Monday, 1 September 2008

4 - Reporting Back

"We arrived at around half past eleven AM and Constable Hill proceeded to make preliminary checks on the door of the residence" explained Davids, in the best 'official' voice that he could muster. The Detective Inspector nodded slowly, while the Detective Constable sat next to him scribbling everything down in shorthand.

They were seated in the roomy surrounds of the DI's Chevrolet. The car had been modified so that the two detectives could sit facing Davids. Yesterday's heavy downpour had been replaced with a light drizzle, and yesterday's DI had also been replaced.

The car was parked outside the charred, wounded house of Thomas Miller. The heavy rain had prevented the fire from raging down the street and the house remained structurally sound. However several rooms had been utterly gutted. The wood framed windows were scarred black and carbon blood licked at the bricks surrounding them.

The Detective Inspector had insisted on Davids reporting the whole thing all over again. When the Sergeant had finished his report he quickly stepped into the rain, pleased at himself for reiterating it so clearly and glad he had got away from the oppressive car. He stood there, his hand on the closed door for a little while. Letting the rain slowly bounce off his uniform. He closed his eyes and sucked in a gulp of cold air before trotting over to the patrol car.

Constable Hill say in the driving seat, pushed into the corner between his seat and the window. He rested a book in his lap, which he was carefully reading - Pride and Prejudice. Davids smiled as he approached the car, Hill had been reading that book he'd joined the force. The Sergeant could also faintly hear one of Bach's symphonies seeping through the window - the car's radio faithfully and quietly pumping the music out. Davids bent and tapped on the window.

Richard looked up quickly, his eyes bulging and bouncing round his head. He quickly fumbled with the radio and shoved the book into the glove compartment. Then slowly he pretended to just have noticed his superior and turned to wind the window down.

"I am on the final chapter" the Constable said looking to a spot just behind Davids, while sucking his mouth into all sorts of shapes. The Sergeant couldn't help his smile growing slightly wider, but managed to force it away. "Constable, I have no idea what you're talking about. DI Jones wants you to run through everything we found in the house".

Dejectedly Richard Hill pushed open the car door, pulling a large black case off of the back seat and out of the car with him. Carefully Richard open the boot and took a few pairs of gloves out.

He showed the DI the gun that had been found - a Colt Series 70 pistol with it's rosewood handle; the "Government Model". He carefully picked up one of the bullets which had not gone off in the fire, yes it .45 bullet which fitted the gun. Yes, they had also checked whether Miller owned the gun or not. Yes, he did own it and had a license. Hill explained how currently, from all the information they had it looked like it had not been fired.He gave the DI the murder weapon - a military style knife - to inspect and explained how it had been found, covered in petrol and embedded in the victim's thoat. He also showed the DI a can of petrol which had presumably been one of many used to start the fire. It was badly fire damaged, and only just recognisable.

"And so far we've no fingerprints, footprints or anything of that nature that would give us any leads. What with the nature of the damage, it'll be difficult to collect any more evidence in the forceable future, sir" concluded Hill.

"Thank you, Constable" the DI said, smiling warmly. He was a nice man, thought Hill, with his sandy, longish hair and his rather scruffy uniform. The "unconventional" type of cop you watched in movies.

Davids handed over the autopsy reprot and the fire service's thick case file and with that the Sergeant and Constable's business was done.

The DI and DC smiled, stepped briefly into the rain to thank to the two policeman and then stepped into the front seats of the Chevrolet. With a churning rev they flowed out into the stream of London traffic.

"Nasty piece of work, that DI. Eh, Hill?" Davids muttered.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

3 - The War On Curran

Captain Curran sat back in his favourite armchair, astonished. The Times lay open on the glass coffee table. It was spread wide, with several coffee rigns on its top corner. The offending mug now say empty and cold.

Captain Curran, who had finished serving for the US army almost a decade ago, was a bulky man. He was just a little bit over-weight, but with his broad shoulders, his height and his sharp jaw, no one noticed. He'd started to grow a dark brown moustache - one that suited his face in an uncannily stereotypical way.

Curran's hair had just started its retreat, weary from its 48 years of life service. This hair was dark brown and neatly combed back. Like the drooping, thick moustache it fitted so perfectly with his face and his sharp jaw that he seemed unreal.

Curran was a man just past his prime, a man easily identified in a crowd as an ex-US officer. He was in his comfy London apartment with his glamourous wife. His two sons were both at university. The younger of the sons was doing Sociology, the older was doing Mathematics at Harvard.

The Captain's life was relaxed and successful and comfortable. Until now, that is.

He slowly read the small article again. Police had acted on a tip-off...arrived at an apparently empty and locked house...there had been a break in...they had noticed smoke...the house had burnt...a charred body had been found...the body of Thomas Miller.

"Tommy" the Captain murmured. 'Private Miller' he thought, 'why have you done this to me? why have you been murdered now?'


2 - Burning Tommy Down

He knocked twice on the door. They were a hasty two knocks, a two knocks that shouted "Please open the door - please don't make this what I think it is".

But there was no response. Another two knocks - this time bolder. Still there was no response.

