Polly

Writings and Witterings

A Bank Holiday Investigation – A Challenge – Open to All Writers

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Here is a challenge started at the Bank Holiday and it ain’t over yet!  You’ll see below the start of a short story.  Your job is to write the next paragraph once you’ve read the story so far. You can join in as often as you like – the only rule is no two consecutive paragraphs by the same writer.  

Comments on each writer’s contribution(s) will appear on my Facebook timeline under ‘A Bank Holiday Writing Challenge’ to avoid interrupting the flow of the story.  Comments off-topic will be removed so please use the Facebook link or email your comments to pollyrobinson@mac.com

Remember to post your submission to the comment section below, anywhere else and your piece will not be part of the challenge.

The original intention was to end the challenge midnight Monday 7 May.  I have decided to extend the deadline as it’s been such fun reading everyone’s paragraphs and clearly the story is not yet finished – so get writing folks – like I said, it ain’t over yet!  The finished work will appear on this blog and in an e-book anthology of stories and poems the proceeds of which will go to Rotary charities.

A Bank Holiday Investigation

Katherine’s clients say if you want to play away, you have to have a good cover story, maybe develop an interest in pottery or painting for example.  No good going to a lonely hearts website, far too easily discovered, Katherine knows that as a PI.  Katherine’s clients frequently say that they ‘just know’, that’s where most of her work comes from, people who ‘just know’.

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28 thoughts on “A Bank Holiday Investigation – A Challenge – Open to All Writers

  1. So far the day was like any other. Katherine was flicking through the dossier of her most recent case: It was the same old story: ‘I think he’s cheating. Is there anything you can do?’. Throwing the papers down on the desk, it was clear that Katherine was bored. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, far from it. It was just not how she had dreamt it would be. Magnum PI? I don’t think so! Gazing into the hustle and bustle passing by her window, she wondered where all the gritty cases were. When would something truly ‘different’ finally come her way?

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  2. A screech of tyres made her look quickly in the direction of the Bank – what was happening? The smoke trail behind the car enveloped bystanders some of whom started coughing and spluttering in outrage. The car snaked past her window as there was a knock on the door behind her. Whoever it was they’d have to wait for a moment because

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  3. Katherine realised she could just make out the number plate on the car. She quickly scrawled the digits on a scrap of paper. The car seemed to have three or four people in it, but shot by her window so fast she could not be sure. A red Ford – an old Ford – boxy shape. Mmmm. Where had she seen that kind of car recently? Where was it? Now who’s that at the door so impatient to come in?

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  4. “Thought I would find you twitching at the curtains,” Alex said as he entered the office. Alex was a fellow investigator who occasionally helped Katherine out on a few of her cases. He had a file in his hands and she knew that it would contain an in depth report of Mr. Brian Phillips’s business transactions.

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    • “Alex! Did you see all the commotion outside? I managed to get the number plate of the getaway car.” Katherine said. Alex laughed “Oh no Katie – that’s all just small fry – you just wait till you see what I’ve got on our friend Mr Phillips!”…

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  5. She hated him calling her Katie, but never mentioned it to him. It would only result in his cheesy grin becoming even cheesier, and then she’d catch a glint of the gold crown on the left hand side of his mouth. The very thought of it made her shudder.
    Despite his irritating ways, Alex was the perfect help for Katherine in her PI business. He loved to snuffle around in papers and dig out financial irregularities, while she preferred to analyse people’s motives and was often astonished at the mind games people played with each other.

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  6. Katherine stepped to one side and gestured for Alex to enter.
    “Phillips is doing a bit more than just playing away is he?” she asked as he brushed past.
    Alex nodded, opened the file and took out a brown envelope. “Much more! Take a look at these photos; you won’t believe what you’re seeing.”
    Katherine was intrigued to see what Alex had uncovered. She quickly lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out a stack of 10 x 8 photographs. She started to thumb through them and gasped at the totally unexpected and shocking sight.

