- Author: M Lee
Book online «When the Evil Waits M Lee (e book reader .txt) 📖». Author M Lee
When the Evil Waits
Thursday, July 23
Two Weeks Later
On the First Day
Tuesday, August 4
On the Second Day
Wednesday, August 5
On the Third Day
Thursday, August 6
On the Fourth Day
Friday, August 7
On the Fifth Day
Saturday, August 9
On the Sixth Day
Sunday, August 10
Two Weeks Later
Sunday, August 23
DI Ridpath Crime Thriller
About the Author
Also by M J Lee
Table of Contents
Start of Content
Thursday, July 23
They had first met in the early days of lockdown.
Walking their dogs in Chorlton Ees to get out of the stifling atmosphere in their homes, finding a few moments’ rest in the peace and quiet of the trees and meadows bordering the Mersey.
It was their dogs who encountered each other first, with her male Jack Russell being more than a match for his rather docile Labrador.
She had apologised profusely in a very English way for the behaviour of her dog and he had accepted in an equally English manner; all diffidence and explaining it was actually his dog’s fault.
It wasn’t long before they were timing their visits to meet each other and chat each morning, without their respective spouses’ knowledge, of course. And not long after that, they were discovering the quiet pathways of the Ees, holding hands like a couple, while their dogs explored the surrounding forest.
It was on one of these walks that they found the body of a child.
Or rather, the Labrador discovered it, followed by the Jack Russell; the frenzied barking of the latter forcing the couple to leave the comfort of each other’s arms and discover why their dogs were so excited.
The woman, Shirley Burgess, led the way. ‘What’s the matter? Why such a racket?’ she shouted as she brushed aside a branch blocking her way.
‘Oh my God.’ Her hand went to her mouth and she stood there, transfixed.
The naked boy – he wasn’t more than seven years old – was lying on the ground with his arms stretched out at either side, his sightless eyes open and staring up at the sky, a kiss-curl of blond hair like a comma across his forehead. Around his neck, a snake of rope dug deep into the skin. By his side, his clothes were folded neatly as if coming straight from a laundry, the bright red of a United shirt lying on top.
‘Where are you, Shirl?’
Her lockdown lover, Jon Morgan, was pushing aside the same branch. ‘Jesus Christ.’
‘Is it alive?’ she asked, still not moving.
He took two steps and then leant forward, peering down. ‘I think he’s dead.’
The Labrador was wagging his tail and sniffing the lifeless head. ‘Come away, Major.’
The dog obeyed, returning to his master to be put back on the lead.
The woman called her dog too and, for once, he responded. ‘What are we going to do?’
The man checked over his shoulder. ‘I think I should call the police.’
‘I can’t be found here with you. My husband, he…’
‘Of course, you take your dog back and I’ll ring them. We can’t leave him lying here.’ He stared down at the boy.
‘You sure?’ she asked.
He nodded his head. ‘You go home. I’ll wait here for the police.’
She turned and pushed her way through the undergrowth, dragging the reluctant dog behind her, moving as fast as she could to escape.
She didn’t look back.
Jon Morgan waited until he could no longer hear her before he took out his mobile and rang 999.
‘Emergency Services. How can I help you?’
‘I think… I think I’ve found a dead body. It’s a young boy and he’s naked. You have to get here quickly.’
‘Where are you, sir?’
‘Chorlton Ees, not far from the school.’
‘And are you alone?’
The man looked over his shoulder. ‘Yes.’
‘The police are on their way. Their ETA is seven minutes.’
‘Should I go back to the main road?’
‘Are you sure the boy is dead?’
Jon Morgan looked down at the pale, almost white skin. There was something missing from it. That spark of life, that animation that everybody had. This boy looked more like a mannequin in a store than a human being.
‘He’s dead,’ he finally answered.
‘Please don’t touch anything, sir.’
In the distance, he could hear the faint whine of a police siren.
Closer at hand, there was the screech of a hawk or an owl hunting for prey in the forest. Beside him, Major was gnawing at one of the Jack Russell’s toys, trying to get at the bell inside.
There was no sound from the boy.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Turnbull arrived at the scene of the crime less than thirty minutes after the first call had been made by Jon Morgan.
The local coppers had done a good job; the first tapes were already going up and two plods had been posted on the lane leading to Chorlton Ees.
He quickly found the sergeant in charge, showing him his warrant card. ‘Right, I’m taking charge. Has the medical examiner been called?’
‘He’s on his way, sir.’
‘Who is it?’
‘A Dr Schofield, sir.’
‘Squeaky voice? Couldn’t we get someone else?’
They were both walking down the lane to the Ees, DI Harry Makepeace, DS Emily Parkinson and one of his new hires, DC Sam Arkwright, trailing in their wake.
‘He was the one on duty, sir,’ the sergeant answered.
‘Right, where’s the body?’
The sergeant pointed off to the left, towards a clump of trees. ‘Over there.’
‘Nobody’s touched it?’
Turnbull did a 360-degree turn, taking in the surroundings. ‘Weird,