What Hartless was reading both fascinated and horrified him. He thought at first Simon Parker was a budding writer, or Parker had aspirations of being such, and Hartless thought he was pouring over the boring and scribbled scrawls of some early first draft of some science-fiction detective tale.
In front of him, he had almost four weeks of the carefully noted movements and the habits of a Dave Stuart, home address of Sycamore Lane, employed as a Security Guard with Everwatch Security, present assignment based at Grimeforth Offices of the now defunct Telcomcal Services.
Simon Parker somehow believed this Dave Stuart was an alien, sent to Earth as part of a group to infiltrate, analyse and compile information to be sent home regarding the state of the Human Race's abilities to defend the planet against invasion. Why the aliens had sent the fucker to Scotland, he had no idea. He had been watching the movements of Dave Stuart, meticulously tailing him around Glasgow, from home to work, work to Arches, Arches to park, park to home, every detail had been recorded in writing. The end of every page was annotated with a table of ratings and marks out of ten; suspicion rating - 5, Possible other Alien meetings - 3, Possible Homeland communications – 5, copy of report of that particular date, and date original sent in. No knowledge was imparted on what constituted suspicion, or who these other aliens were, and no information on where the actual compiled reports were sent, was provided.
He had a look through all the other information he had on Parker in front of him, there was no medical information, though the guy was long term on incapacity benefits, which usually meant a lazy bastard, an alcoholic, druggie, or a nutcase. He called over to Jean, one of the admin staff who kept the incident room flowing with updates.
'See if you can find any medical information on this Parker?' he asked her. 'Try the local GPs in the area closest to his home address first, and spread out from there till you get a hit. Any reluctance, tell them it's a fucking murder enquiry.'
He keyed the name of Dave Stuart into the police computer, and after a minute it gave up searching and came back with nothing. It came back with no information at all, not even a national insurance number, which was odd, everyone had something in the database, even the innocent. He tried again, this time inputting the home address. Still nothing, it was as though he didn't exist. The theme tune of The Outer Limits began to run through his mind.
From the ashen remains at Parker's house, it was safe to assume that the body was that of Suzi Tonner, they already could deduce that the innards had been removed sometime prior to the blaze, so it was a safe guess that this had been the actual contents within the tin.
'He's got his own shrink, Sir,' said Jean, approaching his desk. 'His GP is a Doctor Klinet of the Govanhill Health Centre. Klinet says he referred him to a shrink when he was fifteen after having concerns about his mental state, panic attacks, thoughts of death, self harm, that kind of thing.'
'Thoughts of death,' laughed Hartless, 'he's a fucking harbinger of doom.'
'The guy to talk to is a Dr Surefoot, a psychiatrist at the Royal Central Hospital. He's been treating Parker since he was referred. Here's his number.' She handed him a post-it with the details.
'Ok, Jean,' said Hartless, 'good work, thanks.'
After a ten minute call to Surefoot, who wouldn't talk directly about his particular patient, Parker, not without a court order, but insisted on using some fictitious inmate of some la-la-asylum somewhere that may, or may not, have the kind of tendencies that may be similarly expressed in the type of behaviour, someone akin to being afflicted with the illness of the sort, that Parker, should they have been discussing him, but they were not, may have.
He lost his temper with the good doctor, and eventually was told that Parker should really have been committed years ago, at least until they were sure his illness could be fully controlled. But due to cut backs, shortage of facilities, care in the community, and he was deemed to be not dangerous, as long as he took his medication...
Parker, it seemed, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and suffered from delusions, and hallucinations.
Not dangerous. Hartless had laughed at this, described what Parker had been up to recently, and told the Doctor he would make sure his name came out in any enquiry.
He rang off, pissed off and angry, just as Oswalk approached with two cups of coffee. She put one on his desk.
'Extra sugar,' she said, 'get your energy levels up. Looks like you need it.'
'No kidding, thanks.' He looked at his watch, five o'clock, he had been on duty now for fifteen hours solid. He had to get home.
'Parker hears voices of dead poets, and sees people who aren't there,' he said.
They had just got each other up to date on the latest regarding the case, and the hunt for Parker, and decided to finish for the day when the call came through. Jean took the call and relayed the news.
Another murder, this one in Grimeforth Street. Oswalk asked her to give it to some of the other mugs in CID, but something struck Hartless about Grimeforth Street. He leafed through the reports Simon Parker had compiled regarding his alien, and he found it. The alien, or rather Dave Stuart, worked with a security firm on Grimeforth Street.
'C'mon Jenny,' he said, resigned. 'That's our man, again.' There was not even a chance it wasn't that office block, but he asked anyway, and Jean confirmed it. He phoned home to say he'd be late as he and Oswalk left the HQ.
'Trouble?' said Oswalk.
'She wants me to send a recent photo so she can see how much I've changed since she last saw me.'
'We might not be long,' said Oswalk.
How can this guy move about the city so freely when his mug shot is in every newspaper and every news bulletin, wondered Hartless.
It was usually a two minute drive from HQ to Grimeforth Street, but some over eager plod sergeant had cordoned off the full street, junction to junction, and the diverted traffic during the rush hour had caused gridlock in the whole of the city centre. They had eventually abandoned the car two streets away and walked to the scene of crime.
When they got there, they were given some forensic overalls from the back of a squad car, and allowed straight in to the building. As soon as they entered the foyer they saw the smears of dried blood from where the killer had tried to clean up. A bloody mop and bucket stood in a corner.
The victim was lying on his back, face a like a badly sliced tomato, with patches of bone showing here and there, parts of the face had been sliced off entirely. There was no way to identify the body by a photograph, even if they had one, or with a member of the family, if there was one, or even a friend, if any would come forward. There are some sights that you just do not allow an unsuspecting member of the public to see, whether the victim was family or not.
'We still don't know it was our man that did this,' said Oswalk.
'No,' said Hartless, and he picked a bit of crumpled paper up from the floor.
'Anyone phoned Everwatch Security?' Hartless called out, catching everyone's attention.
'Er, me,' said a quiet voice from outside in the foyer.
'He found the victim and called 999,' said the plod sergeant who was first on scene.
'I was supposed to take over at eighteen-hundred hours,' said the security guard, 'but came in early seeing it was his first day on the job,'
'First day on the job,' cried Hartless, 'who is he?'
'I don't know, never met him,' said the relief security guard. 'Dave, the usual man, quit the other day.'
'So,' Hartless, summoned up a great deal of patience, 'that there,' he pointed towards the body, 'is not Dave Stuart?' he asked, and while he was waiting for an answer from the shock racked relief man, he uncrumpled the bit of paper in his hand and read down the page of the job application receipt.
'This appears to be one Benjamin Frisk,' he said. 'We had better find Dave Stuart quick, before the fucking axe man does.'
Next instalment coming soon...
To read this novel from the start go here.
Copyright © Stevie Mach 2013 All rights reserved