Tariq sat in the driver’s seat of his new car. Business was good and the trade in the girls had been very good indeed. He had been able to buy this car comfortably and with cash. Walking into the show room with cash in his hand was a feeling he will never forget. He knew he had arrived. He was firmly established as a main player on the scene now. This car was a symbol of his ascension to management of the business. The daily running of most of the affairs would now be left to the lad. The seat was so comfortable, it managed to retain style and comfort. The full grain leather was a deep and lustrous plum red. He had collected the car and taken it straight to an associate’s garage where some new alloys had been fitted. The lower profile tyres gave the jaguar a slightly more sporty edge. The thought of the big Audi or Mercedes four by four had receded when he had set eyes on the new XF. He wore a smart Western suit but with no tie and a pair of ray ban sun glasses. The reinvention of Tariq Hasni was nearly complete. In a few years’ time his part in the Acheron street gang would have been forgotten and he will be a wealthy and successful businessman in the thriving Asian community of Scunthorpe.
“Do you like it then Kazzy?”
“Oh yes uncle, it is befitting of a man like you.” Kharon had become quite used to giving the correct and overtly respectful answers. He knew that if Tariq heard what he wanted to he would be more likely to make sure that Kharon got what he wanted. Kharon thought it was an old white man’s car.
“You don’t think that it is a car for old men?” It was as if Tariq could read his mind.
“No uncle. But normally only older men, who have made lots of money in business can afford a car like this”.
“Wait until we got on the motorway on the way to Rotherham tonight, she just purrs along nice and fast and quiet”. Tariq admired himself in the mirror. Part of his new persona was a pencil line beard and moustache. He liked the look.
“Uncle, the girl will be expecting your old car. I will text her that we will be coming in this.” Kharon sought approval.
“After that she will go in your car.” Tariq said quietly as he started the jaguar.
“I don’t have a car yet, Uncle. I want to save for a nice car”
Tariq opened a small compartment in his door pocket and withdrew the keys for his BMW. He handed them to Kharon.
“It is yours, you are doing good work and I want you to have it now. It will help you run the streets for me. You look after me and I will look after you.” Tariq spoke quietly as the two men made their way out of Scunthorpe and towards Scawby where they would be picking up Sarah.
“Thank you uncle. You can count on me.”
They drove quietly for a few minutes and as they powerful car sprung onto the open road of Mortal Ash Hill Kharon spoke, “Uncle, did you say we are going to be going to Rotherham?”
“Yeah, Abdi has a unit there. Sarah is going there tonight. The night is going to be filmed and we have got a couple of guys coming in for it. The guys are Somali niggers with massive cocks. The film will make us a fortune and then the old mates of Randy Ranji can have their fun”.
Kharon didn’t know that Abdi had a unit in Rotherham, but he was not at all surprised. He had told the kaffir whore to just wear a tracksuit because they were going out and that he would arrange her wardrobe. He had her clothes in a bag. She could dress in the car on the way. She would be wearing makeup already, these white trash whores always wore the shit.
They drew up and parked in the car park of the village hall in Scawby. Sarah and Brandon ran from behind the building and over to the car.
They approached the car and as they did so Tariq opened the driver’s window a few inches. He looked at Sarah and then at Brandon. He spoke whilst looking directly at Brandon, “Not you, only her”.
“Ok”, he replied, he looked crushed.
Sarah got into the back of the car and as soon as she did Kharon’s visage changed. “Hello, baby girl.” He flashed her a too white grin. She blushed.
“This is my uncle.” He continued.
“Hello uncle” she said to Tariq, she was trying to engage Tariq, but unsuccessfully. Within a couple of minutes they were on the M180 heading towards their destination, all three remained quiet.
“In that bag on the back seat is a dress, put it on.” Kazzy said.
“Ok” she took out the dress and slipped it over her head. “It’s pretty”.
“Take of your panties and bra and put them in the bag.” Kharon commanded quietly.
She did as she was told to do by Kharon.
“Did you shave your minge like I told you too?” He asked matter of factly.
“Yes, I did” she flushed again as she replied.
“That’s a good idea, did you think of that Kazzy?” Tariq asked Kharon.
“Yeah, they will like it”. Kazzy was proud of his thoroughness.
Tariq nodded appreciation.
“Am I going to work like Nadia does tonight?” Sarah asked.
“What do you mean sweetness?” Kharon turned to her, this was not expected.
“Well, you know, as an escort, turning tricks?” She continued.
