This is the twentieth part of a fiction serial, in 1154 words.
Leonora gets raided
The car was huge, much bigger than she had expected. After scribbling her name on some paperwork a few times, the smart young man handed over her copies, along with the car key, which wasn’t actually a key, more like a small remote control. He ran through a few basics, like where the important switches were, and showed her the number to call if she had any breakdowns or accidents. The car had a full tank of petrol, and he advised her to return it with a full tank, or she would be charged for filling it up later. Then he walked back along the short driveway to where his colleague was waiting to drive him back to the rental company.
Sitting inside it was lovely. The driver’s seat was like an armchair, and so comfortable after she had fiddled with the electronic adjustments. There wasn’t even a gear-stick or handbrake to worry about, as both were dealt with using electronic knobs. The built-in satnav had a huge screen, and she chose a calm male voice to direct her on her journey later. Before going back into the cottage, she walked over to the barn where the other car was parked, and closed the double doors.
Back inside, she read through the note to Gemma, then slid it into a padded postal bag that already contained a flash drive. On that flash drive, she had typed out what amounted to a confession, telling the whole series of events from the time she had received the hospital letter, and recording every killing so far in great detail, along with all her reasons why she had done what she had. In the note, she had asked Gemma to hand it over to the police when she received it, and apologised for all the disturbance that would surely happen once they arrived to search the cottage, and seize the silver car. Then she added a lot of stamps to the front, and sealed it before placing it in her shoulder bag. It would be posted once she had completed her task.
She hadn’t mentioned stealing the shotgun.
Leonora and Tarr were not about to just walk out and hand themselves over. The police had arrived while it was still dark, hammering on the door and shouting, using spreader bars and battering rams to get through the heavy outer door, before coming up against the internal steel barrier door. Police dogs were barking at the back of the house, and a helicopter was clattering low overhead, shining a light as bright as day down onto the detached house and garden. Inside, they casually got dressed, and Tarr dumped a huge bag of coke down the toilet, sucking his lips in frustration at the waste. A woman’s voice was calling through a loud-hailer, the usual stuff about armed police, and coming out with their hands up. Most of what she was shouting about was drowned out by the noise of the helicopter.
Looking very relaxed in the bathroom, Leonora put up her mane of hair, and wrapped a scrunchy around it to keep it off her face. She lit a cigarette, and went back into the bedroom where Tarr was wiping down a huge forty-five pistol using a dirty t-shirt. She jerked her head up in the direction of the ceiling. “What about the stuff in the loft, Tarr?” He shrugged. “No prints on that, but no time to get rid of it either”. She shook her head, blowing out a huge cloud of cigarette smoke. “Doesn’t look good then, does it?”
Commander McDonald had decided against asking them to come in for questioning. It would give them too much notice to prepare, concoct stories, and dispose of evidence. She got a full warrant to search for firearms that had been used in robberies instead, and mounted a tremendously expensive and high profile dawn raid on Leonora’s house.
It took a group of sweating officers another sixteen minutes to finally get inside. They had to use an angle grinder to get through the internal bolts. Armed officers led the charge into the house, two of them holding ballistic shields in front of the group; everyone edgy and nervous, anticipating a possible exchange of gunfire. When they found the couple sitting casually on a bed upstairs, they dragged them to the floor and wrapped their hands behind them using cable ties.
Leonora looked up at the cold-faced woman who had entered the room. She leaned down and stared straight into her eyes. “Why didn’t you just let us in? Save all this grief?” Leonora grinned. “We was sleeping, innit? Didn’t hear youse.” As four officers pulled them onto their feet, Commander McDonald gave them a formal caution, and then advised them that they were under arrest, suspected of firearms offences. After declining to say anything, they were led down to two waiting police vans which would take them into custody separately. Then the search teams entered the house, dressed in their protective suits and gloves.
They had a long day ahead of them.
The Mercedes was so smooth and powerful, Jenny had to be careful not to trigger any speed cameras, or get stopped by an unmarked police traffic car. She settled into the middle lane of the motorway, and stayed at the legal limit. It used a terrible amount of petrol though. A quarter of the tank had already gone, and the needle was nudging the half mark by the time she pulled into the long lay-by and parked behind a foreign-registered lorry.
Even though the car was supremely comfortable, she needed to rest, and she was also feeling sick. She swallowed some tablets washed down with bottled water, and ate six biscuits from a packet propped up between the seats. Then she sat back against the headrest and closed her eyes, fighting off the nausea.
In two different interrogation rooms, Leonora and Tarr were not cooperating. Not long after they had arrived in the police station, two sleazy solicitors had turned up to represent them, and had advised them to say nothing. The officers assigned to question them went over the same old stuff, but couldn’t get anything out of either of them. The solicitors were playing from the same deck, spouting out the same two statements about their clients. They didn’t own the house, they were just crashing there. It was a friend’s place, and he rented it from someone they didn’t know. Their friend’s name was Clyde, but they didn’t know his surname, or where he could be found.
The pair could be detained for twenty-four hours. Maybe more, if anything significant was found.
Commander McDonald called the interviewing detectives away after two hours. “Let them have a break, see if we can make them nervous”.
The Inspector looked at her with a wry grin.
“Good luck with that, boss”.