Malice by Gabriell Lord

Book: Malice by Gabriell Lord Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gabriell Lord
middle of the night?’ I asked.
    â€˜Same reason as anybody else,’ said Ryan, ‘to discover the secret of Perdita—that’s why. If she found the treasure, her money problems would be solved.’
    I told Repro about Harriet and her dried-up farm, then about the mansion on the northern headland, the woman with the spiky hair and the security guard with the Doberman.
    â€˜Interesting that Curly was able to just walk straight into that house, without knocking. The Doberman didn’t go for him, did it?’ Boges pointed out.
    â€˜Hell hounds,’ said Repro. ‘Had a run-in once with one of those.’ Repro took it all in, demolishing a packet of chocolate biscuits and drinking several cups of tea in quick succession.
    â€˜So how did you know where we were?’ I asked.
    â€˜Cal called me from flight school. He thought you might need a hand down here. I couldn’t come earlier because I’ve been—err—taking a break from society for a while. Doing some meditation.’
    â€˜Don’t tell me you’ve been to a retreat? A health spa, perhaps?’ asked Ryan.
    â€˜More like a strict health farm,’ said Repro. ‘I overlooked a few fines from the constabulary.’
    â€˜How many?’ Boges asked.
    â€˜Not quite sure,’ said Repro cagily. ‘More than a few. And the constabulary took a dim view. All I did was camp in some places they didn’t think I should be in and I failed “to move along when required”. I wasn’t doing any harm.’
    â€˜But why were you camping out?’ I asked, puzzled. ‘You’ve got a beautiful house of your own now. And what about your mum?’
    â€˜I have a gypsy soul, my girl,’ said Repro grandly. ‘And I miss my underground home—all those exciting tunnels, my underground lake, my plans for my Underland Wonderland resort. My mum wants me to join the local bowling club. Wear those white bowling trousers and jumpers, and a canvas hat,’ he shuddered. ‘My house is very nice, and I don’t mean to be ungrateful to you and young Cal, but it’s just not me. Everyone knows where I live now. I even get
    â€˜Mail! How terrible!’ I joked.
    Repro didn’t miss a beat. ‘So I followed my gypsy soul.’
    â€˜And that led you where, exactly?’ asked Boges.
    â€˜Various places,’ he said vaguely, ‘which in turn led to the non-payment of a number of fines. I could either pay up or spend a week at one of Her Majesty’s correctional institutions. I chose to be detained,’ Repro said,
    â€˜You mean you were in jail?’ said Ryan.
    Repro sniffed and refused to answer, instead looking around for more chocolate biscuits.
    â€˜I’m going back to bed,’ I announced. ‘Repro, that big armchair near the fire is very comfortable. I’ll bring you a rug. We’ll work out a plan in the morning. And there’s something I want to show you, too.’
    10:40 am
    After a breakfast of toast and eggs, we cleared away and found that Repro had worked out a lot of the jigsaw puzzle on the floor during the early hours of the morning. Now we could see that it was shaping up to be some kind of building surrounded by gardens.
    From the folder in my bag, I pulled out the strange and menacing newspaper clipping I’d been sent weeks ago, passing it to Repro.
    â€˜What do you make of this, Repro?’ I asked. He studied it, his shrewd, bright eyes scanning the typed script and the two scribbled words, ‘the Drowner … 30 days’.
    Eventually, he handed it back to me, shakinghis head. ‘Can’t help you with that, Winter. Where did it come from?’
    I told him. ‘I’m not sure whether it’s a threat, or a warning. Either way, it’s completely useless, until we know who the Drowner is.’
    â€˜Sounds like a person,’ said Repro, ‘and someone I wouldn’t like

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