The Thirteenth Station - Part 2
By Sue Simpson
Mary took her car and drove to the bank by herself. This was
a safeguard against arousing the suspicion of Johnny's kidnapper if he was
watching her movements. She withdrew the notes that had been marked
ultra-violet after the police warned the bank to have everything ready and on
standby. When she got back to the flat, she busied herself with the washing up.
They had about two hours to kill before she had to set off. Boyd was alerted to
Mary's stiffness as she stood at the sink, rigid. "Mary? My god Mary. What is
it?" Mary turned, the plate in her hands sliding to the floor to shatter at her
"He escaped at eight thirty yesterday morning as he was
being transferred from Broadmoor to Highgate top security prison. The surviving
guard is said to be in critical condition at St. Mary's hospital. Repeat you
are urged not to approach this man he is armed and extremely dangerous." The
voice of the radio newsman went on to a story about The Artist Formerly Known
Mary sobbed hysterically "Holmes has got Johnny!" Mel and
Jillly rushed to comfort her. Trying to calm her Mel said, "Don't be silly
Mary. That man who has escaped is a rapist, and now a murderer, but he has no
known form as a kidnapper, believe me he'll have more important things on his
mind than taking a little boy."
Mary's voice was almost inaudible. "You don't understand.
Barry Holmes is Johnny's father."
For several seconds nobody said anything. The air was
suddenly thick, stifling with the revelation that floated upon it. Jilly pulled
Mary's head into her, cradling the sobbing woman, rocking gently to and fro as
you would with a distraught child. Mel was the first one to speak, unable to
curb the tone of annoyance in her voice. "And you never thought that this minor
little piece of information you've just thrown in here might just have been
relevant? Jesus, Mary did you really think you could hide this from us? Did you
figure we wouldn't find out? If you'd told us this yesterday we could have been
more prepared. Bloody hell we have two hours. Two hours to save your son Mary.
So...what? Were you married to him?"
Her voice had risen with each sentence until she was
shouting loudly in anger and frustration.
"He raped me." Mary's reply was merely a whisper mumbled
into Jilly's cardigan
"Excuse me?" admonished Mel, still shouting. She towered
over the two women using the height advantage to make her point. She hadn't
heard what Mary said.
Mary wrenched herself out of Jilly's protective embrace, she
stood up almost knocking Jilly backwards. She squared up to the surprised
police sergeant. Her face contorting with rage, her voice easily matching the
other woman's. She slammed her fist down on the loaded table. Two of the four
coffee cups fell, one spilling its dregs onto the spread papers. Two pieces of
writing paper swept off the table in the wind caused by the downward movement
of Mary's arm, they fluttered to the floor. A pen rolled, tottered on the brink
of the table for a moment then also fell to the carpet. A cream puff bounced
off its plate to land on the polished mahogany, and the rattle of plates and
cups clinked along with the eruption. Mary herself was an unveiled contortion
of fury and rage. "He raped me!" she yelled. "He raped me damn it and Johnny
was the result!" The woman stood trembling impotent and angry, unable to scream
at the person she wanted to see die a slow painful death, but with a fierce
desire to lash out somewhere. Mel sank down into the soft giving cushion of the
sofa. She lowered her face into her hands and shook her head. When she brought
her head up to face Mary and Jilly again there were two pin points of color in
her cheeks. She was shamed and saddened. Her voice, when she spoke was
"You poor, brave woman." Hardly a professional comment from
a police officer, but it was all she could think of to say as a woman. Why
didn't you tell us Mary?"
"Well if you lot had done your bloody job properly, the
bastard would have been safely tucked up in his four star cell, and none of
this would have happened." She had never uttered a single profanity in her
entire life, and here were two in one sentence. In her need to hit out at
somebody Mary was making no distinction between the police and the prison
"That man's an animal. I was the main witness against him at
his trial. He swore from the stand that one day he'd make me pay. Johnny
doesn't know anything, he thinks his father is dead." Mary slumped like a
deflated balloon. Spent. All the fight purged from her as she thought about
Jonathan in the grip of Holmes. Now she not only feared for the life of her
child, but she prayed for a quick and merciful death for him if that's the way
it had to be. Though no parent should ever have to stare their child's
mortality in the face, as she was doing. Donnan had flown from the room during
Mary's outburst. Every second of time that they had had to be put to its best
use. He was on the phone within seconds organizing a SWAT team, and calling the
commissioner. Pulling out all the stops. This man was extremely volatile. If he
went down, there was no telling who he would take with him. He considered
closing the two stations and stopping all the trains coming into and out of
Manchester. After all it would be his neck on the line if mayhem broke out and
bystanders were hurt. If he did opt for full panic alert Holmes would melt away
into the crowd and they'd never get him. This was a nasty situation and would
need to be handled with the utmost care. They knew what they were dealing with
now and Donnan was scared. He had no doubts that Holmes had Jonathan Walker,
and he didn't want to imagine what he'd be capable of doing to the child. What
he had possibly already done.
