He made an apologetic gesture and backed out of the room. He hit the talk button. ‘Hello.’
Helga’s voice sounded positive. ‘DNA found on Candice matches the sample taken from Serena Naringa.’
Shit. A serial killer on the loose.
He heard her sniff. ‘Lab tests take time Inspector.’ The call was disconnected.
It wasn’t the time or place to have it out with her, but come hell or high water, he’d put Helga Johansson in her place. A Detective Chief Inspector deserved some respect.
When he returned to the room with a pleasant view over the spacious grounds, his kid sister was wiping tears from her eyes. A nurse, who could have graced the front of OK magazine, was plumping up the pillows on his sister’s bed. The consultant was sitting in a bedside chair studying Sophie’s medical file.
‘Sorry about that,’ he muttered, sitting down. More as an apology to Sophie that work had taken precedence.
Sophie thanked the nurse and leant back on her pillows. ‘It’s Okay, Orson, I understand. Mr. Carstairs was just explaining the bad news.’
The consultant intervened. ‘Sophie, it’s not all bad news. If we find a matching kidney, you will be able to live a normal life.’
Sophie was a smart cookie. She’d read up on her condition. ‘Apart from the anti-rejection drugs.’
The consultant nodded. ‘That’s why suitable donors often come from the same family. It lowers the risk of rejection.’
Orson felt a little queasy. The way the consultant looked at him, as if sizing him up. There was an anticipatory silence that he felt obliged to break. A pre-emptive strike before smooth-talking Mr. Carstairs started to cut out one of his kidneys.
The “Terrified” thought transposed differently. He blanched as he clutched his chair with shaking hands. He forced out a strangulated comment. ‘Terrif ... ic.’
But Sophie laughed. ‘Don’t be soppy, Orson. I wouldn’t want one of yours anyway.’
She tapped her stomach, and pointed at his. ‘Think of all those chocolate bars it had to process. It must have been around the world more times than my dialysis machine.’
The nurse sniggered, but Mr. Carstairs gave her a black look. He said, ‘Let’s talk about the pros and cons of donor selection while nurse rustles up some refreshments.’
Orson felt as if he was on a roller-coaster. Surely there were more suitable donors; two murders and one suicide already these past few days – and that was just his patch. Multiple that by a factor of…
…the nurse was asking him what he would like. He glanced up at her name tag pinned to her uniform. Protruding over a firm young breast. “Pat”.
‘Coffee, please. Cream and three sugars ... and a plate of chocolate hobnobs.’
Sophie dissolved in a fit of giggles. ‘Oh Orson, you’re so funny.’