Song of the Siren

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Part Four A Horrific Occurrence

Police constables Trent and Cooper pulled the police car to a halt in the parking bay alongside the rocky terrain and waited for the two paramedics to accompany them down the incline towards the cove. A member of the public had called the station to inform them that they had spotted what appeared to be a body on the edge of the cove at the bottom of the rocks. “It’s probably just a large dead fish that’s been washed ashore.” Cooper said to Trent as they neared the bottom of the incline.

“Yes you could be right as...hang on fish don’t wear trousers!” Trent replied and motioned the two paramedics forward. “Steady now guys, jeez it smells bad whatever it is.”

The two constables and paramedics stood looking at a dead man, and the stench, which emanated from it made Trent turn away and throw up. “I think we had better call DI Ward and DS Banner right away. It doesn’t look good at all.” Cooper said as he unclipped his radio.

Ten minutes later, a silver Ford Mondeo came to a halt and the two occupants left the vehicle and made their way down to the cove. DI Richard Ward was 42 years of age, stood at 6 feet 3 inches, was well toned and had handsome chiselled features, and had been married to his wife Jenny for ten years. He had worked hard to become a detective inspector and enjoyed the job even though sometimes it meant long hours away from his pretty wife.

His partner of six years, DS David Banner, was of equal height to DI Ward and as well toned as he was. He was a bit of a rough diamond to look at, but also very handy to have as a friend and partner in the job. Banner was once an amateur boxer so could look after himself. Both men took keeping fit seriously and would spend a couple of evenings a week jogging together. Banner had once been married but with the pressure of the job left his wife feeling isolated and alone too often. He was devastated when he found a note telling him that she had left not only him but the town and would not be back. He knew she must have met someone else as why else would she leave him.

“So what do we have Cooper?” Ward asked as he and Banner walked towards the site where the body lay.

“Well sir, it’s a male aged twenty five or so I would say. It looks like a large fish or maybe a shark has had him. I only say that because of the large bite marks on his torso and legs sir.”

“Have you found any ID on him, wallet or a driving licence?”

“No sir, not as yet. As you can see he is half naked, but I’ve got Trent looking around the area as we speak. The state of the body made him feel a bit queasy sir.” Cooper replied as they neared the body.

Looking at the paramedics at work Ward asked Banner to assist Trent in searching for items of clothing. Turning to the paramedics he asked what they had ascertained what had caused his death.

“Well obviously we would say that he was attacked by a large fish looking at the bite marks on his body. We will know more once we’ve got him to the morgue back at Earlston hospital sir.” spoke the female paramedic whose name badge stated she was called Brenda Booth.

“Well Ms Booth, What I need to know is, did he just go out for a swim? Was he with anyone at the time prior to his death? But mainly, we need to know who he is?” Ward replied as he noted a few points down in his notepad. As he did so, he heard Banner shout him. “Sir, over here, we’ve found his wallet and remnants of clothing.”

The body was placed in a body bag and then placed in the back of the ambulance, which now headed for the hospital in Earlston. Ward and Banner headed back to their office at Earlston police station to try and figure out what exactly had happened to the man and how and why did he end up dead on a beach.

*****

The next morning, Mike Templeton and Jade Stone headed out to the rocks above the cove so Mike could begin his painting of Jade. As Mike drove his car along the road towards the rocks he noted that the area was cordoned off with blue and white tape that had ‘Police – Crime Scene’ printed on it. The area was full of people in white coveralls who appeared to be searching the area. Slowing down Mike spotted a police constable heading towards him holding up his hand in the ‘Stop’ position.

Winding down the car window Templeton asked what was going on. The constable leaned forward, “I’m sorry sir as you can see this is a crime scene. No one is allowed along here or anywhere near the cove until further notice. You will have to turn around and head back to town sir.”

Reversing the car, Templeton drove back into town, “Well that’s put an end to our first painting session Jade. I wonder what’s occurred there, I did hear sirens going through town earlier but thought nothing of it as nothing bad ever happens here.”

Jade looked out of the passenger side window of the car looking at the sea and noticed how calm it was. “Hmm I wonder, maybe someone has fallen from the cliffs or drowned in the sea. What should we do now then Mike?”

“Well its ten thirty, have you had any breakfast yet?” Mike asked as he steered the car into town and parked up in one of the public car parks. They then headed for Café Blanc that was located in Templar Avenue, which was tree lined and one of the widest streets in town. “I haven’t yet and feel quite hungry, do you?” Jade nodded and smiled, she liked Mike’s company and was more than happy to eat breakfast with him and decide on maybe another location for him to paint her.

