Vanished Beneath: DS Lasser six (The Lasser series Book 6) (2 page)

Hammond looked at Lasser as if he were an idiot,
'A poke around the bloody edge

Lasser slid his hands into his pockets. 'Forget I asked.'



They sat in the Audi with the heater turned up full blast. Spenner shivering in the passenger seat, the windows steaming up around them. Without a body to pick over, Doc Shannon had headed back to his lair of death. Tom Hammond had made his way back to the car, carrying young Johnny in the crook of one arm, a couple of fishing baskets slung over his right shoulder. Arthur Somes had hung around for another twenty minutes before deciding to make tracks, disappointed that no corpse had come bobbing to the surface.

'So, what does it feel like to be back on duty?' Lasser asked as he yanked out his cigarettes.

Spenner shrugged, 'I'm supposed to be on light duties but at this rate I'll probably catch pneumonia,' he sulked.

Lasser slid the window down a fraction and blew smoke through the gap. 'You should have taken more time off. No one was expecting you back for at least another couple of months.'

Spenner ran a hand across his wet hair. 'I couldn't stand it any longer, sitting at home staring at four walls, it was driving me mad.'

Lasser nodded there were only so many episodes of Jeremy Kyle you could watch before insanity crept in through the back door. 'But I thought you were staying with your brother for a while.'

'Nah, he's got a young kid and I didn't want to give him nightmares with this,' he pointed at the scar on his neck.

'Well, to be honest, Spenner, I imagined it would look a lot worse than it does.'

The young PC looked at him hopefully. 'They've said I can have corrective surgery but I don't know whether to bother.'

Lasser tapped ash through the window. 'To be honest, mate, I wouldn't, it's a battle scar and besides you can hardly see the thing.'

'Battle scar

Lasser turned to face him. 'Look, after what happened you're lucky to be alive and you got that scar whilst in the line of duty, you should be proud of that fact.'

Spenner pursed his lips. 'I've never really thought about it that way.'

'Yeah well, you should.'

When the rap came on the side window, Spenner gasped and grabbed for his nightstick.

Lasser frowned before sliding the window down, DCI Bannister stood by the side of the door wafting a hand as smoke billowed from the car.

'I hope that's not a post-sex cigarette, Sergeant?'

'Ha, ha
,' Lasser said as he clicked open the door and climbed out into the rain, Spenner followed suit and looked at the DCI over the roof of the car.

'Good to see you back in the thick of things, Spenner.'

'Thank you, sir.'

Bannister was sporting a light blue Berghaus jacket, the rain slid off the waterproof material pooling at his feet. 'Right the water boys will be here first thing in the morning.'

'They're not coming today?' Lasser asked with a frown.

'What's the point, Sergeant?' It's going to be dark in another hour and health and safety says it has to be daylight before they're allowed into the water.'

'So, what's happening tonight?'

'Black and Wright are on their way, they'll keep an eye on the place until morning and then we can get cracking,' he looked up at the darkening sky and frowned. 'Now, I suggest as soon as they arrive you two lovebirds head off home and get into some dry clothes.'

Lasser ignored the jibe. 'What time do you want us back?'

'Half six, no later,' he replied before walking back towards his car then he stopped and turned. 'And for God's sake bring some waterproofs with you; we don't want you looking like a drowned rat all day.'

Lasser raised a hand before clambering back into the warmth, shivering as he held his hands over the hot air vent.

'Do you really think there's a body in there?' Spenner asked as he slid into the passenger seat.

Lasser looked out at the grey stretch of water.
'Look at the place, Spenner
, I would imagine over the years some poor sod has slipped in and vanished without trace.'

As things turned out Lasser was way off the mark.




He had his feet on the coffee table, Medea curled up by his side warm and snug.

PCs Black and Wright had turned up half an hour after Bannister had headed for the hills.

'Easy job for you two,' Lasser had said. 'But try and stay awake, we don't expect anyone to turn up, but you never know.'

'No problem, sir, I've got my Red Bull,' Sally had replied, lifting the can and giving it a shake.

'I know, Sally, but Black here can drone on for hours and believe me you'll be tempted to either close your eyes or hit him with your nightstick.'

Steve Black had frowned before taking a bite from his Curly Wurly.

'Don't worry, sir, I'm used to ignoring irritating noises,' she said.

'Cheeky sod,'
Black had mumbled his mouth full of chocolate and caramel.

'Right, sleep well,' he'd replied before heading back to the car.

Medea flicked through the TV channels, Lasser watched as she bypassed the big match, East Enders and Coronation Street, only stopping when she came to ‘Don't Tell the Bride’.

'I like this,' she said as she snuggled closer.

Lasser watched as a dopey-looking groom panicked about choosing a dress for the bride. 'I was thinking
why don't you let me organise our wedding?'

'That's a joke right?'

Lasser frowned. 'Why not, I mean, I could do better than this idiot?'

Medea eased herself upright and smiled. 'OK, what sort of dress would you choose?'

Lasser thought for a moment, 'A white one.'

'Well, that narrows it down, but would it be blinged to the max, plain or elegant?'

'Definitely no bling.'

Medea raised an eyebrow.
'Go on

'And why would I buy something
for a stunner like you?'

Her eyebrow arched even higher.

'So, it would have to something
elegant but simple and understated,
' he smiled in satisfaction.

