The sound of knocking on a door dragged me back to consciousness. Looking over at the sun shining brightly through the blinds, it was clear it was day. I threw back the covers, pulled on my clothes and followed the knocking to the main door. I swung it open to be met by Annie the landlady, flanked on either side by two uniformed policemen.
‘They come for you,’ she snapped.
My head felt sore. ‘What do they want?’
‘They take you to station.’
She didn’t reply. Everybody was so serious so I quickly gathered my things and returned to the main door. Gripping an arm each, they hauled me out of the building and wedged me into the back of a car.
At the station I was marched down a dimly-lit corridor then thrown into a small, windowless room. It had a wooden table, three chairs and a small fan that wasn’t on. They left me alone and locked the door. I turned the fan on full then reached for my phone but damn; I’d left it at home.
The door opened and a senior-looking policeman with hooded eyes, thin greying hair and a double chin, stepped in. He sat down, took a file from a folder and opened it. ‘I am Police Captain Nincotte.’
‘You are Michael Walker?”
‘Yes, and I’ve no idea why I’m here.’
He took a long, heavy sniff like a hound dog on a hunt then smelt my breath. ‘I can smell the alcohol lingering in the air. You had a few last night?’
‘That’s not a crime.’
‘It’s not, but taking an underage girl home is. The girl you took last night was only fourteen.’
The memory that Mia looked younger than the others suddenly jolted me.
‘She says you beat and then raped her.’
‘What! I didn’t touch her. I only sketched her.’
He pursed his lips then placed some disturbing photographs in front of me. ‘Take a look.’
‘What is this?’
‘It’s pictures of bruising on her body.’
‘I told you, I didn’t touch her.’
He pushed some paperwork under my nose.
‘I can’t read Thai.’
‘Tell me what happened last night.’
‘I took Mia back to sketch her and that’s all I ever did. Whatever happened after she left the studio has nothing to do with me.’
‘Your semen was found inside her.’
‘That’s not possible and in any event, how do you know it was mine?’
‘It’s all in the report.’
‘I told you I can’t read Thai.’
‘Her parents don’t wish to press charges, but they will need compensation to cover all the medical costs and trauma. She will require counselling. You need to pay a hundred and twenty thousand baht.’
The penny finally dropped. This was a scam and I was its latest victim. Well, he’d picked the wrong guy this time. ‘I won’t pay!’
I used his silence to get my thoughts in order. He had to be a corrupt cop. The evidence was false. My semen inside her; how could he have had that tested so quickly and how would he know it was mine? He’d have to have had my DNA on record and how could he have it here in Thailand. That huge amount of cash would take care of whoever was involved.
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