Kate had managed to doze off and was awoken by Ryder bursting through the door.
“Your bloody meddling friend, she’s going to ruin everything. Your mother’s left a message on your phone to say that Ellie’s been taking pictures on her mobile of all the silver Mercedes along the street.” Ryder yelled at Kate, who lay in bed, cowering. His eyes were bulging and spittle bubbled around his mouth as he continued to shout. “I bet she’s been snooping around your place.”
Ryder bent down and grabbed Kate by the back of the head, pulling her hair, “tell me where she lives, I need to keep an eye on her.”
Kate closed her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks, “I, I’m not sure, Ryder.”
Ryder smacked her across the face with his free hand, “Now come on. Do you think I’m going to believe that? This girl’s not let up over the past few weeks, you’re obviously close, you know exactly where she lives.”
Kate looked up at him, his face red, eyes staring and spit dribbling from his mouth.
“I, I know it’s in Camden but I don’t know the street address, she’s only just moved in.” Kate said.
Ryder hit her again and dragged her out of the bed onto the floor where he held her down. He crouched down beside her, “you know what happens when you get down here, don’t you?”
Kate nodded, pulling her knees up into the foetal position. Ryder stood up and pulled his foot back, Kate braced herself as it hit her under the chin, blood splattering on the wooden floor.
“Come on babe, you know I don’t want to do this,” Ryder said, pulling her face to his, wiping away the blood trickling from her mouth with his thumb.
“Honest, Ryder, I’m not sure, she lives off the Camden Rd, near the schools up there.”
Ryder let go of her head and kicked her again, landing it on her back.
Kate screamed in pain as Ryder dragged her up to the bed. “Tell me everything about her, what’s her full name?”
Kate tried to clear her vision and her head, “Umm, Ellie Gordon.”
“Good girl. Where does she work?”
“She’s an editor, I think, for a publishing company in Leicester Square.”
“Which one?” Ryder asked pulling her face up by the hair on the back of her head again.
“I, I’m not sure. I think it has the name of an animal, bird maybe?”
“Are you friends with her on social media?” Ryder asked, stroking her hair and wiping blood from her split chin.
Kate nodded, anxiously.
“Ok, type your password into the phone, babe.” He said as he handed her the mobile.
Kate did as she was asked.
“Good girl. I’ll be back later with dinner, now go and clean yourself up.” Ryder took the phone and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Kate curled up in the bed, closing her eyes.
+ + +
Ellie knew she shouldn’t leave work at 4pm, she’d only gotten in at 9am, but this was important, she had made the appointment to see the Private Investigator the day before. Ellie had taken another manuscript to read at home and she would tidy up the details of the author talk for this week, to make up for the lost hours at work, she thought.
“Hello, Miss Gordon,” the receptionist at the Private Investigators’ Agency greeted her after Ellie had introduced herself, “Private Investigator Brown will be with you shortly. Please take a seat.”
Ellie nodded and sat down on one of the plush leather lounges in the office’s waiting room. The office was located above an exclusive clothing boutique on New Bond Street and despite Ellie walking along the street on numerous occasions she had never noticed it.
While Ellie waited she scrolled through her email on her phone, still feeling an uneasy guilt at leaving early. No messages from Morgan, good, Ellie hoped she wouldn’t notice her absence.
A door at one end of the waiting room opened and a tall man of Afro Caribbean background called to Ellie.
“Come in Miss Gordon.”
Ellie was ushered into a small office which contained two chairs, and a large wooden desk, a single window overlooked a brick wall only metres away. He waved her to one of the leather chairs.
The PI folded his lanky frame into the chair opposite.
“My name is Josue Brown, just call me Jo. And you are Miss Gordon?”
“Just call me Ellie.”
“How can I help you?” He asked in a cockney accent, spreading his large hands on the desk in front of him.
Ellie told him about the past few weeks, beginning with Kate’s stabbing and finishing with Kate’s disappearance and phone call. She placed the plastic bags containing the cigarette ends on the desk between them, pulling the photos she had taken at the site where she had found them from her bag. Then she showed him the pictures of the eight silver Mercedes she had found along Kate’s street and recounted the story told by the neighbour of her sighting of Kate the day she went missing.
Through all of this Jo nodded his head, listening intently.
“So from what you are telling me it sounds like Kate either doesn’t want to be found or she is being held against her will, possibly kidnapped.” Jo surmised.
“Well, our services are very good at locating people through the usual avenues, firstly we contact people that are known to the missing person, however, it would appear that Kate’s mother, Mrs …”
“Lady Stane.” Ellie offered.
“Yes, Lady Stane, will not be helpful in the matter.”
“I can give you some contact numbers of our friends.” Ellie offered.
“Thanks that will help. Our regular procedures are to call hospitals and coroners, I know your friend has done this but we will check again. Then our agents will check social media and her mobile phone usage and finally whether her bank accounts have been used. I will need her full name, address and date of birth along with her FaceBook name, if it’s different to her own, and also her mobile number.”
“Ok, so will this be included in the 255 pound fee?” Ellie asked nervously.
“Yes, just the one fee for locating. There are additional charges for the testing on the cigarette butts.” Jo replied.
Ellie gave him the details he needed and then asked how she should pay.
“Just pay the receptionist on the way out. I will be in touch with you tomorrow just to let you know how we’re going and if we have any news.”
“Great, well I’ll speak to you tomorrow, bye.” Ellie said standing to leave.