Sykes burst back up onto the main floor, much the same as he had when he came through the front door. He came over to where Harry was waiting and stood in front of him making his extra six inches in height intimidating.
"Where the hell is my body?"
“I have no idea. One minute it was there, in the room, and I was lying next to it. The next, it was gone.”
“Bodies, especially dead bodies, do not get up and walk away.”
“It was in that room. I came up here to call you.” He’d already decided not to tell Sykes about Al’s daughter Cathy. It would only complicate matters, and he needed to talk to her before Sykes did.
“I want this place searched from top to bottom, Now,” he yelled out to no one in particular, and men started running in all directions.
His face was turning red, a sure sign he was getting impatient and very annoyed. He turned back to face me. “How long were you up here?”
“Five minutes tops.”
“And you went back down?”
“Yes. By the time I got back down there, the body was gone.”
Sykes glared at him, and said nothing. Harry could almost see the wheels turning in Sykes’ brain. There were at least a dozen questions Harry knew Sykes should be asking but hadn’t.
Then he did ask one, but not the first on Harry’s list.
“How are you involved in this?”
“I told you on the phone, one minute I’m talking to Al, the next I’m waking up here, in the basement, next to a body.”
“Yes, are you sure that whack on the head isn’t causing hallucinations?
I was beginning to think it might, considering how both Al and Cathy had come and gone without a trace. “It’s possible.”
“And remind me again, what’s your connection to the Jones’?”
"The brothers were both my clients.”
"They were, it seems your clients. They’re both dead. Are you sure you didn’t kill both of them for their wives? I’ll be checking your bank account you know.”
Of course, but there wouldn’t be much in it. And, Harry thought, it was almost laughable that Sykes could even imagine that Harry could be a hitman.
“What were you doing for Al?"
"Watching his brother."
“That didn’t turn out so well, did it? What were you doing for that brother?"
“Watching Al to see if he was having an affair with the company secretary, or Joe’s wife.”
“Was he, with either or both?”
“Didn’t get far enough into the case to find out. But I had nothing to do with either of the deaths."
"You have been at the site of both murders. Not a very good start to your defense. Why didn't you tell me about this earlier?"
"Client confidentiality. Al was alive then."
"You said you were brought here. I didn't see any evidence of a fight, nor you being held captive."
"My hands were tied."
Harry held out his hands, pulled up his sleeves, but the marks made by the rope had disappeared. Nor Harry remembered, had there been any rope, or anything else, left in the room. Except for the gun, which he hoped he had buried deep enough in the boxes.
"A likely story then." Sykes looked at the uniformed officer. "Search him."
© Charles Heath 2016-2018