CXVI:Secrets Broken(7)By: Angie Smith
After about an hour she thought she heard a door opening. Then there was nothing for another twenty minutes. Suddenly the boot lid clicked and whirred as it automatically opened up. She froze, glancing frantically around. She was in an unlit garage, but a small amount of dim light coming from the left hand side produced some illumination. She ventured her head out a fraction, trying to see more. In the far left corner a spiral staircase led up to the light. She climbed quietly out of the boot and looked around. She was alone. As well as the main garage door there were two smaller personnel doors, one on each side. She carefully tried both, but they were locked. She also checked the main door, but it was electronically operated and locked down. She couldn’t locate a switch, so she went over to the spiral staircase and looked up. Where did it lead?
She tiptoed stealthily up the metal treads, peering over the banister until her head was level with the upper floor. She ducked down, seeing Williams sitting on a sofa reading a newspaper.
“Ah, Maria,” he said, folding the paper. “Come on up, I’ve got sandwiches and a drink for you.”
She didn’t move. Why was he expecting her? As far as he knew she was tied up in the boot of the car.
“Come on,” he encouraged. “I’d have been disappointed if you hadn’t got out of the handcuffs and freed yourself.”
She slowly ascended the final few steps and glared at him; then she quickly scanned the room. It was large, open-plan, with an exposed beamed ceiling and a solid oak floor. At one end was a huge flat-screen TV, which had a Bose surround sound system. There was a lit log burner flickering away, with three tan leather sofas, a coffee table and a Persian rug arranged tastefully around it. At the opposite end was a working area, with desks, computers, several bookcases and filing cabinets. Tucked in the far corner was a small en suite bathroom, and positioned centrally, near where the spiral stairs came up, was a grandiose oak conference table, surrounded by ten spindle-backed chairs. An Espresso coffee and tea making machine stood nearby, and on the walls were an assortment of wildlife photographs.
Williams got up and went over to the coffee machine. “Tea? Cappuccino? Espresso?” He pointed at the table, where there was an array of snacks and sandwiches. “You must be hungry.”
She regarded him with suspicion and stood motionless; she did not respond.
“The keys to the handcuffs are there, you can release your left wrist.”
Her eyes narrowed as she focused in on him, noting that his appearance had altered: his hair was now dark and much shorter, he’d obviously been wearing a wig, and he’d cleaned the blood from his head wound. She looked closer. His nose was different — it must have been a prosthetic — and his eyebrows were less bushy. He’d changed attire and wore a smart jacket, fitted white shirt, and designer jeans, making him look casual, but business-like.
He smiled and picked up a cup from the machine.
“Why have you brought me here?” she asked, quickly removing the handcuff.
“To keep you alive, and prove your innocence.”
Now she was confused.
“MI5 are framing you with Guilford-Johnston’s murder,” he continued, bringing the drink over.
“I didn’t do it,” she snarled.
He shook his head dismissively, indicating the statement’s needlessness. “I know that! But Woods thinks you did, and Plant is doing a deal where he gets a new identity, plus his pension, in return for testifying against you.”
“What?” she snapped.
“Their original plan was to silence both me and Guilford-Johnston, whilst totally discrediting you and Woods. They were fearful Guilford-Johnston might give away too many secrets, and they wanted you two out of the picture. However, when you pointed the gun at him that gave them the perfect opportunity to frame you and silence him. If I hadn’t taken action they would probably have killed me and Woods, blaming you!”
She wasn’t sure she believed him.
“With Woods being convinced you pulled the trigger, they’ve revised that plan. They’re now claiming you’ve been working with me, and duped him.”
“How do you know all this?”
“I have a contact, who keeps me up to date.” He offered her the cup. “Tea - milk and two sugars.”