Read the previous chapter, Chapter 3, here first.
Chapter 4 of Delirium, London Psychic #1. Click here for buy links to the full book.
Back at New Scotland Yard, Jamie typed her notes up on Monro's office as she considered the new suspects they had added to the list. There was still a long list of people who had been at the Imperial War Museum to interview, and a host of other possible leads.
Around it all, the miasma of madness seeped through the evidence, like the freezing fog of a London winter.
Missinghall walked up behind Jamie and placed a small square of chocolate brownie on her desk.
“It's Rory's birthday, and he insisted you eat that.”
Jamie felt a wave of nausea to look at it, but she knew Missinghall meant well. Food was a constant in their working relationship, at least. She popped it in her mouth and chewed, forcing the sweetness down, willing the sugar to lift her mood. Missinghall smiled and in his brief moment of pleasure for her, Jamie felt better. At least she was beginning to make some friends in the force now, after years of being distant from her colleagues. At first, her independence had been a way to protect the little time she had left with Polly, and a way to stop herself being hurt again. Her ex-husband, Matt, had ripped her heart out when he had left her to cope with a disabled daughter alone. As the years went by, Jamie had turned her independence into a kind of armor, and doing her job well became more important than friendship. Perhaps that was changing now, since her fellow officers knew about her role in the Hellfire Caves. They also knew that somehow the glory had gone to the senior officer on the case, Detective Superintendent Dale Cameron, and there were rumors he had been offered a more senior role in the last few weeks. Jamie hoped he would move on because his presence still made her uneasy, the way his eyes followed her when she walked past his office.
Jamie still had flashbacks to that night of blood and smoke, when in a drugged haze, she had thought Cameron's face was amongst those who performed the atrocity. He had been protective of her in the aftermath of the investigation, encouraging her return to the force and then making sure she was supervised by his hand-picked team. Jamie had wondered what he was protecting her from, or whether he was merely making sure she wasn't able to report her suspicions. If Cameron moved on, Jamie might be able to breathe again as things returned to something resembling normal. Or at least what was considered normal in the homicide team.
Missinghall flipped open his pad.
“Just heard from Skinner. Time of death was likely between midnight and five a.m. Cause of death was drowning, but the Doc also found a needle stick in the victim's neck and suspects a powerful hallucinogenic drug was used. It will take a while for toxicology to come back though.”
Jamie shook her head as she imagined being stuck in that box, strapped down while seeing terrifying visions. It brought back hazy memories of being manacled in the swirling smoke of the Hellfire Caves, unsure of what was real. “So it was torture as well as murder,” she whispered.
Missinghall continued. “We've also got the full list of statements from the people who were setting up the Psyche Fun Run that morning. Unsurprisingly, no one saw anything. They were all down the other end of the field because the curator didn't want kids near the flower beds so close to the reopening of the museum.” Missinghall shuffled his papers, pulling out a sheaf of statements. “But Monro's financials are interesting. We got hold of his other bank account, the one he was clearly keeping separate. It shows significant payments of large amounts at sporadic intervals. The company they're from traces back to a shell organization that we can't penetrate. There's also substantial transfers for smaller amounts of money at more regular intervals. Interestingly, one of the regular transfers is to Mr Harkan, the solicitor who seemed very keen to point the finger at anyone but himself.”
“Right, get him down here,” Jamie said. “You can go over that new evidence with him, although killing Monro would seem to make it less likely he would get his ongoing payments.”
Missinghall nodded. “I'll also get on with arranging access to Broadmoor so you can check out Timothy MacArnold, although clearly he didn't kill Monro himself. That place is a fortress.”
Jamie's phone rang, interrupting their discussion. As she picked up, Detective Superintendent Dale Cameron's smooth voice spoke before she could.
“Can you come through to Interview Room 12, please?”
“Of course, sir. I'll be right through.”
Her mind was buzzing as she put down the phone, and she caught Missinghall's quizzical look.
“Something up?” he asked.
“Not sure, but Cameron wants to see me – in an interview room, not his office.”
“Duh duh duh, duh-duh duh,” Missinghall started in with the Darth Vader theme.
Jamie pushed her chair back, standing up. “Oh, stop it. I'm sure it's nothing.”
But she wondered about that night in the Hellfire Caves and what she had really seen. How much of a stake did Cameron have in her career now?
She knocked on the interview room door and went in. Dale Cameron stood as she entered.
