Chapter 14. Queen Ada, or Queen Maeve?
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
The girls were already back from school by the time Maeve and Ada arrived. They were wonderful and took over the unpacking and fussing around Ada so that Maeve could drop in on Ray. As she left them Orla was trying on Ada’s floral orange and pink silk kimono. She just made out Ada saying “that’s not how you tie it darling, here let me show you how you can be spiritual but still sexy, that’s better. Gorgeous. You have the best look. Youth!”, was the last she heard as the door closed.
When Maeve got back home she was on a mission, she filled the others in on the current situation. It was just coming up to 48 hours since Anne had gone missing. Ray had given her permission to share the information and start organising volunteers for a local search. “Anne is in the early stages of dementia, it was diagnosed a few years ago and they have been fending it off, or at least slowing it down with diet, a daily glass of wine and green vegetables seems to be the core of it. Anyway right now she is at the stage when normally she is okay, just forgetful, but stress causes confusion. So she may be quite close by, but not able to recognise the streets, it’s possible that she won’t recognise us either. I got a reasonable photo of her from Ray. Orla can you scan it? Marieanne, while Orla’s doing that can you write some text with a contact number and then we should print out, let's say 100 copies? What do you think? And contact number, maybe my mobile? Ray is too distressed at the moment to deal with it other than to physically go and look for her. After he called the police he seemed to think he had done everything. Actually, most importantly, Ada, can you go over and look after Ray? He’s going to need help telling his kids. They are grown up and living abroad, I think. Once the flyers are printed the rest of us can get a search party going.”
The girls were on it, licketty spit, Orla talking almost to herself as she was working, “are you sure we need that many? Don’t want any extra waste, but then, this actually is a real case of life or death, so scrub that, 100 copies it is.”
Ada had had a rest so was happy to freshen up and go round to Ray, “such a nice man, he will need comfort, someone to listen, you are right I will be the best person for it.”
Maeve checked in with Steve.
On average Steve had up to twenty cases on the go, that’s twenty victims and at least twenty suspects, it meant organising the day in priorities. Urgent versus important. They were all important, and to each of the victims they might be the most important thing in their life, but many of the cases dealt with crimes from some time ago. Urgent meant just that, a crime that was being committed now or trying to stop a crime being committed. A few years back Steve had moved from the Road Policing Unit to CID, Criminal Investigation Department, because it was a promotion, he was more autonomous, and he got to use his brains. The job had always been stressful, and in the beginning it had been an exciting challenge. You put the hours in and do the job with care and you can make a difference. But over the last few years their numbers had been cut, so more cases, more stress, but still for the same reward. Lately Steve had even been looking at going private, rather the private companies had been trying to tempt him away from the force. This problem wasn’t specific to Steve, in general the police were having difficulty in keeping detectives for the same reasons that Steve was having second thoughts, too much work, which meant you were not able to do the job you signed up for. The pay wasn’t great either but that wasn’t the main reason, it was not being able to do the job, that was depressing.
At HQ he was a valued member of the team and they were keen to keep him, so during his annual review when Steve suggested to his line manager that they try a pilot scheme to let him work closer to home, and make a remote base at Canterbury they agreed. If this turned out to be a fiasco then it would be back to Maidstone. Steve really wanted this to work out.
When Maeve called she went through her plan. Flyers to the neighbours and get them to volunteer, her mobile as the point of contact, as they did the rounds they would attach flyers to any lamp posts or shop windows they could. It was already evening so although they were planning the local walk around now they didn’t think they could do the open spaces or nearby fields till daylight. Ada was acting as Ray’s ‘representative’, meaning she was based next door and could answer any queries or deal with any drop-ins.
“I think we need to be completely in lock-step on this, so can you prepare but hold off action till we have coordinated our actions? Give us 20mins and then touch base.” Steve had escalated the case back at HQ. It was now just passed the 48 hour mark so if there was no immediate news they would launch a full scale search. Steve was in the station working out the planned routes to search and what they could get the volunteers to do.
The early summer evenings were lengthening and there was still some daylight, Maeve said to the girls that she needed a quick walk to stretch her legs while they were doing the flyers. She hadn’t wanted to tell them about Kamal, she still wasn’t comfortable with the concept. Kamal had told her she needed to go to their rocket launch site at the University near the dome. Maeve had had to do some quick ‘googling’ to find out where that launch site in the old photo actually was. It turned out that what had been Parkwood, a green field area, was now luxurious student accommodation. So where exactly should she be looking? She headed over to the general area and was lost in thought when she felt someone close behind her almost touching her shoulder. She jumped.
It was Kevin, the weird, unpleasant guy from the hospital. “Glad you came to see me. Most of the time I am in the dark, in the basement, don’t see many people down there. Good to come up for a fag break.” Maeve knew that he wasn’t there in person but his presence was so strong, she could almost smell his body odour and the stale nicotine clinging to his clothes. He took a drag on the cigarette in his mouth and bizarrely Maeve could now smell the fresh smoke. He hadn’t stopped talking, “so before I tell you anything let’s get a few things straight. I am not your friend. I don’t give a shit about you or anyone else. But I know what’s what. These smart arses in charge think they know everything and I know nothing. Ponces. All fine and dandy till something doesn’t work, the heating, the projector, the internet whatever, then it's all ‘Ooooh, Get Kevin, he’ll know how to fix it’. Well I do. And I know how to fix a lot more besides.”
Maeve really wanted to get away from him, would he follow her? Is he the reason Kamal wanted her to come up here? Then she thought, is he the reason Kamal wanted her to come up here? She didn’t think so and if not, she really didn’t have time for this.
“Where were we? Oh yes, those sods who know nothing but think they are better than me. In the maintenance room I have time and access to the internet. The Uni is part of ‘super Janet’ our superfast broadband, you can find out about anything you want on the internet, specially YouTube,” He seemed to be rambling, wanting Maeve to listen, so far he hadn’t said anything important then, “I joined some online groups, and found like minded people. That’s where I met the killer!” Maeve’s head swung round, he had her full attention now. “Got you there didn’t I?”, said with a smug attempt at a cross between a laugh and a snigger, before continuing, “well listen up, it's not over yet! I know a lot about it but if you want to know more, you have to show me some respect, you have to listen to my story.”
Maeve was backing away from him as he spoke, he didn’t stop talking “Ooh, don’t go there, you’re going to spoil it all now.” His attitude changed, “No matter, you still need me to solve the mystery. I know a lot about things around here, strange things. But only when you’re ready to listen,....” he wasn’t following her but by the time she realised it she had almost backed into the trees edging the campus. She turned to see where she was going. That’s when she saw the body.