Imperfect: Scene 09 – Free
I had spent over five hours in the police station and still hadn’t been arrested. It was quite late and I wanted to go to sleep, so I rested my head on my arms on the desk in the interview room and nodded off. Not the best plan for staying alert under interrogation, but better than staying awake for days, and also in character for Huw.
As I was dozing blue pinstripe reappeared, with Fletcher just behind him. I woke with a start and then remembered where I was. Blue pinstripe looked uncomfortable, which was odd. He sat down opposite me and Fletcher remained standing at the open doorway.
“Mr Powell, I’m Inspector Smeeton. I’m sorry we’ve kept you this long, it has taken some time to check your credentials.”
“Inspector, I’m always happy to help the guardians of law and order, but I’m very tired now, it is way past my bedtime.”
“I appreciate that, Sir. Would you like to go home?”
“Are you saying that I am free to go?”
“Of course, sir. That’s exactly what I am saying.”
“Jolly good. I wonder, if it isn’t too much trouble, could you possibly drop me off at home please? Only it is very late and I am rather tired.”
“No problem, sir, it is the least we can do.” With that Inspector Smeeton stood up and indicated that I should leave the interview room. I was quite suspicious of the sudden change in behaviour and worried that it might be a ruse of some sort. However, I had deliberately set up my cover so that this sort of thing was the most likely outcome. I had just expected it to come a bit sooner in the proceedings.
I followed the Inspector out of the room and back up the stairs that I came down on the way in. Outside it was very dark, most of the police station appeared to be shut down for the night. The Inspector personally took me to one of their unmarked cars, a very nice top of the range saloon fitted for manual driving. It unlocked automatically as he approached it (either that or I didn’t see him use the remote). He indicated to me to use the front passenger seat and he got in behind the wheel. By the time I’d walked round the car it was ready to go. The clock on the head-up display told me that it was 03:41.
The Inspector put it into gear and reversed out of the parking space. He gunned the engine towards the still closed gate, which opened in response to the vehicle’s movement. I noticed as we manoeuvred that Mark’s van was also parked in the corner of the compound. Huw’s home address came up on the HUD as the destination and driving directions were overlaid on the view from the window in addition to the usual speed and ETA at the destination. It was a short and rapid drive, the Inspector broke most of the rules of the road and used his police over-ride on all of the lights and on the sparse automated traffic.
It took 7 minutes to get to Huw’s house, and as we pulled up the Inspector turned to me and said,
“Mr Powell, although we’ve managed to exclude you from our current line of enquiry we would prefer you to stay in the area for the next week or so please. If you need to go out, please keep your terminal with you and switched on when you leave home. That way if we have any follow up questions we know where to find you.”
“Yes, of course, Inspector. Thank you for the lift home, and good night.” I replied before stumbling up the steps and in through the front door of the building. I wasted no time in going to bed and falling sleep. It looked like I needed to stay being Huw for a week or so. Passing on detailed messages to the others could wait until later in the morning.
However, I left them one clue about what I was up to, where I was lying low and what I expected them to do next. I made a status update “The Children of Israel are fruitful”. Then I went to bed.
Continued in Imperfect: Scene 10 – Followed
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