King Stephen, the Silver man and Greta the Witch

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Chapter 45 – Hampshire Police

Detective Inspector Amit Chakrabarti now realised that this case had now escalated beyond his pay-grade. He was relieved when the Hampshire Chief Constable said he would take personal charge of the case. The operation now shifted into another gear, and a major incident room was set-up at Blackbushe Airfield.

A Police helicopter arrived and began a systematic search of the area using infrared heat seeking cameras. These could detect bodies hiding in the woods. Simultaneously Police dog handlers began to search the area. Help was requested from the Army. The Royal Engineers had a base nearby at Minley, and they provided six powerful 4x4 military land-rovers with search lights.

This took some hours to organise. The helicopter passed over the thicket that Eustace, the King and a still unconscious Keith were hiding. The operator saw a cluster of 5 large animals, which he assumed were deer. The helicopter flew on.

Armed Police officers rode in the Land Rovers with Army drivers. It was getting dark so they had on full search lights, and the diesel engines roared like lions as the driver navigated the soft ground. They couldn’t have advertised their position better if they tried.

Eustace led the King and the horses through the woods away from the noise and lights of the horseless carriages. He was unconcerned about the tall stranger, he was beginning to wake up, but still lying across the back of the horse. If he fell off, he no longer cared.

As the night drew on, the noise from the horseless cars became less and less. They had water, they had rested, but they were hungry. They needed food. Eustace had not seen any real game, he needed the tall stranger to find them some more food.

They came to another one of those paved roads, and across it was one of those small buildings, that looked similar to the one that Keith had got the hot-dogs for breakfast that morning. In fact it was a late-night Kebab van. There was a glorious smell of cooking coming from it, and Eustace’s stomach rumbled.

Eustace halted the horses beyond the tree line besides the road. There was little traffic at this time of night. He shook Keith and got him to his feet. He grabbed Keith’s belt and was about to march him across the road to the van as he did before. But Keith resisted, he explained to Eustace that he had no money.

Eustace just marched Keith across the deserted road with even more gusto. The Kebab van owners were used to handling themselves, and suspicious by these two walking up to the van. They assumed they were drunks, because they staggered trying to hold on to each other. Drunks walking usually meant trouble, cars were preferable. Under the counter they kept a couple of baseball bats, and the kitchen knives were very sharp.

As Eustace and Keith approached, one called out, ‘How can we help, lads?’

Keith replied, ’three kebabs please’.

‘OK, that will be £15’.

Neither of the Kebab stall holders had moved towards preparing the food, they wanted to be sure that these two were going to pay first. Asking for three kebabs when their appeared to be only two of them, was also a little odd.

Keith didn’t know what to do next, but Eustace did. He let go of Keith, drew his sword and in a practised motion held it against the cheek of one of the cooks. There was little room on the raised dais of the van, and the cook was forced to back against the far wall of kitchen cabinets.

The two cooks were brothers, originally from Turkey. The older brother, who was pinned against the wall by the sword said, ‘Steady on mate, it’s only a kebab.’ He raised his hands in mock surrender.

Eustace said, ‘give me the food, or I’ll run you through.’ There was no mistaking the malice in his voice.

The younger brother was now spurred into action. He became clumsy and nervous in his haste as he tried to cut the meat and fill the pita bread with salad. He said unnecessarily, ‘Chilli sauce?’

Eustace looked at Keith not knowing what he meant, and Keith said, ’No thanks, but we’ll also have three diet cokes’. Keith felt terribly guilty stealing food and drink from the two men, but he was as hungry and thirsty as Eustace and the King. As Eustace marched him away, Keith turned back towards the brothers and shouted an apology, he also promised to come back and repay them later.

Eustace put the food and drinks in his saddle bag and they trotted the horses deeper into the forest to find cover, so they could stop and eat. Keith thought about running, but Eustace would just ride him down. He hadn’t ridden a horse since he was a boy, but somehow managed to mount up and follow Eustace and the King. Good job they did, because as he caught up with them Eustace was about to stab the can of coke with his dagger. Keith showed them how to pull the tab to open the can. They drank and coughed immediately, they had never drunk fizzy drinks before.

Although there were frequent Police vehicles on the road as part of the murder enquiry, the two Turkish brothers didn’t report the incident to the Police. Even though some of the Police officers frequented the kebab van from time to time. They wanted no trouble from the law, their immigration papers and tax returns were not exactly in order.

After they had eaten, the three horseman moved on and presently came to Fleet Pond, which is near Fleet railway station. It was a Sunday night and there was very little traffic about. The set-up a camp where there was good grazing for the horses. Keith was no longer tied up and could have run away, but he knew it was pointless. Eustace would catch him, knock him unconscious or worst still run him through with his sword.

Beside he was becoming fascinated by their behaviour. Were they really from a different time, could that be possible? He slept as best he could. It was cold out in the open. He would have liked to have called his mother to tell her he was alright, but he had left his mobile phone behind. He also needed to explain that he wouldn’t be in work tomorrow morning. He missed his dog.

Eustace left the camp on foot, but the King was awake. Keith figured that the King was probably as adept with his sword as Eustace. He didn’t know where Eustace had gone, but he was gone for half an hour or so.

He came back, leading a woman at knife point and grinning luridly at the King.

They raped her, Keith was horrified. But too scared to interfere. He felt ashamed and disgusted. Eustace knocked her to the ground and held her down, while the King ripped away her clothes and lay on top of her. Then Eustace raped her, but by this time her pleas to stop had dried to a whimper, and she just lay on the ground unresisting while Eustace raped her.

Eventually the woman ran away sobbing, her clothes in disarray. The King snored on the ground, while Eustace dozed with his back against a tree, sharpening his dagger. His look dared Keith to try and run.

Less than a mile away Ellen shot up in bed. She had sensed the girl’s distress as she was captured by Eustace. Then the distress calmed. Ellen also sensed someone else close by, a special man, but for Carla’s sake she buried her feelings deep. Soon Ellen fell back to sleep.

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