A Christmas Contribution
You pull it – no you!
The crack of ice on a pond
Revealing cheap thrills
©David L Atkinson December 2012
I Have To Get It right
Chapter 15 (part 2)
I looked round cautiously and got out of my car. I had stiffened up so I stretched gently before walking slowly towards the offside back corner of the police vehicle. It was a balmy night and very quiet. I soft shoed my way closer to the car and realised that there was the top of a head just about visible in the driver’s seat. I worked my way quietly to the car on the offside so I came up behind the officer on her right. I needn’t have worried. She was slumped down in the seat and her cup was spilled in her lap. I realised there was something wrong and opened the car door. The constable had slumped partly against the door so I had to catch her. She was dead to the world. Not dead! Just very, very unconscious! I eased her back into the car, made her comfortable and started towards the house. Once in the shadows down the side I called Misaki.
“The copper is unconscious Misaki! Can you see anything happening?” I demanded when she replied.
“No Patrick. I will keep watch carefully, you see if you can spot anything round the front and side,” she responded.
“Already there!” and I hung up.
I walked down the garden path and to the back corner of the property. All was quiet! It’s amazing how devoid of life housing estates are. Most cats and all dogs are off the streets, no birds, and the odd bat and if I waited long enough, there would be the snuffling of hedgehogs and the sound of scavenging town foxes. Right now – nothing! I got to the kitchen side window and tried to look through surreptitiously. All was in darkness. I stood very quietly listening. There was no light or sound. It was too quiet!
I started to go back to the front of the house and very quietly looked at the front door. I was looking for a flicker of light. There was no way the people inside were not up to something! What really puzzled me was how on earth did they plan to get out? I didn’t have to wait long to find out. I heard a car very quietly throbbing its way along the silent street. Sounded powerful! I eased back along the side of the house and almost into Janice! The next thing I felt was a crack on the back of the head and lots of running feet. I wasn’t unconscious but incapacitated. Somewhere in my subconscious I heard the car roar away. I couldn’t make my legs move in a coordinated sort of way! I’ve said it often enough – it was like wading through treacle! Rescue wasn’t far away in the form of a diminutive but powerful Japanese lady! She had obviously been watching and haired round as fast as she could.
We got to my car and headed after the escapees as quickly as Misaki could drive my unfamiliar car. Of course we were never in sight of them so chasing them was a misnomer. Once we got to the edge of the estate that was it! I rang the police and told them an officer was hurt outside the Thompson residence, and gave the address. We went back to our ‘safe house’ and packed up.
“Newcastle docks!” I exclaimed. “Come on Misaki.”
We used both cars, as I couldn’t see any future in coming back here. I just hoped we wouldn’t be too late. The airports were out of the question. The police would have those tied down now. Nothing else would be feasible but by sea – where to was the big issue. For now we just needed to find the ship. We really burned rubber and made the docks in about half an hour, not pretending to be clever. Ships don’t move that quickly, and they have to weigh anchor and wait for the tide and the like. Misaki was using her handheld computer to check the docks website for sailing times. The only vessel due to sail early according to the port authority was a cargo ship - the Beautrader. The 117m, Dutch registered vessel was due to leave at 05:15 on the morning tide heading for Amsterdam. It was only just after 01:00 when we arrived but getting on to the docks was not going to be easy. All ports have a regulated gate with someone checking entrants and people leaving.
We parked up for a while and discussed what to do. We’d phoned Sumisu and as a result we needed to get Janice into the hands of the police! We had to find the Beautrader. I left Misaki in her car to wait for Sumisu. Locking my car I set off towards the dock gate working on the principle that the front door approach was the best bet.
It was dark and late. The guy in his little shed, because calling it an office was a bit grand, was snoozing. I walked up to the gate pushed it open and continued on my way. He never stirred. I had a long way to go. The docks were extensive and I didn’t know where the ship was. I walked on for a few minutes and stood very still beside some containers waiting to be loaded on a ship that stood darkly beside the quay. Surely a ship setting off in two or three hours would be the source of some activity! Then it came to me. A continual rumbling noise that was almost part of the fabric of life! The sound of diesel engines! I spent the next ten minutes strolling the various quays endeavouring to get closer to the sound. I turned the corner of a bonded warehouse and there was the Beautrader. A large vulgar looking general cargo ship, which was currently festooned with lights and men, was preparing for the coming voyage. It looked massive! How was I going to find Janice Thompson?