“Yes, you are”. He replied.
“Hmm, ok” she replied, and took a stick of gum from her purse and popped it into her mouth to chew.
“Do you watch Hollyoaks?” she asked Kazzy.
Kazzy told her he did not, she turned to face him as she slipped her sweatshirt over her head. “Well, Mercedes has stolen some money…”
She was cut short by Kharon. “Shut up and get changed, I don’t want to hear about that bullshit”
Nadia: they have taken a girl to Rotherham. Her name is Sarah. She is just a kid.
Stu: Have you told the cops.
Nadia: I can’t they will send me back to Romania.
Stu: Can I tell Pol?
Nadia: yeah, it’s not from me.
Hicks put his phone back in his pocket. Since the attack on Di he had not been out much. He wasn’t training much and Di needed all of the help she could. The ligaments would take a long time to heal properly. She might always walk with a limp after this.
“Who was the text from, Stu?” Di asked.
“It was from Nadia, she told me they have taken another kid to Rotherham for their fun and games, bastards.”
“How old is she?” Di sat with her heavily bandaged leg elevated.
“I don’t know, just a kid, Nadia says”.
“Mmm, what are you going to do about it?” Di asked.
“I will give Pol a ring I am sure that he will be involved in the search for her. Maybe he can steer the cops in the right direction and get this kid found before it all happens to her.”
“Yeah, I think you should, babe.”
Hicks lifted his phone from his pocket and dialled Pol. Pol answered quickly.
“Hello mate,” Pol greeted his old friend.
“Yeah, I am fine, you ok?”
“Yeah, Alright mate, you know, trying to get by the best I can. How is Di’s leg, Sticks?” Pol asked. He had been really shaken up by the news that Di had been attacked. But he also knew that he would need to keep Hicks held in check. If Hicks had instantly acted on the information they had shared in their evening swim and taken out the attackers it could easily have compromised them both.
“Mate, she is struggling now, she has got it bandaged up an it is really playing her up”
“Fuck, what do the doctors say, Stu”
“The NHS are shit, Pol, they just seem to fob her off all of the time. I wish I was still in the mob, we could have her into a military hospital and get this leg sorted out” The emotion was strong in his voice.
“Look Pol, I need to tell you about some shit that them bastards are doing.” Continued Hicks.
“What is it, sweat?”
“Mate they have taken a kid called Sarah to Rotherham, they are going to rape her over there.” Said Hicks.
“Ok, who told you?”
“It was Nadia, but she can’t have her name involved because she is an illegal.”
“Yeah, know the kid she is from the kid’s home, she has been reported missing by them. It was her brother that was involved in the beating of Di”. Pol had suspected this had happened when he came on duty and seen the missing person incident report.
“Mate, will you be able to do anything about keeping the cops away from that bastard Brandon? He has an appointment with fate that I am going to take him to”, asked Hicks.
“He is just a kid Stu.”
“He was man enough to cripple my wife, he is man enough to take what is coming to him for it”.
“Yeah, I will have everyone working in the alley ways around West Street and Acheron Street whilst they are looking to find Sarah. They are coming on duty at three, I will have them out there and doing searches after four. My guess is that Brandon will make his way into the memorial gardens out of the way of the police.”
“Ok, Pol, I will see how it looks and try and catch him alone about then or maybe a bit later. Will you text me any change of plan?”
“Yeah sure I will, now you be safe Stu.”
“Yeah, Pol, you too”
When the call was terminated a full recording was sent, as an attachment to Mr Black.
Pol was rostered to work a late shift. As he pulled into the staff car park of the station he noticed a silver ford Mondeo in the front car park of the station. He rode slowly round to the bicycle shed and placed his machine on its centre stand. He was glad to have the shelter to place the bike under the sky look black and pendulous. The weather was close and humid, the weight of the air signified the coming storm. He pulled his helmet and walked to the rear fire door of the station. As normal it was propped open with a fire extinguisher. He stepped into the station and the heat hit him. The new stations had not been built with air-conditioning.
George was sat at his desk, he was dunking a digestive biscuit into a large mug of tea with surgical precision. “Afternoon, Sergeant Winchester, how is that old moped of yours going?”
“Alright, George. How are you doing, old timer?” Pol replied with a wry smile.
“I’m alright, there is a bloke in the front office to see you, don’t know who the fucker is but he looks like some sort of SB or Crime Squad wallah to me.”
“Right O, mate. Just give me a few minutes to get my shit together.”
