The anonymous call came in at 6.05pm, the caller asking specifically for Detective Chief Inspector Roper Coyle. The voice on the line was tinny, as if it was being synthesized or played through a computer.
“Who is this?” Coyle asked.
“Who I am is not important,” said the metallic voice. “What I’ve got to say is.”
“And that is?” said Coyle.
“Angela Sawyer and her family are not safe.”
“Not safe? What do you mean?”
“I mean exactly that. She and her family are in danger.”
“From whom?” Asked Coyle.
“I can say no more, except that you should take this warning seriously.”
“How can I take it seriously when I don’t even know who you are—”
“That’s of no consequence to me,” the metallic voice interrupted. “Believe what I say or don’t believe it, but you have been warned.”
“Now hold on a sec—” Coyle began, but the line was already dead.
Sergeant Janet Willow had not heard from her boyfriend, Colin, in four days. In fact, she was not sure if he was actually her boyfriend as they had only been out a few times, the last time to a country pub on the outskirts of Northampton.
They had slept together that night and the following morning Colin was gone before she had woken up. He texted later that morning to say thanks for a lovely time and that he would call her later in the week. But so far he had not and she was starting to feel anxious. She really liked him – she had actually fancied him for ages but did not think he knew she existed. Then out of the blue he asked her out and now, just five dates later, she thought she loved him. But he had not called.
Janet was sitting at her desk daydreaming, doodling his name in biro on her desk pad, scrawling a heart shape around it with her name underneath. She glanced at her watch. 6.20pm – just ten minutes to go before she could get home and check if there were any messages from Colin. And she could hardly wait.
Then the phone rang for her boss but he was out so she took the call.
“Could I speak to Jeff Grainy please? This is DCI Coyle from The Met.”
“Sorry, sir, but DI Grainy is not here at the moment, can I take a message?” Said Janet.
“Yes – but it’s important that Grainy gets this as soon as possible – do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” said Janet, stifling a yawn, “of course.”
“Good. Now listen, I’ve just had an anonymous tip-off saying Angela Sawyer and her family are in grave danger and I have every reason to believe that they are. They are going to need protection.”
“Protection. Yes, sir.”
“Tell Grainy to get a car over there tonight. Tell him it’s important – got that?”
“Important. Got it, sir. I’ll tell him.” Janet said.
“Good,” Coyle replied. “If he’s got any questions ask him to give me a call, would you?”
At that moment, Janet’s mobile phone began buzzing in her handbag and she reached down to grab it. “I’ll be sure to tell him, sir,” she said as she pulled out her phone and saw the caller ID. It was Colin. Janet’s heart skipped a beat, she had to answer, she did not want to miss him. “Thank you, sir,” she said. “Goodbye.”
The moment she put the phone down to Coyle she hit the answer button on her mobile. “Hello, stranger?” she said. “I thought you’d forgotten about me.”
“Now how could I forget about you – especially after what you did the other night – I still don’t know how you did it—”
“Sssh, you naughty boy,” Janet giggled. “I’m still at work and someone might hear. But if you’re lucky, I might do it again.”
“Sounds great. How about tonight – I could pick you up from work and we could go back to your place—”
“Oh, we could, could we?” Janet teased, all thoughts of her previous conversation washed from her brain as it flooded with ideas of seeing Colin in just a few minutes. “And do what, exactly?”
“Well, I thought perhaps you could do that thing again and then when I’ve reciprocated, we could take a shower and then maybe go out for dinner. How does that grab you?”
“It grabs me,” she giggled again, “very much.”
“What time do you get off?”
“Shortly I hope.”
“Now who’s being naughty? I meant what time shall I pick you up?”
“Can you be here in ten minutes?”
“I can be there in five.”
“Good. I can’t wait. See you outside.”
Janet was over the moon as she switched off her computer and grabbed up her bag, already fantasising about what she and Colin were going to get up to in just a short while.
As she walked excitedly through the double doors on the way to the car park, she passed DI Jeff Grainy on the way back to his desk after an afternoon in the field. “Goodnight, sir,” she said.
“Goodnight, Janet.” Replied Grainy. “Have a good evening.”
“Oh, I will,” thought Janet as the door closed behind her. “I will.”
Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here