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  7. Amongst the shots of Phillips sitting smugly by the pool at his huge villa in the Algarve and of him at swanky parties with numerous surgically enhanced women by his side was a shot of him standing on a moor with what looked like the same shotgun pointing at a hastily retreating pheasant. Parked on the grass in the bottom corner of the photo was the red Ford she’d seen minutes earlier. She stared hard at it, ignoring Alex as he gibbered something about tax evasion. The red Ford was a car strangely familiar to her. Where had she seen it before?

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    • It came to her! Of all places, it was at the Spring garden show last year, when she’d been tracking Vince Garrett for Brianne. She’d caught him with more than his trousers down, Brianne benefited hugely. But yes, she’d seen that car when she was taking photos of Vince. She went to the computer and loaded the files. Yes, there it was, with a picture of someone about to get into the driver’s seat, how was that for luck?
      ‘Come here,’ she said to Alex, ‘Is that who I think it is?’
      ‘That’s Francis Garrett,’ said Alex, ‘Where did you take the photo?’

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  8. ‘This was taken at the Spring garden show last year’ said Katherine. ‘That’s Francis – you remember, Vince’s brother?’ They both paused for a moment to further study the photo.
    ‘I remember … of course!’ exclaimed Alex. ‘It’s all making sense now. His brother Vince was the guy we rumbled last year. All those financial problems, and all because he couldn’t stay away from the…’ Alex lowered his voice to a whisper and leant closer to Katherine ‘…red light district’. They both laughed as Alex continued, ‘and there was talk of tax evasion too as I was saying…’. Alex’s voice trailed off as they were both startled by the sound of an alarm.
    ‘Oh my God’ said Katherine, ‘it’s the bank! Quick Alex get your camera, they’re making a run for it – look, here’s the red Ford again! It’s a robbery!’

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  9. Alex moved to the window and rapidly took photographs. “I’m not getting anything here Katie – there’s too much smoke – I’m going down to the street” Alex left the room at a run.
    “Be careful” Katherine called after him. Katherine looked down at her desk and the photographs of Brian Phillips. She looked at the pictures of Vince Garrett. Well, well, well – was tax evasion the link between these two men?

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  10. It could be, but she suspected it was something more. Katherine rubbed her temples and began to flick through the pile of photos again hoping that something would jump out at her, some extra hidden clue to the link that was evading her. A series of gunshots startled her from her reverie and she leapt from the chair and ran to the window.
    “Alex!” She screamed.

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  11. Katherine could see Alex crouched behind a parked car. As she watched three men ran from the bank clutching hold-alls. They jumped into the red Ford and it sped away in a shriek of tyres and more blue smoke. Katherine looked again at Alex. Why wasn’t he moving? Oh no – she had a really bad feeling about this. Somehow she just knew…

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  12. Katherine raced out the door, grabbing her mobile phone as she went. She just knew Alex had been hit by a stray bullet and now she was about to find out how badly. A man, tall, thin and smartly dressed, in a pin striped suit, ran across the road and knelt down next to her injured friend. As she neared, she could see his shirt was soaked in blood, and Alex was unconscious…

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  13. Katherine thrust her phone at the stranger ‘Please, call for an ambulance! I need to see how bad it is’.
    ‘Of course’ said the man, quickly taking the phone. Katherine had had a little first aid training and she knew she had to do her emergency ABC’s. Yes, he was definitely breathing okay and his heart was beating. The sound of sirens faded in from all directions, police and ambulance services responding to the bank job. Katherine didn’t care why they were there, she yelled for help.
    ‘Over here, quickly, he’s been shot!’ Katherine went for her phone to call Alex’s wife, but the kindly stranger had got it. She quickly scanned around the vicinity to find him … gone! Katherine looked back to Alex, the paramedics working to stabilise him. The camera was gone too. How could this be? The man in the suit surely couldn’t have taken them? And Alex, poor Alex! What a terrible mess! The tall, thin man reappeared through the thronging crowd.

