Paul spent the rest of the morning rushing around at the Yard to get the rest of the case settled as best as he could without their suspect giving evidence as to what was really going on. Paul was frustrated and edgy. He decided not to attend the press conference knowing if he did, he would just end up getting into even more trouble. News of the nonsense spouted after the botched briefing would reach him sooner or later anyway.
Every man that could be spared was on the lookout for Buyden, but there had been no sighting so far – for which he was glad. With a heavy heart he had realised that he couldn’t very well call off the search for Buyden and felt horrible about it. He had no idea what would happen, if the police actually found the vampire before Philippe. He added “armed and dangerous” to Buyden’s description, but wasn’t sure how much good that would do. Something Marcus had told Philippe the night before had made its way to his attention: Marcus had said Buyden could find Naomi, and his expression at that had not been optimistic. He tried distracting himself from thinking down that road any farther, relying on Naomi being with crowds of people for the time being and kept his fingers crossed the sunny weather would hold.
Paul spent a long time on the phone to Rouen and Paris trying for international cooperation on a murder case, was handed from one ‘expert’ to the next, cut off four times and frustrated up to the hilt. He ended up complaining to Interpol about non-cooperation, only to find he was doing so to a French official. The good thing though was that as soon as he mentioned the name of the firm the papers had been about he was connected to someone who finally gave him his full attention, stating that Interpol was very interested in the firm too in connection with arms trading. They would get in touch. Then the connection broke down. When Paul checked the time, he postponed calling them back to a later date and rushed off.
Irritated beyond measure he drove to the funeral – five minutes late – and when he arrived in the last row, found he had left his mobile in his car. This was definitely not a time to go incommunicado, so he raced back for it, and when he’d retrieved it, he saw someone had already tried to call him. He called Brian back at once.
His partner sounded excited. “Good you’re calling, Paul, I’ve just now got word from those ditherers in Rouen. Finally they managed to get around checking on our request for information about that Yvonne creature, Lynd’s new girlfriend. It turns out that Yvonne Chambord is indeed married. She is also a charming lady of 75, no daughter of the same name. But she’s had some trouble recently acquiring a mobile phone because the companies had her name blacklisted for non-payment. Only – she’s never had a mobile phone before.”
“Identity theft, too, now. Damn, who the hell is she? Did we get any prints of the woman?”
“Maybe in Lynd’s flat, but I’ll have to check that out with SOCO. I get her description out to Interpol at once too.”
“Better you than me. And, Brian?”
“Don’t go after Buyden by yourself.” His partner had a family after all.
“The thug who got away yesterday. Be careful, he’s not a nice guy.” The understatement of the month: If Philippe was ready to have Marcus kill a friend just for knowing about them, then Buyden would not have any problem taking out half of Scotland Yard if he came across them in a bad mood.
“I was quite aware of that. I saw you this morning, remember?” Brian hung up, shaking his head. The kid must be losing it. He had looked as if he had been dragged through a hedge backwards when he had come in this morning. Brian had made him change into a clean shirt before the funeral by telling him the sleeve of the one he was wearing was torn and bloody. Paul had complied, and that way Brian had seen that he must have got himself hurt worse than he’d let on in the alley last night when taking out the suspect they had in custody so efficiently. Paul wasn’t commenting on that however, so Brian had decided to let it rest until they finished the case. Then however he would definitely take him to task on the way he was abusing his physical resources.
When Paul rushed back to the funeral, he could see the procession moving to the graveyard. Catching his breath he watched from the shadow of the trees. Naomi was keeping close to Clark as he had told her to, good. He smiled when he remembered her surprised reaction to that piece of advice, but if Buyden was a coward as Philippe said, he would not try anything here in the open with the former quarterback present, vampire or not.
He ran his eyes over the rest of the mourners: he spotted Lynd’s ex-wife and her daughter, and found to his surprise that even Clive Lynd was there in a dark suit flapping around his emaciated body. He was framed by two tall men, one of whom Paul recognised as the orderly from the hospital. The young man looked absolutely distraught, as if it had taken the funeral to make him finally realise that his father was dead. Paul sighed. Maybe this would shake him into sobering up, that way something positive would emerge from this whole superfluous death, but Paul was far too much of a realist to hold high hopes for that.
He dragged his eyes away from the frustrating sight to check the rest of the attendants and was surprised. Right there, one row behind Naomi he saw her: ‘Yvonne’, all dressed in black, watching Naomi attentively. He whipped out his mobile and called Brian with the news. “I’ll try to arrest her”, he left on Brian’s voice mail.
When he looked up again, the service had reached its conclusion, and people were standing around chatting to each other. To his horror he saw Naomi talking to Yvonne animatedly, who seemed to have dazzled Clark as well. Now someone else distracted Clark for a moment, and the women started walking toward the line of cars parked at the curb.
Paul tried to push his way through the groups of people still straggling there, but could not move as swiftly as he would have liked to. It was like in one of those nightmares where you tried going somewhere quickly but couldn’t seem to be getting anywhere. From ten meters away he saw Naomi pushed into the backseat of a dark car. Yvonne was walking around to the passenger side slowly, almost as if she was waiting for something to happen. Paul speed-dialled the Yard and reported a possible abduction, calling for support while he was running toward the cars, stuffing his phone into his back pocket. He arrived just before the vehicle was starting to move, ripped open the back-door to pull Naomi out again – then darkness.
Clark had been looking out for Paul throughout the funeral. He knew the police would keep a discreet distance, but they would make sure they were seen to be there. When he saw some commotion at the line of parked cars, he realized that Naomi was no longer at his side. He said something very un-funeral-like and was tut-tutted at from all sides and rushed to his car for his bag with the phone number.
The phone was answered by a velvety posh-sounding voice (he hoped that this was the right number), and Clark said, “Hi, I’m Thomas Clark. Paul Usher told me to call this number if anything happened to him. He was supposed to be at a funeral this afternoon and did a no-show. Also, his girlfriend’s disappeared.” He heard a sound like crashing furniture, then: “When?”
“Downey? Just now. Usher, I don’t know. Who are you?”
“You would call me the Cavalry. Tell Scotland Yard they might be down an officer.” He hung up.