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Time to Play


KA Richardson




Copyright © KA Richardson, 2020

The right of KA Richardson to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is coincidental. Names, characters, places and occurrences are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.

Published by KA Richardson – 2020


Cover design by

Emmy Ellis of StudioENP

Cover design copyright ©StudioENP

Other Books in the Forensic Files Series:

Book 1 – With Deadly Intent

Book 2 – I’ve Been Watching You

Book 3 – Time to Play

Book 4 – Watch You Burn

Book 5 – Under the Woods

Book 6 – From the Dark

Book 7 – coming soon

Other work by KA Richardson:


~ a short story included in Dark Minds charity anthology – 2016

Inside Out

~ short story included in

When Stars Will Shine charity anthology – 2019

For my best friend, Claire – for keeping me grounded and always believing

Glossary of terms:

Brown Sugar – Heroin

CSI – Crime Scene Investigator

CSM – Crime Scene Manager

DCI – Detective Chief Inspector

DI – Detective Inspector

DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid

Fed – federation (police union)

Guv – Guvnor (used by lower ranks to address higher ranks)

HOLMES – UK database for logging major crime

HQ – Headquarters

ID – identification

LV – force terminology used by the force to describe themselves (i.e LV in this instance refers to North East Police as a whole)

MIT – Major Incident Team

NCA – National Crime Agency

PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors

PNC – police national computer

PM – Post-mortem

PolSA – police search advisor

QT – quiet (you’re not allowed to say quiet or it jinxes the day!)

RIB – Rigid Inflatable Boat

RVP – Rendezvous Point

SOCARD – fictional database for logging crime scene information (real CSI use either Locard or Socket)

Super – superintendent.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One





Foster Home, Ryhope, Sunderland – 6 June 1994

I t was cold and cramped. The young girl shifted position, trying to stop the spade digging into her back.

She shivered, pulling her dressing gown tighter. Tears filled her eyes.

It was her own fault, anyway. She could have been sleeping in the nice bedroom with the floral bedding on her bed, surrounded by her pretty white furniture that held all her new clothes. She could have been warm inside the house rather than cramped in the shed out of sight.

But she wasn’t. Because she knew if she’d stayed in the house, he would have come for her. And he would have done far more than just touch her leg this time.

She’d been in the foster home now for the total of three weeks and four days – the longest she’d ever been in one place that wasn’t a group home. If she told on her foster mother’s boyfriend, then that’s where she’d end up again. The four-to-a-room home where the noise never stopped. Surely this was preferable? Even with Chris’s roaming hands and his gravelly voice giving evidence of his thirty-a-day habit.

The tears fell down her cheeks.

She really couldn’t cope with him touching her.

It was how she’d ended up in the shed with the woodlice and spiders.

She stared through the open shed door at the kitchen window. It felt like she’d been in there for ages. In reality, it hadn’t even been half an hour. How was she supposed to sleep here? There was nowhere to lie down. Can you even sleep sitting up?

She wiped the tears away with the back of her hand. This was her decision. She’d just have to be grown up and deal with it. Just like she dealt with everything else. She was eleven now. As of today, she was practically an adult. Ann had even been nice and prepared a party tea with a birthday cake – her first ever cake. She had presents too.

She should have been happy.

But Chris’s wandering hands had made her so upset she’d thrown up all the nice cake and sandwiches. She’d made a decision when she was in the bathroom that if that’s what birthdays were about then she didn’t want any more.

Her eyes narrowed as a flash of orange appeared in the kitchen window. The lights danced and moved, and it took her a moment to realise that the kitchen was on fire.

Oh my God. That was me. I left the candle burning near the window so I could still see it from out here. Ann will get hurt. It’s all my fault.

The candle was Chris’s rule – no wandering in the house putting lights on at night.

The girl got to her feet and stood in the shed and stared as the flames started burning harder. What should she do? What could she do?

Taking a deep breath, she ran to the back door and flung it open, intending to run past the fire and shout for Ann. The flames flew towards her with a ‘whoosh’ and she knew she wouldn’t get past.

She was going to run to the front of the house, but the fire alarm suddenly started squealing.

That would alert Ann.

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