“Jamie,” Cameron nodded, his patrician silver hair catching the harsh light. He was a striking man for his age, with the looks of a wealthy CEO or career politician. His rise through the ranks of the police was legendary, as was his reputation for Teflon shoulders when it came to avoiding responsibility for disaster.
Jamie glanced at the mirror on the wall, wondering if there was someone behind it. Why else would they be in an interview room with the ability to see in, but with no way to tell who was watching?
“This new case is sensitive,” Cameron said. “Especially with the timings around the centennial at the Imperial War Museum.”
Jamie nodded. “We're trying to minimize the impact on the museum, sir.”
“Of course, of course … but there's something you need to know about Monro, and you need to keep this to yourself.” Cameron's eyes were like flecks of diamond and Jamie looked away first, unable to meet his stare. She nodded again and he continued. “Monro was affiliated with a government program investigating ways to reduce the burden of mental health in this country.”
Jamie almost flinched at his use of the word burden.
“They're also interested in ways to enhance brain function in normal people,” Cameron continued.
“And by normal, you mean people who haven't been diagnosed as mentally ill?” Jamie couldn't help herself.
“However you want to define it,” Cameron snapped. “Regardless, I need you to communicate any evidence about Monro's research to me directly. I will be passing it on to the appropriate people concerned.”
Jamie looked pointedly at the mirrored panel on the wall.
Cameron's tone softened. “Now Jamie, I know you've had difficulties coming back to work after the death of your daughter. I hope you realize I've been making allowances for your fragile mental state.” Jamie wanted to interrupt him, wanted to challenge him, but she knew there was a hint of truth in his words. “Many senior officers said you should have been suspended based on your uncontrolled actions in the Jenna Neville case, but I want to continue to help you … Do you understand?”
Jamie hesitated, meeting his eyes and seeing the blue skies of soaring ambition there. She didn't want to fly that high, especially if it meant compromising her integrity. Eventually, she nodded.
“Of course, sir. I'll report anything I find on Monro's research to you.” She stood to leave, the scrape of her chair just a little louder than was necessary. “Will that be all?”
“One more thing,” Cameron said. “I've heard you have a … friend … with skills that could be misconstrued by the press should his actions become known.”
Jamie felt her cheeks color. She wasn't ashamed of Blake, but she knew how his psychic ability could be interpreted as unprofessional. She had kept his involvement quiet after the Hellfire Caves, but he had visited her in hospital, and he would have been easy enough for Cameron to investigate.
“Yes, sir. But we're just friends, and he has nothing to do with the museum murder.”
“Actually, I'm interested in how we could use his skills on this case, Jamie. I don't want to rule anything out and it sounds like you had some good results from his tips before. Can you get him to have a look at the crime scene?”
Jamie was stunned, and not in a good way. Cameron's interest was never for anyone else's benefit.
“Perhaps he will be able to shed some light on the Monro murder?” Cameron continued, and it seemed he was studiously avoiding the mirrored panel on the wall.
“I don't think …” Jamie protested.
“As I said,” Cameron interrupted, his fist clenching on the table between them. “I want to continue to protect your position on the force, and I'd like to hear what your friend has to say.”
In moments like these, Jamie wanted to get on her motorbike and just roar away, leave all this political crap behind. But she loved the job, and she had nothing else to live for but bringing justice to the dead. Perhaps Blake would help with the Monro case, but she had to figure out what Cameron wanted with him. She nodded slowly.
“I'll get him down to the crime scene before processing is complete.”
“Today, Jamie.” Cameron's tone was firm.
She nodded again and walked out of the room, feeling his eyes on her back, her skin bristling with awareness of someone else watching from behind the mirrored panel. Instead of returning to her desk, Jamie ducked into one of the other interview rooms opposite and waited. She was so sure someone else had been watching, and she needed to see who it was. She pushed the door almost closed so she could see out but remain unseen herself.
After a couple of minutes, the interview room door opened and Cameron came out. He pulled open the door to the side room, and said something to the shadows. Another man strode out, taller than Cameron, which made him over six foot two. His head was completely shaved, with a skull that seemed misshapen in some way, a slight asymmetry that made Jamie want to stare for longer. His eyes flicked across to the room opposite and Jamie ducked backwards to avoid his glance, but not before she had seen that he had heterochromia, one eye blue and the other brown. What was this man's involvement with the case, and why did he want Blake to read at the murder scene?