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Chapter One

8.

 

Journalists are cunts through and through.  They pick through the wreckage of human destruction for profit, vying for scoops and exclusives, not caring who gets in the way.  Even the police.  Earnshaw felt sorry his charge.  He wasn’t the typical killer.  It didn’t even seem cold-blooded.  He certainly wasn’t prepared for the media scrum that had built up in the thirty-five minutes since the shooting.  The more durable witnesses had stuck around to see events unfold, filling in the journalists and news reporters on what they had seen, elaborating their proximity to events and their heroics that had never happened.  They should be saving the information for the police, not dishing it out to the nearest hack.  But this was always the way.  It was a free country, after all. 

            A fat gothic girl, who looked tremendously out of place, was tearfully reliving events to a national news reporter.  Live to the world, she was struggling to take in the happenings that had ruined her night.  “It was just a normal gig,” she sobbed.  “My friends asked me to come.  I don’t even like Bright Eyes.  But it was good – a good gig.  Better than I expected.”  She paused to wipe her nose. The newsreader looked sympathetic, mindful of how much screen time she could waste on this oversized mess.  The more photogenic eye-witnesses had been snapped up at least ten minutes earlier. 

            “And what happened?”

            “Well,” another sniff, “it was this quiet song.  All acoustic and heartbroken, you know, very sweet really.  Stark, even.  Then there was a bang.  The guy next to me fell to the floor.  I thought he was high or something.  Then I felt the blood on my cheek.”  She wiped her left cheek.  There was no blood.  “I looked down and he was in a bad way.  You could see where the bullet had gone in, and lots of blood.  I think he died straight away.  Then someone knocked me over, and I was face to face with him.”

            “Shut this bitch up,” a voice barked in Anna McIntyre’s ear.  “She’s making this up – something to self harm about later.”  The voice was right, and she quickly wrapped up the interview.

            “Clearly some confusion from those that were there,” she turned to camera, ignoring the fat mess in black, who was still quivering with the shock.  “As you can see behind me, the man believed to be the gunman is being brought out by police.  It has been reported that there was a struggle, but police successfully disarmed him.”  The camera zoomed in on the man with the coat being placed on his head, concealed from the eager, prying eyes of the world, as he was led to the police van by six armed Officers.  Earnshaw flagged up the rear, sidelined the moment the experts had moved in, leaving him to await an extremely severe bollocking for going above and beyond the call of duty.  Earnshaw wanted to escort him to the station – the strange association with this killer unnerving, but also intriguing.  He definitely had to be in the interview.  It was a murder, though, and the only thing that would get him in there was promotion.

English, on the other hand, couldn’t give a shit.  She was quite enjoying her latest appearance on the news, and for that moment was grateful that she worked for the MET.  The news didn’t care much for those outside of the M25 – these things were so much more important when they happened in the capital.  Secretly, she hoped to be called upon to make a statement.  She would call her mother and tell her to set the video when she got a good opportunity.  It was this bit she enjoyed the most – the real policing.  Not the shitty paperwork or the interviewing, it was the action – the event.  This was the stuff that people were interested in – the gore, the antithesis of banal normality, the depths of human behaviour.  That was why she was here.  She was as interested as the rest of the rubber-necking ambulance chasers, but her uniform permitted her presence and placed her in the thick of the action.

            She and Earnshaw had now lost control of the situation, her seniors steaming in late and attempting to put order in action.  Blood had been spilt and the media was watching, so the Detectives and the Inspectors were wheeled out and the bobbies were going to be left in the cold.  Earnshaw climbed into the van with his charge and closed the door behind him, destroying any chance of him being excluded from these events.  He was looking forward to talking to the accused – this wasn’t a revenge thing, he could tell. 

            This may be his only chance, though.  There was no way he should even be in that van, let alone see this case through.  Once in a while, a scenario genuinely intrigued a policeman – and for Earnshaw this was his.  Had he applied himself in his three years in the force, he may have had a chance, but he was destined to remain a PC forever, and until now that had suited him fine.