At one fifty five pm A woman walked into St. Peters Square
Metrolink station Manchester. She wore blue jeans, a blue and white check shirt
and a denim jacket. She also wore a brown shoulder length wig and carried a
black holdall. She was a female police officer and had been flown in from
Birmingham, at five minutes notice, after police records nationwide had been
checked against Mary Walker's photograph for the closest physical match. The
woman was scared, and just hoped that she was in for a decent bonus if not a
bravery citation for this. Three times she had almost refused. They told her
that she could pull out at any time if she thought it was too much for her.
Three times it almost had been. Only thoughts of that poor little boy kept one
foot moving in front of the other.
At one fifty five pm a woman walked into Piccadilly Railway
station Manchester. She wore blue jeans, a blue and white check shirt and a
denim jacket. She had brown shoulder length hair, and carried a black holdall.
This woman was Mary Walker and she was ready to die for her son if she needed
At one fifty five, Father Buxton sat in his confessional. He
had a few free hours until he had to conduct evening Mass. He thought he might
go into town and get a nice piece of steak for his dinner.
Mary walked along the platforms. Adrenaline was pumping and
she could feel a cool rivulet of sweat rolling down her spine to dissolve into
the bunched material of her shirt where it was belted at the waist. She was
surprised at how calm she felt. There was not one iota of fear, just a red hot
anger. She wanted that man's balls fried on a plate, with a crisp green serving
of retribution and a fresh twist of bitter revenge to garnish. She actually
smiled at her simile as she walked along.
She had been concerned that she would miss him. It was a big
station and she hadn't been given a platform number or any direct instructions
of where to be at two o clock. Donnan told her not to worry, he'd find her if
he wanted to. Plain clothes officers milled all around her. She didn't know who
they were in case she alerted Holmes to the fact that the police were ready for
him. Boooong. Boooong. Two tolls of the station clock signified that it was
time "This is it," she told herself. "Brace yourself girl." She was almost
disappointed when Holmes did not suddenly appear "as if by magic" beside her.
2:02 she walked along platform one. 2:03 she walked back along the platform,
and smiled back at a lady who smiled at her. 2:05 she moved past the cafeteria,
strolling on to walk casually past the ladies and then the gents toilets. She
wrinkled her nose at the acrid smell of disinfectant and urine. She walked on
another fifty yards and then turned to retrace her footsteps. As she drew level
with the Gents toilet a man came rapidly out of the door, turned left and
collided into her. He was big. Six feet plus. Mary found her head in his chest
and noticed an aroma of Pleasant aftershave and hand soap. Her heart rate
escalated. "What was happening?" The man untangled himself.
"I am so sorry, I didn't see you there. Are you all right?"
Mary stood panting, she was aware of people running from two directions. Under
cover police. She tried to warn them to stay back. "Excuse me love, are you all
right? Can I get you anything?"
She panicked, he was going to blow it. He had placed his arm
firmly under her elbow, trying to guide her towards the seats outside the
cafeteria. She thought fast. Taking advantage of the fact that she looked
terrible, clammy skin, pale complexion, sunken eyes from no sleep the night
before. "I'm a heroin addict with full blown Aids love. I can't give you sex,
but I'll give you a blow job for the price of a fix."
The man recoiled in disgust, he backed away from her and
moved back into the toilets he had just come out of. Mary smirked as she
imagined him standing at the sink again, re-washing his already soapy fresh
hands. She also took a second to be surprised at herself, she had never spoken
like that in her life.
2:10 She walked casually down platform three, just one more
frustrated traveler waiting for another late train. 2:15 She strolled up
platform six where the phone boxes were situated by the chocolate and drink
machines. A lady approached her and asked loudly if she had change for the
phone. She nudged her purse toward Mary, and she saw the police lady's ID. Mary
made a pretense of searching her own purse, while the woman pocketed hers.
"OK Mary," she whispered under her breath "We gave it our
best shot, he's not going to show. Go home and we'll see what happened at St.
Pete's station." Mary's heart sank
"We can't give up yet. I am NOT going to give up on my son
like this." She hissed at the police officer.
"Move away now, Mary. We are looking suspicious. Thank you."
the WPC finished loudly.
Mary walked to the front entrance with heavy heart. She had
to accept that they had chosen the wrong station. She moved out by way of the
main entrance. People stood with bags spewing all over the pavement.
Briefcases, belonging to men in suits. Rucksacks to people who looked like
students. Suitcases, carrier bags, and those ridiculous trolleys on wheels
holding up a couple of elderly ladies. A snake of black cabs lined up outside
the building. Cabbies loading luggage in and out of their taxi boots. Mary's
shoulders slumped in defeat. She had lost her air of composure. Suddenly she
had nobody there to fight and she felt beaten. She made her way through the
debris of people's travels. Stepping round a couple deeply oblivious to all
human life. As they existed in their own space and time, locked in a passionate
kiss. Defeated and weary, Mary felt tears pricking the back of her eyes and she
fought not to let them out. If she started to cry now she felt sure it would
never stop. Would she ever see her son again? She felt in that place that
mothers have somewhere deep inside themselves, that St.Peter's station wasn't
the place she had been meant to turn up. Intuition told her it was wrong. That
she had been right to go to Piccadilly. Perhaps Johnny was already dead. She
raised her head slightly to avoid bumping into a young man slouched against the
wall reading a newspaper. "Swap your holdall with one of mine. Do it now, and
do it quickly then keep walking, I know this place is swarming with scuffters."
