The story so far:
Pierce entered the main foyer to find two Bobbies in uniform flanking a tall black man with a shaved head.
“Good evening, I’m Inspector Raymond Barrington from the Scotland Yard,” he said, smiling.
“Pierce Connolly,” Pierce said, offering his hand. Raymond took it and squeezed firmly. Raymond was a large man, exceptionally well built with gleaming white teeth and shocking green eyes that contrasted greatly with his dark skin. His suit was almost as nice as Pierce’s and his shoes shined almost as brightly.
“Is there a place where we could sit and talk?” Raymond asked.
“Certainly, follow me,” Pierce said, his heart pounding. He led Raymond and the two uniformed officers to the parlor and sat on the nearest leather sofa. Raymond sat across from him while the uniformed officers remained standing. “May I ask what this is about?”
“We’d like to ask you a few questions about David Thompson,” Raymond said. Pierce’s heart skipped a beat and then began pounding in his chest again.
“What about him?” Pierce asked.
“Were you two close?” Raymond asked.
“Well, we went to school together,” Pierce said, shrugging. “After that we remained friends, we met up for drinks every month or so. Has something happened?”
“I’m sorry to inform you that David Thompson was found dead in his flat this afternoon. An apparent heroin overdose.”
Pierce forced himself to look shocked. How had they found his body so quickly?
“My God,” Pierce said, running a hand through his hair. “Is his family aware?”
“We’re having a hard time tracking them down to be honest,” Raymond said.
“Well his father is in prison, I’m afraid, but his mother is living in Swansea, along with two sisters,” Pierce said. “I’d be happy to contact them.”
“That would be very appreciated, thank you,” Raymond said. “Were you aware of David’s drug problem?”
“No, not at all,” Pierce said. “I never knew that he had done any drugs, much less heroin.”
“You mentioned going to school with Mr. Thompson, would this be the same school you were asked to leave?” Raymond asked. Pierce clenched his right fist at his side.
“Yes,” Pierce said.
“For dealing drugs, correct?”
“Inspector, that was nearly ten years ago and I assure you I did not deal heroin,” Pierce said, his tone going cold.
“I understand. You must realize that I must ask these unsavory questions,” Raymond said, smiling. Pierce relaxed. “You mentioned that Mr. Thompson’s father is in prison, how did he manage to attend the same boarding school as you?”
“I believe he won a scholarship,” Pierce said.
“That would be the Donne Fellowship, correct?” Raymond asked.
“I believe so,” Pierce said.
“Your father set that up, didn’t he?”
“Yes he did, it’s one of his many charitable organizations,” Pierce said.
“So you knew Mr. Thompson before school?”
“No, I met him at school. He just happened to win a scholarship started by my father,” Pierce said. In truth, he had known David since he was ten. It was a shame that his childhood friends kept dying suddenly.
“I see, and when was the last time you spoke with Mr. Thompson?” Raymond asked. Pierce knew that they probably had David’s phone records at this point.
“Last week sometime? We were trying to find a good time to meet up,” Pierce said.
“His phone records show that you’re the last person he talked to,” Raymond said.
“When was this?” Pierce asked, knowing full well that they had spoken two days prior.
“Two days ago,” Raymond said.
“That’s right, we were supposed to meet at our favorite pub but he called to cancel,” Pierce said with a snap of his fingers. “I tried to convince him to come out but he wouldn’t budge.”
“I see,” Raymond said. “Could you give me the contact information for his mother, please?”
“Certainly,” Pierce said, pulling out his phone. “I would be happy to make the call, though. It might be easier coming from a friend of David.”
“Policy, Mr. Connolly,” Raymond said with a helpless shrug. “We have to contact the next of kin ourselves. I’m sure you understand.”
“But of course,” Pierce said, scribbling the number down on a pad of paper. “Here you are.”
“Thank you very much. Here’s my card, if you remember anything,” Raymond said.
“Remember anything? I thought you said David died of a heroin overdose?” Pierce asked.
“Yes, well, as you said, Mr. Thompson was not a drug user, so we are suspecting foul play,” Raymond said, standing. “We’ll be in touch, my men and I can see ourselves out.”
As soon as Raymond was outside and the door was closed he called Emily.
“Em, you better not be pulling my chain, there’s no sign of a little girl anywhere in there,” Raymond said.
“She’s on the roof, going for a swim with our operative,” Emily sighed. Raymond craned his neck up and listened. With concentration, he could hear splashes.
“How the bloody hell was I supposed to know that? Bloody Christ, Em, how am I supposed to get up there now?” Raymond asked.
“Just a sec, Ray,” Emily said. She picked up her radio and queued the mic. “Killer, get Diamond to make some noise.”
Kate sat on the edge of the pool, watching Sarah swim and splash. She glanced over to Miles, who was watching from a few feet away.
“Sarah, can you do me a favor?” Kate asked in a low voice. Sarah looked over and nodded. “I want you to scream as loud as you possibly can.” Kate leaned down and playfully splashed Sarah in the face. Sarah responded by letting out an ear-splitting scream that echoed in the night.
“What happened?” Miles asked, rushing forward.
“She got water in my eyes,” Sarah cried, covering her face dramatically.
Raymond covered his right ear when the screech reached him.
“Jesus, that kid has a set of lungs,” Raymond said into his phone.
“Try hearing it over earphones,” Emily said. “Is that enough, Inspector?”
“I suppose, cheers, Em,” Raymond said, disconnecting the call. He turned and rang the doorbell again. This time Pierce answered, looking annoyed. “Sorry to bother you again, Mr. Connolly, but we just heard a suspicious noise coming from your roof, may we investigate?”
“Suspicious noise?” Pierce asked.
“A child screaming,” Raymond explained. “Do you have any children, Mr. Connolly?”
“None that I know of,” Pierce said with a smirk. Raymond pushed his way through the front door, followed closely by the two uniforms. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Investigating a suspicious noise, as I said, Mr. Connolly,” Raymond said. “What’s the quickest way to the roof?”
“Up the stairs, but there’s really nothing to worry about; my girlfriend is over with her daughter, having a swim, it’s probably just her playing about,” Pierce tried.
“Then there shouldn’t be any problem in us checking, now should there?” Raymond said, hurrying up the steps. The two men in uniform waited for Pierce to follow Raymond. When they reached the roof they stood on either side of the door so no one could leave. Miles looked up at them and went pale. Kate stayed where she was.