Home > Stolen Ones (D.I. Kim Stone #15)

Stolen Ones (D.I. Kim Stone #15)
Author: Angela Marsons

 

Prologue

 

 

The door opens and I stare at it. Why is the door opening after all this time?

I grab brown bear and hold him close.

Is someone coming in? Are they coming to get me? Where am I being taken now?

I don’t know how I feel.

I’ve waited so long for the door to open, and now my stomach is rolling like when I had to do a sums test that I wasn’t ready for.

‘Oh no… oh no… oh no…’ I whisper as I back away from it. I don’t understand.

Brown bear’s ear hovers close to my mouth. I give in to temptation and allow it into my mouth. I spit it back out again. Only little girls chew on toys.

I reach for the hairbrush on the dressing table. It sits beside the small glass jewellery box that holds my most treasured possessions: a sparkly bangle and a silver chain. They’re new and I just love to take them out, touch them and put them back again.

Behind the jewellery box is my diary, covered with my favourite Barbie picture. I never had anything so lovely before in my whole life.

I turn away from the door completely and look at the other side of the dresser. The triangular sandwich packaging from lunch sits on the top. The apple core has fallen inside it. Hot meal for breakfast; sandwich, crisps and fruit for lunch; and biscuits and crackers for snacks.

Keeping my back to the door, I move to the desk in the corner. My schoolbooks are open. Double reading on Tuesday afternoon. Every Tuesday afternoon.

I remove the strawberry from the end of the pencil and replace it with a furry grape. It’s purple, my favourite. Another present. I love it.

I turn back to my books but can’t concentrate. Before I realise it, I am chewing on the purple grape, and strands of fur are resting on my tongue.

I scratch at my tongue to remove them and wipe my hands on my jeans.

Gross.

I step into the bathroom and swill my hands under the mixer tap. Maybe when I return the door will be closed again.

After using the towel, I fold it. I’m not sure why. No one else uses this bathroom.

It’s mine. All mine.

It’s my toilet, my bath, my shower, my sink. My wardrobe filled with new clothes. My bed that’s bigger than a single but not as big as Mummy’s bed.

My very own television is fixed to the wall above my desk. I can see it from my bed or from the soft cushioned single chair beside the door.

I still don’t understand what’s going on.

I look to the single camera nestled in the far corner of the room. I stare at it waiting for an answer.

It doesn’t answer me.

Beyond the door is grass, bushes, trees. I strain my neck to get a better look, to see what else is beyond.

Nothing happens.

I take a step, making sure I take brown bear with me.

Another step.

And then suddenly I am there. I am at the open door.

I have only one question.

What am I supposed to do now?

 

 

One

 

 

‘So, where were you when Melody Jones was abducted?’ Kim asked, turning off Bryant’s car radio. She’d already heard the mother’s plea for new information on breakfast news earlier that day. It was the twenty-five-year anniversary of the seven-year-old’s abduction, and Kim had every sympathy for a family that was still waiting for closure.

‘Hmm… twenty-five years ago I was a young, good-looking police officer in my late-twenties. Had myself a gorgeous fiancée and was pretty happy with life.’

‘And I’d just left foster family number five,’ Kim said.

‘Bloody hell, guv, way to make me feel old,’ he grumbled, pulling into Halesowen police station car park.

He didn’t ask questions about any of her seven foster homes, knowing she was unlikely to share.

She got out of the car and didn’t rush into the building as she normally did.

Bryant eyed her questioningly.

‘You carry on up – I’ll be with you in a minute.’

He shrugged and headed into the building.

She leaned against the wall and took out her phone. She’d set it on silent first thing, not because of the statement they’d been to take for an assault, but because unwanted calls were blowing up her phone twice a day, every day. Although she hated keeping anything from her team, Bryant in particular would be most concerned about any contact from the sociopathic psychiatrist. It had been almost a week since Alexandra Thorne had first tried to call her from prison, and she had rejected every call. So far.

Her sensible brain wondered which part of her psyche had added those two words to the end of the thought. Without those two words the thought was decisive, definite, resolute. Those two words left a question in her mind.

She was sure there was nothing the woman had to say that she wanted to hear. And yet.

God damn those two-word hecklers that insisted on inserting themselves into her musings.

Anyone who knew her could testify that contact of any kind with the sociopathic psychiatrist was detrimental to her well-being. Doctor Alexandra Thorne was the most intelligent person Kim had ever known. She was also the most evil, ruthless, amoral, despicable excuse for a human being that she’d ever had the misfortune to meet.

Despite Kim’s enviable defences, Alex had the ability to see right inside her, as though looking at an X-ray. She had the skill, like a cadaver dog, to sniff out every weakness that Kim was able to hide from everyone else. And Alex had made it her mission in life to seek out those vulnerabilities and expose every one.

Yes, the fascination had run both ways between them, Kim admitted. She had been equally repulsed and intrigued by the cold detachment with which the woman had played with people’s lives and emotions for her own sick game.

So far, after both encounters with the woman, Kim had walked away intact.

She was willing to bet that a third time she would not be quite so lucky.

 

 

Two

 

 

‘Okay, kiddies, what’s cooking?’ Kim asked, entering the squad room. She was pleased to see that a fresh pot of coffee was already brewing. Bryant had put his head start up the stairs to good use.

‘Got CPS approval for a charge on Lester Baggot,’ Stacey said, fist pumping the air.

‘Great news,’ Kim said, sitting on the edge of the spare desk.

Lester Baggot had been abusing his wife, to their knowledge, for the last five years. A routine had developed. They received the call of a disturbance at the address. They attended, separated the couple, begged Louise to press charges, she’d refuse and a few weeks later they’d be back again and the whole process would be repeated.

Four nights ago, Louise had been taken to hospital with two broken bones and a serious concussion. The decision to charge had been taken out of her hands. Kim just hoped the woman took the opportunity to make a fresh start away from her abusive husband.

‘Penn?’

‘Hard act to follow,’ he said, smiling at his colleague. ‘No such luck for me. Still can’t find anyone matching the description of Casper.’

The DS had been investigating a string of car thefts on the Blakemore Estate. As far as crooks went, this one was a bit of a gentleman. Broke in during the night, found the car keys, stole the car, left nothing disturbed, woke no one and then managed to disappear, avoiding camera detection. Penn had nicknamed him the friendly ghost.

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