Chapter 40

Ellie walked along Gloucester Crescent, her mobile in hand, ready to take pictures of any silver Mercedes she saw.  She intended to walk back along the other side, keeping an eye out for Lady Stane, she didn’t feel like another confrontation and the last thing she needed was Lady Stane to lay charges of harassment against her.

The first silver Mercedes was only a few houses up, the house was an imposing white mansion, similar to Kate’s mothers.  The Mercedes was parked outside, on the street, so Ellie wasn’t certain it belonged to the owner of the house as they had a driveway.  Ellie snapped a picture of the vehicle and its number plates.

She continued up the crescent, another Mercedes was parked outside the house next to Lady Stane’s.  That house didn’t have a driveway so it probably did belong to the owner, Ellie took a quick picture and then recalled it was the same house the man who had spoken to her the previous weekend lived in.  She looked up at the house again, to see the curtains moving closed.

“Shit,” she said quietly and began to move away quickly.

“Oh, hello.  It’s you again,” John called from his now open front door, he began to stride toward her, “still looking for Kate then?”

“Um, hi.  Well no, not really.” Ellie lied.

“Oh, just collecting number plates for silver Mercedes?”

“Ha, umm….” Ellie trailed off, not sure how to explain herself.

“Have you heard from Kate?  I know Lady Stane said Kate had called her,”  John continued, “she said everything is back to normal.”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, she did call yesterday.” Ellie replied, happy to change the subject. “I was just going to check in with Lady Stane to see if Kate had returned but when I checked my phone, just now, when you saw me, she had messaged to say that Kate wasn’t back yet and Lady Stane wasn’t in either.”

“Oh, good news then.” John said.

“Um, yes, so I’m just going to walk home.”

“Well I guess that would be wise, unless you’ve got a broom tucked in you bags there?” John scoffed.

Ellie knew she sounded a little mad, she was not the best of liars and had sounded very wooden with her excuses.

“Ha, well, bye then.” Ellie said walking away from John.

He watched her leave, shaking his head.

Ellie headed in the direction of home, not wanting to risk being seen by John again.

On her walk home Ellie decided she’d call Mike and ask him if he was able to call rehab clinics and see if Kate was admitted to one.

+ + +

“Hey, Mike.  How are you?” Ellie asked as she got in the front door, dropping her bags.

“Good, how are you?” Mike responded.

Ellie could hear the noise of a busy hospital behind him.  “Have you got a minute to talk?”

“Yeah, just a quick one.  I’ve just started so I’ve got rounds shortly.”  Mike said.

“Well, I was thinking about Kate.” Ellie began, she wasn’t sure but she thought she heard Mike sigh.  “Perhaps she’s been admitted to a rehab clinic, I spoke to D.I Thomson today and he said that they could keep her against her will if she was a danger to herself.”

“Yep, that’s a possibility.”

“Well, is there any chance you would be able to call around and find out?” Ellie asked.

“I’m pretty busy today, Ellie.  It’s not as easy as the local hospitals, we have those numbers on speed dial.  I’d need to look them up and then give some sort of a reason for calling.” Mike said

“Oh, sorry, I thought it might be a little easier.”

“Look, I’ll see what I can do, but I won’t promise anything ok.”

“Thanks, I really appreciate it.” Ellie said.

“Ellie, I’m a little worried about this obsession with Kate,” Mike began, “it’s not healthy.”

“I’m not obsessed, I’m concerned for her safety.” Ellie said, offended that he would say that.

“Ok, I didn’t mean it to sound quite like that, look, I’ll give you a buzz at the end of my shift, tomorrow morning.”

“Great, thanks.  Really missing you. I was getting quite used to having you around.” Ellie said, recalling the past few evenings when Mike had popped in after work.

“Yeah, me too.  All nighters this week, but I’ve got the weekend, so we’ll plan something for then.  I’ve got to go, Ellie.  Stay out of trouble ok, I’ll look into the rehab clinic idea.”

“Thanks,” Ellie almost said ‘love you’, but stopped herself in time, “looking forward to the weekend.” She said as she hung up.

+ + +

Ellie got up extra early the next morning.  She had decided to finish her walk along Gloucester Crescent, hoping to be up before most of the residents.

The previous evening she had noticed that there were a number of silver Mercedes along the crescent and was determined to take pictures of each one.  She still had no idea what she was going to do with them but some how it felt right to do something.

The crescent was quiet, apart from the early morning bird call.  She walked past John’s house and Lady Stane’s imposing gates and began to take pictures of more silver Mercedes parked along the road.

Ellie sighed, John wasn’t joking about the number of silver Mercedes along this street.  Ellie crossed the road and walked down the opposite side of the street.  Tucked away between two, three storey Edwardian buildings was a tiny park, Ellie had not noticed before.  It was positioned diagonally across from Lady Stane’s house.  Ellie stepped inside the gates of the tiny grassed area, only a garden bench and a couple of smallish trees were in the area, too small to be called a park.  Ellie turned around and looked over to the Stane’s mansion.  Despite the tall fence and gates there was a clear view to the first floor windows.  Ellie scoured them, wondering which one was Kate’s.  She had been inside Kate’s bedroom when they were in high school together.  Ellie tried to imagine her footsteps, climbing the stairs, which way did she turn on the landing, right or left? Ellie looked up at the end window on the right, yes, she was sure that was Kate’s.

Ellie moved to the back of the garden area, and stood in amongst the bushes, the view was just as clear but now Ellie was partially hidden by the greenery.  She looked down at the dirt below her feet, there were a number of foot prints and the area was scattered with cigarette butts.  She looked up at the window again.  Yes, someone had stood there for some time watching the window.  Why else would there be so many cigarette butts and foot prints in this area.

What could Ellie do?  She decided to take pictures of the foot prints and butts and then swung around and took pictures of the window that was in clear sight.

Ellie searched in her bag, did she have something she could pop a cigarette butt in? Yes a tissue, that would do for now, perhaps Mike would have a lab and they could get some fingerprints or DNA from it.  Ellie stopped herself, if she asked Mike then he would really think she was a nut case.  Ellie picked up a couple of the butts anyway.  Best to take some evidence, perhaps D.I Thompson would be interested.

Ellie finished her walk along the crescent and took two more photos of silver Mercedes’, she had eight photos of Mercedes from the street.  Well at least they could be ruled out of an investigation, Ellie thought.

Chapter forty

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