Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza Read Online (FREE)
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‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here.’
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Monday, 2 October 2017
Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster shielded her eyes from the pelting rain as she and Detective Inspector Moss hurried along the South Bank, a paved walkway lining the southern bank of London’s River Thames. The tide was low, cutting a brown swathe through the silt, bricks and rubbish littering the exposed riverbed. In the pocket of her long black jacket, Erika’s radio gave a tinny burst and she heard the officer at the crime scene asking their location. She pulled it out and replied: ‘This is DCI Foster. We’re two minutes away.’
It was still the morning rush hour, but the day was already darkening, with a gloomy fog descending. They picked up the pace and hurried on past the tall IBM headquarters, and the pale squat ITV Studios building. Here the South Bank curved sharply to the right before widening out to a tree-lined avenue leading down to the National Theatre and the Hungerford Bridge.
‘It’s down there, boss,’ said Moss, slowing breathlessly.
On the exposed riverbed, ten feet below, a small group of people gathered on a man-made beach of pale sand, tucked into the corner where the South Bank curved to the right. Erika massaged her ribs, feeling where she was getting a stitch. At just over six feet tall, she towered over Moss, and her short blonde hair was plastered to her head by the rain.
‘You should ease off the cigarettes,’ said Moss, looking up at her. She pushed wet strands of red hair away from her face. Her plump cheeks were flushed from running, and her face was covered in a mass of freckles.
‘You should ease off the Mars Bars,’ Erika shot back.
‘I am. I’m down to one for breakfast, one for lunch and a proper dinner.’
‘I’m the same with the cigs,’ smiled Erika.
They came to a set of stone steps leading down to the Thames. They were stained at intervals with tidemarks, and the last two steps were slippery with algae. The beach was four metres wide and ended abruptly where the dirty brown water churned past. Erika and Moss pulled out their warrant cards, and the huddle of people parted to let them through to where a special constable was attempting to protect a large, battered, brown cloth suitcase, half buried in the sand.
‘I’ve tried to move them all up, ma’am, but I didn’t want to leave the scene unattended,’ said the young woman peering up at Erika through the rain. She was small and thin, but had a determined glint in her eye.
‘You on your own?’ asked Erika, glancing down at the suitcase. Through a ragged hole in one end two pale bloated fingers were poking out.
She nodded. ‘The other special I’m on duty with had to go and deal with an alarm going off in one of the office blocks,’ she said.