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  14. “Oh no! Alex! Oh! Is he dead?” cried Katherine wondering where the mysterious stranger had been.
    “Your friend is not dead Miss Brown” replied the tall man “but he needs all the help he can get from these paramedics. Come on, move away, give them space.”
    “How do you know my name?” replied Katherine.
    “Miss Brown, I represent Mr Phillips. We have been following your investigation with some interest and increasing trepidation – concerned for your safety and that of Mr Rose here. The worst has almost happened. You must allow me to assist you; Mr Phillips would not forgive me if you refuse”.
    Katherine stared at the man, not quite taking everything in. She heard the police sirens almost upon them. “Please Miss Brown – it is imperative you allow us to assist you and Mr Rose. My car is awaiting and I can provide the best medical assistance in a matter of moments”. Katherine looked at Alex’s ashen face and knew she must make a decision.

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  15. She focused momentarily on the bloodstained shirt. The mysterious stranger, tall and thin, with the look of an aesthete, held Katherine’s phone out to her, she snatched it back.
    “It’s too late, the paramedics have him on the stretcher,” she said.
    “Yes, they’re part of Mr Phillips’ organisation, will you come with me? Please, get in the car.”
    She allowed herself to be hustled into the car at the kerbside, she told herself she had to follow to see where they were taking Alex. The expensive engine was almost inaudible amongst the rush and crush of the crowd. Inside it was cool and quiet, she sat back and waited to hear what he’d have to say as they followed the ambulance.

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    • “Miss Brown, let me reassure we will do everything in our power to ensure Mr Rose survives. We have a medical facility not too far from here where he will receive the best care that money can buy.”
      Katherine was not sure she felt any easier with the tall stranger’s reassurances. “Who are you? Clearly you work for Brian Phillips,” she said.
      “That is correct, Mr Phillips has been interested in your investigation for some time,” replied the stranger.
      “Mrs Phillips only recently engaged my services. Tell me who you are,” insisted Katherine.
      “My name is Smith. Mr Phillips became interested in your private investigation services prior to Mrs Phillips discovering his indiscretions,” Smith shrugged slightly, “Mr Phillips had the unfortunate accident to become acquainted with the Garrett brothers, who I believe are responsible for shooting Mr Rose.” He turned his gaze to Katherine, “Miss Brown I need to now ask you if you would prefer to be with Mr Rose or if you would accompany me to meet with my employer Mr Phillips?”

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  16. Katherine was in a daze. Everything was happening so quickly. Why was it so urgent that she met Phillips now? Alex might be dying!
    Katherine turned to Smith ‘Mr Smith I…’ Her voice was silenced by the sound of her mobile phone ringing, ‘I need to get this Mr Smith, it might be about Alex,’ said Katherine as she reached for her phone. ‘Hello?’ she said in a hurried, anxious tone.
    ‘Hello Katherine’ said a stern sounding voice.
    Katherine felt a chill go down her spine, she just knew this wasn’t going to be good. ‘Hello’ she replied, ‘What do YOU want? This is not a good time!’.
    The voice replied. ‘So you remember me then Katherine. You remember how you wrecked my brother’s life with your petty investigation. Well it’s time for payback Katherine. The bank job today was no coincidence. and you think Alex is at a special facility?’ It was Francis Garrett. He laughed. It was sinister and sent Katherine reeling.
    ‘Wha… What, Why? Where IS Alex? The paramedics took him to …’
    ‘No, they didn’t’ said Francis. ‘Didn’t you think they got there a little ‘too’ quickly? Hmm. No, they were MY men not Phillips’s. And they have delivered Alex straight to me! And, if you want him to live, you’ll follow suit. Meet me now, at the airfield.’ He paused before continuing in a derisory tone ‘Oh and If you want to bring Smith along for the ride, feel free. I’ve unfinished business with Phillips too’. The phone went dead. Katherine felt sick.
    ‘That was Francis Garrett’ she said, turning to Smith. He’s got Alex! At the airfield!’ She was bewildered, ‘You said YOU’d got him, that the ambulance was yours … He knows you’re here, I think he wants to see you – but we have to go, NOW!’