“Yeah, ok Sarge, I will brew up for you”
“Cheers buddy,” Pol stepped into his office and stripped off his leathers. He wondered who the visitor was. George was likely to be right about crime squad or branch, not much got past him.
When George came in with his tea Pol asked him to show the guest in.
“Come in, please.” Pol stood up and extended his hand to offer a chair to the man. Pol thought he could be an insurance salesman or any number of other things. He wore his dark brown hair short and side parted. He wore a pair of black rimmed spectacles. A simple patterned dark blue tie and a dark charcoal suit. It was a nice suit but not tailor made.
“My name is Mr Black, i am from the home office”.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Black. I don’t often get visitors from the home office, are you from Her Majesties Inspectors?” Pol had heard that sometimes the HMIC would pay a visit to an officer that might be a little outspoken in person to avoid being fed the party line again.
“No, I am not. Is that your machine in the back garden? Let’s pop out and have a look at it, I like motorbikes.” Pol understood this. Mr Black wanted to step outside out of the office, he feared that there might be some sort of listening devices in the office. The two men stepped into the back yard of the station and walked languidly together to the bike shelter.
“Pol, do you mind if I call you Pol?”
“No, I don’t really care.” Replied Pol.
They stood beside Pol’s machine. “Who are you and why are you here?” Pol looked directly at Mr Black.
“I am from a department that investigates corruption at the very highest level, Pol.”
“Right, go on…”
“I have been reading the intelligence reports and the informant contact sheets from this area. I have been paying close attention to your suspicions and have caused some further work to be done on it by our people. The thing is Pol, you are onto something.” Both men were quiet for a second and then Black continued.
“It seems that the rot goes very close to the top. Your people know what is going on, but they can’t stomach dealing with it. They know the top players are in the circle but they won’t deal with them because it will be too embarrassing for them.” Black paused.
“Yeah, that’s what I guessed.” Said Pol. “But I didn’t really think it was true”
“Well, Pol, they will be watching you pretty closely. You have to be very, very careful. Pol, don’t put any more information through normal channels. You can’t trust them. Everything you say will go to the top and they will not allow you to expose key members of the Divisional Equality Council.”
“Ok, where do we go from here?” Pol asked.
“You talk to me, me alone. Not Dc Watson. Not the Intel Bureau. Don’t talk to your Inspector about this.”
Did that mean that Pol’s trusted friend and boss, Phil Robinson was also involved in the corruption? Pol found it very difficult to believe that could be the case. Phil was a young bloke, not hugely experienced but his morals and principles had always been above reproach. Moreover, Pol trusted Phil.
“Does Inspector Robinson know about this shit then?” Asked Pol.
“I don’t know, but I know that he seems to be reporting on you to the DCI.”
“Right, I see”.
Mr Black left the station in his non-descript car and left Pol sat in his office. Pol’s mind spun and raced as all of the possibilities seemed to come and go in front of his eyes. He knew that what he had been doing was right bit now he realised how close he was to the truth. Should he try and press on against these people and expose them for what they were? He thought about going to another police force and speaking to one of the senior detectives there. But it was all an old boys club, they probably played golf together and drank in the same lodge. His pathway had never seemed to obscure. The direction he should take was obvious to him. He should push this home and ensure these people got what they had coming to them. They had entered into the dark and sordid world of sexual exploitation of young girls. There could be no accepting of that insidious trade. The senior officers that were complacent in this abuse were as guilty as the criminals. It was beyond Pol how they could just turn a blind eye to the cruelty and suffering that this cruel trade precipitated. Soon the rest of the team would be coming into the station he would deploy them into the Acheron Street area. He knew he was wasting his time and their time, he knew that young Sarah was in Rotherham. If he disclosed what he knew then he would expose Nadia and he was not prepared to risk her.
Pol walked out of his office and through the main office on the station’s ground floor. He passed George without saying a word to him and went up the stairs to the kitchen. The inspector was sat at his desk he was fully engrossed with his computer. Pol made himself a mug of tea and made another for the inspector. He took the steaming mugs through to his boss.
“Hello Pol, how are things?”
“Alright, you know, not so bad.” Pol replied cagily.
The inspector sensed the change in Pol’s demeanour and looked up from his computer.
“Boss, I have fitted some new pieces to my bike, come and have a look.” The inspector looked quizzically at Pol when he said this. Phil had never expressed an interest in motorbikes before and this was out of the blue. Pol winked his right eye.
