29 Edgestone Road
The Wolseley stopped in front of 29 Edgestone Road. A woman weeding and planting in one of the front flowerbeds stopped what she was doing and looked up. It had been a long time since Collier had either spoken to or seen Louise Moodie. Still, he knew this was the woman. Taking in a deep breath, he let it out slowly and sat back in his seat. At one time its grounds stood alone and stretched as far as the eye could see no matter where I stood. He peered through the windows. The grandiose dwelling’s pores once oozed with majesty and pomp. His eyes took in the building’s chinked outer skin, snarled in unkempt vine, sadly heralding lustre vanquished. He sat up and rested his arms along the backseat. The street they were parked on was in a residential neighbourhood packed with housing. Briefly, he reflected on a time when it had been a long, winding tree-lined drive carved through the fields to her home.
He exited the vehicle. Exuberant sounds of children at the school grounds were refreshing to his ears. There’s something soulfully cleansing and hopeful about their playful sounds.
“Ah? Yes, Captain Hall?” His gaze attended the route along which they had just traveled.
“Is there something wrong?” she inquired.
“I hope not, but I think we may have been followed.” He discretely nodded in the direction of a car several doors down. “It parked shortly after we arrived, and no one has exited.” He glanced at Captain Hall. “Maybe I should be asking you the same question?”
“I’ve been remiss, Inspector and should have told you. I spotted it shortly after we left the pub.”
“Should I check it out, Inspector?” Sergeant Snowden moved in the direction of the vehicle.
Captain Hall’s outstretched hand stopped him. “I think it better we carry on with our business. Don’t you agree, Inspector?”
“Can I assist you with anything?” Louise called through the iron-rod fence. Tilting her head toward the sign on the gate, she added, “As you can read, the museum is closed today.”
Collier glanced at Captain Hall and whispered, “Do you have any idea why Klaus Becker would have left the package here?” She shrugged. “We’re here on official business, Miss Moodie,” he shouted. “Captain, don’t you think, considering the uninvited visitors in that car back there, it might be wise to give me the rest of the code?”
“Planning for the worst, are you?”
“Let’s just call it hedging one’s bets.”
“I recognize that voice. Official business, is it? What kind of official business would you be up after all these years, Sandy Collier?” chortled Louise, opening the gate and waiting for his arrival.
About to turn away, Captain Hall grabbed Collier’s arm. “The first five lockers touched only twice. That is, prime numbered lockers touched only twice.”
“Got it. You don’t trust many, do you?”
“I don’t trust anyone,” she retorted with a cold stare. “The sergeant here should stand guard.&rdquo...