EIGHT - Little Questions

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They stood in twitchy silence, watching as the Inspiration Gestation Station filled up with policemen. The cops scraped at the blood on the floor, crowding up the stairwell, bringing in men in white, taping off the lift and door.

Jacq was pulled away by paramedics, but no sign of Matt's remains being moved. Angelina desperately wanted to be gone before the mangled corpse-splat was paraded past her.

Ellie, meanwhile, swooped between gangs of police spitting terse instructions, glancing over at Hobson to ensure he felt out of the loop. The big detective was preoccupied leaning against the desk, looking nonchalant so she knew it wasn't working.

Honestly, it was like Angelina never left her school playground.

At last, Ellie ran out of people to instruct, so came over to them.

"John. Have they searched you and your partner?"

"Yes, Ellie. It was very sexy."

It had not, in fact, been sexy. Angelina was checked over by a woman, but it remained embarrassing. Her most sustained physical contact with anyone besides parents and doctors hadn't lived up to her fantasies.

"Good," Ellie continued, "outside, then. Quickly. And try not to step in any more blood."

They emerged into the small driveway outside the IGS, and Angelina breathed deep. It was a skinny gap between buildings, very quaint and unique in the open air, but in the dark, full of blue lights and with a lake of blood behind her, it felt a lot like an alleyway. A small, dark rut, just about big enough for people to drive round the back to park their cars.

The London air was polluted with exhaust fumes from half a dozen emergency vehicles, but tasted amazing compared to the stale, bloody musk indoors.

Ellie pointed behind a large van. She stood Hobson and Angelina against it and turned to address them like a drill sergeant.

"Okay, you two. I'm told it looks like Matthew Michaelson was killed by a dog again, and although you have many fucking character flaws, John, I can't see any reason or method for you doing this."

"Thanks."

"So, after I've taken statements from you both about what you saw here, you can go. But, and I want to make this as clear as I can: no more blundering around crime scenes. To be honest, if you could drop this case entirely, that would be helpful."

"I'll have to consult with my client," Hobson said.

"Fantastic." She gestured to one of her flunkies. "Okay, Sergeant Jensen, take Mister Hobson around the corner while I have a chat to his partner."

Hobson was led off past the front of the van before she could say a word to him. Ellie made eye contact with Angelina for the first time, and she felt cold and small. Her dead-straight hair gave her an air of terrifying severity, along with the big coat and ironed suit. Hobson's black suit seemed increasingly like an affectation, but his ex-wife owned it.

"So, Miss Choi, is it?"

"Um, yes."

"Okay, Miss Choi," she said with a surprisingly warm smile, "why don't you tell me what happened here tonight? Don't worry if it makes John Hobson look bad, he does that to himself."

She thought about how best to present the story, but her fear choked all the thoughts at birth. So she opened her mouth and began.

*****

Hobson's wait against the front of the police van, with a large sergeant watching him, was grim. He tried to make small talk about the case, hoping this guy would cough up some forensic results, but no luck. Only a few 'Dunno mate's and a lot of stony silence.

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