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Don't Make a Sound by David Jackson

Don't Make a Sound by David Jackson

Author:David Jackson [Jackson, David]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781785763960
Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Fiction
Published: 2018-05-02T23:00:00+00:00


36

Sometimes he finds it difficult to tear himself away from the job.

Like now, for instance. He could have gone home hours ago. Back to his little house and his pregnant, not-so-little wife.

But at this moment the Devlins need him more than she does. They need someone to talk to, to pour out their feelings to.

He can do that. He’s a good listener.

The Devlins have had a lot to drink. Maria downed most of a bottle of red wine. She seemed to lose the equivalent amount of fluid through her tear ducts. When she could endure it no longer, she took herself off to bed, bouncing off the walls like a pinball as she went.

Craig has stuck to beer. Some cheap Spanish brain-pounder, straight from the bottle. He keeps repeating himself, including his offers of alcohol. Oxo is thinking of writing a note to say he doesn’t want beer, and taping it to his forehead.

They are facing each other across the kitchen table. Over Craig’s shoulder, Oxo can see the kitchen clock ticking away his life.

‘I’ve never really liked coppers,’ says Craig.

Oxo thinks about responding that he doesn’t like insult-throwing drunkards, but restrains himself. What is it that makes some people think it’s okay to slag off a police officer to their face?

‘But,’ Craig continues, ‘you’ve changed my mind. All coppers should be like you.’ He takes another gulp of beer. ‘We can talk to you,’ he says. ‘Maria and I can talk to you. And that’s important. It’s important to talk.’

‘Yes,’ says Oxo. ‘Yes, it is.’

‘Do you think she’s dead?’

It comes out of the blue. Direct and to the point.

Which leaves Oxo in a quandary. Because such an unambiguous question deserves an equally unambiguous reply.

It also demands honesty, and this is the problem. Because yes, on the balance of probabilities, Poppy Devlin is almost certainly dead. That’s the truth of it.

But Oxo cannot deliver that message. Cannot give weight to what the man in front of him already knows. It is enough that he is already dissolving in his own tears.

He becomes suddenly agnostic. ‘I don’t know,’ he says. ‘I hope not. I like to think there’s still hope.’

Craig raises his beer in the air. ‘Bottle half full kind of guy, eh?’ He takes a long swig, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. Then he gets up from the table, looks out into the hallway, and closes the kitchen door.

He flops back into his chair. ‘Man to man,’ he says. ‘Okay?’

‘Okay,’ says Oxo, unsure as to where this is leading.

‘A man takes a kid, right? He breaks into her house and he takes her out of her own fucking bed. Right?’

Oxo says nothing.

‘There’s a reason for that. Has to be. And I’ve been wracking my brain for it. I have considered every possible reason. And I can only think of one.’

And now Oxo realises where this is going, and he wishes it would stop.

Craig says, ‘Men do things like that, don’t they? They do horrible, disgusting things. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a man.



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