The youth had not moved a muscle. She couldn't see him. His face hidden behind
the open newspaper. She knew though that it wasn't Holmes, this person was no
more than a child himself. Twenty at most. Holmes would be nearer forty.
"Where's my son?" she hissed
"Do exactly as I've told you or you will never see him alive
again ...DO IT!" He spat the last two words at her, and the newspaper shook
with the vibration. She bent down to drop her holdall, and suddenly she knew
she couldn't just walk away and leave Jon to die at the hands of a sex crazed
monster. She didn't know who this person was, but at the moment he was her only
link to Johnny. Maybe the police had all given up and gone. What then? Perhaps
they had relaxed their guard and hadn't noticed this interchange. Mary dropped
the holdall, and picked up one of the boy's bags. As she straightened, she used
the force of the movement to ram her head hard and fast into the soft flesh of
his belly. The man let out an uuumph of expelled air and slumped forward almost
falling onto Mary's head. The newspaper fell to the ground.
She dropped the bag she had just picked up, and with her now
free hand made a fist and used every calorie of power she could muster to bring
her bunched, solid, hand up firmly between his legs. She felt the flesh of his
penis and scrotum fold under her punch and he sprawled to the floor unable to
make a sound. Mary fell to the pavement as his momentum carried her down on top
of him. Her head glanced off the cold stone. Her vision blurred and she
succumbed to the tangle of arms and legs she found herself a part of. The next
thing she knew she was pulled gently away from the recumbent youth who was
lying fetally curled and wheezing. Two pairs of arms were about her guiding her
to a waiting car. She saw the fair haired young man hauled to his feet and
escorted by two police officers to another car waiting with doors open in front
At Two fifteen the lady in the brown wig walked out of the
station and into her police car. Glad to be walking away unscathed. she felt
good to be able to breathe the clear fresh air again. Never again would she
underestimate the sheer joy of anti-climax.
In interview room two. A blonde haired youth. Samuel David
Johnson was interviewed by Detective Inspector Donnan and police Sergeant Boyd.
Johnson was a rent boy. He knew virtually nothing. Only that he had been given
the chance to make some easy money. A man had approached him in the public
lavatory on Picadilly Station. He told Johnson that he had snatched his son
from his ex-wife. The woman had been planning to leave the country. She was
going to take the child away from this family to live with her and her lover in
Saudi Arabia. The man said that he had wanted only to frighten the woman and
that all Johnson had to do was collect a bag from her. Make a few idle threats
about her never seeing her son alive again. Then take the bag and drop it in
the third phone box outside the Odeon in Manchester city center at Four Thirty.
He had been given fifty pounds up front, with the promise of another hundred
after it had all gone to plan.
Johnson was charged and thrown into a holding cell. After
giving a reasonably good description of Barry Holmes.
Mary was checked over by a doctor and given a heavy sedation
that would ensure her a good many hours of blessed sleep. She had fought the
doctor bitterly and had to be held while the injection was administered. Jilly
took responsibility for the treatment being in her best interests. The older
woman looked wearily down onto her sleeping friend. "Aaah sleep on pet. The
pain of tomorra will be on us all soon enough"
Jilly looked as worn and tired as Mary had. She sat long
hours weeping into her hanky waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for some
news. Waiting for Johnny who may never come home.
Not very far away from St. Peters station, Father Buxton
walked out of the confessional. His neck ached and his arthritis was giving him
some gyp. He went to smile at the man standing motionless on the far left hand
side of the church, and then he stopped in his tracks. He passed hurriedly on,
the smile dying on his lips, after a second's brief eye contact with the
stranger. When he reached the altar he genuflected and blessed himself. Then he
made the sign of the cross again, and asked for the Lord's blessing. He had
surely come face to face with a demon.
Jesus is condemned to death. Holmes looked at the beautiful
oil painting. The first station of the cross.
He moved onto the next painting; Jesus bears his cross. The
second station of the cross.
The man with the black soul moved slowly along the
paintings. Marking off the stations of the cross in his mind as he went.
Tenth Station. Or Victoria station on the Manchester line.
The man taking the Stations of the Cross smirked to himself. An insane
Jesus is stripped of his garments and given Gall to
Twelfth station Jesus dies.
At exactly two o' clock Holmes stood in front of the
Thirteenth station of the cross. "Johnny is taken down from the cross and laid
in Mary's arms." The Thirteenth Station
He imagined Mary. Stood waiting at St. Peters station, or
would it be Piccadilly? No matter, the money was never important. If the rent
boy delivers it, all the better, but it was only an incidental. Silly little
He moved onto the last station of the cross, and a cold
shiver of anticipation ran through him. The fourteenth station of the cross.
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Johnny had already displayed his terror of the dark. It was
almost, but not quite, as total as his morbid fear of Holmes himself.
The man with the black soul, tuned and his heels echoed
through the cavernous church. Inside the vestry Father Buxton listened to the
retreating echoes, and when he heard the door slam, he blessed himself once