The policeman lowered his head to the dark blue paint of the door and listened carefully. There was nothing. It was silent. Then the faintest of noises - footsteps, clothes brushing walls, movement, a whisper and a quiet crashing. This combination of sounds, a barely distinguishable mess, lasted barely a second. He listened for another minute or so, but there was nothing.

So here he was - standing dripping in the rain before a large house in Central London's embassy land, while the Sergeant sat in the car, smoking.

Richard Hill had joined the force at twenty nine, and never expected anything glamourous. In fact, he enjoyed the lack of glamour. Two years on and he still enjoyed the mundane tasks of a police constable. He stared into the dark blue panels, inches from his face, and ran his hands across them, gently. Mindlessly he attempted to push the door open - it didn't even shudder. He carefully felt the lock. There was something slightly ajar, and this was his speciality. His boring passion. Locks.

Richard dropped to his knees and examined the keyhole, squatting. From his limited knowledge of the area he assumed there would be at least one bolt lock and one chain. Maybe more than one.

It wouldn't surprise him if the lock he was examining was broken and yet the door remained held firm.

The lock was intricate tangle of passages and hole and blocks. It wasn't the average front door lock. This was something special, even for this exclusive street. With just a quick look, however, he could tell it had been forced.

There was a click from behind him as the Sergeant swung the passenger-side door open impatiently and stepped out. Sgt. Davids was a young, small man who spoke with an upper-class voice that was not his. His uniform was turned out as neat and as blue as ever; his curly blonde hair was as oily and smart as ever.

Davids tosses his cigarette into the gentle, disappearing February snow and trudged towards Richard.

"So?" the Sergeant shouted against the heavy downpour of rain. He jumped the two steps that led up to the covered, square porch before the house.

"I heard a noise inside, sir - possibly an animal, I couldn't quite make it out. And this lock appears to have been forced open" the constable replied without looking away from the lock.

The heavy rain was very quickly turning the London snow greyer than it was already and washing it away in great ugly streaks. Water overflowed the gutters and cars swept past with their windscreen wipers beating fiercely. Flying spray from the tyres zigzagged the snow more until horrible Escher-like drawings swam down the pavements.

"Are there any other entrances?" Davids asked looking around, rather bored and wishing he had thrown his cigarette away.

"No, sir, the house is terraced".

Davids consider this interesting revelation - "Well I don't really see that there's much we can do. I'll write a short report and we'll check back on the hou —"

Richard interrupted him, standing up and gesturing at the bottom of the door - "Smoke". And that's when they heard the first gunshot.


Sunday, 6 July 2008

1 - "This is the bit I enjoy"

"This" he paused to lick his lips, "is the bit I enjoy". There was a dead silence - one that ripped through the room. "Do you want to know why?" he circled his prey, slowly; thinking. "This is where everything is explained."

Another silence. Less gripping, less horrifying this time.

Slowly another noise ebbed into the silence. It was boots. Boots running up a staircase. Boots with guns, boots fanning out. Boots with orders.

"And I think...I think I should explain things to you" another pause. He looked down at the man that he had taken so long to guide to that one seat. "You know some of the story - you think you know it all". 

Boots clattered louder, clothes rustled and steel staircases clanged in protest.

"You think you've got to the bottom of this thing, don't you?" He stepped back, and admired the room.

"Knowing me, knowing you" he smiled a moment at the reference - a man of his times, "I have the full...picture."

Boots getting more urgent, bouncing off the steel stairs and onto concrete. The corridor in a dark warehouse. A collapsing warehouse that now, in its dying moments, set the backdrop for a dramatic hail of gunfire that would end and begin so many things.

"I'm going to die very soon," again he licked his lips, and yet they looked awfully dry, "well I'm not really going to die. I'm going to disappear. This is my final performance, but don't worry! A sequel is planned."

He nodded to himself slightly.

Then he let out an elegant cackled and checked his watch. He slid a small revolver from his trouser pocket. A single bullet was loaded.

"You see, I needed you".

He enjoyed his prey's shocked look, his quizzical eyebrows. "Oh, what you uncovered is all true. I just gave you some...assistance. I had it all acted out; because of you".

Boots pushed forwards, a steady line with guns swinging this way and that. The pistols were at the back, the Winchester shotguns at the front with the Sten submachine guns. All panning and tracking, moving forwards carefully.

He bent down low and looked into the other man's eyes. They were a picture of wary resentment. "I needed you" he spat, almost laughing again. He stood there, bent over for a few awkward seconds and then straightened out.

The boots were slowing, stopping.

The man brushed his suit, self consciously, checked his gun and span smartly to the door. The one door.

The boots smashed threw it. In a ripple of khaki the wooden rectangle flew from its hinges and plunged to the concrete floor. A large splinter hung from the top hinge. The revolver exploded in smoke, its bullet crashing out and upwards.

The Sten guns erupted in a blaze of orange and red. Light and colour throwing themselves at each other with loud howls and whistling ricochets. Holes racked through the walls; the smoke from the revolver curled upwards. Khaki spread out as the bullets echoed down, the confusion spinning through the room.

The revolver dropped to the floor. The man dropped to his knees, a smile on his face. The Sten guns were lowered.



"We've got the hostage. He doesn't appear to be wounded."