I stole quietly aboard up an ill-lit staircase. My black trousers, t-shirt, and trainers helped as long as I kept to the shadows. There was no one near the top so I slipped on board and hid between two containers fastened on deck with chains. Most of the activity was round the fore hold. I headed for the superstructure beneath the bridge. There was an open door, brightly lit from inside. I eased my way inside. There was no one about but doors do not normally get left open aboard a ship! There was carpet inside, so in my mind I was assuming that the girls’ accommodation would be at this level rather than in the bowels!
I felt the hairs prickling on the back of my neck so I left the way I came in and found a hiding place under a companionway and settled to wait. I needed to get the feel for where I was! I decided to wait for 10 minutes. My patience was rewarded a few minutes later. I heard footfalls on the deck. A man walked towards my hiding place and turned into the open door. He was carrying a tray with coffee pot and mugs. He couldn’t close the door so I followed as closely as I dared. The beverage was for either the captain or the guests! I reckoned the latter because of the number of mugs. No need to be a Sherlock Holmes to work that out. The carpet deadened my footsteps and allowed me to get reasonably close to the ‘waiter’ that I was following. He turned a corner and I slipped round slowly after him. He was going through another door and I could hear voices, some of them of the feminine variety!
I glanced at my watch. It was 02:30am. Not much time to snaffle Janice. I wasn’t interested in the girls. I couldn’t stay where I was because the ‘waiter’ would probably retrace his steps pretty shortly. I walked quickly by the open door and round the next corner. I was in another corridor, probably on the opposite side of the ship. I waited until I heard the sailor leave. His English had an American twang and I assumed that he was Dutch. Many people from Holland learn the language at the hands of teachers from the US.
I was correct that he went back where he came from. I waited for a few more minutes. All was quiet in this part of the ship. I found a door, which would mirror the one I had entered through. There was no one around, as I would have expected a couple of hours before setting sail. It was very much down to settling the cargo and ‘battening down the hatches’. The question was how to get Janice away quietly? I have little time to action this.
I glanced round the corner and the door was still open. But there was someone standing with her back to the corridor. It could have been any of the females. There was little difference in size but the hair was jet black either Janice or Jackie. The two older girls had James’ colouring. The build was womanly rather than girlie so I guessed Janice. She exited the room and was carrying a towel, a visit to the bathroom then. Perfect! I let her enter a room opposite and watched how the door opened. I waited a few minutes and then moved along the corridor and waited beside the door for her to come out.
I would have to be careful because I was not masked and did not want to be seen. I had my Glock 17 in my hand. When she exited I put my hand over her mouth from behind and ground the gun into her back. I hissed,
“Very quiet now Janice or else you will die, I promise!”
She was not easy to subdue. An extra hard push with the handgun calmed her momentarily. I pushed her towards the door I had come in originally. She was reluctant at least and became more so as we got further away from her girls. It was going to be difficult to get her off and away from the Beautrader undiscovered. I kept a tight grip on her and used the gun as a guide to get her to move in the right direction. I got her to the side of the vessel and we started down the stairway before the initial shock wore off and she started to think. I could tell the way her muscles tensed that she was going to try something. I tapped her smartly on the back of the head, not hard enough to render her unconscious but enough to be very painful indeed.
“Careful Janice!” I warned.
We continued down the companionway more slowly. Once on the quay I kept us both in the shadow of the Beautrader. We stood very still. I probably only had a few minutes before the girls missed their mother. I pushed Janice hard in front of me and started to make her run. We travelled a short distance to a gap between the two containers I had used as a hideaway earlier. I pushed her face against the cold metal of the container and took out the roll of gaffer tape I had brought with me. I gagged her and bound her hands behind her – not without some difficulty. Progress should be easier now! She did try to kick out at me but a none too gentle slap encouraged compliance.
“Now Janice! You have nothing to worry about.” I sneered. “The girls will be safe and you will be freed from prison in time to see your grandchildren! Can I explain that you are going to be taken away from here one way or another? You can walk or be dragged Janice.” I stated.
I put the gun away and waved the knife in front of her eyes.
“They won’t hear a thing on the ship if I have to use this!” I threatened.
The next five minutes were very rushed and the route tortuous but, apart from tapping the dock gate guard on the head, trouble free. When I got to the car there was no sign of Misaki! She appeared from behind me wearing her Noh mask, gave me mine, and pushed Janice into the back of the car following her very closely. I got in behind the wheel and we took our time leaving the dock area.