“What the? This is not my room. How did I get here?”
Police Detective Jennings struggled to shake himself awake. Was he still dreaming? He shook the spiders from his gummed eyes. Peering through sand grains, he noticed his walls were light blue.
“They are not that colour?”
There was a strange electronic thing on his bedside table. His trusty alarm clock had disappeared, the electric box suddenly lit up, and the radio tuned.
He knew it was seven o’clock. The wardrobe wasn’t his, the clothes inside wouldn’t fit. And there was only men’s stuff.
“Where is Gillian’s gear?” he muttered to himself. “Where the hell is Gill?”
He looked out of the window. It looked like Tuners End. But that was not his car in the drive.
Next door, Roger the door-to-door salesman, was loading his boot.
“That’s funny, he has a new car, he didn’t tell me. I wonder why?”
There was no noise in the children’s rooms. He tapped and looked in. Billy’s clutter had been tidied, no toys, no Superman.
“Was that a new carpet?”
His sister’s room was pristine, almost unlived in. No teddies, no dolly?
“Gill, are you downstairs?”
He plodded down; the kitchen was a mess.
“Christ, Gill, where are you? You would never leave the place in a state like this.”
There were crumbs around the chopping board. The bread knife was pointing at the larder, and the rest of the loaf was on the top. Hard and stale.
“Gill insists the blade gets put back with the other knives.”
The sink was full of coffee mugs, plates and cutlery. The bin was full of discarded takeaways.
Peter Jennings scratched his head. “I’ll worry about it when I get back.”
After a shave and a quick shower, he searched for his favourite suit and tie.
“Where the hell are they? These will have to do.”
At least his watch was there, he loved that timepiece; he had owned it for… how long?
Downstairs, Peter looked in each room, no sign of anyone. There was a small packet, where he always left his car keys, that looked like car keys. At least its wallet said Toyota on it.
“What is this?”
He pressed a button, and a beep sounded outside by the door.
The car was unlocked. He sat in and pressed a button that bragged, ‘start’, and the engine fired.
He drove to the station and noticed a parking spot with his name on it.
“How long has that been there?”
“Morning, Sir,” said a uniformed female he didn’t recognise. She smiled at him.
He looked around, most of the people were new to him, as was the furniture.
“Morning, Sir,” was a chorus of welcoming chat.
“Oh, you are working with us today?” a chubby man laughed.
Peter noticed his name on the door opposite.
“I wanted to ask who was on the coffee this morning?”
They all looked at each other.
“Is your machine not working?” asked a female officer.
Peter ducked out. He entered his office, leaving the others looking puzzled. The chatter restarted, were they talking about him?
Sure enough, there was a spanking new machine in the corner. “How does this work?” he asked himself. He found a mug, but not much else.
He looked around ‘his office,’ and the chair looked comfortable. But the filing cabinets were all locked. “Where are the keys?” he wondered. At least he had found a small fridge.
A whiteboard told him cases they were working on.
“What the hell is all this?”
‘Murder in the White Hart. Suspect arrested.’
‘Theft at Subways. Youth caught on CCTV.’
‘Suspected kidnapping. Divorced husband and child flew to India.’
“That is my writing. Why don’t I know about these cases?”
There was a tap at the door. A well-groomed detective popped his head around the door.
“Come in,” said Jennings.
“About the pub murder, chief.”
“Yes, yes. Do you want a coffee? If you do, you can make us both one.”
“I say, sir, that’s good of you, yes, I’d love one.”
“Okay, where are we with this case?” asked Jennings.
“Hm, I thought you knew?”
“What do you mean?”
“Mr Perks, the farmer admitted killing the landlord for flirting with his wife.” The young man said, sticking his chest forward.
The door burst open. Two senior uniformed officers came in.
“You, out,” one said to the junior detective.
He ducked and crept back to the office opposite.
“What is all this? We were dealing with a local murder,” said Jennings.
He placed his hands on the desk as if to stand up.
“Stay where you are. You know me, this gentleman is chief of internal investigations, Chief Inspector Bailey. We have questions for you.”
Chairs were dragged across, and the men sat, glaring at Jennings.
“Where is your wife?”
“That sir is a good question,” Jennings said.
“And what, pray do you mean with that answer?”
“She wasn’t there when I left this morning.”
The men looked at each other.
“My children were not there too. I guess they went to school early?”
“You listed your family as missing persons one year ago. Did you not? Did they come back, and you failed to notify the authorities?”
“Eh, no, sir. Things were different at home.”
“And what do you mean by that?”
“Well, I woke up to new wallpaper?”
The men looked at each other for longer this time.
“What are you talking about?”
“My home was different, my clothes, my car, everything.”
“How do you mean? Did you hang wallpaper while asleep?” His boss said. He smirked.
“Have you been drinking, taking drugs?” asked Bailey.
“No, sir, never.”
“So, where are your wife and children?”
“I don’t know.”
“We are arresting you and charging you with the murder of your wife and two children. If you have anything to say…”
The rest of the speech he knew by heart.
Two uniformed officers came in and cuffed Jennings.
“Take him downstairs, please.”
“What do you make of that?”
“Does he know we found three unrecognisable bodies under a bunker at the local golf course?”
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