volume, for so long. She waited until he stopped to catch his breath, and interrupted. “That’s correct, sir. We have no suspects as we don’t even know if we have a crime. There is no body, no trace of the girl anywhere, no ransom demand, and nothing on CCTV. My best guess is that she has run away, and I think we need to focus on possible abuse in the home”. He didn’t like her tone, or her answers, and told her so. Tina took a large breath, and replied. “To be honest sir, if you don’t like my handling of this case, then by all means give it to another team. I really don’t know what more I can do. If you have any direct orders for me, or even one suggestion on how I can progress this beyond a missing person case, then I am happy to hear it”.
The phone went dead. He obviously had no idea either.
Cleaning the windows at the private school was always a drag. There was a caretaker who followed him around, a real jobsworth. But Phil managed to get finished by three, and the bloke signed his form to agree that the job was satisfactory. He knew Rod would definitely be home by five, so he would go straight round after getting changed out of his work clothes. He was excited to hear how things were going, and pleasantly surprised that he hadn’t been called upon to deliver a ransom note as yet.
There had been nothing about her on the lunchtime news on TV. Marjorie was a little surprised by that, and decided she should feel neglected that she wasn’t the headline story. It might be on the regional news later. She brushed her hair, put on some make up, and got dressed. No point letting her standards slip, or allowing the kidnapper to think she was slovenly. Rodney Church, that was his name. But she wouldn’t let on that she knew it. Not yet. After eating some corn flakes left out for her, she did a good search of the flat. It was only living room, bedroom, bathroom, and a small kitchen, so it didn’t take too long. In a jumble of paperwork stored in the bedside cabinet, she found a death certificate in the name of Margaret Ann Church. She guessed that must be his mother. There was a rental agreement for the flat, at an agreed price of £475 a month, and a few old mobile phone bills. With nothing much else to interest her in the pile, she opened the bank statement. He had less than two hundred in the bank, and it was a while until payday, according to the transactions.
No wonder he had kidnapped her. The guy was almost broke.
Finding her still there when he got home was strangely reassuring. And she didn’t start talking straight away, which was good. Rodney had got the shopping she had suggested, and the Internet thing too. A young girl in the phone shop had known what it was, and he was in and out of there in five minutes. He had also brought back some McDonalds, to save messing around that evening. When she spotted the Big Mac meal and shake, the girl took it without saying anything, and sat down on the sofa to eat it. As she was munching away, he spoke to her. “Someone is coming around soon. A friend of mine. The man who helped me”. She nodded, mumbling through a mouthful of burger. “Your accomplice”. He smiled, and continued. “Whatever, but I don’t want you to say too much about things. Let me explain what’s going on. Maybe you can stay in the bedroom when he arrives? I just want to put him in the picture, let him now that you are going to sort out the money. He might freak out if he sees you here as soon as he walks in”.
Marjorie finished the milk shake with an unladylike slurping and bubbling sound. She put down the cup and looked up at Rodney, giving him her best sweetly disarming smile.