Phil was puzzled and clearly quite intrigued by this. Without saying another word e got up and followed Pol into the yard of the station and together they walked over to the bike shed.
“What is up Pol?”
“I can’t trust the security inside, boss. I don’t know if the offices have listening devices in them”. Pol replied. He knew, as he said it that he sounded paranoid. Like some kind of conspiracy theorist.
“You are having a fucking laugh, Pol”. Replied the inspector.
“Boss, I respect you and I am loyal to you. We are friends as well as work colleagues. Please trust me on this”.
“Phil, I had a visitor today, he confirmed my suspicions about the young girls is true. But he said other things as well.”
“Ok, who was it?” Asked the inspector.
“I can’t tell you, but I can tell you that the missing girl from Scawby kids home has gone to Rotherham as a part of the abuse ring. I can tell you that Abdul Mohamed from the youth centre is big in this, he runs with Tariq Hasni. I can tell you that our people know all about this. But they are all in bed with each other and don’t have the stomach to front the fuckers up”.
“You know that Abdul is part of the Divisional Equality Council?” asked Phil.
“Yeah, of course I do. That’s why they are scared of outing him I guess”.
“He swims with the big fish” The inspector observed cautiously in tone.
“Yeah he does, look Phil, I won’t talk about this with you anymore. I don’t want to put you in a position.” Pol turned and walked away. The inspector, stood alone in the yard. He took a sip of his tea whilst he tried to digest the conversation he had just had and then slowly headed back inside and in to his office.
The next morning Sarah came home from Rotherham. She was taken straight to Nadia’s flat by Kharon. The fourteen year old girl was carried between Kharon and Abdul. Her small frame was light and easy for the two men to carry between them. She was alive and partially conscious. When she had been finished with she had been put in the back of the car. Kharon had given her something for the pain immediately. She was taken to a flat in Rotherham where she passed the night in and out of opiate consciousness on a towel on the floor. She was not sure if she was in a nightmare or reality. The light came and went. In the early hours Kharon gave her more heroin for the pain. She subsided into a torpor and became comfortably numb. She would remember nothing of the journey back to Scunthorpe on a plastic sheet in the back of Tariq’s car.
Nadia looked at the child the two men had brought to her flat.
“Put her on the sofa, it is leather, it will wipe clean.” Her mind screamed outrage and hatred towards the men in front of her. She knew better to express is and give them an excuse to hurt her again and again. She also needed to try to protect this child.
Tariq and Kharon dropped her on the sofa and walked out of the flat, they said nothing more to Nadia. They would be busy today. They would have to get the distribution network in motion to get the maximum profit from the DVD. The money would come in to Tariq’s account by an electronic transaction later in the morning. He had asked Ranjit to use cash to avoid any kind of trail being left by the money, crumbs to be followed. Ranjit didn’t like to use cash, he said businessmen don’t carry thousands of pounds around in cash.
She was so small, so fragile. Her face was streaked by tears. Her heavy makeup had run down her cheeks and into her dirty hair. Her bottom lip was swollen and there was a trace of blood at the corner of her mouth. She was in a short dress that was smeared with blood and other stains. The tops of her naked thighs were streaked with dried blood. There was no fresh running blood so she did not need emergency treatment. The hospitals were not safe for her. Nadia covered the frail and torn body with a blanket.
Pulling up the foot stool near her to girls head Nadia started her watch. She watched the child as she was wracked by shudders. Shudders of visions surfacing from the depth of the nightmarish world she travelled through. Sometimes Sarah wept as she slept, Nadia stroked her face and hair tenderly as if Sarah was her own child. “It will be ok, I am here I can protect you”, She spoke softly and hoped some of her words would penetrate the fog and reach the child inside.
Nadia: The girl Sarah is with me. She is alive
Stu: I will tell Winchester
Nadia: They really hurt her. I don’t know if she will be ok.
The morning sunshine gave way to the warmth of the afternoon and as the evening started to descend Nadia noticed the first signs of awakening from the girl. She groaned with pain and turned to her side. She pulled her knees to her chest and clasped them tight to her chest. She sobbed, the quiet and helpless sobs of one deeply hurt.
“Sarah, I am here.” Nadia stroked her face again, she moved the girl’s hair from her eyes and wiped the tears away.
“Oh Nadia, I hurt.” Sarah gasped through the sobs.
“I know, little bird. I know”
“Can I have something for the pain, I need something.”
Nadia felt the despair wash over her as the need for heroin was washing over Sarah.