'And what about the ring?'

'Same again, I mean, I can't see you with a massive stone on your finger.'


Lasser looked at her. 'Am I right?'

Medea pushed a hand through her dark hair and Lasser shivered.

'As a matter of fact you are,' she said before reaching for her wine glass. 'Oh, by the way, I heard back from Emma today.'

Lasser wriggled his toes and sighed in contentment. 'What did she say?'

'She should be here tomorrow, and I know it's asking a lot, and I hope you don't mind, but I said it would be OK if she stayed here for a few days.' She held the glass to Lasser's lips and he took a sip.

'You don't have to ask, Med, you know that.'

She smiled. 'I can't wait to see her.'

'You two go back a long way?'

'We started Junior School together, and then High School, we even went to the same College.'

'It must have been hard when she moved away.'

'I hated it, but I can understand why she went. I mean, she was always a high achiever and when the job came up, well, it was one of those that you couldn't say no to.'

'What does she actually do?'

'She's a graphic artist, very talented.'

'And what about her parents do they still live locally?'

Medea took a sip from the glass before placing it back on the table. 'Well, her mum died when she was fourteen and her father always wanted her to become a doctor like him.'

'But she didn't fancy it?'

Medea lifted her legs onto the sofa and Lasser slid his hand onto her knee.

'It caused a lot of problems between them; he couldn't understand why she didn't want to follow him into medicine.'

'I take it he didn't approve of her career choice?'

'He was furious. In fact they haven't spoken for over five years.'

'Is that why she's staying here rather than at the family home?'

Medea slid her hand over his. 'I'm hoping her being here will help to build bridges between them.'

'Or being back in Wigan could be a reminder of why she couldn't wait to get away in the first place.'

'Believe or not she always loved the town.'

Lasser gave her a quirky grin.
'Loved the town

'Come on, Lasser, you only see the worst of the place, I mean, for normal people this is a good area to live in.'

Lasser's grin turned into a frown. 'I take it she didn't live in one of the flats on Millers Lane or a little two-up two-down in Scholes?'

'Well no but...'

'So, where did she live?'


'Well, that explains it.'

Medea sighed, 'I agree, compared to some parts of town Standish is nice, but it's not millionaires row.'

'Yeah, but you a have to admit it's a damn site nicer than the rest of the place?'

'Anyway, she's arriving on the ten o’clock train,' Medea said in an effort to change the subject.

'You're meeting at the station?'

'That’s the plan.'

Lasser stretched his arms to the ceiling and yawned. 'Well, you're off for the next three weeks so it'll give you plenty of time to catch up.'

'Well, we've arranged a few things to do while she's here.'

'Such as?'

'We're having a day in Chester and we thought we might catch a show in Manchester.'

'Sounds good.'

'I mean, you can come if you want?'

'Er, no thanks, I'm not really into the theatre.'

Medea slid her arm around his neck before resting her head on his shoulder. 'Thanks, Lasser.'

'What for?'

'Well, I know you find it hard having one woman taking up your bathroom time, so two of us could push you over the edge.'

Lasser shrugged. 'I'll just have to set the alarm earlier so I can do my moisturising routine in peace.'

Medea sighed. 'Let's go to bed.'

Lasser didn't argue.



Lasser watched as the bubbles trailed across the surface of the water before glancing up at a sky ominous with dark rainclouds.

Bannister had his hands thrust into the pockets of his Berghaus, his face pensive. PC Spenner sneezed before wiping a hand under his nose.

Doc Shannon glanced at him and frowned. 'Are you feeling alright, Spenner?'

'I think I've got a cold coming on, Doc,' he replied with a heavy sniff.

'Drink plenty of liquids and sweat it out.'

'Not much chance of sweating it out here is there?' Spenner mumbled.

Shannon shrugged his huge shoulders, his beard wild and untamed like a sporran that had been left out in the rain.

Bannister sighed. 'Stop mollycoddling him, Shannon, it's only a bloody sniffle.'

Spenner glowered, his lips drawn in a thin line.

Out on the water, a man in a wet suit sat perched on the edge of an inflatable dingy.

'I don't fancy that job,' Lasser said and shivered.

'Why not, I mean, you spend half your time wet through as it is?' Bannister quipped.

'Yeah, but I bet they can see sod all in there,' Lasser nodded towards the water.

'Soft arse.'

When the body broke the surface, it came out fast - like a cork blasting from a bottle.

!' Bannister gasped.

A couple of seconds later the second diver popped his head from the water and gave the thumbs up before gingerly pushing the cadaver towards the bank.

'Right, Spenner, keep your eyes peeled, if anyone shows up then for God's sake keep them well back.'

Spenner swallowed as the body drew closer.

'Are you listening to me, man?'

Spenner snapped his head up, his face flushed with colour.
'Sorry, sir

Bannister flapped his hands. 'Well, get on with it then!'

Spenner spun away and clamped his hands behind his back.

'Right you two, come on.'

Lasser followed as Bannister made his way to the edge of the pond, Shannon trailing behind, his black wellies swishing through the damp grass.

The diver steered the body to the bank and Bannister frowned. 'I thought you said the body had dark hair, Sergeant?'

'Well, that's what Hammond said.'

As it reached the bank, the bloated corpse rolled over.

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