C A I N
I couldn't get Max out of my mind.
I needed to concentrate more than ever at work too, so my brain was at full capacity. The night I'd spent in the bar had been fucking pointless- clearly the wise guys knew we would be sniffing around there after our little show last week.
Harry burst through the door, his caffeine fuelled eyes wide and excited.
"I got a break!"
"As in?" I demand, sitting up straight. Harry is pacing around the office, glancing past me at the window that overlooks the street below.
"As in, a description of an address," Harry crows, lifting his phone up to read an email. "The victim told our guys today that she didn't want to go back to the 'hole in the ground', right?"
Harry is trembling with excitement, yet I'm waiting for a description of somewhere that isn't generic.
"So we are all like, she must mean a basement, right? How many fucking basements are there-"
"Harry, spit it out," I yawn, praying he really has got a break in this case. I hadn't slept properly since- fuck. Since I'd slept with Max.
No, Cain. We aren't going there.
"You're an impatient fucker, you know that?" Harry curses at me, before continuing.
"So, the girl said that she had tried to run a few weeks back; that's why she was beaten so badly."
Harry pauses when I frown.
"She ran? What did she see?"
"The golden question. These girls were normally blindfolded, taken down into the basement, and then the same again whenever they were taken out," Harry pauses, before nodding at me. "She saw everything."
Harry grins, before picking his phone back up.
"There were no houses for miles around. All she could see were fields, in every direction. But then she saw a restaurant, and she screamed for help. The restaurant was closed, but she got close enough to tell us that it was called The Greene."
I'm not sure I've heard him right.
"The Greene?" I echoed.
Harry nods, folding his arms across his chest.
"The Greene has been closed down for fucking years-"
"I know this," Harry snaps, before tapping away on his phone. "According to Google maps, there is nothing around that place for miles. The girl came from a hole in the ground, Cain."
"No house," I whispered, the realisation dawning on me. "The bastard had them underground?"
"We need to go," I command, jumping up. "Wait, how the fuck is she alive? Why didn't they kill her?"
Harry grimaced then, and I knew I wasn't going to like his answer.
"Because she was still able to earn them money. It was only when she passed out in the street after a punter that they drove off and left her for dead," Harry says gravely.
"The fuck?" I snarl, desperate to get this prick sent down.
"Luckily for her, a neighbour was having a little party of some kind, and they all rallied around her. The scum clearly didn't want a scene, so they fucked off."
We are both silent then, knowing how bad it could've been for the young girl. I had no doubt she had been left for dead because she was close to death, but if word got out that she was alive, she wouldn't be for very long.
"We need to go there, now!"
"People are already there with the dogs," Harry explains. "If she is to be believed, the women are left unattended until they have a...job to do."
It kills me how evil some people can be. Leaving a bunch of young women, cold and scared underground, in a country where they didn't understand the fucking language just stuns me. Then to drag them out to fuck some disgusting man- or worse- men- just turns my stomach.
The whole ride there my knuckles are white, my fury blurring my vision.
"Slow down, dickhead. This isn't a racing track, it's a road used by civilians-" Harry scolds.
"I'm driving, Harry," I mutter, shooting him a dark look.
The traffic is heavy, and I almost get out and walk. It's always the same whenever I want to be somewhere- traffic delays, left, right and centre.
Harry's phone rings, and he barks his name as a way of greeting, as I glance at him impatiently. His face breaks into a smile, before patting my shoulder.
"Drive like a bat out of hell, Cain. They've found them."
I didn't need telling twice.
Two hours later I'm finally back at the station. Paperwork upon paperwork beckons, and despite the relief I should feel at finally finding those women, a nagging sensation tugs at my core. Harry was still at the scene, which was now devoid of any victims. One of us needed to be here, and I had volunteered.
Why had it taken a woman to get a lucky escape for us to find them? Why didn't we have any fucking leads on them? How could we protect and serve when we just relied on the bastards slipping up?
I try to focus on the paperwork, but my mind is filled with the fear and misery I'd been greeted with tonight upon entering that hell hole. I lean back in my chair, wondering if I would ever sleep again.
"Cain. You look like shit; go home."
The voice of my captain fills the office, which isn't hard considering there's only me and him here.
"You did well tonight, you and Harry. You make a great team."
I lift my eyes up to see Nigel Hatherway nodding his approval my way. He was a slight man, with a nose too big for his face and eyes that were narrow and beady. You wouldn't cross him though; not if you valued your job. He was the sort of man who had connections; he knew the right people. He could get you dismissed by the book if he were so inclined; so I just did what he said.
"OK, Cap," I yawn, sliding the lid onto my pen, allowing it to rest on the top of the pile. "I'm beat."
"Take tomorrow off. Go have dinner with a pretty lady. Watch the sunset. You know, civilian shit."
A smile plays on my lips as I stand up feeling in my pocket for my car keys. My fingers rest against the familiar metal, and I relax.
"I prefer real life."
"Well, don't forget to live, Cain. Otherwise you die first."
I nod, glancing around me, more out of habit than anything else. As usual, my desk was a tip. I wondered if Cap knew I was day drinking occasionally. I wasn't exactly discreet.
I leave the station, my mind still clouded with the scenes from earlier. The guilt of not finding these girls earlier returns, and I stand at my car, staring into the empty car park.
I'm not sure what to do with myself, the sudden freedom making me feel even more lonely and isolated from society and its tedious expectations. What if, instead of going on a date with a pretty lady, and watching the sunset, I wanted to get fucked up on whiskey and cocaine? Was that acceptable?
Hell no. It wasn't acceptable from anyone, let alone a detective of the law.
Maybe I should get a dog.
My mind flickers back to Max, but instead I'm dialling a number that still brings me warmth everytime I hear it.
"Hey, Ma," I say fondly, slipping into the driver seat. I turn the engine, and listen as my Mum's homely voice crackles through my car speakers.
"Ah, you remembered I'm still alive?"
"I'm driving down," I announce, smiling when she claps her hands together. "I hope that's alright?"
"Baby," Mum croons, "this is your home. You don't even have to ask."
My own house didn't feel like much of a home, not like the house I grew up in. I knew that within the grey panelled walls, in the room at the far back of the house, there would be lines drawn on a door frame. The paint would be cracked and tired, but the lines drawn were made first by a pencil, then with a permanent marker. Mum had lost her shit when she saw it, but soon enough she was examining the change in my height.
Mum would tell me I wasn't her cute little boy anymore; I was her handsome man. She was so proud when I became a police officer, and couldn't believe how quickly I climbed the career ladder.
Detective Cain Harvey by day, player and adulterer by night.
Mum never once asked me about my relationships, nor did she mention grandchildren. I knew she wanted them, but I just wasn't ready for that.
Before I set off, I pull my phone out to text Max.
Cain: Hey beautiful. I'm going to see my family for a few days, but I wanted to tell you I've not forgotten our date. Don't get married on me, will you? I need to take you out at least once.
I slide my phone onto its holder on my window, eyeing it suspiciously. Since when did I watch my phone for a reply?
I needed to get out of town for a bit; clear my head. My phone alerted me to a message and I almost stalled my car when I saw it was from her.
Max: Are you ok? Heard about the case from Char. And yes, you still owe me that date. Enjoy your family time.
More perfection from the enigma that was Max George. I'm doomed.