Monday, 11 March 2013

Magic Falls Part Eleven

I open the door and let Jack in.

"What's wrong?"I ask.

"It's my daughter," he says. "She's missing."

The last I'd seen of Jack, he'd driven away, refusing to talk to me any further. I hadn't been expecting this turnaround.

"She lives with her mother, doesn't she?" I ask.

"Yes. I thought you might know that." He wipes his eyes again, and sits down. It is obviously an effort for him to keep his emotions under control.

"You look like you could do with a drink," I say. I certainly could.


"What would you like?"

"Do you have whiskey?"

"God, yes."

I walk into the kitchen and pour us both a large drink, and then make my way back, handing him one of them.

"How long has she been missing for?"

"Two weeks now. I... we've been working with the police, but a friend of mine thought that you may know more about this."

"A mutual friend?"

"Jamie Moore?"

I frown. "I don't know him."

"Well, he knows you. He said you may be able to help."

I look down at my whiskey glass, and am slightly disturbed to realise that it is already mostly empty. The last few weeks of living on my own have not led to good habits.

"Tell me what happened." I say. "I'm not sure what I'll be able to do, but if I can help, I will."

"I need someone with an open mind. You already talked about magic. You talked about how more was going to happen. I think it's already happening, and this is what's happened to my daughter."

He is sweating and agitated. I can see his grey hair is flattened with perspiration and hair gel, which is unlike him. "I'm sorry about not believing you last time we spoke. It just sounded so... ridiculous. Unbelievable. "

"But you believe now?"


"What changed your mind?"

"It's connected with what happened to Andrea. It's not easy to explain."

"I'll help if I can," I say. "Please, just ... tell me what happened."

He nurses his drink, while he begins to talk.

I realise that this is the first real conversation with him that we've ever had. Well, that he's ever had. Not counting him surreptitiously throwing away the contact details I had written down for him.

This is surreal. Not just what he was saying, but the knowledge that we'd been such good friends, and this was something that he had never experienced. Last time around, I hadn't approached him first. He'd heard about me and Nina, and sought us out.

This was completely different. And not only because the last time I'd dealt with him, his daughter hadn't gone missing.

When he'd come to me before, he'd proposed the Knights. This time around, I'd effectively pushed the idea onto him. Stupid of me, really. I knew from experience that he generally needed to believe something was his idea in order to think it was a good one.

"It was in a place in West Yorkshire. Near Leeds. Well, Wakefield, really. There's this sculpture park. Used to be a college, too. Arts place.

"My ex-wife, Lorna, she... she took Andrea there for days out. It's a five hundred acre estate, and it's... well, it's lovely, really. It's in the middle of nowhere, and there's a lake, and a learning centre, and a mansion, and a cafe.... it's a nice place. That feels important to point out. It's this nice place in the middle of nowhere.

“And Lorna was there with Andrea, and they were just walking around. Andrea wants to do something to do with nature when she grows up. Landscaping or something, I don't know. But she loves fields, trees, plants... the lot. She's eight years old, and it's all she talks about.

“So there they were, walking around, and there are these bits of the park that are... they're like a fairytale village or something. Silly, really. Done by students back when it was a college. She really likes it.

“The place was deserted. That's what Lorna says, and you know... we don't get on that well now, we try and everything, but... I believe her. She's not stupid. And she takes Andrea's safety carefully. She's not... overprotective, but if she says she knew where she was, then she knew where she was.

“And they were in this field, walking away from these sculptures, and Lorna turned arouud and Andrea was gone. Just gone.”

His voice cracks and he downs his drink.

“The police looked, and they… there was nothing. She just vanished. They closed down the roads, because they thought someone had snatched her at first. But there was nothing.

“It was broad daylight, and there was nobody around. She just vanished.”

He stands up, putting the glass on the table and I notice that his hand is shaking. He turns, then sits. Uncomfortable, unsure if he should stand or not.

“I don’t…” I say, uncomfortable talking at all now. “I don’t know what I can do to help, here. This all sounds strange, but… why do you think…”

“She’s not the only one,” he says. “Don’t you watch the news? There have been others. Children vanishing into thin air. Nobody seeing a thing, but nowhere they could have gone.”

I realize my mouth is open, and my brain tries to catch up. I am speaking again, but not entirely sure what I’m saying. “But what does that have to do with…”

“Jamie said to talk to you. He said that you could help.”


This is a friend of mine. I may be something of a mess right now, but Jack is my friend, even if he doesn’t know it yet.

“What do you want me to do?” I ask.

“I want you to come with me. I’m going back up there, and I want you to come. Help me search. Help me find her. Please.”

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