No Greater Love

Stephanie Cole is a girl who loves the spotlight. She will do anything to get it, anything at all. But when suspicions arise about her life and her being the cause for a former teachers suicide she is all too quick to run from her love of the light. But when she is reported missing it falls to Detective Inspector Henry Quinton and his DC Wilson Drake to find her before something terrible happens. Soon St. Grandorf's school for girls is back to normal and Stephanie is home again yet when she is found murdered there are a number of suspects for Quinton to look at before he can find the true perpetrator of this terrible crime....

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13. I receive word of Stephanie Cole’s reappearance

Chapter Thirteen:

 

I receive word of Stephanie Cole’s reappearance

 

3rd November 1895

 

Once I had enjoyed what I considered to be a rather nice stroll from St. Grandorf’s I was finally back at home for around half past six. I decided that I had earned an extra glass of whisky and it was this along with a quick read of Charles Dickens that I went to bed. Surprisingly it was a very nice sleep. Considering the circumstances and the events of the past few days I had found it rather difficult to get a full nights sleep. However, to my surprise I awoke at seven O’clock and had slept straight through the entire night. It felt good to be fully awake again, instead of feeling like a member of the living dead! It was then that I looked at the clock and saw the time, seven O’clock! But this momentary frantic behaviour soon subsided as I realised that today I wasn’t teaching. For today was a day when the school would go to a local church to receive communion. They would do it once a month every month.

 

Once I had fully awoken and got a quick wash I decided that I would wait until after having breakfast to get dressed. So I slipped on my ruby red dressing gown over my pyjamas and strolled downstairs. I had some milk on the side and decided to indulge in a cup of tea. It was then that I decided to have a full breakfast, this included bacon, eggs, sausages and black pudding. The perfect meal to start of what I was hoping would be an uneventful day. I sat down and read the mornings papers (that I had collected from the hallway) and read them whilst enjoying my breakfast. There was nothing much which caught my eye. However, there was a small article which told me about a girl going missing from St. Grandorf’s. Of course it was talking about Miss. Cole and it was of course littered with false rumours and even had a small “interview” from Mr. Barrows. This too was false as when we had left the station and a man from the newspaper had asked Barrows a question Barrows looked him straight in the eyes and said “I would rather spend a day with rodents than a day with you journalists! Then again we hardly know the difference!” The man had subsequently walked away.

I read the article and laughed. It was then that I heard something, I wasn’t sure what I was but I was sure that I had heard something. I listened with my ears pricked up to pick any vibration. Again the sound echoed through my house. Then I saw the reflection of somebody at the door. I walked through the hall and slowly opened it.

 

“I suppose you had better come in. I’m sorry I’m not dressed but I don’t work today. We all deserve to relax once in a while.”

“Don’t you bother about that sir.” Said the plump young uniformed officer as he waddled through my hallway.

 “What is this about then, Mister-?”

“PC Watkins.”

“Watkins.”

“It’s about the missing girl from St. Grandorf’s”

“Oh come on now. I have just read about that and I’ve had it up to here! I just want to relax. I told Inspector Quinton all that I know.” The anger and frustration burst from me.

“No sir, you don’t understand!”

“Understand what?”

The officer took off his large egg shaped hat and cleared his throat. I waited for a response.

“We’ve found her.” He smiled.

“What?” the shock was overwhelming. I have to confess at this point that I had been suspecting the worst. It had been a small niggling feeling at the back of my brain.

“And we found the – who took her as well!” He still smiled.

For some strange reason I thought of Barrows. I don’t know why.

“Who was it?”

“Some lowlife.”

“So she was taken?”

“Yes. She’s told us everything. She was walking home from school and she saw this man. Apparently he had fallen over, she went to help him. She does a lot for the lower classes you see. Then he grabbed her and took her to his place. Was going to put her into some sort of dirty underhand ring and…”

I interrupted.

“What do you mean “dirty underhand ring”?”

He starred straight into my eyes and I could sense something was in the air, something dark, something awful and something so disgusting that you would go to hell if you were associated with it.

“Prostitution.” He sighed.

“But she’s only a young girl?!” I protested.

“I know. Then he was leading her down towards the river to meet a “friend”. Just so happens that he leads her passed the police station. She runs in and he comes in after her. She was in tears. We’re going to put him away for the rest of his dirty little life!”      

“What was this fellow’s name?” I asked.  

“He doesn’t have one. He says he’s one of those toshers.”

“A nice little business apparently.” He agreed with me.

“So he says his name is Scruffy.” Watkins chuckled as he said this.

“Scruffy?” My face was riddled with confusion.

“I know. What does he take us for?” Again a little chuckle.

“Well thank you for that Watkins. I’m sorry that I snapped at you.” I held out a hand. He shook it and said…

“Well we’re sorry for all the trouble that we have caused you. Good day sir.” He walked towards the hallway before I shouted…

“Where are you going now?”

“I’m off to tell Mister Barrows.” Then I heard the door slam shut.

I looked down at my half eaten breakfast, it was cold and greasy. An uneventful day, you wish! I thought as I went back to reading the mornings newspapers.

 

 

 

 

 

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