Steve had already left. He was on the motorway and the signal cut out several times. He asked if Suzanne had heard from Lucy. When she told him she hadn’t he hung up the phone.
Suzanne looked down at the mess on the plastic bag. She didn’t know what to do next. She could ring Lucy’s daughter and talk to her. That wouldn’t be fair. The girl was probably already a bit worried about her mum plus she had children to take care of and she was a hard-working nurse. The last thing she needed on her night shift was one of her mum’s old biddy mates fussing. After all, this wasn’t even Lucy’s house. Nobody understood how close they all were. It was impossible to explain how three unrelated women could be closer than sisters, but Suzanne had always believed it to be that way. The consequence was that she couldn’t see how both her friends going AWOL at the same time could be simply a coincidence.
She took in a breath and squared her shoulders and dialed.
The policeman, when he arrived was so young she found it hard to believe he could be fully trained. Okay, it was a cliché that they started to look younger as you age but this bloke didn’t look old enough to shave. If it hadn’t been for the little nick on the side of his neck, she would have been convinced that he hadn’t passed that milestone yet.
He reached out with his well-polished shoe toe and moved the pile of rubbish. “I’m sorry madam but I don’t understand what you want me to do about this.”
“I want you to look into it. Well, no, not this exactly.” Suzanne waved at the rubbish. “I want you to find out what has happened to my friend, friends really.”
“And you think this,” another little kick, “this is something to do with your friend not being at her home.”
“Look at it. Honestly, you can see. That’s blood, that’s bloodstained cloths and the water and Ginny’s not here and she wouldn’t have left this, not like this.”
“Where do you think she might be?”
“I’ve told you. I don’t know.”
“Do you want to report her missing? I can put in a report. The thing is though, you say that she took some things with her and, as far as you know, she wasn’t worried or anything. She just isn’t here, and she didn’t tell you she was going away. How old is she, your friend?”
“She’s in her sixties. Like me, sixty-three.”
“Does she have mental problems? Alzheimer’s, depression anything like that?”
“No, she gets a bit low at times, but you would if every day was about controlling the pain in your joints.”
“Yes. I can see that. But the thing is, I don’t think we can classify someone as vulnerable because they have arthritis.”
“I know. I know that but she wouldn’t have gone without telling us.”
“You said ‘us’ You mean your other friend?” Suzanne nodded.”What does she think?”
“She’s worried as well.”
“Why don’t the pair of you come down to the station and we’ll submit a report. I’m not saying we can launch a search or anything like that, but we’ll get your concerns on record. But this,” another kick. “It’s just a bucket of crap, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so. Could you not arrange some tests though. Some blood samples. DNA.”
“Why? I’m sorry but there is no sign of foul play, no reason to suspect anything untoward. We don’t have the funding. We can’t go around doing DNA tests on buckets of rubbish. I’m sorry. I can see you are genuinely concerned but all we can do is note your worries. You and your friend come down to the station and we’ll do the paperwork.”
“We can’t. I can, but what I mean is I can’t bring my friend.”
“Okay. Just come on your own then. But you did say your friend was worried as well.”
“Yes, but she’s disappeared. I don’t know where she is.”
“Oh, I thought you meant another friend, not this, Ginny.”
“I did. My other friend. Lucy. She’s disappeared.”
The look that he gave her spoke volumes and as she watched him slot her into the ‘loony pensioner’ file in his mind Suzanne’s heart sank.