The Trafficked

The Trafficked by Lee Weeks

Book: The Trafficked by Lee Weeks Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lee Weeks
Tags: Fiction, Suspense
guy running from the house when the fire caught hold.’
    ‘How did he get out?’ asked Becky.
    ‘There was a window open in one of the ground-floor rooms at the back.’
    ‘So he saved himself and left the women to fry—nice bloke.’
    ‘Did she get a look at him?’ asked Mann.
    ‘She said he was over six foot, thirty-ish, American or Canadian accent. She hadn’t seen him before. She was outside looking for her lost cat when the devices went off. She said he ran past and to go back inside and that it was about to blow up.’
    ‘I suppose he couldn’t risk her hearing the women cry for help,’ Becky said.
    ‘She wouldn’t have heard them anyway…’ Vance had a face that looked like it surprised itself when a thought struck him. ‘…the place was double-glazed.’
    ‘Did she know anything about who owned the place?’ asked Mann.
    ‘She said it had changed hands six months ago. She hadn’t been able to work out who the owners were—she saw men coming and going at strange times of the day and night. The only people she saw regularly were two Chinese guys and a smartly dressed Chinese woman.’
    ‘Was it the first time she had seen the black guy?’
    ‘She said she’d seen him and another big white guy a couple of times in the last few days.’
    Vance led them up the stairs. ‘There were four bedrooms on each landing, two to the right, two to the left, and a bathroom straight ahead. Watch where you’re standing and don’t touch anything, it will probably give way. The firemen had no idea that there was anyone in here until…they reached here and found this…’
    They stopped on the top landing. Vance stood back to allow them to peer inside. The biting chemical smellfrom burnt paint and melted nylon carpet had a new undertone—the smell of roasted flesh.
    ‘Jesus Christ!’ Becky reeled and instinctively turned away.
    ‘It’s not a pretty sight. No way out…horrible death. Each of the victims is chained to their bed,’ said Vance.
    The women’s knees were drawn into their bodies; their arms were held up in front of their faces. Their jaws were wide open and their teeth glared in the black of incinerated flesh. ‘The other room is just the same. Each of the rooms has six victims. Both rooms overlook the front, the others looks over the courtyard at the back, but they were both barred and shuttered.’
    ‘What’s in them?’ Mann pointed towards the other rooms on the landing.
    ‘I’ll show you.’ Vance pushed one of the doors open. Inside the blackened room, wallpaper hung down from the walls. To the right was an open-plan en ensuite bathroom. Soot and debris covered every surface. At their feet were large shards of broken mirrored glass.
    ‘These rooms are both bedrooms and so are nearly all the other rooms in the house. There’s a safe downstairs: personal belongings, travel documents inside, still intact. I’ll show you.’
    They went back down the stairs and walked along the burnt-out corridor to a small kitchen at the back of the house.
    ‘No hob, no oven, just a microwave,’ said Becky. ‘Doesn’t look like their guests stayed to dinner.’
    One of the SOCO team was examining the contentsof a tabletop safe. It had survived the fire intact, only its red-paint finish was bubbled and peeled. Vance passed Becky and Mann some latex gloves.
    ‘You’ll need those. Some of it has fused due to the heat.’ Vance began to carefully open the pages of a passport. ‘But we will get the experts to unravel it. So far, we have twelve passports and twelve corpses. He held up a passport for them to see. This girl, recently issued passport—three months ago—says she’s eighteen.’
    ‘Yeah, going on twelve.’ Mann studied the photo. ‘She’s a Filipina.’
    ‘Here’s a travel itinerary for them.’ Vance passed a piece of paper to him.
    Mann took it and studied it. ‘Says they came in via Hong Kong: originally on a tourist visa; been here for two weeks.’
    ‘Is this the first

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