Chapter 8 

Chapter 9: Tönt Es Laut Von Fern Und Nah

The garden centre reminded Jack of a Nissan hanger with its dome ceiling high above their heads, except there was no heavy smell of aviation fuel, just the crisp aroma of breakfast from the café. They had pushed several tables together and sat poking the various food stuffs on their plates.

“So,” Jack began, lancing a couple of mushrooms with his fork, “last night Dylis Bach was killed and we couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.”

“Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I mean, how do we stop something that’s already dead?” Owen sliced into one of his plump sausages with a certain amount of aptitude, pausing, a moment, to consider its similarity to the dead man’s fingers; he shrugged and crammed the meat in his open mouth.

“Perhaps we should get kitted out with garlic and holy water next time,” he offered.

“They’re not vampires,” Tosh answered breaking open her cheese filled omelette.

“Oh, excuse me, little Miss Know-it-all, how do you kill a zombie then?” Owen asked.

“A shot to the head, you know, ‘kill the brain and you kill the ghoul.'” Apart from Gwen, who was nose deep in police reports, the others look at her in surprise.

“‘Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul.'” Owen repeated.

Tosh nodded her mouth full; she swallowed quickly. “It’s from Night of the Living Dead.”

“So, based on scientific fact then.”  Owen waved his own fork in front of him.

“Well it’s a lot better than, ‘garlic and holy water…'” Tosh mimicked in a Cockney accent.

“What about a fucking, big, rocket launcher…” Owen began.

“They’re not zombies though, are they?” Ianto interrupted remaining focused on his croissant.

Owen looked at him in disbelief. “What? They’re dead and they’re walking around…”

“But zombies eat the flesh of their victims …” Tosh began.

“Right, ‘cos that’s what’s in the movies, like Hollywood doesn’t take bloody liberties…” Owen replied.

“THE CORONER’S PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION SAYS SHE WAS SUFFOCATED THEN.” Gwen yelled loudly, looking up from the police report.

People, seated nearby, glared in her direction. “THE AUTOPSY’S THIS AFTERNOON.”

Owen gave a soft snort and tapped his ear as he swallowed. “It’ll take a few days for her hearing to get back to normal. Not permanent.” He wiped his knife on a slice of bread and began to shovel beans onto its buttered surface.

Gwen threw him a puzzled look before taking a bite of her fried egg bap, the yolk running down her chin onto the pieces of paper. She wiped them with a holly design napkin. “SAYS HERE THE MACMILLAN NURSE WAS KNOCKED OUT BEFORE THE ATTACK.  THEY DIDN’T KILL HER, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS?” She looked around the table.

Jack smiled. “Maybe they were just after the sister.” He raised his voice a little.

“Huh?” Gwen asked, watching his lips carefully.

Owen inclined his head towards Tosh. “Apparently they’re not your normal flesh eating zombies,” he enlightened.

Gwen frowned. “BEES? WHAT BEES?”

“Oh for fuck’s sake! ZOMBIES.” He enunciated, laying a bacon rasher on top the beans and neatly rolling up the slice of bread.

He looked down at his plate and frowned turning in his seat and stretching out a hand to grab the attention of a young girl who was clearing away tables. “‘Ere, sweetheart, you wouldn’t get us some brown sauce would you?” He gave her a warm smile.

The girl nodded and blushed under Owen’s gaze while cautiously balancing her tray of soiled crockery. “Thanks.” He winked at her causing a slide of cups which she managed to correct in time.

Owen turned back to the others. “They didn’t kill us either,” Ianto stated, cutting carefully along the seam of a croissant. “I mean, they could have but they didn’t.”

Owen sighed. “They came bloody close, mate,” he retorted rubbing a hand across his throat. “In fact, so did you, you should see the fucking bruise on my back where you whacked me.”

“Ianto hit you?” Tosh raised taking another small bite of her omelette.

“WHO HIT WHO?” Gwen demanded.

This time Ianto sighed. “I was trying to save Owen,” he mouthed.

Tosh smirked. “By hitting him?”

Ianto spread butter along the warm, flaky, pastry. “Well, he’s alive isn’t he?”

Gwen looked from one to the other. “YOU HIT OWEN?”

The waitress came back and deposited a few brown sauce sachets on the table, she smiled at Owen, he didn’t notice. Jack pushed his plate away. “I don’t think they were trying to kill us,” he said reaching for his coffee.

“What!” Owen looked at him sharply; his outburst was not lost on Gwen, who turned her attention to Jack.

The captain lent his elbows on the table and cradled his cup. “I think they were trying to delay us.” He took a lengthy swig; it had been a long night.

Owen ripped a packet open with his teeth and squeezed it on his plate. “Delay us?” He spat out a plastic corner.

“So we couldn’t get to Miss Bach,” Tosh continued; Jack nodded.

“A waste of bloody time, if you ask me,” Owen commented.

“Why?” Tosh demanded.

“Well, I saw the old girl’s medical records, only had a few weeks left.” He dipped his home-made sandwich into the dollop of sauce.

There was a reflective silence round the table.

“Are there any other relations?” Jack looked to Gwen.

She remained absorbed on the fan of documents in front of her; it was Tosh who answered. “No, according to the police records, Aeddan and his wife did have a son but he was killed in a motorbike accident in his early twenties.”

“What about the Bachs’ parents, are they still alive?” Jack glanced over the brim of his cup.

“No, their father was a fireman, died in Nineteen-fifty-one tackling a blaze in the village and their mother died in…” Tosh paused to grab the notebook Gwen was using; Gwen frowned briefly.

She flicked through the pages. “…Nineteen-ninety-four.” Tosh handed the pad back and finished the rest of her breakfast.

“THERE’S A JOURNAL!” Gwen’s voice boomed, startling several people on neighbouring tables.

She put down her bap and sucked the egg from her fingers to track the statement. “THE MACMILLAN NURSE LEFT DYLIS READING HER GRANDFATHER’S JOURNAL. THE NURSE SAID SHE HAD BEEN MOST INSISTENT…”

“Gwen…” The young woman continued to read from the pages; Jack tried again. “GWEN!” He tapped her arm, she looked up and smiled. “I want you to get hold of this journal.”

“I’LL LIAISE WITH THE LOCAL POLICE AND GET THE JOURNAL,” she posed, closing the report.

Jack grinned. “Okay you do that. Owen, I want you in on the autopsy…”

He looked up from polishing his plate with the bread. “She was suffocated…”

Jack smiled. “…They may need your expertise.” Owen conceded with a shrug of his shoulders.

Tosh’s laptop, which had been placed on a vacant chair like a sixth member of the team, began to bleep. “Tosh?” Jack looked at her.

She cleared a space on the table and carefully placed the computer down. “I ran a programme to clean up the images on the stones.” She looked around apprehensively and gave a small shrug and a smile. “They’re pretty weathered…”

“They’re pretty old,” Owen added shoving the last of his bread in his mouth.

“But the software digitally reconstructed the impressions…” She looked admiringly at the screen.

“Drum roll please.” The doctor swirled his thick cappuccino in an effort to mix it.

“Owen,” Jack cautioned.

Tosh turned the screen round to show the symbols on the stones. “It’s interesting how…”

“I recognise those.” Ianto lent forward dragging the laptop towards him, his eyes narrowing in contemplation.

“You… You do?” Tosh asked with a smile.

“You would”. Owen rolled his eyes wiping egg from his mouth with his thumb.

“Owen!” This time it was a command as Jack watched Ianto’s eyes digest the rugged symbols. “Where?”

He looked from the computer generated images. “The archive.”

Copyright RMC 2107


Chapter 10

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