CXVI:Secrets Broken

By: Angie Smith



Acknowledgements


With special thanks to my husband for his endless support and input, to my daughter for her ability to spot the gremlins, to Laura (a star beta-reader), and to countless bloggers, readers and fellow authors – you know who you are. A special mention must go to Tracy and the members of THE Book Club on Facebook and of course Nicky Handcock (Pentire proofreading) and last but not least Karri (Cover Art by Karri Klawiter) for her tremendous covers. Without all of you this would not be possible.





Prologue


A Brief Résumé



Detective Superintendent Greg Woods and Detective Sergeant Maria Barnes have been on the hunt for Freddy Williams, a serial killer responsible for numerous murders. The deaths have been linked by Roman numerals and to the wealthy Pauline and Gerrard Crean. After an extensive, complex investigation which has been hindered and manipulated by Faulkner-Brown, of the British Intelligence Service, Woods and Barnes finally uncover the shocking truth. They arrive in Manchester, where Barnes is convinced Williams is holed up with two hostages - the former Home Secretary, Guilford-Johnston, and the intelligence officer, Jonathan Plant. They plan to free the hostages and capture Williams alive, without any interference from the intelligence services, which they understand intend to assassinate Williams before he reveals any more of their secrets.



“Which building is it?” Woods asked, looking at the long line of Victorian terraced properties.

Barnes pointed across the road four doors down. “Where the white Transit’s parked. A recruitment agency has the ground floor; Bedford’s office is on the first. I’m not expecting anyone else to be in the building at this time of day.”

He acknowledged the comment. “Come on, get the car jack,” he said.

They jumped out and she opened the boot. She lifted up the spare wheel, unclipped the jack and grabbed it. “Do you want to call for backup?”

He smiled. “Let’s do this on our own.”

At 7.55 p.m. they crossed the road; it was a quiet Sunday evening and virtually deserted, with only the occasional vehicle driving past the junction at the opposite end to where they had parked. They quickly made for the Transit and Barnes crept down the side of it, arriving at the rear of the property first. She paused while Woods checked the surrounding area. He nodded a go-ahead and she keyed 2467 in on the door lock. She carefully opened it and they tip-toed in; she pointed him in the direction of the staircase.

Just at that moment they heard a noise which appeared to have come from the basement. “What was that?” Woods mouthed, stepping back into the shadows of an alcove.

She joined him and they both stood motionless, listening intently. After several seconds of silence Woods gently tapped her on the shoulder. “Probably the central heating boiler,” he said quietly. “Let’s go.”

“Top of the stairs, first door on the right, brass plaque,” she whispered.

They ascended the stairs in silence, arriving on the landing.

Woods looked around. “Ready?” he mouthed.

She nodded.

Woods went to the far end of the landing as she stood to the side, holding the car jack firmly in her right hand. He ran and hurled himself at the door. The crack of splintering timber around the lock, combined with the thud of him colliding with the door echoed down the staircase. He crashed into the room yelling, “Police! Get down! Get down! Get down!”

Barnes ran in behind him and as he rolled to the right she made to the left. Williams clutched an ACP45 semi-automatic pistol and was aiming at Woods who was on the floor heading towards Plant. She raised her right arm and, using all her strength, lunged at Williams’ head.

The blow sent him crumbling to the floor, but he had discharged his weapon. She froze when she heard the thud of the bullet leaving the silencer.

Woods groaned in pain, but his momentum kept him moving and he ended up alongside Plant’s chair. He put his left hand to the wound in his right shoulder as he kicked the drip-stand over and the demijohn crashed to the floor. It didn’t break, but the contents would no longer be discharging on to Plant’s forearm.

Barnes, who’d realised Woods was injured, dived on the floor and grabbed the gun Williams had dropped. She jumped up, quickly switched off the power on the recording camera and trained the weapon on Williams; he was down, dazed and trying to stem the flow of blood from the gash on the side of his head.

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