“Try to be strong and I will help you feel better soon” Nadia tried to calm the girl. She knew the bastards would have given her heroin for the pain. To start the addiction and make her their property. She would depend on them for her heroin, it would be another way they would exploit her. She would have to work for them to earn enough to pay for her habit.
“My pussy and my bum hurt so much, Nadia. These two big men were there and I was filmed as the fucked me. They were too big for me and they have hurt me.” She covered her face with her hands as she spoke.
“Sarah can I look to see if you need to go to hospital or anything?” Said Nadia tenderly.
“Yes,” In a tiny voice.
“Turn the other way on your side and pull your knees right up.” Nadia placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
Sarah did as Nadia asked and pulled her knees up. Nadia gently rolled the blanket from the girl and then rolled her dress up. She tried to keep her emotion and outrage in check as he looked over the girls most intimate areas. Sarah’s anus was torn in two places, but they were not so bad to need stitches. Nadia would be able to treat them with anti-bacterial wash. Sarah’s vulva and pubic area was mottled with purple bruising and inflammation. There was a large amount of semen seeping from her vagina. Nadia felt the raw gnaw of her anger welling into tears.
“Sarah, you will need to go in the sower as soon as you can, wash their filth from you. I have some stuff for you to wash yourself in. I will get you some painkillers”
“Can I have what Kazzy gave me for the pain?” Asked Sarah.
“That was heroin, they gave it to you too make you work for them.”
“I don’t care what it was, I really need it badly”.
“Let’s get today out of the way and tomorrow we will start again, one day at a time now”. Nadia tried hard to keep her calm.
That night Nadia found Sarah a tracksuit to wear and they phoned out for a pizza delivery. They sat together and watched MTV, ate pizza and drank coke. They laughed together as they both tried to forget what had bought them and bonded them together. At the end of the evening Nadia made up the sofa bed and settled Sarah in for the night. She knew that if Sarah could get through the night it would be a small victory, tomorrow would be another battle and tomorrow night would be another battle. It might be many years before the war against the desire, so recently set, for heroin passed. Each day was a challenge for her. Nadia hoped to be able to guide Sarah through and maybe; just maybe, if she won more than she lost then she would not end up as another faceless, nameless whore working the streets and descending into the darkness and oblivion that had closed over so many like water closing over a diver as they plunged to the depths.
At two in the morning Nadia woke to use the toilet, it was unlike her to wake like this, maybe something disturbed her. She felt uneasy and shaken, she struggled to identify what made her feel this way. She swung her muscular legs out of the bed and walked lightly through to the lounge. Sarah was not on the sofa bed, the tracksuit was gone.
“For fuck sake, you stupid girl! Why have you done this?” Nadia slapped the palms of her hands down on the work top. She felt the tears of anger well up inside her. She knew that Sarah was in the clutches of the gang and escape would be so tough.
Nadia: Sarah has gone out on the street.
Hicks: Ok, when did she go?
Nadia: I don’t know
Nadia sat down in the alleyway behind Frodingham Road. She had two punters in the hour since she had been back on the street. She was sore and in pain. The punters had used her and had given her the money for the pain of the tears deep inside her body. She sat with her face in her hands. Curled up with knees clasped to her chest. She looked small, lost and alone amongst the waste and debris scattered in the alleyway. The nightshift at the steel works provided the deep roaring mechanical sound track to the scene. The clouds reflected the orange light of the blast furnace smelting iron. The fine mist in the air also reflected the light of the furnace. The town was illuminated in the halo of the hellish heat of the furnace.
The mist slowly soaked through the pale grey tracksuit that drowned Sarah’s childlike frame and gradually the colour darkened to charcoal. Her hair was now lank and wet against her scalp. Her eyes were wide and staring as she looked straight down at the ground. She hummed an indiscernible tune as she sat rocking in the mist. From the corner of her mouth a thin strand of saliva ran inexorably towards the pool of vomit in her lap. She made no attempt to wipe the vomit away, no attempt to clean the saliva from her face. She was unaware of all around her. She was wrapped in the soft warmth of the opiate womb. The cocoon held her close to its centre and closed out the pain that would have threatened to envelope her. One pain was substitute for another pain. The memories of the previous days and nights were merging into her dreams and nightmares, her consciousness was just a veneer over the nightmare welling from the depths of her despair and carrying her, and all that is her along with her.
The syringe lay on the ground beside the little girl. Kharon had been very happy to have her supplied with the heroin and have one of his white whores to help her cook it up and inject it.