Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 7 - Installment: i

     Step Nine had been the discussion of the meeting. Scott Edmond hated Step Nine. Scott was stuck on Step Nine. The Big Book said that there would be “others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all,” but in his case it was so dissatisfying. He knew that he was hardly unique in this manner. There was still every chance in the world that one day things would change.
     I’m a fucking Detective for Christ’s sake! You’d think I could track someone down.
     But Franti was a Detective too. A good one. Or at least she had been. That would give her some uncommon insight into how to drop off the radar.
     The best he’d been able to do was infuriatingly feeble.  Prague. Back home.
     The notion of Prague being home to his ex-wife had always seemed odd, even a bit specious to him. She was a Canadian Citizen and had no accent. Her parents had moved to Canada before she was ten, and now she had returned to the Czech Republic. With their daughter. The trail ended at the plane. Air France 351 left Trudeau Airport on October 8th three years earlier with Frantiska and Janne Edmond aboard. It landed at Ruzyně. Scott’s wife and daughter disembarked, collected their luggage and for all intents and purposes disappeared.
     They were right to leave, but he just wanted to say “I’m sorry” and to let them know that he would always be waiting. They were, of course, the top two names on his Step Eight list. Janne and Franti.
     As he stepped down the church steps, a woman’s voice from behind.
     He knew who it was before he turned around. He’d seen her slip in as they closed the door. She’d sat to his left, deep in his peripheral vision on his bad side. They saw each other at meetings fairly regularly. They’d always ignored each other until now.
     “Hi, Bev.” His tone was measured. The first time he had seen her at a meeting he had been paranoid and assumed that she was digging up dirt. He left as soon as he noticed her. He didn’t go to another meeting for over two weeks and he very nearly fell off the wagon entirely, but the fear of the descent drove him back. He needed sobriety more than he needed a drink. He had proven that to himself far too many times already and he wanted so much to believe that this time he had finally won, but he couldn’t do it alone.
He started going back to meetings, but he scattered his attendance all over the region, trying to avoid any sort of pattern that she could follow.


     There had been a case ten years ago…
     God, was it a decade already?
     A kidnapping. Elizabeth Lancaster, the adoptive daughter of Edward Lancaster. Lancaster owned six of the biggest office complexes in the city core, god knows how much other land and additional business interests. Lancaster was worth a lot of money and the kidnappers could hardly have avoided knowing that. To the contrary, they clearly had targeted Lancaster because of it.
     Scott was already drinking heavily by then, but he’d managed to keep a lid on it. Not control, precisely, but he’d kept the repercussions to a minimum. The stress was too much this time, and it cost Elizabeth Lancaster her life.
     The force gave him a demotion, a severe reprimand and a departmental probation. Scott lived in a social limbo ever since. Franti had been very supportive. She knew the personal hazards of the job. She put up with so much as Scott gave in to the addiction three and four more times. She even helped him keep a lid on things as he gradually made his way back up the ladder. But then Janne came. Scott knew that he’d hit his new ceiling. No-one was ever going to let ‘the drunk’ go any higher.
     He’d never have an opportunity to screw up like he did with Lancaster again. It wasn’t luck. It was the work he was being assigned. His rank was practically ceremonial. He was respected, but not trusted. He knew it. It killed him inside.
     For the first two years after Janne was born he’d acted like a new man. But soon the weight of his arrested upward mobility brought him down. He had to be dried out twice in one year. Once he’d hit a place of stability the second time around, Franti made her mysterious one way trip to Europe. Scott tumbled again almost immediately before cleaning up for good – three years now. It was after that that Bev Williams started showing up at meetings.


     Bev was new. Or at least that was how he thought of her. He’d seen her segments on the news. Provocative and button-pushing. That was her style of investigative journalism. When he first saw her at AA he assumed that she was targeting him – the most infamous alcoholic in the VPD.
     Eventually Scott took the time to realize that his profile was stale. He wasn’t news – not anymore. Even if he was, Bev Williams would have made a point of searching him out in additional venues if she really thought he was a story in the making.
     Scott quit making trips into the valley or up the Sea to Sky highway to meetings. It was a time-consuming way to be in recovery. Soon afterwards he and Bev started crossing paths again.
     It was obvious that they knew who each other was. The knowing looks made it clear. Bev wasn’t the only one in AA who remembered the news of the Elizabeth Lancaster kidnapping. Edward Lancaster’s statement indicting the Officer in charge still stood as the single most vicious attack on the competency of the Vancouver Police in public memory. Scott’s fifteen minutes had burned hot and the imprint was flash fried on the memories of the city. Bev on the other hand was in the public eye on a constant basis. Hers wasn’t simply a face in the news it was the face of the news. No doubt had she been a decade older, she would have been at the vanguard of the journalists who had made a demon of Lieutenant Scott Edmond. Or perhaps not. Clearly she would have been somewhat more empathetic.
     Over the course of the months Scott had put together part of Bev William’s story as bits and pieces came out at meetings.
     A committed high-school party-girl, Bev washed out of political science in her first semester of University. Her parents had helped her pick herself up and dust herself off. She dried out and re-enrolled, this time in journalism school. She had become as addicted to the rush of investigative journalism as she had been to liquor. The result, was she was good. Very good. She was driven and worked hard to uncover any and all truth she could find. No doubt her term as a local journalist was destined to be brief, she was network material, and anyone who watched her knew it.
     “This chat been a long time coming.” Edmond challenged.
     “If you mean that it was inevitable, I’d say you’re overstating the case.  Coffee?”
     “Never sleeping again is part of the reporting world too, eh Bev?”
     “Creatures of the night.”

Installment ii

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Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.