Part 13 - Where?

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SKYLAB WENT BACK next door, keeping her thoughts to herself, at least for now.

She listened as Gatts grilled Khao; the girl was having trouble getting her words lined up. Kev insisted she drink buckets of water. He nipped to the local store and bought six litres. As the girl drank, she slowly became more legible.

"Where is your baby?" Skylab asked.

"No idea, don't care," was the slurred answer.

"Come on," started Gatts, "You must have some feeling for your child?"

"You never saw it," the mother whimpered.

"What about your boyfriend? He must have missed his child?"

"That wasn't his you idiot," she glared at Gatts.

"Whose was it then?" asked Skylab.

There was an eerie silence as the woman studied her visitors.

"You'll never know," she trembled as she whispered.

"Where is your baby? I ask again, I don't want to arrest you," said Gatts.

"You can do whatever you like, I really couldn't care less," this time her voice was strong.

After some thought, Skylab asked, "What was so wrong with this boy?"

"Ha! He was his father's son!" this time she shouted.

"I ask you again, where is he?" asked Gatts.

"I never went to his home, I never met his family. I do not know who he is!" she had tears running down her face, but she had controlled her voice.

Gatts, Kev, and Skylab looked at each other in confusion.

They were getting nowhere, so Gatts changed his line of questions, "Tell us about your recent boyfriend."

"You can talk to him if you wish, he lives nearby now," she flapped her arm opposite her window.

"It won't do you much good talking to him though," she had a sad smile as she scrawled his name and address on a ripped piece of paper.

The three walked to his address. Knocked on the door.

"Who is it? What do you want?" came an angry answer from inside. An old lady peered through a crack in the door.

"It's the police, please open the door," said Gatts.

Slowly, a door opened to a darkened room.

"Come in, it is about time you came to take my son away," the elderly woman whined. "Why has he got the baby?" asked Gatts.

"Don't be stupid. Look at him, do you think he could care for a baby, he can't even go to the toilet by himself," she was crying.

The three looked at the couch in shadow at the back of the room. They walked to the dark area. The young man was rocking back and forth, drooling and muttering.

"What happened? I take it, he wasn't always like this?"

"Of course not. He had a good job, he had plenty of friends. Everybody liked him," the mother said.

"And?"

"And then he met the witch opposite!" she pointed as if she was aiming a loaded gun. After questioning for another thirty minutes, they were a little clearer.

"Your son came home, told you he was to be a father. You were initially happy. Then it all went wrong?"

"Yes, you are correct. Now, look at him. Gradually they drank more and more, their rows got worse and very violent. He then started babbling about an evil child. Now this, what a state, look at him. The doctors have no clue what is wrong. Everything checked out. His heart is strong and healthy, not a mark on a brain scan. One of the senior doctors even suggested black magic. Would you believe that?" a hacking cough accompanied her question, "I'm at my wit's end. I'm getting older, how will I look after him?"

They went back to Khao's.

"You must have an idea, what the hell happened to him?"

Khao had a bottle of homemade lao khao in front of her. Half of it was gone.

"What the hell? That's a good question. Every time he touched, or tried to build a father-son connection with what he thought was his kid, he got slowly worse."

"You are saying the baby caused that?" Skylab pointed behind her.

"Well, I didn't do it," smirked Khao.

"How can a baby do that?"

"Ask his father. His real 'dad' is the natural one. Not him over the road, but the evil one." "Where can we find this man?" asked Gatts.

"How would I know?" she sneered.

"Did you have any idea what you were getting involved with?" Skylab was now worried about this broken girl.

"How could I have a clue? We stayed at five-star hotels, ate at unbelievable restaurants."

She was silent for a moment, "All that for a girl who only ate at street corners before I met him."

"How did you meet?"

The pent up emotion burst out as she wailed, bringing a crowd of neighbours to her door.

Gatts looked outside, "Go home, all of you, there is nothing to see."

Khao drifted into a dream world. She smiled as she remembered.

"We had what the magazines call 'a whirlwind romance'. It was great while it lasted, we went to all the tourist spots, Phuket, Samui, Chiang Rai and Kanchanaburi."

"So you enjoyed all the sights Thailand offers, did anything stick in your mind?" asked Kev, hoping for a better idea of the man.

"We always ended up at a cave. He loved going to them," she answered.

"Was he affectionate with you? Holding hands, arm around your shoulder, that kind of thing," Skylab wondered.

"He was the perfect gentleman. He barely laid a finger on me. I hoped he would show his feelings more."

Skylab was curious, "You shared a bed?"

"That was another thing. At every hotel we had separate rooms," Khao said.

"Oh?" said Kev.

Skylab pushed Kev's thought further, "Did you not sleep together?"

"Not until the last night, he came to my room. It was the first time I had seen him drunk. I thought maybe he needed to be intoxicated to sleep with me," she laughed. "None of the other boys had that problem," she enjoyed the memory with a grin.

Then she carried on, "The weirdest thing, he kept kissing and stroking my birthmark." Gatts and Kev looked at each other with the same thought, but it was Skylab who asked the question.

"Birthmark? What birthmark?"

Khao lifted her sleeve to reveal a blood-red triangle of scarred skin on her right bicep. The triangle pointed downwards.

"I was born with it, so never thought about it, the kids at school ribbed me a bit, but soon grew out of that childishness. I had never covered it. But I do now."

"Finally, then we'll leave you in peace, what is his name and where does he live?"

"I only knew his name as Mat. No idea where he lives, sorry."

Skylab then asked, "You stayed in top-class hotels, you must have signed in?"

"He said it was good for me to use my name, it would build up my credit rating. And no, before you ask, we paid for everything in cash. Now let me get back to my only real friend."

She grabbed the whisky bottle and slugged it empty.

They would get no further. 

Birthmarks for votes?

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