“No it has to be on the rocks just above the cove Jade. You saw the painting I did of the Siren that Phil Lightfoot bought. Well I did that from my imagination based on the legend of the mermaid or siren, call her what you will. I feel that you have the right look with your exquisite features, long flowing black hair and slim body to be my siren in the painting.” Mike said as he tucked into his breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and beans.

Jade smiled as she ate her poached fish and sweetcorn, “Okay Mike, you win, but how long do we have to wait. Whatever has happened at the cove could take a long time to solve.”

“Well I’m sure while we are waiting for the area to be given the all clear we will get to know each other a lot better won’t we.” He said smiling and gave a little wink. Jade smiled back and nodded agreement.

As the couple sat chatting over a coffee, Liz, the Golden Lion’s owner and landlady was on the phone trying to get hold of Tony Harrison, but could not even get a dial tone from his mobile. She then phoned Jenny Stockwell and asked if she wouldn’t mind coming in to work at short notice. “I know it’s your day off Jen, but I can’t get hold of Tony at all, his phone is switched off. Please Jen, I’ll pay you double time if you do and once it’s quiet you can finish for the day.”

The thought of being paid double time appealed to Jenny as she was planning on getting Phil a nice man’s engagement ring for when their big day arrived. She worked in the supermarket five days a week but as it was low pay, she worked a few evenings a week and the occasional Saturday in the pub. “Alright Liz, just for you, I’ll see you in ten minutes.”

The Golden Lion was at its busiest with locals and holiday makers eating their meals or waiting for them to arrive at their tables. Jenny had just finished serving two customers when she noticed two men walk into the lounge area of the pub who looked official. Both walked up to Jenny and presented their ID cards. “DI Ward and DS Banner, is it possible to speak to Elizabeth Bethany please, it’s rather important.” Ward asked as he slipped his ID back into the inside pocket of his jacket.

“Yes, I’ll get her for you now she’s just having her break.” Jenny replied as she turned from the bar.

As Liz arrived at the bar, both detectives showed her their ID cards and Ward asked if there was somewhere quiet they could go to talk to her. She led them through the back room where she had just been finishing off her lunch. “How can I help you gentlemen?” She asked as she offered them seats to sit down on.

“I believe you have a barman working here called Tony Harrison, is that correct Mrs Bethany?” Banner asked as he took out his notepad and pen.

“Yes I do, he was supposed to be working today but I could not get hold of him on his mobile phone. So I had to ask Jenny to come in. She’s the barmaid you spoke to just before. Is he in some sort of trouble, as it would be odd if he is? He’s always been a good law abiding person.”

Ward spoke up next, “I’m sorry to say this but Mr Harrison won’t be working for you any longer Mrs Bethany as he has been found dead earlier today by the old cove area.” Liz looked ashen with what she had just been told and asked how he died. “It appears he had been swimming and was attacked by a shark judging by the injuries inflicted on him.”

“Oh my god, poor Tony, he was a nice chap who worked hard and kept himself to himself. He would go swimming every day at the leisure centre in Earlston to keep himself fit. Oh my word I can’t believe it.” Liz now took a handkerchief from her jeans pocket and began to stem the flow of tears.

“Do you know if Mr Harrison had any family here in Bethany or elsewhere?” Banner asked and he began jotting notes down in his notepad. “Was he married or have a girlfriend at all as we will need to contact them.”

Liz shook her head, “No he was an only child and his parents died a number of years ago. He never married and had been out with one or two of the local girls a few years ago. He was like a son to me. He told me that he was saving up his money to move into a larger apartment as he collected books and had a vast collection.”

“In that case Mrs Bethany, I’ll have to ask you to formally identify his body. Would you be okay to do that shortly?” Ward asked as both men stood up to leave. Liz said she would and said she would need to inform Jenny and try and get someone else in to help serve in the bar. As she walked into the bar area she told Jenny the sad news and asked if she could ask her friend Elsa if she would help out for an hour as she would have to go to identify Tony’s body. Liz and the two detectives left the pub and once in the Ford Mondeo made their way to Earlston hospital.

Liz confirmed that the body in the morgue viewing room was that of Tony Harrison. Banner drove Liz back to the Golden Lion pub and thanked her again for helping with their inquiries.

Now that meals had finished being served, the pub had grown quiet and it gave Liz a chance to tell Jenny what had happened to Tony. Jenny made two cups of tea and sat down opposite Liz. “I can’t believe Tony is dead, he was such a nice person. I didn’t realise that there were sharks in the area either. It’s never been know before has it?” Jenny asked now wiping her nose and dabbing her tear filled eyes.

