Diana Hall was summoned to meet Kubric and the rest of the gang bosses at ten that evening at a house in St. Matthews Parade. When the text came in, she spoke with Foal. ‘I wonder what he wants now.’ She said.
‘Probably wants to give Boucher another bollocking and everybody else a pep talk.’
‘No, it will be more than that. He is short of security at a time when he’s under threat.’
‘How can he be under threat? He doesn’t care who’s in charge of the districts as long as they buy from him.’
‘But don’t you see? Whoever is stepping in Boucher’s shoes is not buying from Kubric. He’s as much in the dark as everybody else. If this trespasser is a city gang, it is a serious threat to his business. No, I think he’s called the meeting to announce new security measures.’ She said.
‘I hope that doesn’t put me out of a job.’ Foal bristled.
‘Don’t be daft. You’re my man. Never forget that. No, it’ll be Boucher, and he’s probably found a replacement for Maric as well. I don’t think he’ll keep Cameron in charge of McVey’s patch for long either, so perhaps he’s found somebody to replace him.’
‘If he beefs up Boucher’s security that will be bad for us. Make it more difficult to grab his patch.’
‘Not necessarily. New people can be turned. We will have to see.’
‘Want me to come along?’
‘You’re not invited to this. Be here when I get back.’
Foal sulked away to his private room. Hall, meanwhile, showered and changed. She left the house at five minutes to ten and took the short route along St.George’s Avenue and then right onto the A5095 and finally left at The White Elephant. The night was clear and dry, but the racecourse was pitch black as she passed it, its contours hidden in the foreboding darkness, only the row of footpath lights visible in the far distance.
St.George’s Avenue was an uncomfortable drive, speed bumps testing her car’s suspension every hundred yards, and she was relieved to reach the lights at the junction of the A5095 where the road flattened out.
Parking along St. Matthews Parade was never easy, but she found a spot on first pass and pulled in quickly in case someone else jumped in. She checked her hair in the vanity mirror and climbed out of the car. The house was directly opposite, a three-storey property with decorated gables and mock Tudor beams. On the ground floor a bay window overlooked a pebbled front garden adjacent to a black tar drive.
A light was on in the hall and the front door was unlocked. Hall entered but had no idea where to go until she heard voices coming from distant room. Several rooms ran off the passageway, right and left, but Hall was unsure which one to enter. The doors to each were closed.
She followed the sound of voices until she was sure she was standing outside the right room. Inside she could hear Kubric and Boucher and McVey. Relieved, she entered and stepped inside.
In the split second before the blow landed on the back of her head, she realised she should not have heard McVey’s voice, he had been arrested days earlier. Had she been conscious she would have been terrified to see the mobile hoist that stood in the middle of the room, and the black plastic spread across the whole of the floor and pinned to the walls. But for a short time, she was mercifully spared those views. However later, she would find no mercy from the occupant of the room.