Lawrence got to his office to find another report on his desk. Since he resolved to buy a new table, this one went straight in the waste paper basket. He made himself a cup of coffee from the machine (it tasted like mud mixed with luke-warm water he thought) and went to try and find O'Connor. This was not going to be hard, as he was usually to be found nearby or with Donnelly, trying to be nice, and get promoted to a detective. Both Donnelly and Lawrence agreed that this was never going to happen, owing to O'Connor's nauseating personality. This was one of the few things the two men did agree on. Besides, Lawrence could never let that blithering idiot become equal to himself in rank. No, Timothy should be grateful he is a Sergeant, thought Lawrence.
Sure enough, O'Connor was found in his office with Superintendent Donnelly and to Lawrence's surprise, Beth Doherty. She blushed and her dark hair fell across her face when Lawrence entered. She had a wedding ring on her finger. Lawrence suddenly felt a burst of anger, then chided himself. Beth was thirty-one. She had as much right to a life as anybody else.
'Beth, you've done well for yourself I see! How are you?' said Lawrence, somewhat over enthusiastically.
'I'm pretty good actually. I've just got back from my honeymoon, so a new case is good. Much better than writing reports, eh Superintendent?'
Lawrence cursed under his breath. His hatred for Donnelly's reports was one of the secrets he had shared with Beth.
'Quite, quite' replied Donnelly hastily.
Lawrence clapped his hands together, 'So, how's about you tell me what this case is anyway?'
O'Connor spoke for the first time, breaking the awkward silence, 'Well, the fact is, we're not sure. The police over in England refuse to tell us much about the case until we get there. They seem to be convinced it has something to do with the supernatural. But they did send over someone who knows what they're talking about. He should be here any min-'
A phone call from reception interrupted him, and Donnelly answered it.
'Yes?' he said, rather impatiently.
'There's a Dr Hudson to see you, sir. Says he works at St Sebastian's Monastery. Shall I send him up?'
'Certainly. And tell him that I haven't got a lot of time.'
A few minutes later, an old and slightly dishevelled Englishman appeared at the door. They exchanged greetings and introduced each other. Lawrence was the one who decided to take charge, as O'Connor was strange at the best of times, Donnelly tended to be bad tempered (and it looked as if someone shouting 'BOO!' at the old man would kill him) and Beth, well, she tended to blush and had a nervous laugh that could scare people when not used to it. Lawrence knew these were pretty flimsy reasons for not acknowledging her, but he was still in shock at the fact she was married. He wondered what the man who was good enough for Beth to marry him was like. Was he taller than Lawrence? Did he have a sense of humour? Lawrence assumed that he did, as Beth liked to laugh. After entertaining these thoughts for a few seconds he got down to business and asked Dr Hudson why he was in Dublin.
'Well, as you know, we have a case that needs your help. It's...'
'Urm...well, we don't know what it is. You see, a few months ago, St Sebastian's Monastery in Kent was due to be demolished. The ruins had not had the best care, and there was a danger to the public. Now, I myself was very upset when this was announced. The monastery dates from the 11th century and has been part of the countryside there ever since, even after it was destroyed by King Henry VIII.'
'And what has this monastery got to do with us here?'
'Glad you asked. A few months ago, they called the bulldozers in. They were demolishing the area behind what would have been the abbott's quarters. In the wall they found the skeletons of four men. We assume they were monks as there were still scraps of material on the bodies. One in particular had a large piece of material on the shoulder. We concluded this could only be a monk's habit. Anyway, the curious thing is these four monks appeared to have been killed in exactly the same way. A broken skull, which we think was caused by a heavy blunt object, such as a lead pipe.'
'Lord, it's just like Cluedo.' muttered O'Connor. Beth laughed.
'As I was saying' said Dr Hudson, somewhat disgruntled, 'It was probably a heaving blunt object. But this in itself was not what killed them. They seemed to have been stabbed; once in the chest, and once in the thigh. What I want to find out is why they died. They were lowly monks, so why should they have died? But I think this is something I will have to find out on my own. You see, when the monks were discovered, they were found to have in their possession a slip of parchment. This parchment contained a curse on whoever moved the bodies. It stated that Judgement Day would be upon the human race if the bodies were taken from the wall. I have a copy of it here, if you would care to take a look?'
'Yes, of course' replied Lawrence. Dr Hudson opened a leather briefcase and took a piece of paper about the size of Lawrence's palm out of a plastic wallet. He put it on the table, and Donnelly, O'Connor and Beth drew in closer to see. The paper read;
He who moves the sinners from their eternal suffering
Will only bring suffering unto himself.
For the day of reckoning will be brought upon the heretics
And hellfire will destroy the earth
Dr Hudson continued, 'Nothing like the so-called 'Judgement Day' has happened yet, but many of the officers involved in the case have reported voices warning them to 'stay away'. Now you and I both know that these claims are nonsense, but now no British police force will touch it, even they are dismissing the case as supernatural.'
Lawrence spoke, 'So now they're recruiting us Irish, eh? They only want us when they can't do a job themselves. Why should we-'
'They want you, because according to them, you are the best, Inspector Lawrence. The absolute elite. All they're asking you to do is to prove this case has nothing to do with spirits or ghosts. Once you've done that, you're free to go.'
'Well, that changes everything, doesn't it? Don't expect me to stay in that godforsaken place for any longer than necessary, mind you. Sergeant O'Connor, Superintendent Donnelly and...sorry Beth, I don't know your rank.'
'It's okay, I'm just a lowly PC still.'
'Sergeant O'Connor, Superintendent Donnelly and PC Doherty will accompany me to sort out this mess too.'
'Of course.' Dr Hudson left.
They all departed from the office, down the stairs to a taxi, which would take them to the airport. The fact that Beth was still a PC puzzled Lawrence. She had miles more brains than that idiot Timothy, but he had got to become Sergeant. It was a fact like this that made Lawrence completely lose faith in the police force. And why should they be recruited over anybody else? All they had were a few dead monks with a spell. It wasn't as if anything that would amount to a case had happened. Yet.