“Well that’s what the coroner had written down as the cause of death. But what the police don’t understand is why he would go swimming with his clothes on. Apparently he still had his jeans and underpants on and his wallet was found with the remains of his blood stained shirt near the old cave entrance.” Liz replied as she tried to stop her hand from trembling as she picked up her cup of tea.

“That is strange isn’t it Liz. You don’t think someone attacked him and then pushed him off the rocks into the sea do you?”

“I don’t know what to think Jen. I told the police he was a bit of a ladies man but that he was harmless enough,” Liz wiped her eyes again and drank the last of her tea, “well, we had better get back to work, there’s not much we can do now. It’s up to the police to figure it out.”

*****

Suzie Stapleton had called on her friend and colleague Elaine Pickering for help in trying to fathom out what had caused the lacerations on the male jogger. She could not determine what had caused them and needed help.

Suzie walked over to the cold storage lockers where bodies were kept and opened the metal door on the lower middle row. She then pulled the gurney out of the small area that housed the body that had been stored in a body bag. Both women had white coveralls and masks on. They both pulled on disposable nitrile gloves and Suzie unzipped the body bag.

The coroner and ichthyologist began examining the body closely that now lay on a metal examining table, inspecting the lacerations on the waist and legs. Elaine took a number of photographs and called for a team member to take the camera so that the images could be downloaded onto her laptop.

Continuing to examine the body they carefully turned the body over onto its front. As Suzie passed the electronic camera over the lower half of the body Elaine studied the monitor. Spotting something embedded in the skin near the right hip, Elaine asked Suzie to zoom the camera in so that she could see more of the area. Elaine picked up a pair of large tweezers and pulled something white from the ripped muscle near the hip bone. “My god, it’s a tooth! We need to get this analysed as soon as possible Suzie!” Zipping the body bag up, they placed it back onto the gurney and pushed it back into the cold storage locker.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before Suzie, I’ve tried matching it with all known species of sea life but cannot get a match. It is either something that lives deep down in the oceans or a new breed of land animal that we have yet to discover.”

“But what kind of land animal could it be?” Suzie asked now holding the tooth between her thumb and index finger. “Looking at the tooth I would say it looks like an incisor with a serrated edge to it.”

Suzie passed the tooth to Elaine who now studied it again, “I know you called me here today to give you answers Suzie but at this moment in time I can’t. But one thing I can be confident of is that it has nothing to do with the creature that terrorised Carfax last year. I ran a check on the sharp claw like teeth we found on the bodies, and this looks nothing like the ones from that horror from hell.”

“There is one way we can find out Elaine, I know it’s a long shot, but what if we run a DNA test on it. It’ll take some time but perhaps that will give us the answer.” Elaine placed the tooth into a clear Perspex dish lined with cotton wool and placed the lid over it sealing it tight. Smiling she passed it to Suzie, “Who’s permission do we need to get it tested?”

“Leave it to me Elaine I’ll phone my boss and tell him it’s really important that we get it tested.” Suzie shrugged off the white coveralls, mask and nitrile gloves and placed them into a plastic receptacle ready to be burned, Elaine did the same, “I’ll place the call and then, my good friend, we shall go for lunch I’m famished!”

As Suzie and Elaine walked into the Riverside Inn, they spotted Hector Saint-Sanson and Dan Taylor sitting at one of the tables outside. After ordering their drinks they headed out and asked Hector and Dan if they could join them. Both men nodded and Hector asked if they had any more news on the male jogger. Suzie explained about the tooth found in the muscle of the victim and that they were hoping to get DNA testing done on it. “Why on earth are you doing that Suzie?” Hector asked looking astonished.

Elaine answered for Suzie, “I’ve tried to match the tooth with all known sea creatures and I can’t find anything that looks like it or matches it at all. It could be a new species of sea life or it could be a land animal,” Elaine drank some wine and continued, “I can say for certain that it is not connected to the creature that caused so much havoc here last year. If it was, I wouldn’t be sitting here now, believe me!”

Dan asked what the tooth looked like and Elaine clicked on the ‘gallery’ icon on her phone, clicking on the photos she passed it to Dan. “Hmm I would say it looks almost human, what do you think Hector?” Hector studied the photo and then asked if Elaine could forward the photo to his phone. Once she had Hector’s cell number, she then sent all three photos of the tooth over that she had taken. Hector thanked Elaine and Suzie then announced that he would have to get back to their offices at the old university to look something up. As Dan was driving, he had to leave as well, “so what’s the rush Hector, I thought we were going to have lunch.”

“Lunch can wait for now Dan, this is far more important. If it’s what I think it is then we need to find this thing, creature, as soon as we can!”


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