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  17. Smith flipped open a very thin and sleek silver phone and spoke briefly. He seemed to barely wait for an answer before he raised his voiced and said “Unacceptable. Mr Phillips will be most displeased!”. He snapped shut the phone and pressed the intercom button to the driver. “Forbes – our destination is now the airfield, where we will need to approach with some trepidation. Mr Rose’s life is in danger. I believe Miss Brown’s may also be, and frankly – I shall be a sitting duck. I expect our employer will want us all alive – including the infernal Garrett brothers!”

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    • The driver stood on the brakes as the ambulance in front slewed to a halt. Smith told her to stay in the car, but Katherine rushed out to see guns pointing at the driver of the ambulance and a short dumpy man in a suit pull him out of the driving seat and get in. Another figure pulled the passenger out, while yet another opened the back doors and escorted the two paramedics, the driver and passenger at gunpoint to a waiting car waving the gun to indicate they were to hurry. Two paramedics replaced the others. Katherine ran towards the ambulance, she couldn’t believe the silence, all this was happening in silence … Phillips caught her and said; “Quickly, back to the car, we must follow the ambulance, we’ve got him now”.
      The ambulance moved off and they returned to the car, Katherine saw the figures with guns back into another car before they once more followed the ambulance. Katherine gnawed at her knuckles as she thought about Alex, shot and heading who knew where.
      “Forbes, as quickly as you like, get to the facility – don’t lose sight of the ambulance”, said Smith.
      The convoy went up the long drive and drew into the bay. Heavy security gates clanged shut behind them as they reached the private hospital.

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  18. Hospital staff came towards the ambulance, clearly ready and in a hurry to begin caring for Alex. Katherine was unsure she felt completely safe in Phillips’ and Smith’s hands but she knew Alex had not a chance without their help.
    “Miss Brown – we need to allow the hospital staff to take care of Mr Rose now – please come with me to the lounge area where we can wait for news on his health. I have some telephone calls to make and in a short time I may press you to accompany me to meet with Mr Phillips.”
    Katherine resigned herself to the lounge at least until she knew whether Alex was going to make it. She had some thinking to do – was she going to meet with Phillips – would she be walking into the lion’s den? Or could she trust them – clearly the Garrett brothers had upset Phillips – maybe information he and Smith had would help her to solve this mystery? Maybe seeing Phillips in the flesh would give her a gut feel for his infidelities and financial status? Oh God – pray that Alex is going to be OK!

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  19. Time seemed to stand still for Katherine. She was in a daze, and frankly confused as to the days events. It was getting dark outside, and Alex had been in surgery for several hours. Katherine kept thinking about what the doctor had said, that Alex had indeed been shot, and that the bullet was lodged in his chest. They were going to do everything possible to save him… But the chances were 50/50.
    Suddenly the waiting area door swung open. It was the surgeon.
    ‘Hello again Miss Brown’ he said, as he came into the room. He looked tired, but Katherine sensed it was good news from the tone of his voice. ‘He’s going to make it’ said the surgeon, smiling. ‘He is a very lucky man. An inch either way and it would have been a different story’.
    Katherine found herself shaking with emotion, ‘Thank you SO MUCH for everything you’ve done,’ she said. ‘Today was such a shock, I don’t know what to say – except THANK YOU’.
    The surgeon smiled, ‘You’re very welcome Miss Brown. Mr Rose will need some time to rest before you can see him, so now might be a good time to go home and get some rest?’ Katherine nodded as the surgeon turned and left the room then sank down into her seat. She was exhausted it was true, but she couldn’t go home yet. There was this whole Phillips/Garrett situation to deal with.
    The waiting room door opened again and Mr Smith came in. ‘So then Miss Brown, it seems that Mr Rose has done well in surgery. It must be a great relief for you.’ Katherine drew breath to speak, but Mr Smith continued ‘But Miss Brown, I’m afraid this ordeal is not yet over. I must ask you to come with me to meet with Mr Phillips. I would not ask but time is of the essence. Mr Phillips is waiting and has a matter of the utmost importance to discuss with you’.
    Katherine nodded her head to Mr Smith. She felt like a passenger in all of this. But she was so glad that Alex was okay. Perhaps finally Mr Phillips could give some answers too. Why was he so interested in their investigative work even prior to their investigation into HIM? Why would he want to give Alex the specialist care he needed at the private hospital, and at great expense! What were the Garrett brothers up to robbing banks, and how was Phillips connected?