            The van started up and the camera crews followed it exit out of sight.  There would be identical crews awaiting their arrival at Charing Cross police station, where the next stage of the journey would commence – the interrogation.  For now though, the media turned to camera and summarised what had happened so far.  English swiped an eyewitness away from a tabloid wannabe.

            “Excuse me, I was speaking to her,” Cameron Greaves protested. 

            “Get fucked!” snarled English knowing that she should be keeping a cooler head. She hated the junior reporters more than the scrotes she banged up on a daily basis.  They believed that they had as much right to be there as the police did, and they had such over-zealous, underhand practices of working that they were probably more dangerous than the aforementioned crims.  “And get behind that barrier.”

            “Bitch,” Cameron muttered under his breath.  He didn’t get the chance to charm her like he had done so many other WPC’s.  That was how he kept scooping Karl.  Flash them a winning smile and look like you mean it and you can get anything you want.  It had worked so far.  It was the twenty-first century and as a man he was not afraid to sleep his way to the top.  She was probably a lesbian anyway, he thought and climbed under the cordon the moment she turned her back.  Through the dwindling throng, he saw Karl Martindale barge through with sheer urgency.  Cameron was pleased to him, knowing that he had arrived far too late.  This story was nearly over already.  The action had been recorded by the junior, and this time it was going to be his by-line. 

            Martindale looked flustered, and distinctly unimpressed.  His ever-increasing mono-brow made him look sinister, whilst his puffed out red cheeks heavily implied that he was an alcoholic.  Cameron hoped that he would never turn out like that.  He imagined Martindale was once as immaculately turned out as he was, all smart clothing and chiselled haircuts, fresh as a daisy and oh-so beautiful.  It was almost like a warning from the future.  Affluence had widened his senior, made him harsher, less keen - ripe for being other-thrown.  It was all that time spent on his laptop on his own, Cameron thought.  Martindale was never in the office or at the scene any more – he created his stories in cyberspace, in between bouts of frantic masturbation over bestial pornography.  Whilst Karl’s back was turned, young Cameron was getting noticed.  He was the next big thing, after all.

            “How many witness statements have you got?” demanded Karl, preparing to be disappointed at whatever Cameron said.  He had to retain his self-importance.

            “I’ve managed to get eight eye-witnesses and a two word retort from a bobby,” he informed him, knowing that it was a result.

            “Could do with more,” Karl snarled, looking unimpressed with the result.  “There must have been more people.  You could have done more to keep people here.  Textbook error.”

            Cameron wanted to hit him.  He could have said anything and still have been dismissed for his actions.  It made it easier to double-cross the fucker, mind, and that was never a bad thing. 

            “Ignoring the fact that I was stood right next to him when he pulled the trigger,” Cameron called after him.  It was difficult not to look smug.  Karl swung around, but his junior was already trying to charm the irritated looking WPC.  She could see that he was a charming sort of man, and it was those men she hated the most – mainly because they were too fucking charming. 

            “I, er, didn’t get that quote down before, I think I may have missed a few words,” he said and chuckled a little.

            “No, it was just get fucked,” English put up her defences.

            “Was that a question or an order?” he persisted.

            “It was an ‘I don’t have time to be pissing about with over-keen, perma-tanned graduates with notepads trying to impress their superiors by getting the scoop on the back of a lost life, get fucked.’  Some of us would like to live at a moral level higher than that of your average sized rodent, whilst some of us are born to be journalists.  I really hope there is a God and a judgement day, and I’d want to see what happens to the press – especially smarmy little shits like you.”

            With that English turned to walk away, but Cameron grabbed her arm.  “You give me an official statement, and I’ll give you one,” he said.

            “You arrogant prick!” she snorted.  “I can imagine lots of dumb tarts dropping their drawers for you the moment you click your fingers, but-“

            “I meant a statement,” he cut in.  “I was there.”  He waved his ticket stub in her face as it reddened dramatically.  She pushed his hand out of the way and looked away from him.

            Cameron smiled.  This was a good night.

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