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  20. Katherine stood and Mr Smith led her out of the lounge area, down through the corridors and out into the waiting car. Mr Smith assured Katherine she would be free to return to see Alex and that the car would be at her disposal to bring her back to the hospital.
    “Where are we headed Mr Smith?” Katherine asked.
    “We have short flight to make – it will be under an hour – my employer has a helicopter standing by for us at the airfield” Smith replied.
    Although not entirely comfortable, Katherine felt so tired, her eyes were so heavy, perhaps if she shut them for five minutes, just till they reached the airfield.

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    • One part of Katherine’s tired brain found it bizarre that she was fuzzily remembering the Tottenham Hotspur manager walking free from court. Her thoughts stumbled over each other … would this turn out to be like the Harry Redknapp acquittal situation? She’d read about the Jurors accepting Redknapp’s angry denial that he avoided tax on any payments over £189,000 found in a Monaco account. Like Phillips, he’d been the subject of an investigation, a five-year investigation that despite costing £8m had failed to yield a single conviction, neither of Redknapp nor of his co-defendant Milan Mandaric. He didn’t get the England job though, Katherine reflected and wondered again what the connection was between the Garrett brothers and Phillips. She roused herself as the car glided up to the waiting helicopter, accompanied Smith up the steps and the helicopter took off.

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  21. Around forty-five minutes later, the helicopter touched down in the grounds of a large country estate. Katherine took in the sprawling cream manor house, outbuildings, tennis courts and swimming pool; clearly Phillips knew how to spend money even if he was also squirrelling much away overseas. Katherine felt a knot tighten in her stomach as she noted the welcoming committee. Phillips and a number of other men stood by. She noticed what appeared to be armed men further away and guard dogs – security was tight. As the helicopter door was opened, Katherine began to wonder what she had agreed to and whether she would ever see Alex or normal life again. No gut feel here – this time Katherine really didn’t know.

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  22. She stepped out of the helicopter, the rotor blades making her normally pristine hair dishevelled for the second time. Mr. Smith outstretched his hand, as if to encourage her forward.
    ‘It’s okay’ he said. ‘I promise you there is nothing to fear’. Katherine took a deep breath and did as was indicated. She walked alongside Smith, towards the waiting entourage.
    ‘Miss Brown! We meet at last!’ said Mr. Phillips. ‘I understand you must be very tired after the days events, but I’m very glad to hear that Mr. Rose is doing well after his surgery’.
    Katherine stammered ‘Ye, yes. He is going to be okay. But – look Mr Phillips, I’m so grateful for your help with Alex’s care, as will he be, and his family… but – please tell me what is this all about? I don’t think I can take any more!’
    Phillips inclined his head toward what appeared to be the head guard and whispered something to him. The man turned, nodded to the others, and they all strode off towards a nearby hangar. ‘Please come with me Miss Brown. All will be revealed’.
    Mr. Phillips led Katherine and Smith towards the hangar. Three of the burly guardsmen had been opening the enormous hangar doors ahead of them. Katherine could not believe what she was seeing as the interior came into view! Some kind of laboratory? Hi-tech equipment, lab technicians – and… she couldn’t believe it – what appeared to be government agents? Again Mr. Smith offered support by placing his hand gently on Katherine’s shoulder.
    ‘Katherine, please try to relax. Believe it or not, this could actually be the most wonderful day of your life.’

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